Sacrifice and Save Money with Store Brands

by Debt Destroyer on January 22, 2009


I used to think “generic” was a derogatory term.  It probably stems from a childhood visit from my snobbish cousin who called everything I had or liked “generic” and everything he had or liked “special.”

Kids can be cruel.

But that was a long time ago.  I’d like to think I moved on as soon as I hit adulthood, but I didn’t.  All during college I held on to my trusty name brands.   Perhaps buying them was like having a little piece of home in my dorm/apartment.  Or maybe I was just a sucker for the clever marketing.

Who knows?

I think I finally let my guard down after I started to acquire some bills.  Like a lot of graduates, I lived with roommates for the first couple of years after graduating.  This really helped cut down on expenses.  In fact I don’t think I had any real “bills” until I bought a new car.  No, No, that is incorrect.  I started to accumulate real bills a little before then…when I met my future wife.

Girlfriends are expensive.

So I think it was around this time that I started to shy away from the name brands that I was loyal to until that point to these new mysterious brands that I never heard of.  They were familiar yet different.  Some didn’t measure up to the original, and some were better.  But one thing was for sure.

They were cheaper!

I remember an early episode after I found out a buddy of mine was taking a daily multi-vitamin, I figured it was time that I too start taking one. So there I was at the store trying to figure out which one to take, so I asked the pharmacist what the difference was between a couple of choices?

“About $2.00.”

That was the tipping point. Right after that I started buying practically every store brand that was offered. Some things didn’t take, like toilet paper. Others did, like mac’n’cheese.

Now generic mac’n’cheese is a sore subject in our house. That’s because it didn’t take for my wife, but I do the shopping, so when I pass by the 5 for a $1 rack, I can’t help but load up. I am sympathetic to her cause because I too had a holdout.

Orange juice.

For years I couldn’t get used to the taste of the “cheaper” juice. I grew up on Minute Maid, but switched to Simply Orange a couple of years ago (let me tell you…Good stuff). But I’m proud to announce that since we’ve started using the envelope system, which limits our grocery budget, I’ve finally acquired the taste for “Land-O-Lakes” O.J.

Hey I figure if my wife can suffer through Flavorite mac’n’cheese, then I can sacrifice something too.

So how about you? Do you utilize store brands? What were the hardest things to let go of? What is off limits?

Remember, we’re all in this together.

Until next time,


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

freddy Kontaktanzeigen January 22, 2009 at 9:23 am


Well I approve what you say, that generic brand are the same but cheaper.
But there are some points:
-most of these generic or store brands are reducing theirs costs at maximum and ist has a cost for the people working for them. The workers behind are payed nothing and that´s not always ethical. those store brand have mass comsumption models.
-The original brands which make more profit most of the time will redistribute their money. It can be to their staff but also for some charity!
-most of these products have an ugly packaging and are not funy at all, sometimes marketing can have it charms and can make the world around us more friendly. Adds can also be very funny sometimes.

Anyway, you were right but I think there should be compromise to do between those two models.


lulugal11 January 22, 2009 at 10:45 am

I grew up on Carnation milk so I had to get used to the Store brand…which has the same nutrients and tastes good too.

I only use Oil Of Olay lotion on my face, however because I have very sensitive skin.

I am okay with the generic toilet paper but it has to be two ply. :-)

I have tried a few other generic things but in some cases the brand name works better for me (and I use coupons to defray the cost.)


celticbuffy January 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I’ve been buying store brands for years. Lately though there are a few brands that I will shell out more money for. For examply, I’m now paying the extra cost for organic milk for my kids, and since discovering the “Simply” juice brand (that you’ve learned to do without!) I buy Simply Orange and Simply Apple juices also. We have recently made the switch, though, from Quaker granola bars to the generic brand. The one item that I won’t go generic with is laundry detergent. I used generic for years and fought with stains. I finally gave in to Tide after using it at my mom’s when we didn’t have a washing machine. Even the stains that I would miss would be gone and the clothes just simply feel softer than they did when I used generic. Call me crazy, I guess.


Cindy January 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

some things generic are okay but many times you can find the name brand cheaper with a coupon


Gypsie January 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Usually DH and I have our brands. Our local grocer had a meal deal: buy store brand frozen meatballs and get free frozen store brand artisan bread, free store brand spaghetti sauce, free store brand spaghetti noodles, and free store brand 2 ltr soda. So that is what we had for dinner tonight. Our first store brand dinner. While it wasnt as good as what we usually make (we usually make our spaghetti with venison), it wasnt bad and I get two more meals out of it.


Michael Warf January 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with store brands, although it can be hit-and-miss – you can occasionally have it all; Taste, and money in your pocket. I recall a friend who worked for a bread manufacturer – they would joke about changing the bags for the bread from generic to name brand halfway through the shift (but not the bread)


Debt Destroyer January 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Thanks for the comments!

@ freddy – The ethical treatment of workers is a concern. But if I were you I wouldn’t give the name brands an automatic pass on this topic.

@ celticbuffy – I do miss Simply Orange but we probably save $5/month since I’ve quit buying it.

@ Cindy – I’ve never been one for coupons. I guess it’s the next thing I’ll have to try out.

@ Gypsie – I’m jealous of your store brand freebies. Although I’m not a big frozen meatball fan, I’d also have taken advantage of the offer.


Kristy @ Master Your Card January 27, 2009 at 3:11 am

For most things I will buy store brand, but there are a few that name brand is all that will do. Cereal is one. I don’t care what anyone says, I can taste the difference between the store brand and the real thing, and it isn’t the same. I like my Cheerio’s! Toilet paper and Dr. Pepper are others that I can’t do store brand on, either. But almost everything else is store brand. In Texas, we have this store called H.E.B., and their brand is actually pretty good. I buy my chips, precooked fajita meat, and many other things from the store brand version and I love it! Plus, I like the H.E.B. gives me coupons for their brands on top of the lower prices.


Liane January 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I’ve been using store brands ever since I’ve been out on my own. We were a frugal family growing up and I just could never allow myself to pay for a namebrand. I’ll always go for the store brand first. Those are the products that are usually buy 1 or buy 2 get two free, etc. And the 10 for $10 deals. My kids actually prefer store brand items over the name brands. I think it’s the smartest way to shop, particularly since the name brand products are getting smaller in size, yet more expensive.


Krunk January 28, 2009 at 3:16 am

Sometimes I find that the store brand cookies (like Safeway) are just as good if not better than the brand name counterparts.


Alisa May 21, 2009 at 7:51 am

I agree that cheap producers often dont treat their workers good, but its a false conclusion that brands treat their workers good. Look at Adidas or Nike…


Leave a Comment

{ 5 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: