NEW YORK (CBS 2) — American families spend thousands on groceries each year, but financial experts say too often we pass up the savings that are right in front of us.

CBS 2’s Kirstin Cole took a quick shopping trip after being tipped off by a grocery store manager at Gristedes Markets and found savings of 29 to 63 percent on a variety of products, simply by switching brands.

“The best way to save money is still to go with a generic,” said Annamaria Andrioti of “You can save at least 30 percent, if not more.”

And with many store brands actually made by their name brand counterparts, lots of products really are the same. A recent Consumer Reports study even found that beyond the significant savings, many generics either met or exceeded their name brand counterparts when it came to taste and quality.

“They all have to pass rigorous inspections,” said Andrioti. “Most by the Food and Drug Administration.”

As for the savings that CBS 2 uncovered, we saved 54 percent by purchasing the Shop Rite version of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Brand name apple juice rung up at $3.99, but the generic is just $1.49 – that’s 63 percent.

A regular loaf of bread comes in at $4.19, but its store brand counterpart is $2.99, a savings of 29 percent.

Lastly, chocolate chip cookies: National brand for $4.89, while the store brand rung up at $2.79, meaning you save 43 percent.

And it’s not just the everyday staples that you’ll be saving on. The study found things like lightbulbs, batteries, ice cream and even wine can take a lot off your bottom line when you go with the store brand.

So why do some shoppers still pay more?

“I guess old habits die hard,” said Shaun Peknic, who was shopping in Hell’s Kitchen.

One shopper said it’s all about the quality when buying cleaning products, like paper towels.

“If it doesn’t work, you’re not saving money,” she said.

Still not sold? Most stores stand behind their brands offering customers a money back guarantee – which some shoppers see as money in the bank.

And store brands are not a trend that’s going away, as 93 percent of shoppers say they’ll keep buying them even after the economy improves.

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