In trying to eliminate waste out of our monthly budget, sometimes it feels like there is nowhere to cut. A car payment is what it is, as is a mortgage payment. One big black hole of my budget is grocery money. I feel like we are always going to the grocery store and once there, we spend, spend, spend!
|National brands vs. store brands|
I have read about trying store brands to save money but thought, “If it is that much cheaper, the taste is bad or it’s made with lesser quality ingredients.” Well, I’m here to tell you that I was WRONG! This past year I started experimenting in using store brands and I am impressed with what I found. Here are some specific products that are definitely worth trying as generic or store brands.
1. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise, try these, I can’t tell any difference in taste at all.
2. Infant Formula – there is no difference in nutrition between national brands and store brands of infant formula due to the Infant Formula Act, a federal law in place since 1980.
3. Precut Salad Mix or Produce - fruit and vegetables should be purchased based on your sense of smell, sight (no bruising/discoloration), and size, not by name brands.
4. Cleaning products – save plenty by buying generics, the markup on national brands is obscene. Better yet, it is cheaper to make your own. See this blog post DIY Tips.
5. Staples – Sugar, flour, salt, spices, again there is no difference between a generic bag of flour and one of the national brands except for the money you pay.
6. OJ and milk – the generic version of these products may be better as it probably is processed regionally and therefore it may taste fresher than a national brand.
7. Cereal – national brands are so high priced, it would be crazy to not try a similar store brand and save $2.00 a box. If you kids object, disguise the store brand in an empty box of their favorite cereal.
8. Medications – as a nurse, I can tell you that generics are the chemical equivalent of name brand medications at a fraction of the cost. Always ask your doctor to write your prescriptions for the generic equivalent.
9. Canned goods – many times the same canning facility is churning out store brands as well as the national brands. The only difference is the label and the price.
10. Make up and personal care products – doesn’t amaze youhow expensive make up is for such a small amount of product? Forget the hype and buy the less expensive stuff like Cover Girl or Maybelline, your eye lashes will still look long and dark with Maybelline mascara. As a matter of fact, the majority of make-up artists use Maybelline mascara on their clients!
Most stores will honor a full refund policy if you are unsatisfied with a store brand purchase, so you have nothing to lose by trying to reduce your grocery bills by using generics and store brands.