Saturday, December 3, 2011

Store vs. Generic

Since the past 6 months for me have been about trying to save as much money as possible to have a 20% down payment when I buy my first place and enough money left over so I am not poor, I have been cutting costs every way I can. I used to go out to eat 2-3 times a week with friends, now I go at most once a week, and often not even that. I see less movies (and go to more discount theaters), carpool more to work, walk to stores more, go to less happy hours and have not bought any clothes /shoes for myself since LAST SPRING (Crazy right? It also helps that I live in an apartment with little closet space, so I don’t have room for many new apparel items anyways. I also am learning to actually wear my clothes more than once a month…which is a good thing). Another area I have cut down in is groceries (I think the vegetarianism has helped here as well because my main staples are rice, beans and veggies), because I have begun buying more store brand items rather than brand name.

It is ironic that this has happened, because when I was younger I remember HATING to get Richfood products (Ukrops’ store brand). As always, this is always a tricky field to navigate because some store brand stuff is GREAT or at least comparable, while others…not so much. It also depends where you shop- store brand at Kroger is different than store brand at Giant or Target. I like the rule of thumb that dry foods are good to buy store brand, while most canned, dairy, meats or frozen food is more of a gamble.

Here are my favorite store brand items (from Giant):
Granola Bars
Cereal (half the cost and just as good...as long as you’re not getting fancy cereal)
Oatmeal
Frozen Veggies (I like the kind that steam in the bag in the microwave)
Bread
Beans (Beans are beans…Bushes or not)
Carrots
Cake Mix
Rice/Pasta
Chips/ Pretzels/Cookie Snacks

Best to buy brand name:
Soup
Bagged Lettuce
Yogurt
Ice Cream
Frozen Dinners
Almond Milk
Cookies

I would say that 75% of my food is store brand, while the other 25% is either fruits or veggies which are not either or food I purposefully buy brand names for. What are your opinions of store vs. generic food? Any things I should try or avoid?
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