Buying Convenient Food
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9 Things You Should Always Cheap Out On, According to Thrifty Redditors

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Buying Convenient Food
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Bottom-Shelf Bargains

Brand-name drugs have exactly the same risks, benefits, and effects as generic drugs — and yet they're 80-85% more expensive on average. The frugal choice? Always buy off-brand medicine. While you can apply the same logic to other purchases, it's not always easy to know what's worth skimping and splurging on. From toothpaste to pets, here are 10 items you should always cheap out on, according to thrifty Redditors.


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Young pharmacist checking the shelves with a digital tablet at the pharmacy
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Medicine

Prescription drug prices are out of control in this country. While it's largely a systemic issue, one thing you can do as a consumer is to always buy generic. Generic drugs have saved Americans more than $1 trillion dollars in the past decade, according to a 2019 study.


Related: 16 Ways to Get Help With Expensive Prescriptions

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
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Spices

Don't go for brand-name spices, one Redditor writes. "In the grocery stores around me, the McCormack brand spices are super pricey. But if you look in the international goods section, they have all the same ones for half or less of the price," they write. If you're lucky enough to have one, you can also hit up your local spice store for cheap, fresh seasoning.


Related: This Spice Rack at Costco Offers Free Refills for 5 Years — But Is It Worth It?

Home study concept.
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Textbooks

The textbook industry — dominated by just five publishers — does everything it can to inflate its prices. They'll constantly release new editions, include one-time access codes to online content, and charge monthly fees for homework platforms. That's why the average four-year public college student will spend $1,240 on books and supplies alone, according to the College Board. Don't fall for publishers' ploys, and, if possible, compare used textbook prices or rent them.


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Superglue

Before you splurge on an expensive package of Gorilla Glue, check your local dollar store. It's not worth spending extra cash on the pricey stuff, Redditors say, because the glue almost invariably dries up before you can finish it. One caveat: If you're working with automotive parts, go for the good stuff.

A hand in a yellow rubber glove wipes wet tile imitating a wooden surface with a white melamine sponge. Cleaning in a modern bathroom. Selective focus
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Magic Erasers

Here's a secret that Procter & Gamble doesn't want you to know: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are "magical" thanks to a cheap, widely available foam called melamine. On a microscopic level, this crystalline foam has a rough, sand paper-like texture, which gives it its cleaning properties. So instead of paying more than a $1 a piece for Mr. Clean's sponges, you can simply buy off-brand melamine sponges for a quarter of the price and add your own soap.

Men squeezes toothpaste on the toothbrush
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Toothpaste

As long as a toothpaste is American Dental Association-approved and contains 1,000 parts per million fluoride, it doesn't matter which brand you buy, according dentist Nathan Janowicz. Janowicz, who spoke to the Cleveland Clinic, adds that it's a matter of personal preference beyond those criteria. Provided those stipulations are met, go ahead and buy the cheapest toothpaste you can find.

Poverty concept: Used red shoes for children in a thrift shop between other used clothes - selective focus
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Baby Clothes

Since they'll outgrow them quickly, it doesn't make sense to spend big money on baby clothes. Go to a thrift store instead, Redditors say, where you can buy pieces for a dollar or less.

Woman holding positive pregnancy test.
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