5 Best and Worst Things to Buy Generic

June 30, 2015 Permalink

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Whether you’re single or married, have a large or small family, finding ways to save money is always a good feeling. And with so many generic options out there these days, it’s often tempting to just buy the cheaper products and save your money for something else.

But “cheaper” doesn’t always mean better.

So, how can you know what brand names are worth the higher price tags and which ones just aren’t? Follow these tips so that the next time you go shopping, you’ll known when to go for quality and when to focus on your bottom line.

5 Best Things to Buy Generic

1. Cereal

Eating a bowl of cereal each morning is a quick and cheap way to make sure you and the kids get breakfast before dashing out the door. For every brand name of cereal out there — Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, Apple Jacks and so on — there seems to always be a generic version right next to it on the shelf with an almost identical name. And it’s not just the name that’s nearly identical; the product itself normally is too. So why bother spending more just to get the name brand?

Related: 30 Items to Avoid at Walmart

Take Corn Flakes, for example. The brand name version is Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal, and it will run you $2.98 for an 18-ounce box at Walmart. Go for Great Value’s Corn Flakes cereal instead, and you’ll only spend $1.98 for the same-sized box. There isn’t much difference in taste, and some people even prefer the generic brand.

Depending on how much cereal your household goes through in a month, this small change could add up to serious savings.

2. Spices and Seasonings

Skipping dinners out and cooking at home is a great way to save money. You don’t have to pay tax and tip, and the food itself is not only cheaper, but probably healthier as well.

To try to make your meals taste as good as the food you get at a restaurant, you’ll want to take advantage of a variety of spices to use on chickens and other meals. But just because spices can make a big difference in the kitchen when it comes to taste, that doesn’t mean you should be spending more than you need to on them.

If your recipe calls for basil, you could be paying $2.96 for the McCormick brand name bottle at Walmart. Instead, grab Great Value’s generic brand, and you’ll only have to pay $2.24. It might not seem like a huge difference, but those 72 cents can add up over time.

3. Diapers

When it comes to babies, all parents want what’s best. It certainly makes sense to buy the brand name of baby food and other baby products, but not everything we buy for our babies is worth the brand-name price. Because babies go through so many diapers each day — not to mention each month — the generic brand will do just fine and save you a pretty penny.

If you buy the 88 pack of HUGGIES Little Snugglers, you’ll be shelling out $24.99. Choose the Target generic brand instead, called up & up, and you can get 144 diapers for $28.99. When you break down the price by individual diaper, that’s about 28 cents per diaper versus about 20 cents per diaper. You’d save almost a dime each time you change your baby’s diaper.

Related: 23 Savings Hacks for Target

4. Medications

Many of us take medications, and many of us spend much more money on those medications than we should. As Business Insider points out, brand-name and generic drugs are both well-formulated, effective and have to go through the same rigorous tests for approval. But the difference in pricing is often staggering.

Take aspirin and ibuprofen, for example. At Walgreens, you can buy a bottle of Advil with 100 tablets (200 mg.) for $9.99. Its store brand bottle of 100 tablets (also 200 mg), however, only costs $7.29. That’s a savings of $2.70.

8 Ways to Be a Cheapskate at Farmer’s Markets

June 29, 2015 Permalink

cheapskate farmer's marketBeing a cheapskate at a farmer’s market may sound like a bad idea — who wants to rip off farmers? — but it can still be done while keeping your conscience clear. I’ve tried some of these methods or have watched others do them successfully for years.

I haven’t done a cost comparison to see if shopping for produce at a farmer’s market is any cheaper than at a grocery store, but as a regular shopper at both I’ve seen mostly higher prices at grocery stores. Not always, but often.

Even if you do find deals at the store, the quality isn’t often as good as it is from a farmer’s market where the produce was picked that morning or maybe a day or so earlier. I’m not trying to be a farmer’s market snob. Some things I’ve found at farmer’s markets during my weekly trips to them in the past seven years have not always been so great. But overall, I’ve found most of the produce to be top-notch.

Being a cheapskate at a farmer’s market requires some changing of your standards. And don’t think that these methods will put your local farmer out of business. They want to unload their fruits and vegetables every week, and will sometimes take a small loss if it means moving more items.

Here are some ways to be a cheapskate at a farmer’s market, and they don’t include having it delivered to your home:

Skip organic

Without getting into an argument over the overuse of the term organic and which foods should be grown organically for health reasons, if you want to save money as a cheapskate, skip buying organic at your farmer’s market. You’ll save at least 25 percent

If you absolutely don’t want fertilizers on the food you buy and are willing to pay extra for organic, then buy it. But know that it’s basically a technical term that requires adhering to certain practices and standards.

Friday Faves: Independence Day Edition

June 26, 2015 Permalink

Friday Faves_CompressedHey all! We’re back with another edition of the Friday Faves.

I know it’s not quite time to start celebrating Independence Day, aka The 4th of July, but I’m seriously ready. This is one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Every year I enjoy spending the day with my family and friends, shooting off fireworks, eating juicy watermelon, and being appreciative of the independence that we tend to take for granted most of the time. So when you celebrate the holiday next weekend, be sure to take some time to think about the sacrifice that so many people had to make for us to be able to enjoy our freedom every single day!

Ok, enough of that. It was getting a little deep, haha.

As always, here are our favorite posts from around the web the last couple of weeks:

3 Reasons it Makes Sense to Spend More – Wise Dollar – In this post, John tells us why it’s ok to spend a bit more instead of always opting for the cheapest option when you are buying something.

Making Money with What You Already Have – Savvy Scot – Pauline gives some creative ideas to help you earn some money off of things you already own. A little extra money is never a bad thing after all. :)

How to Plan the Perfect Staycation – Shoeaholicnomore – Guest blogger Chonce tells us why a Staycation is just as good as a vacation. She also gives some great tips on how to plan the perfect staycation.

But HOW do They Afford It? – NZ Muse – This post questions how people around us, like the Joneses, are actually able to afford the habits they have, in this case it’s going out to eat everyday. I think this is a question we all want answered!

The 1 Way to Get Out of Debt – Blonde and Balanced – This girl’s got it down to a perfect science – it’s all about your mentality. Amen! You have to believe you can get out of debt, and then start making the necessary changes to get there. Getting out of debt is also very mentally challenging at times.

Bonus Post:

Sometimes I Just Don’t Care – Budgets are Sexy – Like always, J$ tells it like it is. I think all bloggers go through periods when they feel uninspired and instead of posting nothing or posting something that felt forced, J$ took a day to just post about something else besides money. How refreshing!

Our Personal Finance Work:

Aaron and I are both side hustlers by nature and we write for a variety of websites about different topics. Here are just a few places you can find some of our latest works.

6 Ways to Ensure Your Cyber Security – Wisebread – Aaron gives some great tips about how to protect your identity online. These tips will help lessen the risk of having your identity, personal information, or more stolen.

Higher Homeowner’s Deductible Can Save Up To 40% – This article is full of advice about how you can save on your mortgage. If you are pursuing homeownership, you’ll definitely want to check it out!

4 Common Money Mistakes Made by New College Grads (And How to Avoid Them) – Wealth Gospel – In this post, Kayla shares some of the most common mistakes new college grads make with they enter the working world and what can be done to avoid them.

2 Reasons Why I Don’t Carry Cash Envelopes – Budget Ease – There are lots of good reasons to carry around envelopes of cash, like for budgeting purposes. But here are 2 reasons why you might not want to anymore.

That’s it for this week. We hope you have an excellent weekend and an even better Independence Day holiday next week!

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