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Cheaper, Store-Brand Sunscreens Protect Better Than Costly Counterparts

By , Posted on Jun 04, 2013
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What Other Products Could Save You Money?

You might think that a costly sunblock would be better at blocking UVA and UVB rays than a store brand at, say, Walgreens. However, according to Consumer Reports’ annual sun survey, that’s wrong.

It would seem that big name brand doesn’t always equal big quality. In Consumer Reports’ sun survey they tested 12 sunscreen lotions and sprays to gauge their effectiveness in protecting against UVA and UVB rays ( both of which can cause skin cancer) and six sunscreens rated “very good” overall.

It’s interesting that three of the four top-scoring brands came from national chains Target, whose Up and UP Sports SPF 50 had the highest overall score; Walmart, whose Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 was No. 2; and Walgreens, whose Continuous Spray Sports SPF 50 was No. 4.  Who’d a thunk it?

The “generic beats name brand” isn’t just for sun screen, there are many generic products that are just as good or better than their name brand counterparts.  Let’s take a look at a few:

Cereal — I admit the generic brand cereals sometimes have goofy names like Apple Dapple, Freaky Fruits, Nutty Nuggets, Kiddo Balls (What?) and Scrunchy Fruity Floats but if you check the ingredients of their name brand cousins you will likely find that they are identical.

A lot of people find that generic cereals taste just as good as their brand name counterparts. If you compare the price of a 14-ounce box of brand name corn flakes at around $2.99, It makes sense to get the Krispy Krunchies that sell for a mere 99 cents! It seems that when buying the name brand the only thing you are getting for your extra two bucks is the corporate mascot on the box.

Over-the-counter medication — Instead of automatically grabbing the Tylenol, Zantac or Nyquil, you can usually find much cheaper versions.  The generic versions of these over-the-counter meds contain the same active ingredients, and just like their brand-name peers, the FDA has to approve these products.  Depending on what you purchase, you could save tons of cash by buying the generic brand.

Baking ingredients — When it comes to stuff like salt, flower, baking powder or soda, spices or even butter, you’re getting the same stuff as the more expensive name brand stuff.

Beverages — Now I know that not all generic beverages taste as good as the name brand stuff but consider generic when it comes to milk and orange juice. As a matter of fact, in a recent Consumer Reports survey, a panel of “trained testers” said that the Publix brand of juice ($2.99/carton) tasted better than Tropicana ($3.48).  When it comes to soda, there is usually a big difference in my opinion, however, if you are buying soda for the kids I’m thinking they can deal with the super market brand.

Cleaning products — There’s a ton of advertising money that is spent trying to make us believe that XYZ’s bleach is better than the competitor’s brand. The way I see it NaClO (Sodium Chlorate) is what it is no matter what picture is on the label. Detergents and over cleaners in addition to bleach come in generic form and unless you like the smell of a particular brand, you can save a bunch by buying generic.

OK, you can’t talk about buying generic stuff without talking about the stuff that you just shouldn’t buy in the generic form.  I’m sure all of us have tried these and can agree it’s worth the extra cash to buy the name brands.  …Toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags and diapers.

Are you thinking that you just can’t bring yourself to buy the generic brands? Well, think about this: Research suggests the average consumer can save anywhere from $200-$1,500 per year by purchasing generic products. While you may not want to subject your family to store brand cheddar or no-name beer, there are plenty generic products out there that are just as good as the real thing. NBC News

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