While it's OK to splurge once in a while and have a brand preference on certain items, there are a few things that you don't really need to pay extra for. Some goods are simply packaged to appear better than generic brands so you're really only paying for the box or plastic. If you're looking to save some money, you can get away with buying "lower end" products without compromising on quality. And, no coupons required.
Here are five things you should be buying cheap:
1. Bottled water. All brands of water have to meet the same FDA standards so you could be paying a premium for a particular brand. I'll admit, Dasani just tastes better to me than a store brand but it also costs about $2 more per case. If you're trying to save money, consider switching to a generic brand or buying the bulk of your water generic and a few cases per month of the premium brand.
2. Sugar and salt. Unless you're enamored with a particular baker's brand, you don't have to pay a premium price when stocking up on basics like granulated sugar or iodized salt. You'll be paying a high price just for the packaging in this department. Save even more money by buying in bulk or by shopping at the warehouse clubs for a generic brand.
3. Orange juice. Locally-produced store brands of orange juice are not only cheaper, but usually taste better as well. I live in Florida and my local Publix stores make a great-tasting orange juice that's about 50 cents cheaper per carton than national brands like Tropicana.
4. Oatmeal. Old-fashioned oats are one of my kitchen staples and I always save about $1 or more on a large canister of oatmeal when I go generic. This is one of those grains that is exactly the same whether it comes in a generic box or a fancy container. I'll be the one cooking and preparing it anyway so it makes financial sense to go generic with this purchase.
5. Basic cleaning products. Whether it's just bleach or a mildew remover, remember that these household cleaning products typically have the same ingredients whether they're a generic or a premium brand. Stick with generic when you need just the basics and you'll easily shave off a few dollars from your bill.
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