12 Items You Should Buy Generic (and 4 You Shouldn’t)

Name-brand items often aren't worth the extra cost. Here's a list of items you should always buy generic, along with a few exceptions to the rule.

9. Gasoline

Business Insider contacted AAA about generic gas, and learned that the off-brands can be just as good as brand names.

“While it may seem generic gas is too good to be true and not the best option for your vehicle, unbranded fuel should not damage an engine,” AAA said.

“Even ‘unbranded’ fuel is required to meet legal requirements for RVP, ethanol percentage, octane, detergent content and more. In many cases, the local unbranded gasoline is actually supplied by a major oil company, but simply not sold under their name.”

10. Cereal

Same look, same taste, so what’s the issue? I’m a big fan of the Walmart version of Froot Loops. It seems to resist sogginess longer and tastes delicious.

I also save $1 or more per box. What more could a mom ask for?

11. Soda

Does that generic version of Sprite really taste that different? If you’ve never ditched your Coke for a generic cola, I suggest giving it a try.

Some store-brand sodas are quite good, while others are not. Experimentation is required here.

12. Salad and fruit mixes

The ingredients are the same, so why aim for the Dole when you can buy the store brand instead?

There are no guarantees with produce; a rotten apple is a rotten apple, no matter where it came from. Always check for freshness before you buy.

When generics may not cut it

With several types of products, you may actually have to buy the brand name to get the best quality. These include:

1. Infant care products

I’ve never been a fan of skimping on baby gear for the best bargain. It’s not worth the rash, soiled clothing or other adverse effects that may result.

What about formula? According to the Mayo Clinic, “Although manufacturers might vary in their formula recipes, the FDA requires that all formulas contain the minimum recommended amount — and no more than the maximum amount — of nutrients that infants need.”

2. Household paint

Can you say cheap and thin? A watered-down paint will require more coats. Read online reviews before you make a commitment.

3. Paper goods

Ever tried cleaning up a large mess with paper towels from the dollar store? If so, you know the claims about the durability of some of these brand-name products are true.

Also, cheap, generic paper plates don’t hold up well when they’re piled high with picnic food.

4. Batteries

Generic batteries that are not alkaline likely won’t have as much power or last as long.

What’s your experience with generic products? Do they perform as well as or even outperform the big-boy brands? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Allison Martin
Allison Martin @amthewriter
After spending years as a governmental accountant, I decided to transition into the world of freelance writing. When I'm not busy writing, I enjoy mentoring mommy-preneurs and helping others manage their finances. ... More

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