10 Items You Should Always Buy Generic

Cereal and Grain Products
If you can get it past your kids, generic cereal is the way to go.
If you can get it past your kids, generic cereal is the way to go.

Did you know that the average preschooler views 642 television ads for breakfast cereal every year [source: CerealFacts.org]? Colorful, exciting ads with adorable mascots, kids having fun and a toy in every box: It's the perfect media attack, building brand loyalty before your kid can even learn to talk. Is it any wonder children get so stressed out when you try to feed them healthier or more budget-conscious alternatives?

Of course, all that advertising and fun packaging takes its toll at the register: Generics in this category generally cost 25 to 50 percent less than their beloved counterparts [source: Walletpop.com]. You know the taste and look of generic cereals is the same as more expensive versions -- and, like most generics, generally produced with the same ingredients by the same manufacturers -- but is it really worth the fight every busy morning?

If your child is attached to the brand and you don't want to argue, you can always refill a name-brand box with generic. Any positive associations the child has toward the brand will be reflected in the replacement.

With an older child, it gives you an opportunity to discuss things like branding, advertising and marketing, and being a smarter consumer. You could even stage a taste-test to prove the point -- and that's a point that'll stick with her a lot longer than you might think. Consumer wisdom starts at home, but it might as well be fun -- and delicious!

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