Don’t Waste Your Money: What NOT To Buy Generic

I wrote last week about what you should buy generic, and I’ll be honest, a lot of the research I did surprised even me. Most consumers are afraid of generic items, which is baffling to me, but hey, to each their own. Generics, though, come with a flip-side – there are lots of things you do not want to purchase in generic form. Here’s a list of what NOT to buy generic:

1) What Not To Buy Generic – Toilet Paper – I’ve made this mistake I don’t KNOW how many times – I’ll try to save a couple bucks on generic toilet paper or paper towels only to discover that I now have what appears to be many rolls of wax paper. Don’t let your ass suffer! Most of the name-brand paper items do have coupons if you look around, so scrounge for those coupons and wipe your ass in bliss. I happen to love this site for coupons (they change daily):



2) What Not To Buy Generic – Condiments – while this is a fairly debatable topic, it’s safe to say that you should taste-test any condiments that you’re thinking of trying generic. Buy a small version of the generic form of the condiment you love (peanut butter, ketchup, jelly) and see if you can stomach the taste. Most of us really do prefer the name-brand of condiments, so always see if you can find a coupon to buy the name-brand condiment.


what not to buy generic


3) What Not To Buy Generic – Paint: while it SEEMS like a great idea to buy paint that’s loads cheaper than the name-brand paint, generic paint is a bad idea. Why? It’s thinner, which means you have to continue reapplying the paint as you go. Over time, generic paint will also chip and fade more quickly than name-brand paint. Consumer Reports always has a great listing of types of paint that may be somewhat cheaper and still of high quality.

4) What Not To Buy Generic – BEER! There are no finer words in the English language than “Hooray Beer,” so don’t waste your time, money, and drunkness on bad beer. It’s not worth it while you’re drinking it, it’s not worth the hangover, so pony up for the good stuffs!

5) What Not To Buy Generic: Vitamins and Supplements: the nurse in me wants to remind you to TELL your doctor about every supplement you take, so do that. Then, spring for the good stuff. Again, coupons are your BFF here. Between the coupons from the widgets I gave you above, and the deals you can find at your local stores (CVS, for example, often has a buy one/get one for vitamins), you should be golden to buy those at regular price.

6) What Not To Buy Generic: Electronics – while you may FEEL you’re getting a better deal by buying the generic DVD player or television, the life expectancy is considerably shorter. Plus, if you have issues, often those generic electronic companies do not have adequate customer service to deal with any issues that arise. Best bet is to save for a name-brand and scour the stores for deals, especially around Black Friday.

7) What Not To Buy Generic: Mattresses – if there’s one thing you do NOT want to scrimp on, it’s generic mattresses. Sleep is BEYOND important to our health and well-being, and saving a couple of bucks by going the cheap(er) route isn’t worth it in the long-run. So watch sales, scour coupons, and see what kind of deals you can get. Mattress stores are a place where haggling can be awesome. More on that later.

8) What Not To Buy Generic: Garbage Bags – If you use your garbage bags to hold a lot of stinky, gross, watery crap, you’re going to want to shop name-brand. I personally use the Target brand, unless I’ve got a coupon, but I also have (for the time being) a garbage disposal and a trash bin in the garage, so it’s not as important to me. Here’s a way to try before you buy:



9) What Not To Buy Generic: Diapers – while the research says that name-brand diapers are best, I’ve always gone with Target brand diapers (Target being my boyfriend) and had few problems. But for wee babes and small ones, it’s probably best to go with what fits. Try out a few types of diapers to see what you like and stick with them. You can get samples here:

10) What Not To Buy Generic: Meat - most grocery stores don’t offer “generic” meat, but if you have one that does, do your best to avoid buying generic meat. Meat is one of those things that can be too risky to buy generic, and while you might save a couple bucks, the potential for food poisoning is scary.

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What else do you recommend NOT to buy generic? Have you had any bad experiences with generic items?
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28 thoughts on “Don’t Waste Your Money: What NOT To Buy Generic

  1. P’nut butter. Ketchup. Sunscreen. Those are the 3 things I am not buying store brand on. Lessons learned on all counts. :) And I agree with the above – Qtips are different, but sometimes you need the skinny ones so store brand it is.

  2. Having worked in the butcher department at one time, I can tell you that “genereic” meat is name brand meat that too close to the sell-by date, was taken out, treated with a bleach solution, and re-packaged. Legal, too. :::smh:::

  3. Wish there were more of an explanation about the vitamins. While I totally agree about most of this, I have to say, the Costco brand paper towels are just fine. Not their toilet paper (yikes!). And I’ve had generic mustard that was fine. Generic ketchup is just wrong! :) Great article!

  4. Actually, I generally buy generic q-tips. BUT, you have to look for the kind with the handles made with rolled paper. The plastic ones are garbage. Wal-Mart has good generic ones.

    Generic soda – in general, BLECH!

  5. Generic Cheerios. I tried them for my kid, he said they were gross. I thought he was being a Yellow Box Snob until I tried them. They tasted raw, not toasted at all. Ew.

  6. About the vitamins? Kinda freaking out because I’ve been buying the generic ones for a long time. :-/
    I just read your Target article. You are a Target genius!!!

      • Just finished up my generic vitamins & bought the name brand. :) I have to say that the smell and taste are a lot more vitaminy than the store brand I had before! I was definitely thinking of you when buying the new bottles. The price difference wasn’t tragic, especially with a coupon. Thanks for the tip!! :)

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