Being a young adult means that money is tight. As we climb ladders and work our ways up to a dream job, most of us won’t be comfortable until at least our thirties. This means we all have to watch out for those little impulse buys that tank our budgets. And unfortunately, one of the biggest things that we are are guilty of spending money on is food.

While food is certainly a necessity, it’s rarely ever given a proportionate spot in our budgets. We all like to splurge on eating out, which is fine within reason, but that’s likely not the case. So the only way to improve our budgets is to make more meals ourselves. Now I know what you’re thinking- “But all the healthy food that tastes good is very expensive!” Trust us, that’s just a myth. When you know where to look, you have plenty of options for a cheap, healthy, and delicious meal.

Here are some useful tips for cutting down on the amount of money spent on food, while also keeping your happy and healthy:

Buy Frozen Veggies

Fresh vegetables are undoubtedly the best form of veggies, but that doesn’t mean that frozen ones aren’t also good. Frozen vegetables last way longer, and you can just pull them out of the freezer and use them whenever you feel the need. Whereas fresh veggies are usually more expensive and less convenient, as they spoil much faster. If they happen to go bad before you’ve used them, that is a waste of your money. Definitely stock up on some frozen veggies to save money long term, since you can hardly tell the difference. Your freezer should contain carrots, peas, broccoli, or whatever your favorite vegetables are, as they’ll make a great side for virtually any dinner.

Make Soup

Don’t underestimate the power of a great soup. These are not only among the cheapest meals out there, but they’re always very good for your soul. One spoonful of your favorite soup is sure to warm your heart. It’s also very cost-efficient, as canned soup is a great investment that can last a long while.

They’re also a great last-minute meal for your items on the way out. Soups are great for reducing food waste because you can put pretty much anything in your fridge into a soup. If things are on the brink of expiration and there’s a large number of items in your fridge that you need to use quickly, make a big pot of soup. Then you could always freeze the amount that you don’t want to eat now so that you can feed yourself later.

“Soup is a quick, hot meal that offers plenty of health benefits. You can throw a variety of ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning before you leave for work or school and return home to a delicious meal in the evening… You can use up leftovers in a soup pot and create new variations of favorite recipes, since soup lends itself to experimentation.”


Freeze your Coffee Grounds

If you’re a coffee drinker, it should be obvious that Starbucks and other coffee shops are a strict taboo. Those daily overpriced drinks will burn a hole in your wallet. If you need coffee, it must be brewed at home. But then some problems may arise. Did you know that coffee goes stale after about two weeks? And don’t you notice that your coffee tastes better when you first open it? You may notice that it gradually starts tasting worse somehow, and that’s because you’re not freezing it.

Keeping your coffee in the freezer drastically slows the process of the coffee going stale. It also doesn’t ruin the texture of the grains, or freeze it into a giant brown block. The coffee retains its shape and its freshness for the longest possible time in the freezer. This is definitely worth it if you don’t go through your coffee too quickly.

Make Banana Bread

Bananas last maybe less than a week before they go bad. But thankfully that doesn’t mean you should throw them out, as there’s quite a few ways to utilize them once they’re overripe. You could always peel them up and make some delicious smoothies. But if you really want something special, you should mash them up for banana bread. With just a few more standard kitchen items, you can easily make a delicious cake-like bread perfect for any desert. There’s also countless different ways to spice them up, including chocolate chips, strawberries, cinnamon, peanut butter, and anything else you wish. Though if you don’t always feel like eating them, these also make great gifts for friends and neighbors.

“By the early 1930s, banana bread recipes — using mashed bananas as the main ingredient, rather than banana slices as a garnish — had become ubiquitous, appearing in cookbooks from Better Homes and Gardens, Pillsbury Flour, the United Fruit Company (a chief banana importer), and more.”

-King Arthur Baking

Make the Most of Your Inventory

Have you ever purchased a lot of items for your pantry or freezer, just to forget about them and never eat them? If that’s the case, that’s a major hole in your budget. Instead, you should keep track of everything you own, and make a ledger for all the food at your house. Write down what it is, what meal it should be used for, and its expiration date. This’ll make it much easier to plan and utilize your stock. And as for those dreaded expiration dates, take them with a grain of salt. Next time you have some milk that expires today, smell it before deciding it spoiled. You never know when you can still get some mileage out of your items.

So there you have it. These are just some of the ways to build a better, cheaper diet that’s sure to improve both you and your wallet. It’s a win-win all around.

Are you interested in more ways to make affordable, healthy meals?