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jca's avatar

What items do you buy or use where you think the cheap version is just as good, does as good a job as the expensive version?

Asked by jca (35979points) October 9th, 2010

I thought of this as I was looking in my kitchen cabinet, and saw some birthday candles I got from a dollar store. I wondered how the dollar store candles could be any different than candles you may buy at the supermarket for about $3 or $4.

I have a friend with a Kia. The car gets her to work the way my Honda gets me to work. I don’t feel the cheap version (Kia) is quite the same as a more expensive version (Honda) but it’s just my opinion.

I have a Dirt Devil vacuum I bought for about $40 at Sam’s Club – it picks up dirt fairly respectably, but may not do as good a job as a Dyson.

I hear discount furniture commercials that claim that their no-name mattress is just as good as a name brand Sealy, Serta or Simmons. I don’t know, as I have never bought a no-name mattress.

These were just some examples. What items do you buy or use that you think the cheap version is just as good, does just as good a job as the expensive version.

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14 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Super cheap DVD players work as well and as long as pricey ones. Mr Coffee coffeemakers from Target, as good or better than fancy german ones. Gift bags from the dollar store (3 for $1) rather than from hallmark ($4 or $5 each) and on and on…

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Any brand of butter, sour creme, milk, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, rice, pasta, etc.
I won’t skimp on kitchen sponges, plastic garbage bags, paper towels or toilet paper though. Aside from household items then I’ve learned my brand of handbags are worth the initial cost because they last a good 15 yrs in great condition. Shoes made in spain or italy have worn better and been of better quality leather than those made in Brazil.

poisonedantidote's avatar

The supermarket’s own brand vs the real brand. in most situations, the store brand is just as good.

For example, in the UK there is a big store called tesco, and they sell baked beans for about 7 cents, the heinz brand costs about 40 cents. but if you look on the tesco tin, it says “made by heinz for tesco”. so its exactly the same thing. the same is true with colgate vs store brand tooth paste and many other products.

however, with most things i beleve you get what you pay for, and that discount items are a false market.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@JilltheTooth I second that. A lot of times I have a dvd that will not play on my expensive 200 buck dvd player, but will play on the cheap 37 buck one that i got at a little market.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Golf clubs.
Expensive clubs are not magic wands XD

perg's avatar

It really depends on what you’re using it for. I play ice hockey and go top-of-the line for my helmet and skates because I value my brain and need to be able to skate properly, but just about everything else I buy used or on sale (and use until it falls apart).

I’m a big skinflint for the most part, but I will pay good money for coffee and beer because I like the fancy stuff, and high-quality food and gear for my dog because she’s my baby. Everything else had better have a sale tag on it.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, my top o’ the line RCA DVD player crapped out in a year and the super cheapo replacement has run without a glitch for 3 now! lol

Expensive clothes have not impressed me either, I have bought expensive items and they have not lasted as long as some of the cheaper clothing.

I don’t skimp on cheap pet foods or certain name brands such as cereals and oatmeal. The cheaper brands taste lousey.

Same goes in my home, I have some expensive Pier One furnishings but, the majority of my home decor comes from thrift, yard and cheap import stores. The effect is very nice and no one knows the difference between a $200 vase and a $20 dollar vase. haha

john65pennington's avatar

Track shoes at Walmart. 95% of all track shoes are made in China. even those bought in expensive shoe stores. i have made the switch years ago and have saved a bundle of money.

Look under the tongue of the shoes, all shoes, and you will see Made In China.

Seek's avatar

There are very few things I am brand specific with. I’ll pretty much always go with a store brand or look for a discount.

When it comes to food, there are a lot of cases where I actually prefer a store brand – like soda. The Publix brand version of Cherry Coke Zero is made with Splenda. Coke Zero is made with aspartame. No comparison – Publix is better.

Iclamae's avatar

Similar to everyone else, I only have a few things I’m picky about being on brand. Toilet paper, trash bags, ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot chocolate. Those brands have a very specific strength (non food) and flavor (food) that I want.

Other than that, it’s whatever’s cheapest and works. I try a lot of dollar brands or store brands and continue them if they accomplish what I’m looking for. This goes for non kitchen stuff too like school supplies and art supplies. I’ve been using a $1 watercolor set for a year and it has served me well. Paintbrushes are tricky because buying cheap ones can cause trouble for detail work but it’s really just trial and error.

YARNLADY's avatar

I always buy bargain and second hand. The mattresses you mention are made by the same company as the name brand, but have small imperfections, such as the ticking slipped in the machine and isn’t sewn on straight.

I am rarely disappointed, but one recent buy turned out to be bad, bargain scissors that would not cut.

woodcutter's avatar

sometimes I will use equipment made by Chicago Tools if they are going to be used only occasionally instead of Dewalt or Milwaukee tools. Harbor Freight is also a knock off tool maker that will get me by.

lonelydragon's avatar

Most generic personal care and food items are just as good as the name brand. I tend to use generic OTC meds (i.e. store brand Advil). They have the same active ingredients as the fancy brands.

@john65pennington Interesting. The men’s shoes must be better quality than the women’s, then. I bought a pair of Danskin sneakers at Wal-Mart and the soles split within 3 months of normal wear.

jca's avatar

@lonelydragon: funny you mentioned that, I was going to say it after @john65pennington said he wears their sneakers. I had a pair of Walmart sneakers (ladies’) and the sole split within about a month. Not worth the money, then, @ about $14, when I can get a $30 or $40 sale price at Kohl’s or somewhere and have the sneakers last until they start looking ratty (6 months or more).

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