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How to eat like a foodie on the cheap

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray is the author of the food blog Cooking with Books. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she has worked as an overnight bread baker in Colorado and a chocolate maker in Virginia. She currently resides ...

When to splurge, when to save

Eating on a budget doesn't have to mean stocking up on ramen packets and the macaroni and cheese that comes in the blue box. You can eat healthy, economical meals by following a few tips and tricks.
Woman cooking soup

Although the word foodie has started to annoy many in the food world, it's really the best word to describe someone who lives and breathes food. Focusing on the fact that most foodies love to splurge, we're showing you how to eat like one and still stay on a budget.

1

Eat more soups

A good soup can make or break the start of a meal. Even better, it can be an entire meal if you balance it correctly. Soups are a great way to focus on your budget because, with just a few ingredients, you can make a gorgeous dish. Take, for example, this curried butternut squash soup recipe: only four ingredients if you don't include the salt! Plus, it's ethnic-inspired, making it the kind of soup you order at your favorite Indian restaurant.

2

Buy inexpensive cuts of meat

One of the everlasting foodie trends on every restaurant menu is short ribs. You'd think they were expensive, but they are actually not. Any tough cut of meat is usually cheaper than the usual steaks because it takes time and effort to become edible. But it is so worth it. Whether you braise, roast or use your slow cooker, these inexpensive cuts of meat will be tender and juicy.

Korean short ribs

These drool-worthy Korean short ribs are
so tender they'll fall
off the bone.

3

Shop in bulk

Buying in bulk should be how you always buy the essentials like beans, rice, cereal and pasta. You'll purchase exactly what you need, when you need it. Stray from the usuals and purchase new-to-you beans and rices. Go for the brown whole grain rices as well as the uncommon types of beans that you never see anyone buying. They truly are delicious.

4

Get the store brand

Buying the generic brand is the smart way to go when shopping, especially when buying pantry items. We know most of us can't give up on our brand-name sodas, but you shouldn't even be drinking those!

tip

Buy generic seltzer waters and add homemade syrups to make your own sodas free of preservatives and artificial colors.

5

Spice it up

Using specialty spices in your cooking will give your food the boost of flavor it needs. But remember, there is no need to buy bottles of cumin, turmeric or anise seed when you can buy them by the ounce. Buying spices in small quantities keeps them fresh and allows you to just pay for what you really need. Shop for spices online at SavorX.

6

Foodie subscription boxes

Consider subscribing to one of the many foodie subscription boxes. They range in price from $10-$50, depending on the box, but let you discover new products at minimal cost. You'll be surprised at the fun, foodie brands on the market.

More on budgets

Tips for eating healthy on a budget
Dinner ideas for $10 or less
In a pickle: How to cook a gourmet meal on a budget

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