A Guide to Navigating Generic Brand

As a broke college student, generic brand is my best friend. Growing up, I never truly understood the value of generic brand items, because I was fortunate enough to not have to. It wasn’t until I started buying my own groceries that I realized how much money you can save on similar– if not identical– products just by paying a little bit more attention.

I want to share with you my tips on navigating generic brand. These are just some simple guidelines I use at the grocery store when deciding what products to buy. It’s really not hard to eat healthy on a budget as long as your conscious of where you’re choosing to spend your money.

1. Look to your right.

Since we read left to right, stores put their generic items to the right of the name-brand items. The store ultimately wants you to buy their own products, so placing it at the last place the customer’s eyes land is the perfect way for them to get to you.

2. Organic is an option.

Many places offer organic versions of generic foods. You just have to keep an eye out for the labeling and make sure that you’re buying the organic version instead of the regular version. (And sometimes, organic isn’t necessarily healthier.)

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3. Canned and frozen fruits + veggies are your friend.

Almost every store offers generic versions of fruits and vegetables. These usually come in frozen or canned form and they’re almost identical to the name brand products. They tend to be a just a few cents cheaper, but trust me, that adds up eventually.

4. Shop discount stores.

Stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s are your friend. Almost all of the things they offer are generic brand, which keeps the overall cost low. I try to buy as much as I can from these stores and then grab whatever I can’t find at a bigger supermarket.


5. Keep in mind how long it will last.

News flash: food goes bad. Make sure you’re checking expiration dates. Just because something’s cheaper doesn’t mean it’s going to last longer.

6. Ask yourself if you really need it.

This is one of my biggest tips for grocery shopping in general, but it’s especially important when you’re navigating generic brand. It can be easy to just throw something in the cart that you don’t necessarily need for the sole reason that it’s cheaper than the name brand stuff.

While these are only a few tips, there are so many other ways to help you save money at the grocery store. Eating healthy on a budget isn’t impossible– you just have to be a little bit more conscious of where you’re spending your money.

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