Age-Old Question: Brand name products or generic?

Saving a few dollars is always welcome, especially around the holidays when expenses are high and wallets are stretched thin. Here are some ideas for where you can save with the store brand and when it’s in your best interest to spend on a branded product.

For your food. Most grocery stores offer generic alternatives to pricier branded products, like cereal, pop, and condiments. Here, it’s more about personal taste than quality. Experimenting with store brands is a great idea, especially because many offer a satisfaction guarantee that allows you to bring back a product you don’t enjoy. For pantry staples like sugar and flour, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the brand name and generic, so go with the less costly one.

For your vehicle. When protecting a major investment such as a vehicle, consider guarantees offered on replacement parts, history, and longevity of the brand. These benefits often aren’t offered by store brands, so it’s definitely worth shelling out the extra money. For example, Prestone antifreeze/coolant is made with superior rust and corrosion inhibitors that aren’t found in other coolants. Guaranteed for all vehicles including any car or light duty truck, you’ll also save because there’s no need to buy multiple vehicle-specific formulas for each car in your home.

For your home. Many household cleaning products have excellent generic substitutions that work just as well — just check to make sure that you like the scent of that non-branded hand soap. Home décor is also another area where you can save by choosing the store brand for items like pillows, rugs, and vases. But when it comes to paint, don’t skimp — generic brands could require more coats that will cost you in the long run.