Ask anyone with kids and they will tell you the only thing you can’t cut out of your monthly expenses is food. Sure, coupons and effective meal planning can reduce your overall grocery budget slightly, but ignoring store brand foods is the same as throwing away money that you can use for other things.

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Store brands (they used to be called ‘generics’) are produced under contract for national supermarket chains, often from the same producers as the name brands. Most large chains offer in-house store brands as an alternative to the costs associated with name brands. Such intangibles as advertising, management salaries, shareholders dividends, marketing and, development are all a part of the brand name’s expenses and, therefore, ultimately rolled into the price. In short, when you buy a premium brand, you are paying for their name and reputation as well as their costs.

Consider a box of cereal. Even though it is the same ingredients no matter who produces it, a major label brand has this myriad of expenses that they must pass on to the consumer.

Store brands have come a long way since being introduced in the early ’70s and labeled simply in white packaging. Admittedly, the food inside wasn’t always comparable to the name brands resulted in bland food in bland packaging. Today’s store brands offer greatly improved quality and a greatly reduced price, offering as much as 50% savings without tasting any difference. Dynamic packaging now rivals the major brands and the variety of available options has greatly increased as well.  In fact, you will find there are alternatives to most of the major staples of food buying. Everything from ice cream to potato chips, salad dressings to peanut butter, and oatmeal to mustard now has a less expensive store brand counterpart.

The following products are available as store brands and often produced in the same factories as name brands. They include:

  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Spices
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Flour

If you happen to be skeptical, you should try these store brands and see how they can reduce your monthly food budget. You can bake your cake (for much less) and eat it too.

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