"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Thursday, January 31, 2008

choosy marys choose...

Recent conversations with friends, family and coworkers have spawned a discussion that often elicits strong, passionate reactions - "real" or generic? Brand loyalty is something that companies of all kinds spend millions of dollars in advertising trying to convince you that their product is the best, always has been, always will be. What we ate as children is usually what we want as adults, which is why these companies start advertising aimed at little ones just old enough to ask their mommies for things in the grocery store.

Upon moving out on my own into the wild blue yonder (read: Greenwood) a few years ago, I began to appreciate the savings generic products provide. I learned when generic will do and when cheapness doesn't cut it, and it developed into a amateur "nature vs. nurture" study of my own. Here are a few of my findings; check them out and see if you can find the pattern:

Acceptable penny-pinching products...

1) To me, if you are throwing something away after its use or literally flushing it into oblivion, it is ridiculous to spend big bucks on it. I'll buy the cheapest napkins, toilet paper and paper towels I can find (KK disagrees with me on the paper towels.), and if the State of Mississippi would let me buy whatever they use in the bathrooms, I would in a minute.

2) In an effort to incorporate more veggies into my diet AND be more fiscally conservative, I've started purchasing generic canned vegetables - I mostly only get the green beans and black-eyed peas and occasionally mandarin oranges, but they are just as good as the real stuff.

3) I never hesitate to take medicine if I think it will help me. Got a headache? Take some medicine and feel better. Car sick? Take some medicine and feel better. Stuffy nose? Take some medicine and feel better. Not to sound like a pill popper, but it's a no-brainer. It's cheaper and just as effective to stock your medicine cabinet with Equate.

4) I can remember my Sunday School teacher one Sunday telling me that a sin is a sin is a sin just like bleach is bleach is bleach. Seriously, it's a chemical compound. It's all the same, people.

5) Thanks to MK, I have painted my nails more in the past 6 months or so than I have in 5 years. And, I'm getting better at it, I must say. But, I'm known to occasionally paint my whole finger, and when I do, I use the cheapest nail polish remover I can find to correct my little masterpiece.

Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby...

1) Few products draw such intense emotions as which ketchup to use. I personally don't care for it (unless combined mustard and pickle on a cheeseburger), but those that do are loyal to the point of severity. For most, I've found Heinz reigns supreme here.

2) I grew up eating rice and cream of mushroom soup, so it was natural for me to indulge in this as an adult occasionally. Those of you NOT using Campbell's are doing yourselves a disservice. Seriously, none of that other junk will do.

3) My dear friend Beth Williams showed me the light when she introduced me to Jif peanut butter. I pretty much bought whatever brand was cheapest prior to her intervention. It really is superior.

4) I don't have ice cream a lot in my house - too many points, and I would be inclined to eat a scoop every time I walked past the freezer. But when I do and I want to top with chocolate syrup, I only use Hershey's.

5) Cereal may not pop into everyone's head when one thinks of a "comfort food," but Cheerios is. What are those others trying to prove? Give it up, Brand X - you'll never get it right.

What do YOU think? Let me know what I may have left out...


The Texas VicHorns said...

Coca-cola really is the real thing. See ya later Sams Choice.

Oh, and if I am making sweet tea, I live for Lipton.

TP-CZAR said...

1. never skimp on TP. you may be "just flushing" but you can never be too careful "back there"

2. aluminum foil and zip locks...skimp and you shall pay

3. buddy brand toothpaste = bad

and 2 became 5 said...

Agree with the Coca-Cola comment & the zip locks, for sure. Diapers is one you can't just gamble on right away...risky business. And in the peanut butter dept, I would have to put in a vote for the Smucker's Natural. I'm hooked.

Heather said...

1) Charmin TP is all I use - and NOT because my dog-nephew is named Charmin. Sorry, MSKS.

2) Agreed on the green beans. I really like "Flavor-rite" brand and at about $30 cents a pop, we can eat green beans daily.

3) Also- off brand Crystal light is just as good as the real deal. Especially the lemonade.

claire said...

Any opinions on laundry detergent? I can't figure out if there's a difference. I'm a Gain girl, but could I be spending less and getting clothes just as clean and fresh smelling? Dilemma.

Anonymous said...

Mary, Hunt's ketchup is the best.
I too used generic laundry detergent--but now---only Tide will do.
Angel Soft is the best/economical TP.
And don't get me started on Diet Coke tasting as good as Tab--Tab is the best soft drink ever!

Bargain Betty said...

1. I have to disagree on the toilet paper...the cheap stuff is horrible! And I buy Viva paper towels - I found they are less expensive than Bounty, but are a really good product!

2. I use store brand cream of mushroom because I only use it in casseroles...If I was going to just eat it as soup then definitely Campbells.

3. Laundry Detergent - Well I did use Purex (or All if it was on sale) and yes they both get my clothes good and clean. I refused to spend the money on Tide until I recently washed a load at my mother's and decided the tide smell was well worth it! I was able to find the ultra concentrate at Wal-Mart for $6.00, which I thought was a bargain for Tide.

4. And there is no comparison for Heinz!

Maggie said...

Mary Straton,
Great study to elicit everyone's thoughts...I think they are things we all have opinions about!

1) No other brands compare to Diet Coke; you must fork up the extra bucks and just go for the real thing.

2) Also, when cooking recipes, I recommend always buying the generic brand (unless the recipe calls for a specialty item -- like Captain Rodney's for the Cheese Bake) if it is just going to be mixed in with other things! You will save money, and no one will notice the difference of its overall deliciousness!

3) Totally off the subject [but a splurge none the less] is I can't live without my Auburn car tag over the generic Alabama tag. haha, but if I was in MS, the same little splurge would go for a MSU car tag! (*note: car tags are drastically cheaper in AL than they were when I lived in the Delta, so knowing that fact...it's easier to give a little to the AU scholarship fund!)

kk said...

TP and paper towels..generic...get real. I do agree with JIF. I am a self acclaimed peanut butter conniseur and no other brand will do for a spoon or sandwich. However, if I am making my frozen peanut butter pie the generic will do. I have discovered when you combine cream cheese with anything it is ok. Speaking of cream cheese I don't have to have Philadelphia.

Now the canned veggies....I try to stir clear because my mother taught me that they seem to have more salt in them. I opt for the Kroger Frozen Brand and you can find them for 99 cents a bag sometimes. I love to buy the chopped onions (easiser than chopping myself) and the Italian Cut Green Beans are a staple in our home.

Anonymous said...

KRAFT CHEESE is the way to go.I also prefer expensive Makeup.

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