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When you’re trying to save money, there are certain places you can easily cut costs: you can use coupons, wait for sales, and opt for store brands over their more expensive name brand counterparts. However, regardless of how tough times get, there are a few places you just don’t skimp. Now we’re not saying these food items are necessities mind you–in fact, most of them are far from it–but we are saying that when push comes to shove, a 25 cent savings just isn’t enough to justify the significant drop in quality. So, with that in mind, here are the 5 food items you should never buy generic.

1) Top Ramen

​None of this Maruchan Ramen bullshit, it’s Top or bust. At its most expensive you can get get 4 packets of Top Ramen for $1.00, so the idea of trying to pinch pennies by opting for the slightly cheaper variant is a little ridiculous. It’s not like Top Ramen is good to begin with, so the idea of finding something even less expensive is downright terrifying.

2) Pop Tarts

​Just like Top Ramen and Hot Pockets, Pop Tarts are so well branded there really aren’t any substitutes. With over 25 flavors to choose from, there’s no reason to stray from the tried and true. Opting to go off the grid and purchase a “Pop Up” instead is sort of like getting tired of dating a model and cheating with a pock marked uggo.

3) Kid’s Breakfast Cereals

​If not for your own benefit, at least think of the children. Beneath the exciting treasure trove of name brand cereals and beloved cartoon characters sit slightly staler bags of disappointment. When you’re a kid, advertising matters, and there’s absolutely no satisfaction in kicking off your day with a toyless knock-off. As an adult, it might not matter as much, but you’ve decided to indulge your inner child with a sugary treat, you should at least make sure you do it right.

4) Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

​It says “cheesiest” for a reason. It might be some low brow cookin’, but there is absolutely no substitute for Kraft Mac and Cheese. Auntie Annie’s, Pasta Roni, and even higher quality home cooked Mac and Cheese doesn’t give you the same nostalgic feel as the Kraft original. Plus, you feel pretty darn stupid cutting up a hot dog and adding it to something you paid more than a buck for.

5) Velveeta

​The second entry from Kraft Foods, Velveeta isn’t so much a cheese as a bizarre cheese-like product. But, when your only substitute is no longer branded, and merely referred to as processed cheese stuff, it’s hard not to spend the extra $1.50 and at least pretend you’re buying something moderately edible. Sometimes there’s no substitute for a well branded loaf of cheesy grossness.

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