It should not come as a huge surprise that many Americans are shopping for generic brands these days in order to save a dollar here and a dollar there. The big question, however, becomes: Which generic brands are right for you and your family when applicable, and when are you better off going with the more recognizable label?
It is not uncommon for many consumers to look for deals on their favorite brand names; however, when deals are few and far between, a fair number of those shoppers will turn to the generic brand, be it cereal, toiletries, or other goods.
According to a study from the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), when comparing a summer shopping basket of store brands with the same amount of national brands, PLMA discovered that consumers save on average more than 35% on their grocery bill by selecting store brands.
In the event you are wondering why the name brands typically cost more, keep in mind that the national brands have gained their placement in the consumers’ minds through both being seen regularly on store shelves along with constant advertising through television, newspapers, magazines, and more. It is that very advertising expense over the years that helps to drive up the prices of the better-known goods, meaning consumers can either pay for the name in essence or shop for generic goods.
So, what do you think might be some of the more popular generic goods on the market?
Over-the-Counter Medicines- Many people are particularly picky when it comes to their medications. That being said, many consumers are either without health insurance, have limited coverage, or just want to save money even if they have full healthcare benefits. Given that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) mandates that generic medicines have the same active ingredients as the patented ones they replace, OTC medicines can be a great way to save money when going generic. It is always a good idea, however, to check with your doctor to make sure the generic brand will provide the same effectiveness that the brand name will.
Cereal – Many Americans were raised on certain name brands over the years and therefore have a hard time transitioning to the cheaper generic brands. While it may take some arm-twisting over time, it certainly can be done, especially when shoppers see the savings that can add up. Next time you are at the store, take a look at a well-known brand name, then look at the generic brand sitting not far away. While the brand name often gets the higher placement on the shelf, shoppers should be able to recognize the savings with the generic brand, sometimes as much as $2 or more.
Soda – Although your dentist probably shudders at the thought of you drinking such beverages, there is no denying that soda is one of the most popular products in a store. Just stop and look at the different checkout aisles the next time you go to ring up your groceries. It’s safe to say that soda bottles and cartons are being purchased just about every minute. That being said, consumers’ love affair with soda oftentimes means they have a favorite brand or two, so buying generic can at times be challenging despite the monetary savings. While soda is relatively inexpensive to produce, it isn’t uncommon for many shoppers to spend a little more for the name brands, especially those shoppers that can spot the difference in taste. Despite that, do not be surprised to see more and more generic beverages being rung up at the checkout stand as consumers look to save money where they can.
Bottled water - Even though the debate about whether or not bottled water is truly good for you, not to mention the millions and millions of bottles that can end up harming the environment, the fact remains that shoppers are oftentimes left debating over buying the brand-name bottled water or the generic version. The truth is that the generic brands are more than suitable when it comes to quenching your thirst. Like other items in the store, you oftentimes pay for the better-known brand name, not a higher quality of water. If it tastes good and provides you with the daily intake required, don’t feel like you were left all wet by buying generic water.
Makeup – Even though this one is primarily for the ladies, makeup is another item that oftentimes leaves consumers choosing between the more expensive name and the less pricey generic brand. Unlike medicines where laws are in place, there is more freedom in copying the higher-priced product and turning into a generic one (except where prohibited by patents). Many drug stores and shops like Kmart, Walmart, and Target will have store-brand beauty items that can be purchased at half the price of the top brand-name products that are typically hawked by models in well-known advertisements.
These are just five of the more common items that can be purchased with significant savings. The prudent shopper will do some online research; see that many of the generic brands are up to the task of meeting their health, dietary, and taste testing needs; then reap the savings that await them.
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With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of topics from how to properly clean out your gutters to helpful households tips.