Life Hacks for Frugal Living: Save Money without Sacrificing Quality

Blog | August 29th, 2023

How do generic products compare to brand-name items? As inflation continues to threaten our buying power, more households are looking for strategies they can use to budget more efficiently.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of opting for generic brands and whether or not these items compare to brand-name products when it comes to value and quality.

Generic Vs. Brand Name: Is It Always Better?

Paying more for a product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Brand names incur additional costs linked to research and development projects to develop new products, marketing campaigns, and packaging.

Recognizable brands also usually spend money on slotting fees for shelf space in grocery stores. These fees tend to increase for spots that make a product immediately visible and easy to grab. 

Brands pass on these costs to the consumer and can charge up to 20 to 25% more compared to a generic product. Since store brands don’t spend much on packaging, ads, or slotting fees, they’re able to offer similar products at a more affordable price. 

Saving Money With Generic Products

These generic vs. brand name examples will give you a better idea of how much you can save with store brands.

Pantry Staples

Take advantage of coupons and sales to stock up on shelf-stable essentials. Comparing generic vs. brand-name products can help you save even more.

Baking essentials like flour, sugar, or baking soda tend to be consistent in quality from one brand to another. However, you can save big by opting for a store brand.

For instance, you can get 5 lbs of all-purpose flour from the H-E-B store brand for $3.83. A brand like Gold Medal charges $2.75 for only 2 lbs.

The canned goods aisle is another section where you can save by looking for store brand labels. You can purchase six 15 oz cans of whole kernel corn from the Walmart store brand for $3.84 or pay close to a dollar for a single can from a name brand like Libby’s.

Rice, beans, pasta, and spices are other staples where you can usually save by going with a store brand without sacrificing quality.


At Kroger, a 16.6 oz box of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran costs $4.99. Thrifty shoppers can save by picking the Kroger store brand instead since the Kroger Raisin Bran only costs $2.99 for 18.2 oz.

If a family goes through two boxes of cereal a week, this $2 difference can translate to over $200 in savings a year.

If you prefer oatmeal, a 42 oz container of Quaker Oats instant oatmeal will set you back $6.79 at Kroger. The store brand costs $2.50 less for the same quantity.


Are you planning a party? Costco has some of the best deals on alcohol with its signature Kirkland brand.

The quality is impressive, and Grey Goose had to debunk a rumor that claimed the same premium manufacturer was behind the Kirkland brand. 

A 1.75 liter bottle of Kirkland American Vodka costs around $17. Purchasing a Grey Goose bottle the same size costs around $50. 

Opting for a store brand can reduce your alcohol budget by over 50% the next time you plan a gathering.


Did you know the average American spends close to $500 a year on snacks? If you have children, snacks can make up a significant portion of your grocery budget.

For Walmart shoppers, the store brand has many affordable products to consider:

Between these three popular snacks, you can get 30 to 50% more product for the same price by opting for the Great Value brand. 

Health and Hygiene Products

Health and hygiene products often use the same active ingredients but come at a much more affordable price if you choose a store brand that doesn’t spend money on research and marketing.

For instance, Meijer shoppers can save by picking the store brand for Ibuprofen. A 200 mg Ibuprofen value pack with a 200 count costs $6.59. The name brand, Advil, charges a similar price for a 50-count pack of 200mg Ibuprofen.

Sunscreen is another great example. If you opt for the Meijer brand, a 60 oz sunscreen spray will set you back $5.99. Neutrogena charges over $10 for a 50 oz spray.

When Are Brand Names Better?

There are situations where it’s usually best to spend a little more and get a brand-name item. For instance:
  • There is a noticeable difference in taste and quality between the brand name and generic items.
  • You need a wider selection, for instance, if you have dietary restrictions.
  • Items like clothes and home goods tend to be more durable if you spend a little more.


Opting for store-brand and generic items is a great way to save on groceries. You’ll find that most generic products are similar when it comes to quality, and you might even find that you prefer some of the store-brand products.

While you might not be able to substitute every item on your grocery list for a generic alternative, give store-brand items a chance to see if they meet your expectations.

Related: Consider Cooking These Nine Foods On The Grill Instead of in Your Oven