Boomerater™ Report: Switching From Brand Name Products to Generics

Readers share tips on buying generic food products.

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The Boomerater™ Report is our weekly collaboration with Boomerater. Boomerater is an online resource for Baby Boomers which covers topics such as finding a financial advisor and retirement communities. The site also contains forums in which Boomers can ask questions and exchange first-hand knowledge with each other.

In our weekly report, we post a Best Life question of the week on Boomerater for which we are looking to hear your advice and tips. This week, we would like to hear from readers who have bought or are considering buying a hybrid car. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Go to to share your thoughts, and in the next report we will feature some of the best responses.

Last week, we asked readers to tell us about their shopping experiences after switching from brand-name products to generics, and if there were any bargains or cautionary tales they encountered. Here are some responses:

A. I have found the store-brand shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella) is just as good as the brand-name version and costs far less. Also, my kids prefer ShopRite's low-fat pudding cups to the more expensive Swiss Miss brand.

A. A cautionary tale: Never buy generic peanut butter. It's oily and has nowhere near the peanut flavor that the name brands have. Generic ketchup is also a bad idea.

A. I've taken generic to another level. I have found great substitutes for expensive products. For example, white vinegar mixed with an equal amount of water makes an excellent window and counter cleaner. It costs nothing compared to Windex or Lysol cleaners and it is perfectly safe for the environment. Full strength vinegar is effective at cleaning mildew stains.

Another recent topic of conversation on Boomerater discussed tips for going green. A member was looking for a resource where she could find information on environmentally friendly products. Here's a suggested tip from another reader:

A. You should check out This site tells you which products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the government and where you can buy them—light bulbs, appliances, etc. They have a special section on home building and remodeling and other practices that can help save energy. And, they have comprehensive tax credit information. Good luck with your project!

Boomerater members were also seeking advice on online computer courses and the best place to brush up on new computer skills and specifically for help with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Here were some suggested sites:

A. I suggest you try This site offers a large variety of on-line courses. Computer courses, finance, marketing, foreign languages, biology, web design, music lessons...and they're free!

A. I would also look at Training Center...they have lots of interactive training courses and you can learn at your own pace.

If you are looking specifically for Excel and PowerPoint training, Microsoft also offers online training courses. They can be a convenient way for you to learn the most important tools for both products.

If there are questions on your mind that you would like answered by other people who have already faced similar situations, or you have advice of your own to share, go to and participate in the forums… say that The Best Life sent you.