Grocery Shoppers Are Sharing What's Fine To Buy Generic And What Has To Be Brand Name

    Make every dollar you spend go the distance.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community about when it pays to get brand names and when saving money with generics makes sense. Here's what they said:

    1. "Generic over-the-counter medicines are a no-brainer. There is no reason to pay twice as much for Advil, when generic ibuprofen is the exact same. Other items like household cleaners are a good time to go generic (Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, etc.)."

    bin full of household cleaners, sponges, and brushes

    2. "For bulk items like teabags, rice, spices, and pasta, I got generic all the way. They taste the same."

    bulk shopping

    3. "Velveeta. You can't go off-brand with that...ever!"

    Velveeta on a cutting board with jalapenos and chips

    4. "I worked at a grocery store in New England for over 20 years. I learned that certain things you don’t buy generic like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and paper towels."

    toilet paper

    5. "Dollar General has a Goldfish knock-off called Whales and they are SO much better than Goldfish."

    whales baked cheese crackers

    6. "Dawn and Tide are two of my brand loyalties."

    7. "Brand name Q-Tips and Band-Aids. Always."

    pile of wrapped band-aid brand bandages

    8. "I shop at Winn Dixie. I find their brand of canned veggies is exceptional, especially the Creole Early Peas. Some of their frozen veggies are not the best, but there are some other generics that are noteworthy."

    cans at winn dixie

    9. "Oreos have to buy name brand. Generic versions are just not the same."

    shelf stocked with oreo boxes

    10. "Aldi has dozens if not hundreds of items with better prices than the ones I am used to in regular grocery stores. Many of them are organic, too! I buy all my steak seasonings and sauces, mustard, pickles, corn chips, nuts and seeds, produce, sandwich meat, and cheese there. Sometimes there are name-brand cake mixes, crackers, and cookies for cheaper than other places. I have noticed that some items might have ingredients that I don't want, such as polysorbate 80 in the whipping cream, so read labels."


    11. "Foil is one thing I never go generic on. Always Reynolds's brand. Generic stuff does not hold up and tears too easily."

    reynold's brand aluminum foil

    12. "Single ingredient staples like sugar, baking flour, salt, baking brand really won't make a difference."

    baking aisle

    13. "I usually always buy the generic brand version of everything, but when it comes to American cheese slices, you have to stick with Kraft. My step-dad bought some cheap version before to put on cheeseburgers and it would not melt, no matter how long it stayed by the flame of the grill. There is just something so good about the way Kraft cheese melts."

    American cheese slices

    14. "Pricey things I'd buy for taste: sodas, cookies, anything with a distinct taste has to be name brand."

    soda aisle

    15. "Canned goods like tomatoes, beans, etc are totally fine generic. I make a big pot of tomato pasta sauce every week and it doesn't matter if it's fancy canned plum tomatoes or the cheapest ones money can buy, still tastes delicious. Oh and pull-ups. The brand name ones with characters are almost 4x more expensive than generic ones. They do exactly the same job."

    pull ups surrounding a boy on the potty

    16. "Cheese and cereal have to be brand name. Store brand Cheerios are not the same as real Cheerios and I cannot be convinced otherwise."

    Cheerios box on counter

    17. "Store-brand toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash will save you and work the same. Store-brand body wash and body moisturizer work fine. Store-brand facial cleanser. but not serums and facial moisturizers."

    toothbrush, mouthwash, floss, toothpaste

    18. "Brand name: mayo, oat milk, crackers, and spices."

    woman in dairy aisle looking at products

    19. "I LOVE Triscuits. One time I bought generic Triscuits…never again. Also, I’m not serious about baking, but for whoever is, buying nice vanilla makes a huge difference. It makes a huge difference!"

    woman holding triscuit box

    20. "Golden Grahams cereal has to be name brand. Generic versions don’t come close to them. Store-brand cotton swabs always fall apart. Always get the Q-Tip brand if you don’t want weird little wisps of cotton in your ears."

    golden grahams

    Got any other money-saving hacks for the grocery store? Dish in the comments.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.