Grocery Budget Killers and Ways to Avoid Them Part V

Here’s the final piece in my 5 part series for you to enjoy. It’s one that needs some comments so don’t be shy, let us all know your success stories/advice!!

By now you’re learning some of the things that we as a family eat from my posts but maybe what you don’t know is that:

  • If it’s frozen pizza it’s gotta be Jack’s
  • If it’s bbq sauce it’s gotta be Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • And if it’s Mac N Cheese only Kraft will do.

However, all these items are brand names and therefore cost more than their store brand equivalent and over time we’ve tried out different options. You may feel loyal to one particular brand and only ever buy what they make but if you want to save money, it’s better to at least try store brands.

One place that I’ve mentioned before which saves you big is ALDI. Sure they have their own brands but could you name them? Compare Ragu pasta sauce at around $2 to the ALDI brand at $.99 and the savings is big. ALDI chips are a mere $1.19 compared to most brands at $2 or even more. While the savings are huge what keeps us from buying store brands? What keeps even a seasoned frugalite like myself from breaking down and buying a cheaper BBQ sauce?
Is the taste in our heads or not? I’ve questioned that time and time again and have even been known to buy cheaper pasta sauce or pizzas and add ingredients like oregano and cheese to make them taste better and more like the name brand. I spend nowhere near as much as if I’d bought the brand name but it’s as good.

Are those diapers really as good?
When I first had Isaac a few friends told me to avoid a certain store bought diaper so I did. One day my friend brought me over a diaper cake with the cutest diapers in it. I had no idea what brand they were and started using them and loved them. It turns out that they were the same ones I’d been told to avoid! I’ve used Huggies, Pampers, Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens brands and you’d be surprised by which I like the most! What I’ve found is that different brands work for different sizes. For example, Size 1 Target diapers are great but when he was in a Size 2 I preferred Walgreens ones. I think it’s all a little bit about experimenting but what I do know is that store brand diapers are just as good.

Consider store bought baby food and snacks or even formula.
I have compared ingredients on formula and found them to be exactly the same. The only difference? About $10 in price. That is huge! Even with a great coupon, store bought formulas are cheaper and just as good.

A lot of the time the reason that brand names are more is because of the marketing. If I asked you to name a famous baby lotion brand few of you would say Burt’s Bees or Aveeno. I bet most of you would name the one that our parents used on us: Johnson & Johnson. Does it make it better or simply more well known? I think it’s worth trying the other brands out and watching how much you can save. If pasta sauce saves you $1 by buying generic and you switch 20 items in your cart, that’s a $20 savings per grocery shop!

One final note: If you are like us and loyal to a few specific brands, watch out for sales and know what’s a good deal. We only buy MacN Cheese when it gets to about $.60/box and BBQ sauce right before grilling season when it’s $1 in most stores. By doing that we can still enjoy a few brand products without paying brand name prices.

So, what store brands do you love? Anyone had any success with generic diapers?

For the other 4 tips check this out:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V


  1. I have 3 kids and for a while 2 of them were in diapers at the same time. I loved the walmart brand and you can buy a big box for half the price as Huggies. Now that my youngest is in pull-ups I like the CVS brand, but when Huggies are on sale and I have a coupon they are cheaper. I also used the Walmart brand formula with my 2 younger ones and they did great on it.

  2. Rebekah says:

    when my kids were in diapers i found that the generic worked 1 size up from what they were wearing at the time. otherwise if I bought their current size they'd be too small and my child would poop or pee right out of them. i usually stuck with luvs or huggies though and used coupons that I had saved.

  3. Sheila G says:

    I am a HUGE fan of the Walgreens Premium diapers. They work so wonderfully! I was so lucky to get about 30 packs last summer when they were part of a double dip coupon week, I believe I paid about 2.00 a pack! My best advice is to try different store brands when they are on sale, you never know you might find a new fav, and end up saving a few bucks in the end!

  4. Rhonda Devine says:

    Some generic items I won't use are peanut butter, tomato soup, and juices. Only the brand names will do~the taste really matters to us on these!

  5. noahs mom says:

    I heard different stories about using generic diapers and since my sons skin is sensitive, I stayed away. Now that he is into pull-ups I decided to try store brand. I tried walgreens brand and walmart brand and even though they look the same I like walmart brand more. And better than the price, no rash!

