Whenever possible, I opt for the generic or store brand over the national brand to save money. There are a few brand-name items I pay extra for, but in most cases, it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts.
As long as the ingredients are the same, why pay more just for the brand name? I decided to take it a step further and crunch the numbers to see just how much I’m saving.
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How much money can you save buying generics?
I decided to make my side-by-side comparison at CVS because it is a national chain. I expected that CVS-branded items would be $1 to $2 cheaper than the leading, national brand. Which adds up. But I was shocked that in many cases, the generic item was three or more dollars cheaper!
I did a side-by-side price comparison across the store.
Brand NameSizePriceCVS Brand PriceGeneric Savings
|1. A&D Ointment||1lb||$14.99||$11.79||$3.29|
|2. Advil LiquiGels||80 200 mg. capsules||$11.99||$9.29||$2.79|
|3. Airborne||10 tablets||$9.29||$6.99||$3.79|
|4. Allegra Allergy||45 tablets||$29.99||$19.99||$10|
|5. AmLactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy||14.2 oz||$26.99||$20.99||$6|
|6. Coppertone Sport Sunscreen 30 SPF||8 oz.||$12.29||$9.29||$3|
|7. DayQuil||16 LiquiCaps||$9.99||$7.49||$2.59|
|8. Eucerine Original Healing Soothing Repair Cream||16 oz.||$15.99||$11.99||$4|
|9. Hall’s Triple Soothing Action Cherry Cough Drops||30 drops||$2.19||2 for $2 on sale||$1.08|
|10. Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioner in one||14.2 oz.||$6.29||$4.29||$2|
|11. Hyland’s Baby Cough Syrup||6 oz.||$11.29||$7.49||$3.80|
|12. Lactaid Fast Act||60 caplets||$16.99||$13.49||$3.50|
|13. Listerine Ultra Clean Antiseptic||1 liter||$7.79||$4.79||$3|
|14. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Streak-Free Self-Tanning Lotion||5 oz.||$11.99||$9.99||$2|
|15. Pampers Sensitive Gentle Wipes||—||$3.79||$1.99 on sale||$1.80|
|16. Pepcid AC||30 10 mg. tablets||$11.79||$8.99||$2.80|
|17. Pepto-Bismal||16 fluid oz.||$7.49||$5.99||$1.50|
|18. Tums||72 Chewable Tablets, Ultra Strength||$6.49||$4.99||$1.50|
|19. Vanishing Scent BenGay||2 oz.||$6.78||$5.79||$.99|
|20. Visine Tears Dry Eye||1/2 oz.||$8.39||$6.29||$2.10|
When you become a Rewards Member with CVS, you also earn money-saving coupons (I used one today for $5 off of anything $5 or more).
Drawbacks: misplace your coupon and you’re out of luck. They can’t access your account and issue you a new coupon. Also, many coupons need to be used at specific times which may not be convenient (ex. weekends) and they often expire before you have a chance to use them. Also, their receipts are ridiculously long – entire forests have been wiped out just to print CVS receipts (or so we believe).
What are your favorite generics?
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I load the coupon onto my rewards card which I always access by my phone number. My problem usually is that some coupons require a $20 purchase and as a single person I don’t need $20 worth that month. I’ve also had a problem where I couldn’t use the coupon on products that were on sale that week.