On Only Suckers Don't Buy Generic

Private Label evangelist over here! I work for a private label and I feel pretty confident that as far as OTC pills go, generic is totally the way to go. Most people don't think about this, but private label drugs go through the same regulatory process that name brand drugs go. Some retailers' private label divisions even have their own QA groups that visit production plants and test products picked at their own stores to make sure everything is of the best quality. I get free products to sample all the time, and there are very few private label products I have tried and actively disliked. I know some people get creeped out by the lower price, like how can something be good and cost half as much as the name brand? Private labels sell for significantly less than name brand because their COGS are lower (economies of scale for the supplier, who often sells the same pill to many retailers), the supplier likely paid for all the R&D so the retailer doesn't pay for that, and there's no (or low) marketing costs to the retailer. A huuuuuuge percentage of what you pay for name brand items goes towards advertising. I generally buy store brands for most things, including groceries and health care, but I make exceptions in places where personal preference (e.g. taste/smell/texture) and proprietary formulas play. If you buy OxiClean and only OxiClean for laundry -- totally get it. Nothing works like OxiClean. I am also incredibly loyal to Colgate toothpaste (got used to the taste) and Heinz ketchup (golden standard). But buying name brands when it comes to commodities (rice, for example) or items that you use but don't really care much about (paper towels for me) is crazy. Switch to the private label and see if you notice or care about the difference.

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 1:20 pm 1

On Riding the Chinatown Bus, and Considering Its True Cost

@emmabee I was in the exact same situation, and I loved being able to roll up to South Station and buy a ticket for the next Fung Wah, and there were always seats and they were always $15. By the time Fung Wah shut down and possibly became the Yo! bus (love that name), my love and I were living together in the same city, but we mourned the news. Our whole relationship was possible thanks to the Boston-NYC Chinatown connection.

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:48 am 0

On Riding the Chinatown Bus, and Considering Its True Cost

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:48 am 0

On GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Get for $125K

@E$ When I first moved to Providence, everyone was like, "OMG you HAVE to go to Waterfire". Well, I finally went 2 weeks ago, and color me unimpressed. So many children everywhere!

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 11:40 am 1

On The Burrower, Part II

@NoName So I was on board with "you gotta do what you gotta do" during the period where her family lost their home, but once the home was rebuilt, she still chose to squat and that is strange. I know commuting sucks, but to me, that was an extreme decision. I also lived in NYC for a while (and moved away because it wasn't financially sustainable, surprise, surprise) and I know rents are cray but you can find rooms to rent for less than $1K/month in parts of the city. I too have friends who are broke grad students and it is a struggle to live in the city, but I know it can be done without resorting to squatting. That is why I have a hard time believing that this is 100% due to circumstances.

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm 0

On The Burrower, Part II

I also enjoy how the author is reading the comments and then tweeting in response, but not really engaging with commenters. Crystal, if your response to our response is "you just don't get what being poor is," why don't you come over and explain? Very little in this series has pointed at you being poor and living like this because you have no choice... It comes off like you have choices and your choice is still to live this way so that you can funnel your money into traveling. And if that is the truth, then calling yourself "poor" makes a mockery of people who are actually *poor* and would resort to what you did because they had no other choice.

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm 2

On The Burrower, Part II

@milena that should read "clothes with holes" and not "clothes with roles"

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm 0

On The Burrower, Part II

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm 0

On The Burrower, Part II

I don't really understand why someone would want to live like this. I know NYC is very expensive and sometimes crippling, but... scavenging for food in the trash? Showering once a week? Is not spending money that important that you're willing to do away with hygiene? This just reminds me of a woman (also in NYC) on Extreme Cheapskates who wore clothes with roles and only used 1 square of TP when wiping. It's one thing to save money and be judicious, but this is mental instability territory.

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm 1

On The Billfold Book Club: Suze Orman's 'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke'

This was my beach read this weekend, just so I could participate in the discussion! I liked the book and even if I am not the target audience, I learned a lot -- the chapter on buying a house was particularly helpful since that's what I am doing right now. Some of her advice is Real Talk bordering on Nutso, but the part where she talks about using credit to pay for living expenses while you're starting your career felt OK to me, as long as you're holding yourself accountable. Seeing the debt pile up would light a fire under my ass to work harder and get that promotion sooner rather than later, and to make whatever decisions I need to make to move my career further. I also don't think it's cray for her to drop money on getting a professional wardrobe -- at the upper levels, the good performance is expected and what propels you forward is your image. She did well in cultivating a good image from Day 1. And the getting a roommate bit: You'd be surprised at the number of people I know who live alone or with roommates but in a very comfortable setup and who are otherwise broke. I think her point is that living alone is a luxury and if you're broke, you can't afford that luxury. What I did not like was the constant regurgitation of "check your FICO score", etc. Yes, lady, I read that chapter already. Thanks. Overall, I thought it is a good book for people who have no grasp on their finances and need a starting point. I would like to see a 2014 version of this, with more advice on student loans, updated advice on buying a house, and maybe more on how to budget/see where your money is going (i.e. tell us about Mint/YNAB).

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm 0