When generic products are just as capable of doing the job, is it worth ditching brand-name products?
When it comes to the everyday products we use, we know that generic or house brands are capable of doing the job. After all, we only need them to reliably fulfill their function. It’s not like a lack of patterned toilet paper will degrade your quality of life.
Yet, we still happily shell out extra for branded products. Just ask the supermarkets, who gladly charge a premium on shelf-space that’s at eye level. What’s going on here?
Here are some more everyday items that Singaporeans are better off (financially speaking) buying generic.
Paper Products (Tissues, Kitchen Towels, Toilet Rolls, etc)
Brand-name paper products spend on design, packaging and other marketing trappings in a bid to stand out from competitors. But a more attractive design doesn’t guarantee a better experience.
Instead of choosing brands, pay attention instead to the total weight of the package you are buying. That will give you a much better indicator of the paper’s ability to do its job, and its likelihood of lasting longer.
Toilet rolls, especially, are guilty of this. Check for how densely the rolls are spooled (look for gaps between the sheets on the roll) – the looser the spool, the lighter the package is, and the faster it’ll run out.
However, if you’re allergic or have sensitive skin, it may be worthwhile to pay more for allergen-free products.
Another justifiable reason to pay more for paper products is when you’re trying to cut down your carbon footprint. Try paper products made from bamboo, which is a more renewable resource than trees. From personal experience, bamboo paper products are just as pleasant and effective to use.
Electronics and Technology
Besides TV monitors, there are many other electronic products on which we can overspend.
Should you find yourself needing an HDMI TV cable, go ahead and buy the cheapest one that fits. All your cable needs to do is to transfer electrons from one device to another, and no, whether there is gold plating or not doesn’t make a difference.
Next, headphones. You’re probably savvy enough to avoid buying anything from Beats (aka overpriced headphones that put out too much low-quality bass), but you may not be any wiser when the choice comes down to either a pair of Bose or Sony.
In this, defer to your ears. Go round to the audio shops and sample everything until you find a pair that sounds best to you with the type of music you enjoy.
If you’re tempted to go for a more expensive model, remember that you literally won’t be able to hear the difference once you leave the shop.
All-Purpose Cleaning Products
Household cleaning products all work the same way: a surfactant dissolves and picks up grease and dirt, a bleaching compound removes stains and odours, and water washes it all away.
The method by which the above is accomplished is dependant on the active ingredients found in the product. And there are only so many active ingredients that can be safely used on an everyday basis.
Put all together, this means that because it is the active ingredients (and arm strength) that does the work, a generic all-purpose cleaner may work just as well as its branded counterpart.
If you find yourself spending more on a particular brand, it may be because other factors (such as colour, packaging, or scent) that you find appealing.
Written by Alevin Chan, and adapted from SingSaver.com.sg, a financial comparison site that provides tips and advice on saving money in Singapore.