How to Eat Well on a Budget in Orange County

March 15th 2015
The easiest way to save money on food is by buying groceries and cooking at home.

Depending on the area, living in Orange County can be a pretty pricey place to live. One way you can trim the fat from your budget is by being frugal about how you eat. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't eat well … quite the contrary. Follow BRE's tips in this guide, and you'll eat well and have extra money in your pocket, too.

Dining out on a budget

Orange County's food truck scene is pretty awesome, not to mention affordable. Locals call out The Burnt Truck, Kogi BBQ, The Viking Truck and Dogzilla. Try out the trucks in your neighborhood – you're bound to find some delicious meals that won't break the bank.

Food carts aren't the only game in town for cheap meals that stick to your ribs. Try giving some of your small local diners a shot, too. See which ones garner high acclaim on review sites online, and make it a point to check out a new one every time you feel like a made-to-order meal.

Popular daily-deals sites can make dining out extremely affordable, and chances are good you'll end up finding some new favorites you'll want to revisit.

Grocery shopping on the cheap

Going out to eat is great: You don't have to do dishes, and you can experience food from all over the world, just a few short blocks from your home. But if you really want to save money, cooking at home is the way to go.

To stretch your food budget as far as it will go, fill your grocery list with foods that pack a lot of nutritional wallop for the money. Superfoods like spinach, quinoa, oats, oranges and yogurt are a few examples. Skip the processed snacks and sugary treats, trading up for roasted nuts from the bulk section, or a few pieces of fresh fruit.

Be sure to check out your local farmers market for the best deals on produce. They have a reputation for being expensive, but they've gotten a lot cheaper over the years, in part because they cut out the middleman.

You might not have room for a vegetable garden in your apartment, but you can probably find space for some small herb planters. Nothing pulls a meal together like fresh herbs and spices.

Keep an eye out for coupons, but don't be tricked into buying things that wouldn't normally find their way into your cupboards just because they're on sale.

With some careful research and shopping, living in Orange County doesn't have to be as costly as one may think. Check out our Orange County communities to learn more about BRE's apartment living in OC.