Most will tell you that I am a very frugal person, and some will flat out call me cheap. That’s fine. I can take it and embrace it. Name brands don’t normally impress me when it comes to clothing (ok sometimes they do), but when it comes to household products and groceries, I find myself wondering if the store brand is really just as good as the name brand. I know in my head that if you read the ingredients on the back, that most of the time there will be the same ingredients, and therefore the products should be the same, but I have definitely found some items where the store brand just doesn’t cut it. Is this just in my head, or are the name brands really just superior products? When is it worth it to save the money?

Name Brands vs Store Brands

  1. Garbage Bags: This is an area where it is worth it to buy the named brand in my opinion. After college I lived in an apartment that was the upstairs of a house. Every time the garbage had to be taken out, I would have to get it out of the garbage can (which was always too full and I had to struggle and pull it out), carry it downstairs, and outside to the cans. I thought I would save myself some money and bought the store brand bags. What a mistake! They would tear, and leak and drip things all along my floor as me or my husband would carry it out. Each time many a curse word would escape our mouths. You know that commercial “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!…Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy!” Where the wimpy bags dump all over the floor? Well that was us. So now? Name brand all the way for me.
  2. Tylenol/Advil: When it comes to these types of medications I find myself leaning towards buying the store brand. For these I have read the back of the bottle, and see that all the ingredients are the same. When I take the store brand it seems that my ailments go away as quickly as if I took the name brand. So for this? Score one for the store brand.
  3. Non Dairy Creamer: This may seem like a weird one to point out, but I had to because this item is the reason for this post. I asked my husband to pick up some non dairy creamer at the store on his way home ( I needed it for my coffee in the morning) and he came home with a large bottle of the store brand. That was perfectly fine. I commend him for being a thrifty shopper. But it turns out that the product just isn’t as good as the name brands! I was shocked. It was watery, and took a lot more of it to take the bitterness out of my morning coffee. This was no good!
  4. Mouthwash: I think this one is just in my head. I am a true believer in Listerine. (Personally I am a fan of the new vanilla mint!) I am not sure if it’s because it really hurts when I use it so I think it’s working or what, but I have tried store brand mouthwash’s that say they are the same as Listerine, but I just don’t believe it. They seem so much more watered down to me.
  5. Shampoo: I have to go with name brand on this one. I may be a shampoo snob, but I am one of those people who buy salon grade shampoo for my hair. I try, and try different and less expensive brands of shampoo, but my hair comes out feeling limp and knotty. So, on this one I have to go with the name brand’s name brand. (Does that make sense?) And even if we stick with the theme here of name brand vs. store brand I must say I have tried let’s say the store brand of Pantene, vs. Pantene and I found it to be a less superior product. Sorry!
  6. Bodywash: On this one I go with the store brand, or less expensive brands. Recently I bought Oil of Olay with tone enhancing ribbons. It said it had some sparkle in it due to the minerals and I love when my skin sparkles. (I know I know I’m a loser) But I gotta tell ya…no sparkles! I am just as happy with my $3 bottle of “whatever” bodywash. It still smells good and I am happy.

So going back and reading over this short list it seems that the name brands win in my household. For now, at this point in my life I guess it’s worth the extra couple of bucks to get the product that I want. So what do you think? What is your list when it comes to the items you buy? Who wins? Name brands or Store brands?