Buying generic usually saves you money, but some generic items are so poorly made that they end up costing you money in the long run. From batteries to cheese, here are four things that just don’t work out when you buy generic!

Toilet Paper

Cheap toilet paper is, well, cheap. When you choose an off-brand, you’re likely getting a very thin layer of paper — not the plush, quilted stuff touted by the big name brands. Quality does matter, because if your family uses a lot more of the cheap stuff, you’ll find yourself constantly refreshing the roll. Buy a name brand with coupons, and you’ll need to make far fewer purchases. Paper towels fall into this category as well.

Personal Electronics

While that off-brand MP3 player may not look cheap, more often than not it ends up being more trouble than it’s worth. You may find it won’t work with the chargers or software sold for brand names — and off-brands are notorious for being poor quality. Buying a single name brand piece is less expensive (and less frustrating) than buying three or four of the equivalent off-brand versions.


Like paper towels and toilet paper, you’ll find that generic batteries don’t last very long. Most off-brands just don’t hold enough juice to power your electronics, toys or flashlights for long.

Big Ticket Electronics

The idea of saving a hundred dollars on a single purchase is appealing, but buying that no-name television will not end well. From the shoddy construction to the “not a chance” customer service options, generic televisions and computers tend to wind up costing more and don’t perform nearly as well as their branded counterparts. Buy a name brand TV on sale or use a big box store coupon to save on the product itself — and the customer service and warranty that come with it.

That’s not to say all generic items should be avoided. It’s all about knowing where to spend and where to save. From spices to medications and even diapers, some off-brand products match or outperform their name-brand counterparts, but in some areas, going with a big, well-known name can save you money and headaches in the long run.