Skip: Aged cheeses, such as Gouda and manchego.
Opt for: Fresh ricotta, mozzarella, or Feta. These cheeses are more perishable, but less time and milk are required to make them, so you’ll find quality choices starting as low as $5 a pound or so—nearly $10 less than many aged cheeses, says Ariel Kalishman Walsh, a cheesemonger at Saxelby Cheesemongers, in New York City. Enhance the flavor of ricotta with a drizzle of honey, then serve with crackers. Or make toothpick kebabs with cubes of fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and fresh sage.