Buying Brand Name vs. Going Generic

Buying Brand Name vs. Going Generic
Posted By :Elena Difiore
Posted At : Monday, Jan 10, 2011

Generic…it’s a term that many people have come to associate with a negative connotation. “Generic” can conjure up images of cheaper, bland alternatives. However, there are many instances when opting for the generic version of an item is just as good as relying on its brand name version. Plus, generic alternatives can prove to be extremely helpful to your pocketbook.

Medicine

One of the greatest ways to save money by forgoing brand names is in the area of medicine. We are all aware that opting for generic prescription medication will drastically cut down on the money we waste on brand name prescriptions. However, the same can be said with over-the-counter medication. For example, a 50-count bottle of generic ibuprofen can be purchased for around $5.30 at a drug store, while its brand name equivalent, Advil, will cost you around $8.50. What’s the point of spending more money on something that, by law, is required to work exactly the same way?

Food

No big surprise here. We’ve all noticed the store brand alternatives to our favorite brand name products. However, many of us refrain from choosing store brand items because we’re convinced that they just won’t taste the same as what we’re used to. But did you know that many of the store brand items you see are actually made by brand name companies? According to an article on Walletpop.com, “each product sold under the same store brand may come from a different plant. Generally speaking, it’s fairly common for brand manufacturers to also make private labels.” So before you automatically write off the store brand alternative of your favorite cereal, let your taste buds take it for a ride and see if your usual standby is really worth the extra dough.

Clothing

This topic can be tricky. For many of us that are trying to watch our spending, generic clothing has replaced designer labels. While this is a great way to save money in the short term, it may end up costing you money in the long run. Generic clothing tends to be made from cheaper, less durable fabrics, leading to articles of clothing that may not make it through as many wash and wear cycles as their brand name counterparts. If you’re going to opt for generic apparel make sure you keep your expectations in check because you might be replacing those clothing items sooner than you’d like to.

Whether you’re a staunch advocate of brand name buying or passionate about your private labels, the most important factor to look at is price. When comparing brand name and generic versions of products, ask yourself, “Is the money I’m saving on the generic product worth the possible sacrifice in taste and/or quality?” In many cases, such as medicine and some food items, generic alternatives allow consumers to save significant amounts of money on relatively equal products. However, there are some instances when it’s best to opt for an item’s brand name version. When contemplating these types of purchases, take the time to evaluate the pros and cons of choosing value over quality, or vice versa.

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