Tricia recently wrote about generics at the grocery store and it got me to thinking about my own use of generic products. I realized there isn’t really a huge pattern to when I buy generics and when I don’t.
For certain things (vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, from a quick glance into the cabinet), I always buy generic.
For other things, I always buy name brand (diet soda and coffee come to mind first).
And then for a third category of things, I buy whatever’s cheapest, which frequently ends up being name brands when they’re on sale.
I have been trying to make a more concerted effort to try out store brands. And it’s definitely hit or miss. I learned that the store brand of black beans, for example, was a bust. Who knew you could screw up dried black beans? I have also discovered that I love Whole Foods’ 365 brand. It’s their store brand, but it’s great quality and in many cases, still cheaper than my regular grocery store brand. It’s definitely cheaper than a lot of name brands at either store.
I’m sometimes wary of generic medications. I know it’s all the same, and with prescriptions, I always go with the generic if it’s available. Maybe it’s psychosomatic, but I could swear the last time I used generic DayQuil, it just didn’t work the same as the name brand. Other things work just fine, of course. My dad used to refuse to take the genric “Tussin DM” and would only take Robitussin. Why? “What if it’s the Robees that make it work? I need those Robees.”
We’re pretty sure he just did it to make us laugh. Mom made him buy his name brands with his own pocket money though. She wasn’t paying extra for his pretend “Robees.”
Where do you stand on generics?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.