Over the years, we’ve shared a lot of advice about the best ways to save money at the grocery store. From planning well ahead of time to buying generic over name brand items, there are plenty of ways to save. However, there are some things at the store that are worth spending on every now and then. Here’s what they are.
Avocados have a reputation as a food for millennials, but don’t sleep on these delicious nutrient bombs. They may be more expensive than other produce, but they’re also tasty and versatile. Use them in everything from pesto to guacamole to add some heart-healthy fats to your diet.
You might not think these make much of a difference, but it depends on the dish. If you’re finishing a dish with a sprinkle of basil or braising a roast with rosemary, you’ll get more flavor for your efforts with fresh herbs. But if you’re seasoning marinara sauce before letting it cook down for hours, you’ll probably be okay with dried herbs. If you don’t like the idea of buying little plastic packets every few weeks, consider planting your own. Herbs can be kept indoors year round, and with a small investment you’ll have a renewable source.
Cheese gets expensive fast, so it’s understandable to get generic blocks for everyday use. But for a dish where cheese is the star, it’s worth spending an extra few dollars to get the good stuff. A nice wedge of parmesan will take your cacio e pepe from okay to otherworldly in seconds. (Don’t forget to save the rind, either! Submerge it in red sauce and let the remaining cheese melt in to give your next pasta dish a boost, too.)
If you’re just using olive oil to grease a pan so meat doesn’t stick during cooking, you probably don’t need the highest-quality oil. But again, if oil is the star of your dish, it’s worth spending on. A good bottle of extra-virgin olive oil will add noticeable depth to a caprese salad or homemade salad dressing. You can even infuse it and serve it with bread for a simple but delicious side with dinner.
There are few things more delicious than chocolate, but not all chocolate is made equal. Inexpensive chocolate may be tasty, but it often contains lots of filler ingredients like added sugar, milk solids, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. If you like to end the day with a sweet snack (or are often struck by those 3pm cravings for something sweet) you might as well indulge yourself with a little luxury.
Ever wonder why office coffee tastes bitter and burnt? This isn’t just because it’s been sitting on the warmer for hours (though that may be the case). It also has to do with the quality of the beans. These days, you don’t have to go far to find good coffee, which is often available in your grocery store. These are definitely worth buying for the depth of flavor they’ll give your morning cup of joe.
There’s a reason fresh seafood is more expensive than frozen, and that’s because it has to arrive at your grocery store within a certain timeframe. Seafood contains tons of nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, so it’s worth saving room in your grocery budget if you can. Plus, you’ll definitely notice the taste if you buy fresh versus frozen seafood.