7 Cheaper Versions of Your Favorite Products


Figuring out which trendy brands have cheaper alternatives is an excellent way to keep more of your money when shopping. After all, there is nothing worse than dropping money on a name-brand item only to bring it home and be disappointed with the quality. Here are seven popular products that fall into this category, and their cheaper alternatives.

1. Beats Earbuds

The idea of dropping $78 on a pair of Beats headphones is completely reasonable for many shoppers. But what if I were to tell you that there is another brand that is significantly cheaper and gets amazing reviews on Amazon? By significantly cheaper, I mean approximately $7 compared to $78.

The in-ear headphones of which I speak are made by Panasonic and get a very high 4.5-star rating with over 28,000 reviews. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and typically say something to the effect of how shocked the buyer was with the great sound quality. By comparison, the $78 Beats version only received 3.5 stars with just over 1,500 reviews on Amazon. You could buy 10 pairs of the Panasonic earbuds and hand them out to your friends and still come out ahead.

2. Top-Shelf Liquor at Costco

There have long been rumors circulating that when it comes to buying alcohol at Costco, the Kirkland brand is often made by top-shelf manufacturers. While Costco would never admit to it, many spirit connoisseurs believe Kirkland Signature Vodka is produced by Grey Goose, Kirkland Scotch by Macallan, and their bourbon by Jim Beam. Whether they are or not, the Kirkland brands often beat the top-shelf liquors in blind taste tests — making them great buys, especially with a price tag at almost 40% less per bottle.

3. Expensive Brand-Name Makeup

Many "drugstore" cosmetics are just as good as their high-end, name-brand counterparts — at a fraction of the price. For example, a tube of the ever-popular Benefit They're Real! Mascara retails for $26, while CoverGirl's Lashblast Mascara can be had for under $6 and tends to get better overall reviews. Excellent cheaper brands to look for at drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS include Maybelline, Milani, e.l.f., and Revlon. (See also: The 5 Best Mascaras)

4. Over-the-Counter Cold Meds

Have you ever looked at a box of generic cold medicine and compared it to the name-brand alternative? If you have, you're already aware that they typically have identical ingredients with the only significant difference being the price tag. Whether it's Benadryl, Sudafed, Bayer, NyQuil, or Tylenol, you should definitely consider buying the generic at the drugstore and easily save 25%–40% in the process.

5. Gillette and Schick Razors

Aside from growing a mountain-man beard, it can be hard to avoid buying expensive razors, like those from Schick and Gillette. But the good news is that there is a solid alternative that won't break the bank. In particular, I'm a huge fan of Studio 35 disposable and blade replacement razors found at Walgreens, Amazon, and Drugstore.com to name a few. Not only do they sell on average 30%–40% less than the name brand, but they do a great job on my skin and last just as long. By comparison, you can buy a new Studio 35 razor and six replacement blades for $5.29 at Walgreens, while a comparable Gillette package will run you close to $13.

6. Banana Republic Clothing

I recently stumbled upon an excellent Reddit thread discussing Banana Republic vs. Gap vs. Old Navy clothing. As all three are owned by Gap Inc., the thread discusses the quality difference between them, especially considering that Banana Republic is far away the most expensive of the three brands. Interestingly, when it comes to Banana Republic, items like jeans, shorts, and t-shirts are very similar quality to the oft-cheaper Gap and Old Navy brand. Also, the consensus on buying underwear, boxers, and basic T's is to shop at Old Navy and get quality items, and more importantly, avoid the higher price tag found at Banana Republic.

7. Girl Scout Cookies

While supporting the Girl Scouts at $5 per box is a worthwhile spend, what do you do if you need your cookie fix when they aren't being sold? If you love Thin Mints, try Keebler Grasshoppers. If Samoas are your thing, give Keebler Coconut Dreams a spin. If you crave Do-Si-Dos as much as I do, you probably already know that Nutter Butter's are a cheaper alternative. Also, let's not forget the humble, but highly popular Tagalong, which can be found at Walgreens for cheap under the Nice! Peanut Butter Fudge store-brand.

What name-brand alternatives have you discovered that always save you money?

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Guest's picture

More for women than men.

Guest's picture

I would rather give a Girl Scout Troop $5 in cash than buy a box of their cookies where a small percentage of the proceeds trickle down into the troops cash box.

Guest's picture

you still pay shipping at Amazon but it averages over the year w a prime account.