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Go Generic!

Store brands can save you money

En español | If there was a Golden Rule at our house when I was a kid, it was this: "Don't knock it until you've tried it."

From brussels sprouts to Sunday school, we were only allowed to complain and criticize once we'd experienced something firsthand.

I guess my childhood training is the reason I still raise an eyebrow whenever I talk to people who insist on buying the most expensive brand-name products in the grocery store. These folks insist that store brands and generics would be inferior, even though they admit that they've never actually tried generic equivalents.

generic goods

— James Worrell

Now I'm not claiming that all store-brand products are as good as brand-name products, or that store brands are always the best value. But many times, the quality of generic products is just as good—maybe even better—and the cost much less.

Did you know that store brands are often manufactured by the same companies that make comparable brand-name products? The only difference is the packaging and the price.

Buying store brands can save you serious money, particularly when you find a store brand that you like of something you buy on a regular basis. For me, one of those things is peanut butter, something I eat a whole, whole lot of. After years of swearing by a certain, higher-priced brand (which shall remain nameless), I finally tried the store brand and found that I liked it even better. I figure that I save enough on peanut butter in a year to make my jelly basically free.

So, let's give this a shot. Try a less expensive, store-brand version of a product you buy all the time. How did it compare? How much did you save? Will you continue to buy the store brand, or will you go back buying a name-brand product?

And remember, "Don't knock it until you've tried it."

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

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