Tips For Eating Vegan On A Budget
“Isn’t being vegan expensive?”
This is one of the most common myths I’ve encountered since coming to this lifestyle, and I’m here to prove it wrong!
When it comes down to it, plant-foods are almost always cheaper than animal foods, not to mention kinder to your body and the planet. Because of this, being on a budget is pretty easy to do if you’re vegan, but there are some extra tips to be aware of to save the most money possible.
Sometimes a switch to vegansim can inspire people to lead a healthier lifestyle and they may find themselves wanting to try some of the “superfoods” on the market. That’s awesome! I know I love them! But pricier superfoods aren’t imperative to achieve a balanced, vegan diet. Many of the foods considered to be staples in a typical, healthy vegan diet are very affordable – grains, beans, seeds, and legumes are all good examples.
Regardless of how you choose to structure your vegan lifestyle, here are some ideas to help you save money while you’re shopping!
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk is one of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store. Instead of buying canned beans or pre-packaged (and often over-packaged) grains, hit your store’s bulk bins for some real savings! You can get as much or as little as you want, and bulk items are cheaper because you’re paying for the food, not the packaging. So not only are you saving money, you’re saving the environment! Some great items to buy in bulk include: nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, flours, grains, dried fruit, snack items, and more expensive items (such as “superfoods”) that you’ve never tried before. Find out if you like them before you buy a larger package! Buying in bulk will also help save time, as you will not have to keep running back to the store week after week to restock your cabinets. I love to keep my bulk items in mason jars!
Stock Up On Staple Foods
Speaking of these wallet-friendly foods, no matter where you live, potatoes, rice, pasta, and beans are widely available, healthy, inexpensive, versatile, and delicious! You can do so much with these affordable staples when you learn how to create your own sauces, dips, and dressings to accompany them. You’ll be surprised at just how many mouth-watering vegan recipes you can make with these all natural and inexpensive items. Bananas are also a delicious and inexpensive diet staple!
Eat In Season
Fruits and veggies that are in season are always cheaper than those that aren’t – it’s as simple as that.
Cook At Home
As veganism, as well as overall health consciousness, becomes more popular in the U.S., more restaurants are offering plant-based options. However, these prepared meals come at a much higher cost. As with eating the standard American diet, prepared food will almost always be more costly than food you cook yourself.
Creating a weekly meal plan can help you organize your daily meals so you know what you need to get when you do your grocery shopping. Taking one or two days out of the week to prepare meals to take to work or to be able to grab on the go saves both time and money.
Shop At Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s markets have gained a bit of a reputation these days as many will associate them with hipsters selling artisan bread, craft beers, and over-priced preserves. Many towns, however, will have market days where you can pick up some serious bargains. Local produce tends to be cheaper because you don’t have to pay for the added markup of transporting the food hundreds or thousands of miles.
As a bonus, you may find that local produce that is not marked as organic, may actually be grown organically, and the local farmers just have not paid to get the “organic” stamp of approval from the FDA. Buying your food locally is a great way to help support your community farmers and growers, save money and be environmentally friendly, as well.
Stay Away From Trendy Packaged Foods
Besides the fact that they’re almost always ridiculously unhealthy, they’re also way more expensive than whole, unprocessed food. I’m not saying you should never eat these foods – everyone loves some good ole’ Kite Hill cream cheese or Gardein chicken, they just shouldn’t be staples in your diet, especially if you’re trying to save money!
Grow Your Own
Growing your own food not only allows you to save money, but it allows you to know exactly what is going into your food. I understand not everyone has the space or time to grow a full garden (like myself). However, starting off with a small pot of herbs on a windowsill can be very fulfilling and rewarding. Growing your own herbs will allow you to have fresh options to add flavor to your meals or beverages without having to constantly buy them.
Frozen greens, veggies, and fruits are far more affordable than fresh produce, and they’re even more nutritious because they are frozen at their peak ripeness. While buying frozen isn’t a tool we can use all the time, like when we want to eat fresh produce, it’s a great way to save money when making staples such as smoothies, soups, stir fries, and more! They also won’t go bad before you can use them!
Name brand products tend to be marked up just because they have a specific label slapped on their packaging, so opt for generic brands to save money without sacrificing quality. If you compare the products in a taste taste, there’s a good chance you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
What tips do you have for saving money on a vegan diet? Comment down below!