Food & Drink

The Most Overpriced Items at Your Grocery Store

Try avoiding these commonly overpriced foods and making a few simple items at home instead.
10/20/2014 04:08pm ET | Updated December 20, 2014

Even if you're not actively bargain-hunting, you probably don't want to spend more money than you have to at the grocery store. On the other hand, there's something to be said for convenience - which is why we're shopping at the grocery store and not buying a side of beef from a wholesaler or threshing bushels of wheat to grind into flour. But the grocery store can sometimes entice us with too much of that convenience. Foods that are partially prepared or packaged to save us time and trouble can be some of the most expensive at your local supermarket.

Has convenience gone too far? Where should we draw the line? That answer is probably different for everyone, depending on budget, skill level, available cooking tools, and the time required to cook an item. Some convenience products are wonderful for emergencies, but silly and expensive for everyday use. Some products that our grandparents would have thought of as luxuries have become staples. How many of us make our own jelly?

But if you're cooking every day, there are simple ways to trim the budget without too much fuss. Tackling some of the prep work yourself (like cutting up your own produce for a stir-fry), or making foods that don't require much cooking skill or effort but can be costly ready-made (do you really need to buy pre-mixed seasoned salt?) can really help you save money at the grocery store. With some sensible shopping, a little extra time, and - yes - a little bit more effort, you can shave dollars off of your grocery bill.

If you're looking for concrete ways to save money, try avoiding these commonly overpriced foods and making a few simple items at home instead.

Crème Fraîche
If you can find it, crème fraîche is packed in small containers and way too expensive. There’s no need to buy it: it’s easy to make at home, using heavy cream and buttermilk. Click here for a recipe.Photo Credit: ShutterstockClick Here to See More of The Most Overpriced Items at Your Grocery Store
Seasoned Salt
Most seasoned salts taste like salt because that’s the main ingredient. You’re paying a premium for a lot of salt mixed with a little bit of colorful paprika and a hint of other flavors. Make your own with plain salt and your favorite spices or seasonings. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Whipped Butter
It’s a little easier to spread, but you’re paying extra and getting less. If you prefer whipped butter, allow your butter to soften slightly on the counter before whipping it in an electric mixer. Photo Credit: ShutterstockClick Here to See More of The Most Overpriced Items at Your Grocery Store
Pre-Cut Produce
Who cut that pineapple, anyway? Were those mushrooms cleaned before cutting? Are all the bruises, dings, and dents cut off? You pay extra for pre-cut produce, but it goes bad faster and still needs a looking-over before using. Cut your own to save money and control quality. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Out-of-Season Produce
Sure, you can buy strawberries in December, but they are tasteless and overpriced. That doesn’t mean you have to subsist on potatoes and cabbages from your root cellar all winter, but be selective; sometimes a bag of frozen berries is a better bargain, and more flavorful, too. Click Here to See More of The Most Overpriced Items at Your Grocery StorePhoto Credit: Shutterstock


-Donna Currie, The Daily Meal

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