Contrary to the biggest myth peddled by modern-day consumerism, branded is not always better. Most established brands make it appear that they’re the best possible option with aggressive advertising, targeted marketing campaigns, and customer loyalty programs. But the big caveat for everyday shoppers is the price difference—and in some cases, that may be the only difference that separates a branded product from a generic one.
Thus, as a consumer, it’s best to explore certain alternatives to your go-to brand. To help you do so, read on for our list of eight generic products that you should likely choose over their branded counterparts.
One costly everyday expense for both home and office use is printer cartridges. It may be the default for you to buy original or OEM cartridges because you think they’re the best fit for your printer of the same brand, or you simply want to ensure the best ink quality for your print jobs. However, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, using compatible ink cartridges—high-quality unbranded replicas that fit the specifications and requirements of your printer’s make—will set you back much less than OEM cartridges in terms of price, but the print quality will remain the same or may even be better than the original products.
Office and school supplies
Another family of generic products that you, your family, and your colleagues can opt for are office and school supplies. There’s a chance that you don’t pay attention to brands of adhesive tape, sticky notes, printing paper, or pencils in the first place—and if that’s the case, then why not buy generic products instead? These can be easily found in supermarkets, bookstores, or office warehouses. There might also be the option to buy in bulk, so compare those deals, and see if your budget and consumption habits align with that opportunity.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest and richest industries worldwide. But branded medicines are either marginally more expensive, or twice the price of generic medicines. Luckily enough, a variety of generic medicines exists on the market, to the great relief of families who are already struggling to pay their health bills. Available generic medicines range from the more commonplace antihistamines, pain relievers, and vitamins—and even encompass medicines like anticonvulsants and antipsychotics.
Advertisements for detergents, degreasers, and floor wax do a great job of convincing us that their product has the singular magical formula for a clean house. But even professional housekeepers and seasoned cleaners will tell you that keeping your house spick and span is more a matter of good cleaning technique. So, unless you really are attached to one cleaning brand and are convinced that it does a better job than others, then try buying generic cleaning liquids and waxes—and just pair them up with a little old-fashioned elbow grease.
Meat and fresh produce
Passing the fresh produce aisles and the frozen food section, you’ll notice products like vegetables, fish, and meat cuts dressed up in fancy packaging. But do yourself a favor and look beyond the supermarket aisles—instead, check out wholesale clubs or the local farmer’s market. Even without the glitzy designs of cows in pastures or of vegetables in scenic farmlands, unbranded meat and fresh produce is perfectly tasty, healthy, and nutritious. Throw your support behind local businesses that have a good reputation.
These disposables are used every day, and in high volumes. It’s probably when you’re at home, changing your baby’s diapers at frequent intervals, that you realize how costly it is to take good care of your family. Free up your cash flow at home by carefully testing out different generics, and buy what’s comfortable for your baby. This also applies to other sanitary products, such as napkins and adult diapers.
Baking supplies and spices
Are you an avid home baker or a restaurateur? Supplies probably take up a significant part of your budget, and that’s where generics come in. Bulk bags of unbranded flour, cornstarch, sugar, corn syrup—as well as salt, pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, and the like—are probably the best deals you can get from supermarkets or baking depots.
Most packaged foods
There’s no reason to spend on big brands for ordinary packaged products that you’ll consume on their own, or use in other recipes. Some products that are perfectly fine to buy generic are frozen and canned vegetables, breakfast cereal, spreads and salad dressings, peanut butter, and juice mixes. Go ahead and stock your pantry without breaking the bank.
On Generic Products: The Bottom Line
Of course, there’s a fine print for buying generics—you have to see if they’re made according to manufacturing standards or if they follow the quality standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This applies in particular to medicines, as the FDA should confirm if a generic over-the-counter drug is a legitimate equivalent to the branded type (the information is readily available on their website). Ask as well for the advice of your doctor.
Lastly, if you’ll be going generic, make sure that the products are sourced only from reputable sellers so that you’re assured of high quality for whatever you buy. Happy shopping, and hope you score the best deals from your local suppliers!