We’ve all done it. There was a BOGO sale, multiple coupons, money back and more! So you substituted a tried-and-true product with what was on sale, only to be gravely disappointed. Dangerous! Here are my top 5 items to never buy cheap!

  1. Toilet Paper: Recently CVS ran a great deal on Scott toilet paper, which I had never tried before. It was hugely discounted, I had coupons, and I got a gift card with purchase. What’s not to love? Well, this stuff was the epitome of John Wayne: rough, tough, and doesn’t take any crap off of anyone! Never again!
  2. Peanut Butter: Okay, I’m a Jif girl from birth, but with recent soaring peanut butter prices, I was willing to give generic a shot. Mistake number two.
  3. Saltine Crackers:  I know this sounds ridiculous. It’s just flour and salt, right? Wrong! There’s nothing worse than sinking a cracker into homemade soup and gagging on the spot.
  4. Oreo Cookies: If you’re going to preserve yourself for future burial anyway, don’t waste your money on a cheap imitation. Go for the real thing, and make sure you dunk it in Jif while you’re at it.
  5. Feminine Products: Need I really say more?

I’m not saying to never go generic or branch out from your usual fare. A great sale is the best time to try something different. Heck, that’s how I’ve found some of my best buys and new favorites. So here are my top 5 best saves by switching brands!

  1. Kroger Brand Oxi-Cleaner: Talk about massive savings and still works! The Oxi-Clean brand retails between $8 and $9, while the Kroger brand is around $4. I don’t care how many coupons you have, you are not going to get it any cheaper than that. Kroger is also great about sending me coupons for house brand cleaning products. In fact, there are a lot of great Kroger house brand products—from Queso Fresco cheese to non-stick cooking spray—that are all worth trying.
  2. Scott Paper Towels: I know, I was just complaining about Scott toilet paper, but for me, the paper towels are great quality. Plus, I can consistently find great sales and coupons for them.
  3. Publix Low-Fat Yogurt with Fruit on the Bottom: I have three words for you…Dutch Apple Pie. Do not walk—run to your nearest Publix and get some. There are tons of other great flavors and they’re generally priced 10 for $4 in my area. If you don’t have a Publix in your area, you might want to consider a road trip for this one.
  4. Generic Condensed Milk: Once in a great while you will find the coveted Eagle Brand coupons matching a sale, making it a great buy. However, the generic brand is virtually indistinguishable. I dare you to make a Key Lime Pie and test it!
  5. Santitas Tortilla Chips: With just three ingredients (corn, oil and salt), these are the real deal. This is exactly what a fresh tortilla chip should taste like! They are generally the cheapest chip on the shelf. The bag often has a $2 label on it, but I can usually find them for even less at Walmart. All you need is a little fresh guacamole, and you’re set.

So there are my top fives. What are yours? And does anyone need about 50 rolls of John Wayne toilet paper​?

This is a guest post by Amy from Atlanta, GA.
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Never Buy Generic Brands for These 5 Items