Get Generic

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As a society, we’re tempted to reach for name-brand products. It’s more expensive, we tell ourselves, but that’s because it’s better! Unfortunately, our impressions are misguided. According to Consumer Reports, there’s plenty of proof that generics are just as valuable as their high-priced counterparts, but only 84 percent of Americans brought even a single generic product in 2009.

So, for which products should we make the switch?

Milk and Orange Juice

Generic versions of these staples are actually better for you, since they’re often produced regionally!

Over-the-Counter Medications 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic drugs to have the same active ingredients as their name-brand cousins.

Cereal

Generics can cost 25 to 50 percent less than name-brand, for exactly the same taste.

Pantry Staples

The FDA requires the same standards of production across the board for things like flour, sugar and spices.

Produce

We’ve all heard the benefits of buying local. Off-brand fruits and veggies are often a better choice for your health, your wallet and the environment! When in doubt, use your eyes and nose, not the label.

Cleaning Products

Just because the commercial says it’s the best, doesn’t mean it really is. Floor cleaners, dust repellent, bleach detergents and other cleaning products are great to buy off-brand.

Gasoline
Off-brand gas will still get your car running, at up to 20 cents less per gallon.

Personal Care 

Contact lens solution, eyedrops, skin care and makeup are just a few of the many products that can be swapped for their generic versions.

You may be wondering, are there any goods you shouldn’t buy generic? Generic toilet paper, paper towels, house paint, garbage bags and diapers are a few products to beware of; for these, the extra cash for the name brand may be worth it.

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