#987 Generic Brands Offer Better Value Than Name Brands

8 Nov

There are many staples that you can buy in the generic brand that are not in any way discernibly different than the premium name brand. As the label often challenges – yes, you should compare the ingredients and see what the differences are. Usually the differences are zero to none. For beauty products, often the difference might be the scent or coloring. Many products differ only in the promotion and packaging accompanying the item.

Save yourself the money headache, go generic on medications.

One truth to buying generic is that it has to pass your own test– no one can do this test for you – you have to decide for yourself. There are some things that you may truly prefer or find superior in the premium brand (if this is the case, can you make it yourself and have something even better than both premium and generic brands?). There are generic brands that have differences that you don’t mind or can live with because it’s so much cheaper. And then there are the generic brands that you have absolutely no idea how they’re different and can’t tell. In the last two instances, you shouldn’t waste money buying the more expensive name brand product.

Some items that I’ve found are not any different in the generic brand (except the price), which you should always buy generic:

    • Pharmaceuticals: Prescription or over-the-counter, pharmaceuticals have a lot of generic imitators in which I find absolutely no difference when using. Prescription drugs have a patent for a limited period of time, and, when the patent expires, generic brands are allowed to enter their version into the market, which greatly reduces drug costs. It keeps drug companies on their toes with research to find new drugs to replace huge money-makers that have expiring patents. Depending on what you’re health coverage is, always ask for the generic brand prescription to save money. I always buy ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Advil and Tylenol) in the generic brand – they get rid of my headache to same way the pricier stuff does. All of this is thanks to the FDA, which has the same requirements for all over-the-counter drugs and tough standards all prescription drugs have to pass. Generic versions are cheaper, often by the dollar and not pennies. Generic brands only differ in branding and marketing. An easy way to save $2 to $4 (more than coupons will ever give you) is to get the generic version of medications.
    • Beauty products:

      Generic beauty products are identical, except for the price.

      There are legions of beauty products with equivalent generic brands that are not only cheaper, but sometimes surprisingly better. I’ve tried everything from designer brands to the store brand in beauty products and more often than not, I’m more satisfied with the generic brand. The reason? Because I don’t feel guilty about spending an exorbitant amount on the purchase, and I’m not horribly upset when I don’t like the product or the product lets me down. The worst purchase I ever made in high-end beauty products was a nail polish by Yves St. Laurent – I spent over $20 on it – I wasn’t always thrifty-minded! The nail polish ran, glooped and didn’t last after I finally got it on after a monumental struggle against the polish’s natural physics. Basically it was everything a nail polish shouldn’t be. And then I had my $0.99 standby polish that slicked on beautifully in a breeze and looked perfect. Lesson learned. It’s also satisfying to know that beauty products can be legally exactly replicated and sold by generic brands as very few beauty products have special technology patents. So you’re truly only paying for the name when it comes to beauty products.

    • All staples like flour, pasta, salt, ect: Being thrifty means sticking to the staples. Luckily, staples are what matter least in the generic vs. name brand debate. Government standards set out by the FDA means that the same rules apply to all staples in their production requirements and standards. I always go for the generic when stocking staples. At $0.20 – $0.50 or more difference in price per item, savings adds up fast.
    • Butter and cheese: Other dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese seem to have different thickeners and consistencies based on the brand. Not to say you can’t like the generic brand in other dairy products as well, but I’ve never noticed any differences in cheese or butter. Especially cheese or butter that you bake or cook with.
    • Any number of canned or frozen goods: Compare the ingredients list and you might be surprised to find no difference or the generic brand appeals to you more.

For pretty much anything you buy there is a non-brand name equivalent that means saving money. Always give the generic brand a chance. Critically compare the two and the more you decide that the generic version really offers better value, the more money you will save.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply