Save Big by Buying Generic – How to Save Money on Groceries and More

Shopping on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice quality? Going generic could be the solution. Generic or store brands offer significant savings over name brands, with minimal differences in taste and quality. Read on to learn how buying generic can help you slash your grocery and other bills without feeling deprived.

Introduction to Generic Brands

Generic brands, also known as store brands or private labels, are products that stores put their own name or label on. They are designed to offer a similar experience to national name brands at a reduced price.

Buying generic helps stores increase profit margins. By contracting directly with manufacturers instead of going through third parties, stores can reduce costs. These savings get passed on to consumers through lower prices.

Some key benefits of generic brands:

  • Lower Prices: Generics cost 20-50% less on average versus national brands.
  • Similar Quality: Many generics match or even exceed the quality of name brands.
  • More Options: Stores offer generics for most common grocery and household items.
  • Extra Savings: Generics often go on sale or include store coupons for added value.

With a focus on value, generics offer an easy way to cut spending without changing shopping habits. Keep reading to learn strategies for maximizing savings with store brand groceries, over-the-counter medicines, personal care items and more.

Grocery Savings from Generic Foods

Food likely makes up a significant portion of your budget. Buying generic grocery items can yield substantial monthly savings. Here are some tips:

Produce Savings

Fruits and vegetables are essential for health. Buying fresh produce generic won’t compromise nutrition or taste. Stores simply package generics in clear bags instead of name brand containers.

Savings example:

  • Great Value Mixed Vegetables (Walmart): $0.98
  • Del Monte Mixed Vegetables: $1.28
  • Savings: $0.30 per bag

Dairy and Eggs

Milk, butter, eggs and yogurt often top grocery lists. Fortunately, the store’s dairy section is a prime place to save with generics.

Savings example:

  • Friendly Farms Almond Milk (Aldi): $2.95
  • Silk Almond Milk: $3.49
  • Savings: $0.54 per half gallon

Baking Needs

For baking fanatics, buying generic flour, sugar, oil and more ingredients is a no-brainer. Store brands measure, mix and bake the same as name brands.

Savings example:

  • Gold Medal Flour: $3.48
  • Great Value Flour (Walmart): $2.28
  • Savings: $1.20 per 5 lb bag

Frozen Foods

Frozen fruits, vegetables, meals and novelties provide convenience without losing nutrition. Opt for store frozen foods to get the same benefit at a discounted price.

Savings example:

  • Lean Cuisine Frozen Meal: $3.99
  • Market Pantry Frozen Meal (Target): $2.99
  • Savings: $1 per meal

Snacks and Sweets

Satisfy snack attacks without sabotaging your budget. Store brands offer all the chips, cookies, candy and more at far lower costs.

Savings example:

  • Oreos: $3.68
  • Great Value Sandwich Cookies (Walmart): $1.98
  • Savings: $1.70 per pack


Name brand sodas, juices and bottled teas and coffees bring premium prices. Retailer brands provide hydration and caffeine without the high price tags.

Savings example:

  • Tropicana Orange Juice: $4.29
  • Great Value Orange Juice (Walmart): 2.78
  • Savings: $1.51 per half gallon

Canned Goods

Skip the label and save on canned beans, tomatoes, broths and more kitchen staples. Generics match name brand quality at a fraction of the price.

Savings example:

  • Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup: $2.29
  • Great Value Chicken Noodle Soup (Walmart): $1.24
  • Savings: $1.05 per can

Spices and Seasonings

Pantry spices and seasonings quickly add up. The generic options deliver big taste for less money.

Savings example:

  • McCormick Basil Leaves: $3.49
  • Great Value Basil Leaves (Walmart): $2.82
  • Savings: $0.67 per bottle

Drugstore Savings with Generic OTC Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines offer relief when sick or suffering from allergies. Brand names come with steep price tags. Store brand options work just as well for pennies on the dollar.

Pain Relievers

For headaches and body aches, generics like acetaminophen and ibuprofen offer comparable pain relief.

Savings example:

  • Advil (50 tablets): $6.97
  • Walgreens Ibuprofen (50 tablets): $2.99
  • Savings: $3.98 per bottle

Cold and Flu

Combat stuffy noses, coughs and sore throats for less by choosing generic cold medicines.

Savings example:

  • DayQuil Severe Cold & Flu: $8.47
  • CVS Severe Head Cold & Flu Relief: $5.69
  • Savings: $2.78 per box

Allergy Medicines

Don’t pay premium prices for sinus relief. Store brand antihistamines work just as effectively.

Savings example:

  • Zyrtec (70 tablets): $34.99
  • Target Antihistamine (70 tablets): $17.89
  • Savings: $17.10 per box


Tame heartburn symptoms without overspending. Generic antacid chewables and liquids offer fast relief.

Savings example:

  • Tums Chewy Bites: $5.98
  • Walgreens Calcium Carbonate Chewable Tablets: $2.99
  • Savings: $2.99 per bottle

Laxatives and Anti-Diarrheal

For occasional constipation or diarrhea, store brands get the job done for less.

Savings example:

  • Dulcolax Laxative Tablets: $7.97
  • Rite Aid Bisacodyl Tablets: $4.99
  • Savings: $2.98 per box

Saving on Personal Care Essentials

Name brands dominate the personal care aisles. But retailers offer comparable generic shampoos, soaps, deodorants and more for everyday savings.

Hair Care

Skip the salon brands and opt for store hair care lines. You’ll enjoy healthy locks without blowing your budget.

Savings example:

  • Herbal Essences Shampoo: $6.93
  • Up & Up Shampoo (Target): $3.89
  • Savings: $3.04 per bottle

Skin Care

Cleansers and moisturizers don’t need fancy formulas to work well. Generic skin care basics get the job done right.

Savings example:

  • Olay Face Moisturizer: $14.49
  • CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion: $11.99
  • Savings: $2.50 per bottle

Deodorant and Antiperspirant

Stop odor and wetness in its tracks without springing for Secret or Degree. Store deodorant brands offer odor and wetness protection that won’t quit.

Savings example:

  • Degree Men Antiperspirant Deodorant: $6.47
  • Every Man Jack Deodorant (Walmart): $4.97
  • Savings: $1.50 per stick

Oral Care

Brushing and flossing is a daily must, but premium toothpastes and mouthwashes aren’t. Generic oral care options keep your smile sparkling at a fraction of the cost.

Savings example:

  • Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash: $5.99
  • Equate Whitening Mouthwash (Walmart): $3.98
  • Savings: $2.01 per bottle

Bath and Body Products

Lather up with store brand soaps, washes and bubble baths. Generics thoroughly cleanse and condition without inflated prices.

Savings example:

  • Olay Body Wash: $6.99
  • Up & Up Body Wash (Target): $3.79
  • Savings: $3.20 per bottle

Beyond Groceries: More Generic Savings

The savings possibilities go beyond grocery and drugstores. Consider buying generic for these categories:

  • Office supplies: Binders, pens, paper, batteries
  • Home goods: Trash bags, storage containers, cleaning products
  • Baby items: Diapers, wipes, formula, ointments
  • Pet supplies: Litter, food, medications, toys
  • Electronics: Cables, chargers, headphones, batteries

Retailers have expanded generics to cover most household categories. Simply opt for the store brand equivalent to save on necessities across the board.

Generic Grocery Price Comparison Table

To demonstrate the significant savings generics offer, here is a table comparing name brand grocery prices to generic:

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Grocery ItemName BrandGenericSavings
Eggs (12 ct)$2.50$1.99$0.51
Milk (Gallon)$4.29$2.95$1.34
Bread (20 oz)$2.98$1.68$1.30
Coffee (12 oz)$7.99$4.99$3.00
Peanut Butter (16 oz)$3.49$1.99$1.50
Frozen Pizza$5.99$3.49$2.50

As you can see, the savings add up quickly when opting for generics over national brands for kitchen staples and snacks. Over a month, you could easily save $20 or more on a typical grocery list.

Tips for Maximizing Generic Brand Savings

Ready to start saving with store brands? Here are some tips to maximize your generic grocery and household savings:

  • Compare prices: Calculate per unit or per ounce prices to find the best generic deals. Brand name discounts can make them cheaper some weeks.
  • Stack savings: Combine generics with coupons, loyalty rewards and weekly sales for extra low prices.
  • Try store rewards programs: Many retailers offer free programs that provide members extra discounts on generics.
  • Shop multiple stores: Compare different chains to find the cheapest prices on the generics you buy most.
  • Buy in bulk: For non-perishables, buy larger sizes to save more per ounce/unit.
  • Don’t sacrifice quality: Start with tried and true staples like dairy, sugar, flour vs. less consistent items.
  • Sample new generics: Trying new store brands helps build confidence in quality.

Generic Brands FAQs

Still have some questions about reaping savings with generics? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Are generic groceries lower quality than name brands?

In most cases, no. Retailers work with major manufacturers to produce quality generics equal to national brands. They follow the same recipes and formulas without extra advertising costs.

How can generics be so much cheaper than name brands?

Generics skip the advertising, marketing and promotional costs that drive up brand name prices. Simple packaging also lowers production costs. Stores can buy in bulk directly from manufacturers. This eliminates middleman markups.

Are ingredients different in generics?

Companies cannot compromise on ingredients and formulas for generics. The FDA mandates store brands have the identical active and inactive ingredients as brand equivalents, especially for medicines.

Should I buy generics for ingredients when baking?

Yes, generic baking staples like sugar, flour, baking powder and spices work beautifully in recipes. As long as the product matches the name brand (ie. all-purpose flour), the results will be the same quality.

Are generics more likely to be out of stock than name brands?

Sometimes. Popular generics may sell out faster since they offer the best deals. But stores are getting better at predicting demand to keep shelves stocked. Shopping mid-week helps ensure your favorites are available.

The Verdict on Generic Grocery Brands

Generic or store brands used to be viewed as lower quality imitations of name brands. But thanks to improved quality and significant cost savings, retailer brands now account for 25% of all grocery sales and are gaining popularity across all categories.

For shoppers looking to cut their spending without sacrificing satisfaction, generics are the obvious choice. By opting for store brands for kitchen staples, groceries, medicine cabinets and more, savvy savers can slash their household budgets by 20-50%.

The numbers don’t lie – buying store vs. name brands provides real savings. With strategies like comparing prices, stacking deals and purchasing in bulk, it’s possible to maximize generic brand savings even further.

So banish any negative perceptions about generic quality. When you take advantage of generics for all your grocery and household needs, you can afford to buy more of what you need without blowing your budget. Just try them in a few departments, and you’ll likely learn to love store brands!

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