I am as frugal as the day is long, but there are some items I will only buy in name brands. I’m not a name-brand loyalist, but I have found that some are just better for my purposes. In the name brand vs. generic contest, these are a few of my winners.
- Coffee – I used to only drink Folgers coffee, no matter what, and it is still my favorite name brand coffee. Recently one of the cashiers at Dollar General kept telling me how great their Clover Valley Country Sunrise Blend coffee was, so I bought a small can to try it out. He was right. It’s smooth and rich and I love it. It’s also a couple of dollars cheaper than even the cheap Country Blend Folgers. This is a medium blend, so strong coffee drinkers won’t like it. I still buy Folgers when it’s on sale, especially Breakfast Blend, but now I’m content with the DG brand.
- Pickles – I love pickles, and it’s no wonder. My mother said that when she was bringing me home from the hospital after I was born, I started to cry and not having a bottle with her, she stuck a pickle in my mouth. Being raised in South Carolina, we ate Mount Olive Pickles exclusively, since they were made in North Carolina and were the major brand in all of our stores. Mount Olive is not always available in Florida, so I tried Vlasic Classic Dills and liked them. I’ve tried generic pickles, and they are okay if you’re mixing them up into something. I use generic hamburger chips and chop them up for salads and tartar sauce, but for eating out-of-hand, it has to be Mt. Olive or Vlasic.
- Condiments – I’m not too picky about most condiments. I don’t eat deli mustard, so any old brand of yellow mustard will do. I hardly ever eat ketchup, so no pickiness there either. Mayonnaise is quite another story. I do not use generic mayo unless I’m so broke I can’t afford not to. My favorite mayonnaise is Duke’s, but like Mt. Olive pickles, it’s not always available in FL, and when it is, it’s expensive. I end up most times with Hellmann’s, which goes on BOGO sale pretty often.
- Fruit Juices – I would rather drink fruit juice than soda any day. I will drink generics if I’m broke, but they are generally watery and loaded with sugar. Since fruit juices go on buy-one-get-one sale quite often, I tend to stock up with my favorite brands then. I prefer Juicy Juice, since it is 100% juice, but I also love most of the V8 Splash juices. I have never found a generic cranberry juice I liked, so I always wait for Ocean Spray to go on sale.
Frugality does not mean you have to lower your standards. By waiting for your name-brand favorites to go on sale, you can have the brands you love and still save money, since generics hardly ever go on sale. Still, finding a generic brand that works just as well is good if you are not a stockpiler like I am. What are some of your favorite generic -vs- name brand food choices?
DISCLAIMER: I have not received products or compensation from any brands for promoting them in this article.