  6. Cake Mrs. says:

    My son is potty training and I use the Target brand "Up & Up" training pants for him. He wets them on occassion but still poops in his training pants. However, even when he happens to soak them, they still work fine. They cost about $12 for 40. I also love that they have the easy open velcro sides which is a necessity in potty training! 🙂 HUGE savings compared to Huggies and Pampers.

  7. I love Meijer wheat bread, it is soft and delicious. I don't generally like wheat bread because it's more dense. I will go out of my way to buy it. When it's on sale it's usually $.98.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love Walgreens and Walmart brand diapers. At my baby shower I received both Huggies and Pampers. I've never like either. I have this phobia about my daughter getting diaper rash, so as soon as she's even pee'd once, she's getting a new diaper. My hubby says I should let her go at least a couple times before I change her, but I freak out! Huggies make my daughters clothes feel damp and she may have only pee'd a little bit. Absolutely no reason for them to be damp. She didn't leak or anything. No reason for it! Pampers…Yuck! My daughter smelled like pee everytime she pee'd. They are awful. I never buy brnad name no matter what store I'm at.

  9. Mom of 3 says:

    I have a 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old all of which have always wore the Walmart brand diapers. I love them! You can buy a small pack for just over $5 (30-56 diapers depending on the size) or a big box for $13 (which I think is like 86 or something). You can't beat that! How much would 86 Huggies or Pampers cost?? No way I would pay that when all they do is go potty in them! I did have a small hand full of times where leaks would occur but that's when I'd move up a size and problem solved. Can't really blame the diaper for that one. When my first child was a baby we did try the "name brands" either because we got samples, the hospital sent us home with some, or we got them as a gift but we noticed that even if he peed just a little the diaper was really squishy on the outside and felt like it was going to tear open at any minute. GROSS!!

  10. We love most of Kroger brand items. Infact they have a policy that states if you try their brand and don't like it they will give you the brand name product to replace it.
    We use Kirkland brand, it is Costco's brand. In both of these cases there are many cases that we find we don't just like the store brand as well as the name brand but even better.
    Tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup are two things we use brand name on but we wait for a sale or at least use a coupon.

    Something I would like to suggest is for everyone to please change from paper napkins to cloth napkins. Buy a few at a discount store. Yes you will need to wash them but they take up very little space or time to fold. You will find you like them better than paper and you will save money, trees, and trash. Everyone I have suggested this to or explained it too sees the validity. I ask you to please try.
    If you sew, you can have fun making your own napkins. Good luck everyone.

  11. LittleMama says:

    I usually try to buy Aldi diapers since they are the cheapest. However, they are a pinch smaller than Target diapers of the same size, and sometimes baby poop leaks through the tiny holes in sides (yuck!). As far as mac 'n' cheese goes, I buy Aldi, but I can definitely taste the difference; it tastes like reheated mac 'n' cheese. Wal-Mart often has Kraft on sale for $0.50, which is definitely worth it. Formula, we never used, always nursed. We bought organic baby food for the first baby through a co-op, and this time (second baby) we plan to make and freeze our own.

    One thing I don't like about Aldi is that most of their food in general has a higher sodium count than, well, pretty much any other brand. But I've heard that a lot of people don't get enough sodium in their diet anyway (can you believe that?), so I just try to avoid frozen foods and make what I can. 🙂

    Cereal is the big one for me. I like a lot of Target brand cereal, but as a cereal connoisseur 😉 there are some kinds where ONLY the brand name will do. Aldi brand pop also tastes way different than name brand. So yeah! There is a difference! But I also try to be sneaky sometimes, just to see if anyone says anything. 😉

  12. LittleMama says:

    Also, we have discovered that Jewel bread is dry, Aldi is a pinch better, and Target is the best–firm enough to spread stuff on, but soft enough that it doesn't rank up there with Italian bread. 🙂

  13. Anonymous says:

    I buy generic a lot. But on cheese I try to buy 2% or lowfat. I tried buying aldi fullfat american cheese slices when I didnt want to go to walmart. I gave my 2 year old a slice and she took one bite and said yucky mommy. I tried again on another day same thing. Yucky! For my kids its Kraft 2% slices, Heinz ketchup, Frenchs mustard, Welch's Grape Jelly, 2% velveta shells.

    I'd like to find a replacement for my budget killer Tide sensitive skin and Downy Free. I have tried ALL and Purex but didnt think it got the clothes as clean. Does anyone have a suggestion for laundry detergent for sensitive skin???

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