one of the biggest wastes of money, in my opinion, is commercially packaged croutons. when you buy a bag of 'rocks', as my youngest always called them, you're getting like what, 6 slices of bread cut up? stale bread at that! do the math.
whenever salad is on the menu at our house, i'll pick up a loaf of day old bread from the day old rack at the grocery store if i don't have any at home. i like italian bread best, because of its texture, but i've used all different kinds, rye, pumpernickle, multi grain, toasting bread, even bagels for home made croutons. they're great on salads but also in soup!
it takes hardly any time to make your own, i cut and season mine and pop them in the oven while i'm making the rest of dinner. 20 minutes or so at 350 and they're done.
one loaf of day old italian bread cost me .59 today and made what you'd get in 3 of those bags that sell for close to $2.00 each.
after i season, i give them another good spray of oil and toss them into a 350 degree oven until they're golden brown. you can let them cool or toss 'em right into your salad warm, that's my favorite.