Let’s face it - choosing to eat real, high quality food often comes with a hefty price tag. Whether you’re a student, living that start-up life, or trying to save up for the future, the amount of money spent on food likely makes up a sizable amount of your budget. Did you know that the average American household spends over 10% of their budget on food? While it’s tempting to turn to fast food or processed junk as a way to save a few bucks, we’re firm believers that it is still possible to each rich on a budget. Read on for a few easy hacks that can take your meals from bad to boujee.

Tip #1: Reduce Food Waste With Proper Storage

Crazy enough, Americans throw away a whopping 40% of their food every year. Reduce your food waste (and save some money in the process!) by making sure you store your food properly. Refrigerate your produce to help it stay fresh longer, and extend the shelf life further by only washing your fruit and veggies once you’re ready to eat them. You can also extend the shelf life of perishable items like milk, yogurt, and bread by storing them in the freezer.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead

Although it may seem like a hassle, the 15 minutes you spend meal planning could save you $15 or more! Just like they say never go to the grocery store hungry, we believe you should never go grocery shopping without a gameplan. Take inventory of your fridge and pantry before going to the store so that you only purchase the items you actually need. For the tech savvy shoppers, check out meal planning app like $5 Meal Plan, Plan to Eat, and Pepperplate.

Tip #3: Embrace Ugly Fruit

You can also save big on your produce by embracing the “ugly fruit” trend. Unfortunately, many grocery stores reject a substantial percentage of fruit and vegetables grown because of minor imperfections like bruises or discoloration. There’s nothing wrong with this “ugly” produce, and it still has the same nutritional value as the fruit you see in stores. Save money and help reduce food waste by supporting companies like Imperfect Produce that deliver “ugly” fruit and vegetables right to your door!

Tip #4 To Go Organic Or Not?

In a perfect world, we’d all eat eat 100% organic, locally grown food purchased directly from our local farmer. But the reality is that shopping for organic fruits and vegetables can be pricey. So, if you’re looking to save money, we recommended choosing organic only when shopping for fruits and vegetables that fall under “the dirty dozen”. The dirty dozen includes items commonly treated with pesticides, such as strawberries, spinach, nectarines, peaches, and apples. Pesticide contamination is less of a concern for items with a thick skin (like bananas and avocados), so no need to upgrade to organic with those items.

Tip #5: Bag Up Those Leftovers!

Didn’t finish everything on your plate while eating out? Don’t be afraid to ask for a to-go container. Those leftovers will be perfect for lunch tomorrow so there’s no need to buy another overpriced salad.