Really generic peas, courtesy of rstinnette on flickr.
Our ever-souring economy has raised a crop of articles about how “frugality” is now hip, from this New York Times piece on Recessionista-chic, to a USA Today piece on how to pinch pennies at the grocery store. In fact, Jezebel had a great post about how lot of the money-saving “tips” in articles like these are really things that normal people with normal incomes do all the time (don’t buy that $100 beauty cream! Go to a consignment store once in a while!) because, um, we’re not millionaires.
So far, one of the more interesting pieces I’ve found is this Wall Street Journal article about how more and more people are buying generic. Apparently, these hard economic times are uprooting people’s brand loyalties—even their deep brand loyalties (like laundry detergent).
Is it just me, or was anyone else surprised that buying generics is a new shopping habit? Maybe it’s because I read too much marketing news (or, I’m really not meeting my earning potential), but I almost always try to buy generics when I can. I’m a big fan of Giant-brand plastic bags, generic sparking water, generic all-purpose cleaners, and generic oatmeal.
Granted, there are some things that I won’t skimp on, like my face products (yes, those CVS-brand face cleansers are $3 cheaper than the Neutrogena stuff, but I will spend the extra $3 rather than risk a horrible break-out), and WonkthePlank has drawn the line at generic Cheerios (only the real thing will do). But Generic Rice Krispies? Bring it on. Generic Bathroom Cleanser? You betcha. Generic bar soap? Oh my God yes.
While some generics don’t fly (I still remember getting a horrible welt under my eye from some generic acne-cleanser my mother once bought me from Costco), I like the feeling that, when I’m buying a generic, I’m paying for the product rather than the snappy logo on the front of the box. I mean, God only knows how much of the cost of Quaker Oatmeal is paying for their advertising campaigns. So I think that buying generic doesn’t only have to be smart shopping in a recession—it can be smart shopping for any economic conditions.
What about you? Is there anything that you buy generic? Some things you won’t compromise on?