Generic Groceries Save Money on a Tight Budget

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Switching to generic groceries, is a great way to save money on a tight budget. With the average grocery bill rising everyday, most of us are looking for ways to save more money on the already tight budget.

Money-saving websites are in favor of buying generic over brand names, citing the main difference between them as just better marketing.

In some cases, generic groceries and brand name are made by the same manufacturer but with different packaging.

Generic Items to Include in your weekly budget

Generic groceries save money on a tight budget.

A number of generic groceries are just as good as their brand name  counterparts saving you money in the long run.  The jury is still out there on whether it is worth buying certain items like baby formula and alkaline batteries.

Here’s a handy list of the generic items to include on your master grocery list.

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Milk & other diary goods

Labels don’t matter on milk. What matters is how local it is. Read the labels on the bottles and cartons of milk in your regular supermarket.  It will state where the milk comes from.

In most cases, your store’s generic brand comes from the same dairy as the pricier brands sitting right next to it. You can experiment with other generic dairy products as well including sour cream, butter, and cream cheese.

Whether you need shredded cheese for taco night and you  or you need slices of cheese for making sandwiches for school lunches, the store brand is always the clear winner.

Unless you’re making a fancy cheese board of epicurean delights, you’ll find your basic cheese needs can be met by using your supermarket’s generic brand.

However, it is not advisable to buy generic yogurts as they tend to contain more sugar and additives than the brand names.


Unless you’re shopping specifically for organic or hormone-free options, you’re better off buying your store brand’s meats over the name brands.

In fact, if you really want to save, this is where your wholesale club membership really pays off.

Get more for your money and great quality too when you buy chicken, pork, beef, and seafood this way.

Cleaning Supplies

We’re not going there with laundry detergent as it seems everyone has a favorite, but when it comes to things like bleach to scrub the gunk off your toilet or a counter cleaner, generics do the job just the same.

Spend $4 on a container of Clorox wipes, or you can buy the generic from Walmart or Target for $2. When you are on a shoe string budget, every dollar counts.

Cereal & Oatmeal

Save money on your favorite breakfast foods too. Store brands offer complete replicas of your kids’ favorite cereals, usually to the tune of around $1 per box or bag.

The same is true for oatmeal. By buying Quaker, you’re paying about a dollar more per box of oatmeal than if you chose the one made by Kroger, Walmart, or Target.

Snack Foods

A tube of Pringles costs as much as $2.50 in some locations. Your supermarket has you covered with the same pop-able flavors for just $1.

Woman shopping for generic snacks.

Walmart’s are indistinguishable from the name brand. But even if you’re not a Pringles fan, you can find bags of chips in all flavors, pretzels, and cookies offered under the generic store brand at a fraction of the cost as the name brand.  Not a fan of those junky snacks? The same applies for nuts, olives, and seeds.

Paper goods

Have you seen the prices on name brand toilet paper lately? They’re astronomical!

Some thrifty living advocates are resorting to using reusable toilet paper, while we commend them on their efforts, we’re thoroughly grossed out.

Woman shopping for generic hygiene supplies

That’s not to say that you should chafe for the sake of saving some money though. Warehouse clubs are always the best place for toilet paper (paper towels and napkins too).

For Charmin-quality at cheap prices, go for the generic brand. BJ’s generic brand of toilet paper is soft like Charmin yet costs about $10 less for 32 rolls.

Pantry Staples

In your pantry, you likely have flour, sugar, and cornstarch.

Pour some of each into little bowls, then put the generics of the same next to them though, you’d never be able to tell the difference.

Premium products should taste premium, but the reality is with pantry staples, there’s nothing to see here.

Plastic Wrap & Aluminum Foil

Your kitchen wouldn’t be harmonious without these two necessities.

Whether wrapping up leftovers or using foil to line your baking sheets, the name brand really doesn’t matter.

The generic brand for either one in Walmart works as well as Reynolds does, yet it costs about $2 less. Save money on the already tight budget, go for the generic. Name brands really make zero difference when it comes to these kitchen aids.

Canned goods

On the slightly less healthy spectrum, you’ll find canned fruits, vegetables, and beans.

These pantry staples are great in a pinch. But again, like frozen, there’s little sense in paying more for a prettier label.

Young couples shopping for canned grocery food to save money

Concerned about GMOs? Walmart offers a fantastic selection of store-brand beans that are non-GMO. The same goes for lower sodium options. Canned goods are often cheap enough, but that extra 10-20 cents more you pay for the name brands add up.

Spices & Seasonings

Next time you’re at your local supermarket, be it Walmart, Kroger, or somewhere else, check out the aisle of seasonings and spices.

Grab a brand name like McCormick for parsley. Then grab a generic store brand of parsley.  They’re both parsley. Yet, the store brand costs less.

generic spices to save money

When it comes to special blends that the generic brands don’t offer, enjoy the splurge, otherwise save your money on your spice rack staples.

Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are smart to stock in your kitchen.

They’re frozen at the peak of freshness so if you’ve had a busy week and can’t grab fresh produce to serve with dinner or want to make a nutritious smoothie, the frozen versions will do nicely.

Generic frozen groceries save money

Big brands like Bird’s Eye and Green Giant cost much more than your local store’s generic brand but the difference in taste is negligible.

Baby Formula

Another expense for parents of little ones is formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has said you should exclusively breastfeed or formula-feed your baby for the first 6 months of their life.

When using formula, the cost really adds up. But like OTC medications, the FDA also holds generics to the same high quality and safety standards as the big brand names.

Generic groceries save money.

Cut costs on feeding your baby while having complete peace of mind. Walmart, CVS, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and Walgreens are some of the best generic store brand options.

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The cost of disposable diapers, adds up really quick. A box of name-brand disposable diapers can cost upwards of $25. Many moms find out later though that even big brands can’t stop leaks and messes.

There comes a time when you need to trim your family budget,  generic diapers not only help you cut costs, some work way better than brand names.

Generic diapers will save you money

Warehouse clubs like Sam’s, BJ’s, and Costco often have the best deals on their generic store brands, though Walmart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens are incredibly reliable too.

Over-the-counter medication

You’ve likely run to the supermarket in the middle of a miserable cold because you ran out of OTC medicine.

While there, your jaw probably hit the floor when you saw the price of the name brand cold medicine compared with the store’s own generic brand.

The proof is in the labels though. Take a look and you’ll see that they both have the same active ingredients. You’re only paying for the brand name here because the FDA requires that generic and brand-name medicines must meet its safety standards. 

Walmart, Target, and every supermarket chain across the country all make their own brands. Choose those store brands and save a bundle!

Bottled Water

Brand name bottled water like Evian and Fiji can cost a pretty penny. Stay hydrated, invest in a quality filter for your home.

If you must have bottled water, your best bet is generic water, purchase it at the wholesale clubs.

Get the store brand to save that money, a case of water for $1 to $3 less than the big brands. See how that adds up?!?

Despite the rising cost of living, buying generic groceries where possible is a cheaper and smarter way to save money on a tight financial budget.

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