Simple Savings Sunday #9 – Go Generic

simple savings sunday tipsIt is Super Bowl Sunday and I am sure you are either going to watch the game, eat good food, do both, or do none of them.  My wife and I are going to enjoy watching the game and eating good food.  I am sure my son will enjoy it as well for however long he stays up.  Since it is Sunday, I am bringing you this week’s Simple Savings Sunday tip.  I am going to go pretty easy with this one.  This week I am going to tell everyone to go generic when buying items.  This is typically left for food and prescription items, but you can buy generic for a large group of items.

Brands Have You Hooked

The first thing I learned while getting my marketing degree is that brand loyalty is where the bread and butter is.  If you can get people loyal to your brand, then you can control their purchase decisions.  Ever since I learned this lesson, I always tried to look around at how brand loyal people are.  Apple anyone?  You have people standing in line for days just to get a new phone or product that Apple puts out.  What irritates me is that Apple products cost so much, yet people pay it.  That is brand loyalty and Apple thrives on it.

We have the assumption that anything with a brand that is well known must be good.  If you put two items in front of someone and tell them to pick, they will go with the brand name a majority of the time.  I blame it on the onslaught of advertising that we have in front of us.  Brands pay a ton of money in order to get and stay in front of us.  Why do you think it costs so much for us just to watch TV?  How much of your favorite show is actually the show compared to commercials?

Generics Aren’t Bad

Generic products get a bad rap.  When most people hear about the item being generic, they think that it is inferior.  That is not always the case.  There are many generic brands that taste or work just like the brand name items.  You will see it time and time again, buy generic.  Damn it, just buy generic!

Nine times out of ten, I purchase generic products.  There have only bee a certain amount of times that I have found the brand to be far superior to the generic.  Hell, when I was getting my degree, we had someone come in front one of the biggest food producers.  He told us that they have contracts with many of the grocery stores and create their generic products.  Most are the same products with just a slight change in mixture.  That changed my view on brand name food items.  You will almost never see me buy brand name items unless they are cheaper than the generics.

Don’t even get me started on generic prescription and non-prescription drugs.  We all know that brand name drugs are super expensive, but generics are the exact same formulations.  I will always get a generic if I can get it.  I know that drug manufacturers pay a lot of money for research, but they pay way more for marketing.  Marketing costs are the reason why brand name drugs are so expensive.  It is the exact same thing with most brand name products.  They pay for a lot of marketing, so it costs you more.  The more marketing, the more money out of your wallet.

Think about it!  Get your generic on…..

Automate Your Savings for Free

Do I sound a little crazy here? Maybe. There is a free app out there called Digit, which enables you to easily automate your savings by analyzing your purchases and income. It saves where you think you can't and does it all for you, for free! I save over $400 a month by doing nothing! Check out my Digit review here.

About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

18 comments
Michelle @fitisthenewpoor says February 2

I’m a big fan of generic hummus. I really can never tell the difference! There’s also an off brand, generic frozen pizza that tastes so much better than the brand name one.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    That is good to hear. You get a good taste and a better price! Nice work Michelle.

    Reply
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says February 2

Good tip here. In my experience, I’ve found that many generics are just as good (sometimes better) as name brand products. I’ll happily save the money by buying the non-brand.

Reply
Jack @ SeeJackSave says February 2

The power of brands have over our purchasing habits is astounding! I really find cross branding to be an amazing phenomena. Take for example the Harley-Davidson Edition Ford trucks. Absolutely no real benefit to the buyer – just a logo on a product that makes office working men feel like bad-boys. Crazy.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    You are very correct Jack. Many times cross branding is most effective with two powerful brands. They can create misguided demand for a product that does nothing more than the original, but just costs more. That is the true power of marketing.

    Reply
MomofTwoPreciousGirls says February 2

I will give generics a try, but there are some products that don’t compare! Most of the great value cereals are just as tasty as their counterparts. Except for the Cheerios! My two year old (at the time) even turned her nose up at them. And the granola bars taste like cardboard!

I think the very hardest change for me was changing from Tide laundry detergent. My mom just had me convinced nothing was better! My clothes are just fine with a generic brand and smell just as good!

I’ve also had iffy results on meds. Most stuff it’s fine. When I was on the pill and my insurance forced me to go generic, I started having acne issues again (was part of the reason I was on the previous brand). And well, I was on a generic pill when I got pregnant with my second child!!! Insurance would not cover mirena at the time and only the generic pill. Well, that’s cost them thousands more dollars in labor, delivery and healthcare! Me too…but at least I get the joy of her sweet face every day!

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    You definitely can’t win every time with generics. I do think that they are worth a try, but they might not work out for you. Some items the brand is better, but I think that is more the exception than the rule.

    Reply
Laurie says February 3

Grayson, you’re right on the mark here. We buy generics in large scale too. As for generic meds, my mom switched from a brand name to a generic drug for her epilepsy several months ago. This was a scary thing for her, as a subpar drug in her case can lead to life-threatening seizures. But, at her doc’s urging, she switched to the generic of her main drug. She’s done great on it, and now pays $10 a month as opposed to the $90 she was paying for the name brand drug. That’s huge cash for a retiree on a tight budget.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    Yeah, I can see how that can be scary, but glad it worked out. That is a nice bit of savings just for switching to the generic. I just wish all drugs had a generic counterpart, but that takes so many years.

    Reply
Kemkem says February 3

A lot of times too, the brand name drug companies also own the generic manufacturing houses, so you are getting the same thing. Some people are just so sure that the brand is superior, they refuse to try the generic..usually till the insurance steps in. Then when l tell them how much they have to kick in for the difference (example, ins pays the generic amount, say $20, and they have to pay the difference, might be $355 let’s say). The tone often changes then. I loved my job whenever that happened. Good tip. Generics are not bad like you say.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    You are correct KemKem. This is the case for many of the food manufacturers as well. I will also say the same for car manufacturers. There are only a few brands that own all of the other brands.

    Reply
Shannon @ Financially Blonde says February 3

I used to be an absolute brand whore, mostly where food was concerned. Then I started doing the food shopping in our home and when I realized the difference in cost, I changed my tune. There are still some brands that I will “splurge” on, but for the most part, unless it was on sale cheaper than the store label, I do not have brands in my cabinets or refrigerator.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 3

    I can understand that. It is the perceived value that the brand wants to create. Glad to hear that your home consists mostly of store brands.

    Reply
Ryan @ Impersonal Finance says February 4

I love generics. Actually, the insurance company I work for has a huge campaign going on to encourage people to switch to generic medication. I tghink people are afraid because they see it as some kind of risk to their health, when it’s only savings for their wallet. But you’re right, Brand Loyalty is where it’s at. I especially love the generics at Aldi grocery stores. Sometimes better than name brand.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 4

    That is interesting to see. I enjoy the store brands at Trader Joes. They are great and are cheaper than most.

    Reply
old guy here says February 10

You guys crack me up. When you said “generic” the first thing I thought of was the “generic” (otherwise known as “black & white) beer we used to buy when spouse was in grad school. Seriously, the can was white and it had BEER written on it in bold, black letters. Now there’s your “old school” story of how to go generic.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says February 11

    Haha, thanks for making me laugh old guy! Now, you are definitely bringing back old school here.

    Reply
Add Your Reply

Join Me in Learning How to Save and Make More Money (Plus a free money tools guide!)
Subscribe