November 29, 2014

Brand Names vs. Generic

Knock on Wood - List Yourself

I’m not sure if this topic refers to food type items or to clothing names, but I’ll talk about both (because why not?).

When it comes to clothing I grew up wearing whatever was on sale and clearance. I remember that my mom would only buy me a dress at Mervyns (RIP) when they had them on sale for $7. We did (and do) all our clothing shopping at big box department stores (Kohl’s being our absolute favorite at the moment, JC Penney sometimes comes through with good prices).  If a “brand” name happened to be on sale then maybe we would buy it, but we definitely didn’t go after it. My shoes had always been Pay-Less shoes, that is – until recently.

I had wanted TOMs for a long time but couldn’t justify the price. Finally I splurged and bought some. Which failed and I had to get a 2nd pair (did you know that TOMS guarantees their shoes for a year? They tear or anything they’ll give you your money back!). I love TOMs shoes. On Halloween I used a different Payless bought pair and I was in a lot of pain. The TOMS are great for long walks (I took them on my honeymoon where I did a lot of walking).

Okay, this isn’t an advertisement for TOMs (but really, go buy some!).

Other than that there isn’t a clothing type brand that I will buy.

I am not a big “brand” person. My husband, on the other hand, definitely is (when it comes to food at least). This is definitely something I’ve learned since we got married.

While I do buy brand names and I agree that some things are made better by the brand names than the store brand (or other), there are many things that you can buy generic without a problem.

(This is a LIST post so I should start listing!).

Things that HAVE to be purchased brand name:

  • Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate. I have to have Swiss Miss. No Nestle, no NesQuik. It must be Swiss Miss.  This is my breakfast daily, so it’s important. Also, it should be made with milk, not water (eww). 
  • Worcestershire Sauce – I did not know this was a must be a brand name item until I bought the store brand and my husband bit my head off. We are brand name all the way here.
  • Oreos – There is no substitute. Except maybe Jo-Jo’s (from Trader Joe’s).
  • Yoplait Yogurt – I don’t know why but I love the low-fat version and no other yogurt will do.
  • Bread – This is specifically Thomas. I bought store brand and he said it was “cheap” and he needed brand named bread.
  • Arrowhead – I agree with this one – this is the only water that I can drink. All the other ones taste gross. Okay, I have started drinking my fridge water (filtered) and I can deal with that – but other bottled water? No way.

  • Cereals – I generally buy brand name cereals, mostly because they tend to be cheaper when on sale and using a coupon to buy them. I don’t really eat cereal so this is more so for Thomas. I’m sure he would scoff at general cereal as well.
  • Frozen Vegetables – I used to buy generic when it came to this, but I’ve discovered that you get less of that good part of the vegetable (in broccoli for example) so it doesn’t make it worth it. Also, you can get the brand names for the same price as generic.
  • Garlic Bread – I don’t know the brand name, but I bought store brand once and it was not good. So I’ll stick to the brand here.
  • Lean Cuisine – This is my daily lunch during the week. I’ve tried store brands (and other brands) and this is the only one I can eat consistently without getting tired of it.
  • Charmin – Must have toilet paper. The blue kind, not the red.

Things that CAN be generic:

  • Soy Sauce – I buy Trader Joe’s brand, Thomas vetoed that but I don’t care.
  • Cranberry Sauce – I am more than willing to buy store brand cranberry sauce.
  • Sugar/Flour – This definitely doesn’t have to be brand name. Sugar is sugar.
  • Spices  - I’m good with store brand spices, they do the same thing.
  • Pasta – It can be whatever brand. I am looking for a low-calorie option. We had been buying one from Argentina, but they stopped making it. 

What do you have to buy with a brand name? What can be generic? 


  1. I'm so with you on cocoa being made with milk and not water. Ew!

  2. Yes to TOMS! They are my favorite shoes. I've had several pairs (and am wearing some now actually) and I've worn them everywhere traveling. I know they are expensive, BUT I always look at it as I'm really buying 2 pairs - one for me and one for a child in need so it's really not that bad for 2 pairs of great shoes.
    And I usually buy generic unless we are talking medicine some meds just don't work buying generic.