Now, I can squeeze a penny till Lincoln squeals, and I enjoy doing it. But, saving money is just not satisfying when the product you bought doesn't fill the need. And, it doesn't save you money if you end up buying it twice (once for the generic, and then a second time to buy the brand that fills the need or does the job right).
So, here is a list (HA you knew it was going to be a list, didn't you) of Brand Name items that, in my opinion, are worth the extra money.
- Colgate Total toothpaste.
For the last few years, I've noticed that my teeth seem to be shifting. Once this became obvious and I realized it wasn't my imagination, I did some research and discovered that more than 75% of Americans over 35 have gingivitis or periodontal disease (which can cause loosening or shifting of the teeth). Colgate Total is the only toothpaste approved by the FDA for helping to prevent gingivitis. It also contains triclosan, a mild antimicrobial that has been clinically proven to reduce plaque and gingivitis. I've been using Colgate Total for about a year now and my teeth have stopped shifting.
- Crest Pro-Health Oral Rinse.
This mouthwash effectively kills the bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontal disease (and bad breath). Because it contains no alcohol (alcohol containing mouthwash can actually make bad breath worse), it is much easier to keep in your mouth for 30-60 seconds as recommended.
- Pantene or Tresemme shampoo.
If you've read Frugal Extremes you know that I prefer these products because they do a better job with my fine, limp hair than the generic shampoos. And, because these products are thicker, you use less so it ends up costing about the same as a generic.
- Caress bath soap.
Generic (and many brand name) bath soaps dry my skin out. That means that when I use a generic soap, I must also buy a moisturizing lotion. Caress ends up costing about the same as a generic soap + lotion, so I skip the extra step and just buy the Caress.
- Swiffer Sweep and Vac. I know, I know, a broom is wayyy cheaper. But, a broom also sends the dirt and dog hair flying all over the room, and I end up having to sweep again and again and ... (well you get the idea). I can't stand it when I mop - after using a broom to sweep - and find dried dog hair stuck all over the floor. The Swiffer sweep and vac simply works better and saves me time and frustration. (I don't buy the Swiffer cloths, I make my own).
- Dawn dishwashing liquid.
It takes less to do a better job. It's also a great stain lifter in the laundry.
- Awesome or Greased Lightening cleaners.
I don't know if these are big brands any more, but they both still work very well. When you have a really grungy cleaning job, they do the job.
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
I don't buy this product often, maybe once a year. But nothing works better on textured surfaces (like the refrigerator), or to get out stains that would otherwise need such hard scrubbing that you risk damaging the surface.
- Hunts or Del Monte ketchup.
I don't really care which brand I buy as long as it's a name brand. Generic ketchup does not taste very good to me, and I do like my ketchup.
- Dukes mayonnaise.
Another food that I am picky about is mayonnaise. It has to be tangy and it has to taste rich, and Dukes is both. My family will just not eat the generic.
- Prego, Hunts, or Del Monte spaghetti sauce.
Like with ketchup, I will eat several brands, but I won't eat generic pasta sauce. I just don't like the taste. (With the can sauces I have to add a teaspoon of sugar, I like my pasta sauce a touch sweet).
- Purina dog and cat food.
Now, I know that Purina is not one of the top brands of pet foods, but it is one of the lower priced brands that is actually good for your animals. I had a vet tell me that Purina foods are just fine for your pets, and they cost significantly less than the fancier brand names. The generic pet foods are so full of fillers that to give your animals the needed nutrients you have to feed them much more food (that's not saving money), and they make your pets poop more often.