How to Eat Well for Less

Buy the best when it makes a difference, and fill the rest of your grocery cart with values.

View as Slideshow

Save on: Wine

Save on: Wine
Here's why: Consumers and wine experts liked inexpensive bottles—think Barefoot, Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw, Black Box—just as much as their pricey counterparts in a large-scale blind tasting.

Splurge on: Pasta

Splurge on: Pasta
Here's why: Generic and bargain-basement pastas often end up as a mushy mess. You don’t have to spend much more to get chefs’ picks like Barilla or DeCecco, which are used in top restaurants.

Save by buying: Everyday oil

Save by buying: Everyday oil
Here's why: When oil is going to be cooked, you can usually substitute vegetable or regular olive oil (even if the recipe calls for extra-virgin). High heat destroys much of the taste.

Splurge on: Extra-virgin olive oil

Splurge on: Extra-virgin olive oil
Here's why: Fifty percent of the olive oil sold in the United States may be adulterated with cheap filler oils. Ideally, taste before you buy, and check for a regional seal of certification on the bottle.

Content continues below ad

Save by skipping: Bottled water

Save by skipping: Bottled water
Here's why: That idyllic blue stream on the label likely has nothing to do with your drink: 49 percent of bottled water in the United States comes straight from purified municipal tap water. Instead, use a simple home filter.

Splurge on: Honey

Splurge on: Honey
Here's why: You don’t need to go for a wildflower artisanal blend, but carefully check the label. Often the cheap “honey” in a bear squeeze jar is mixed with corn syrup.

Save by skipping: Hamburgers

Save by skipping: Hamburgers
Here's why: Preformed frozen burgers cost more than plain ground beef—and you can make patties yourself in less than ten seconds each! Plus, E. coli might be more prevalent in the frozen patties.

Splurge on: Coffee

Splurge on: Coffee
Here's why: Consumer Reports’ two best supermarket coffees (Gloria Jean’s and Newman’s Own) cost about $13.50 a pound but scored significantly better on taste than $8-a-pound brands.

Content continues below ad

Save by buying: Frozen produce

Save by buying: Frozen produce
Here's why: It’s cheaper than out-of-season fresh produce and is also often higher in nutrients and better tasting because it’s frozen right after picking.

Splurge on: Chocolate

Splurge on: Chocolate
Here's why: One-dollar bars combine 20-plus ingredients to create a bar-shaped amalgam of brown chemicals. For $2 more, you could get real dark chocolate.

Save by skipping: Specialty baking mixes

Save by skipping: Specialty baking mixes
Here's why: Consumer Reports’ taste tests prove that Duncan Hines brownies are just as showstopping as ones made from pricier gourmet mixes.

Splurge on: Vanilla extract

Splurge on: Vanilla extract
Here's why: “Never use the artificial stuff!” says Susan Reid, editor of The Baking Sheet. “It has one chemical flavor note trying to make up for over 200 flavor notes found in true vanilla.”

Content continues below ad

Save on: Cheese

Save on: Cheese
Here's why: If you’re melting or mixing the cheese with other ingredients, go cheap! Save the $20-per-pound artisanal triple-crèmes for a special cheese plate.

Save by skipping: Light juices and light coconut milk

Save by skipping: Light juices and light coconut milk
Here's why: To make reduced-calorie versions of these products, companies simply add water (and maybe artificial sweetener or thickener). Buy the regular version and water it down yourself.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.