19. Bottled Water It’s a bad idea, anyway you look at it. It’s more expensive than the same thing coming out of your tap, which may be more pure. The bottles consume exorbitant amounts of fossil fuel to make the bottles and then transport them. They contribute to both the Pacific Garbage Dump and to the North Atlantic Garbage Dump.
If you have well water that is off-flavor or if you have an infant who needs to drink safe water, buy jugs of distilled water at big discount stores. A gallon costs somewhere between $.79 and $.99, considerably cheaper than one bottle of water.
20. Spice Mixes Check the label, and you’re likely to find that the first ingredient is salt followed by “herbs and spices.” Then check the internet for recipes for whatever spice mix you’re interested in and make your own from what you probably have in your pantry.
21. Powdered Iced Tea Mixes or Prepared Flavored Iced Tea Both are rip off$ full of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. To make a quart of iced tea, use 8 bags of black tea or 10 bags of herbal, green or white tea. You may want to skip the sugar all together and add fruit juice instead.
22. Salad Kits Washed and bagged greens cost about three times as much as buying the same amount of loose lettuce. Even more expensive is the kit that includes a few croutons and a small bag of dressing. Make your croutons out of toasted stale bread and your own salad dressing using extra virgin olive oil, proved to facilitate absorption of more vitamins and minerals from the salad than other oils.
23. Individual Servings of Anything Way too expensive. Buy the large bag or box of chips or cookies or crackers and parcel them out in individual, reusable storage bags.
24. Trail Mix Again, an overpriced convenience at $10 a pound. Make your own with a 1-pound can of dry roasted peanuts, 1 pound of raisons, a handful of almonds, dried fruit and candy coated chocolate. Or substitute your own favorites.
25. Snack or Lunch Packs They cost from $2.50 to $4.00 and contain only pennies worth of actual edible, salt-filled ingredients.
26. Pre-formed Meat Patties Much more expensive than the 10 seconds it takes to form a patty from bulk meat and put it on the grill. As most of the recent beef recalls because of e. coli have involved pre-made frozen patties, it makes more sense to make your own.
27. Gourmet Ice Cream Way too expensive at $6 a half-gallon. Either wait till it’s on sale or buy a less expensive brand and garnish with your own bits of chocolate or crushed cookies.
SOURCE: Reader’s Digest Slide Show