Generic or Store Brand: Which Do You Buy Most, and Why?

This is a photo of a generic jar of mustardI’m not a picky shopper. I buy on sale. I buy what’s cheapest.

But I normally buy name brand.

For me, if I purchase an item – say pasta – on sale and I have a coupon, it is cheaper to buy the name brand product than to buy generic.

Here’s an example:

Brand name product costs $1.25.

Generic costs $1.00.

If I don’t buy on sale or with a coupon, generic is the obvious choice.

But if I have a coupon for $.50 off that doubles, and the product is on sale for buy one get one free, I buy one at approximately $.65 and end up making money once I use my coupon.

I’ve talked to some friends who shop only generic because they don’t have time for coupon clipping. I get this method of shopping, too. At times I don’t have the extra minutes to pair coupons with sales, or I run out of something, and I buy generic. In most cases I can’t taste or, in the case of cleaning supplies, see the difference. I’m not product-specific.

On the flip side I spoke with a friend of mine the other day that said she never buys generic. She feels it’s not as good as name brand products. The visual of a nicely packaged product can make a shopper’s buying decision for them; she says it does for her. She swears by Tide detergent, for instance, even though it is one of the most expensive detergents, because she says it works better than any of the generic brands.

People ARE shopping more generic than before, though. In a study by Accenture, 64% of shoppers said at least half of the products they purchased were store brand and 39% have increased their purchases of store brand in recent times. The reason for this increase, of course, was financial: generic products cost less.

This article shows us the ten products shoppers should buy generic, and explains why. (For instance, cereal costs up to fifty percent less when purchased generic – and it is made with most of the same ingredients as the name brand competitor.)

I’m still a proponent for name brand IF you have the time to coupon and watch sales, but when you don’t (and that’s many families) you can usually get the same product, store brand, at a lower cost – and, in most cases, not tell the difference.

We want to know how YOU shop. Do you typically buy generic? Or do you go with name brand? And what drives your buying decision: Cost? Packaging? Taste?

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Image via iStock

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Generic or Store Brand: Which Do You Buy Most, and Why?

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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4 comments

  1. sayhola says:

    I agree that it depends on what it is – I will admit I am hooked on Tide. I used another detergent for years and then had a coupon or something and switched one day. It got out an old old old stain I had on something, and I was hooked ever since. But I do aim for generic as much as possible! Ingredient comparison is a great technique I also use some of the time. And some stores are coming out with their “own” brands of healthier alternatives – I love the “Eating Right” brand by Safeway, but don’t often get to shop there. Look for it when I do! I think Walgreen’s and Target have their own that are sometimes pretty healthy (foods) as well….

  2. KEIYONDA says:

    IF THE STORE/COMPANY OFFERS AN GUARANTEE ON ITS PRODUCT I WILL TRY IT BECAUSE ITS RISK FREE. I WILL TRY TO SEE IF THE GENERIC BRAND IS JUST AS GOOD SO I CAN SAVE MONEY IN THE FUTURE AS WELL.

  3. ambermccurry says:

    I compare the ingredients. If they are the same I buy generic.

  4. Sierra says:

    Some generic items may work just as well as the name brand, and usually for a better price, but certain things I will stick with name brand because they are a little more trusted. Little things I can buy generic though 🙂 It all depends.

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