When it comes to purchasing groceries and things for the home, we all want to find the the best deals. But you could be saving hundreds of dollars, without even having to cut out a coupon! How? By buying generic! We love our brand name products, but going generic can mean keeping more cash in your bank account - and without sacrificing quality. Become a smarter shopper with our list of 10 things you don't need to pay brand name prices for.
1. Milk & Fruit Juices
The closer your dairy is to you, the fresher your milk will be - and the same goes for orange juice, lemonade, etc. Getting a store brand version of these items means you're getting a product that's made in your region - and that means less processing and transportation - which means your drink is fresher and cheaper when you buy the store brand.
If you're running low on gas, you don't have to stretch the miles to make it to a brand name gas station. There are little to no differences between the gas at a generic station on the corner and a fancy brand name station you might see commercials for. And don't be fooled by "premium gas that cleans your engine". All gas is required to have engine detergent in it, so you're paying for that service anyway. Really worried about engine build up? Buy your own detergent at an auto shop or gas station and take out the middle man.
"What about the premium gas vs. regular gas debate?" you ask? That all depends on what your particular car needs. Certain cars need premium gas to prevent knocking and rattling in the car's engine. But more and more cars are being made to run just fine on regular gas. Check your car's manual to see if you could be saving at the pump by buying regular.
3. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
If you're already making the smart choice to buy frozen fruits and veggies (which, fun fact, have the same nutritional value as unfrozen produce) then you might as well make your choice even smarter for your wallet. Since the nutrition stays the same, buying frozen produce is just like buying fresh; the only difference is it lasts longer and it's cheaper.
4. Technology and Media
Don't think that since you splurged on your newest tech toy that you've also got to splurge on the accessories. You might think A/V cables with gold connectors are made with gold for a reason but the truth is - they just look nicer so you'll probably spend more buying them.
Generic accessory cables will get your shows on your TV and your phone charged up just as well as the more expensive cables. And don't let an electronics salesman fool you - these connectors have one job and that's connecting. No extra amount of cash will get your TV picture any better or your electronics running faster because of fancier cables - all they do is empty out your wallet.
5. Over the Counter Meds
When it comes to remedies for a bad cold or pain relief, brand name (read: more expensive) doesn't meant faster relief. The FDA makes sure that both brand name and generic brands of over the counter medications like Nyquil, Tylenol, even Gas-X, all have the same regulations and the same active ingredient dosages. That means your pharmacy's generic ibuprofen is just as effective as your Advil would be - the only difference is how much cash is left in your bank account after flu season.
6. Seasonings & Spices
The FDA isn't just looking out for your medicine; it's also looking out for your spices. While it might seem like you should be buying more expensive spices because you've seen them in gourmet kitchens - the FDA requires the same standards of production, ingredients, and storage for salt, pepper, and all your favorite spices.
When it comes to spices, it's freshness that counts, and since all the spices at the grocery store, heck, even at your local CVS, are held to the same standards, generic spices are just as tantalizing as their brand name counterparts.
If you ever need to grab a bunch of AA's for around the house, don't jump for the fancy stuff. DealNews.com did a study that found that generic brands of batteries last long enough that you're just wasting money buying brand name batteries like Duracell or Energizer. The length of time that generic batteries last, compared to their prices, make them more cost worthy and they're just as safely made - they just don't have cute bunnies on their labeling.
We adults tend to know that generic versions of our cereals are pretty much the same as the brand name, aside from costing way less. That being said, there's nothing wrong with splurging on one box of your absolute favorite cereal, just make a few compromises - save cash at the store by only buying one of your favorite brand name cereals and getting the other cereals you need in their more affordable generic brand.
If it's your kids that are demanding the colorful boxes of brand name cereal, take a hint from one mom who would buy brand name cereal boxes once; then buy the generic brands later and put those cereal bags in the branded box. Forget consumer smarts - that's mom smarts.
9. Baking/Cooking Supplies
Restaurant chefs and food professionals know their tools, right? So if anyone knows what the best kind of baking/cooking supplies to use in the kitchen would be, it'd be them. Well, surprise surprise: they say go generic.
According to MoneyTalksNews.com, among the top 10 generic products pro-foodies preferred most frequently were baking mixes, baking soda, sugar of all kinds, and flour. And they know what they're talking about - the FDA makes sure these products are regulated too and the standards of the brand name and the generic stuff is exactly the same. And while the FDA has no say on kitchen utensils, you'd be surprised how a $1 spatula from the dollar store flips pancakes as well as a $35 one from Williams Sonoma.
10. Cleaning Products
We all swear by some major cleaning brands, but at the end of the day, there's very little difference between brands and between brand name and generic cleaners. If you want to save some cash, at least skip the brand name single ingredient cleaners like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, bleach or oven cleaners. Those are literally the same ingredient as the name brand version - there's only one ingredient! - so use your shopper smarts and keep more cash in your pocket.
Are you a brand name loyal or do you like to save with generic brands when you can? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.