Going vegan is one of the most fulfilling things you can do with regard to your body. However, some people are worried that it will break their wallet and force them to change other parts of their lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how to be vegan on a budget, both when you’re shopping at the store and cooking at home.
1. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk saves money every time you go to the grocery store. First, make a shopping list of all the foods you’ll need over the next couple of weeks. Instead of buying individually packaged items, buy them in bulk, and save money. You’ll also reduce your number of trips to the market.
Certain foods are easier to buy in bulk than others. If you’re looking for vegetables, you might want to consider frozen ones that come in large bags and will last longer in your freezer. In order to buy grains in bulk, purchase the heaviest bags of rice, and store them in your pantry. The only downside to buying in bulk is the potential difficulty of storage, so set up your kitchen and methods of storage beforehand.
2. Compare prices
Before buying your foods, go online, and compare prices at various locations. Also, compare prices between different versions of the same item. While you might be tempted to grab the first one off the shelf at the store, doing a little bit of research really goes a long way. Downloading shopping apps on your mobile device can be really handy.
You can make multiple shopping lists simultaneously, allowing you to compare prices directly and go with the store that offers you the best deal. As prices change and items go on sale, update them with a push of a button, and maximize your savings.
3. Compare stores
Not only can you compare prices, but you can compare grocery stores as a whole. Different stores are known for different goods, and you’ll save a lot of money by buying the appropriate foods at the right stores. When you do go shopping, plan out an efficient route between these stores to save even more money on gas.
As mentioned below, vegan-friendly stores typically offer the best bargains out of them all. However, that doesn’t mean you need to exclusive patronize these shops. The vegetarian or vegan aisle at a regular grocery store often offers bargains that are just as amazing. When you do need more obscure foods, visit your local vegan store and bring along any coupons you have.
4. Organic or non-organic
Organic foods have pros and cons. On the one hand, they are very healthy and can add extra nutrients to your diet. On the other hand, they tend to be more expensive across the board. If you’re not particularly invested in the quality of your food, consider non-organic vegetables as a cheaper alternative. Another excellent option is to start your own garden in your backyard and grow a selection of greens of your choosing.
Because you will only be buying seeds and fertilizer from a gardening store, this is likely the cheapest option out of all the above. Not only will you pay a minimal price for your vegetables, but they will be fresh and devoid of pesticides.
5. Cook at home
While takeout meals are delicious and quick, they cost much more than home-cooked meals due to preparation. By cooking at home, you can enjoy the foods you like and at a much lower cost than dining out. Purchase ingredients by following the steps above and cook them as you want, when you want.
If you are following a vegan diet, this is especially relevant because it can be difficult to find vegan foods at a dine-in restaurant. Although most restaurants offer vegan options, this selection is usually limited and can even be out of stock. When you cook at home, you’ll know that there’s always something on the dinner table, usually at less than half the price of a takeout order.
6. Limit vegan substitutes
When you’re first starting off on your vegan diet, vegan substitutes might be your best friend. You know it’s vegan and full of nutrition. However, these substitutes often cost more than their natural counterparts due to processing. Limit vegan substitutes as much as possible in favor of fresh nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
In particular, if you are favoring high-end vegan substitutes, you could be paying over $5 per meal more than natural foods. Over time, this can lead to an unsustainable diet and a bad perception of veganism. Anybody who currently uses substitutes should compare costs over a month; you’ll likely be surprised at just how much you save with real foods.
7. Seasonal produce
Seasonal produce is a great way to find even more incredible savings. When you buy fruits and vegetables out of season, not only do they not taste as good, but their prices are higher due to supply and demand. No matter what month it is, there are always delicious fruits waiting to be consumed in the produce aisle.
This also introduces variety into your diet, providing new nutrients and recipes that you may otherwise be hesitant to try. If there is a bumper crop and the industry is thriving, visit your local supermarket for nearly unbelievable deals. In comparison to producing out of season, you could be saving up to 25% just by paying attention to the month of the year.
8. Vegan-friendly stores
Vegan-friendly stores are becoming more and more popular across the nation. These stores are dedicated to vegan products, and as a result, they offer lower prices than their counterparts. In addition, many feature daily specials and discounts, which compound even further to help keep your wallet intact.
As before, you can check online to compare their stock to that of major grocery chains and plan your shopping accordingly. Smart shoppers will sign up for membership and loyalty programs at these stores. If you’re committed to going vegan, you can revisit the same store every week and save as a loyal customer.
9. Tofu for lunch
Tofu is an incredible source of protein for vegans. Not only is tofu delicious, but it becomes inexpensive when you buy it in bulk. Anyone who says tofu is expensive either shops at the wrong marketplaces or buys a single package at a time.
Load up your refrigerator with bundles of healthy tofu and save your hard-earned money for more important things. Tofu is an excellent addition to stir-frys, salads, and appetizers. If you’ve ever considered switching to tofu as a source of protein, now is the time. Tofu prices have been low across the board in 2020, making it a great year to take advantage of this tasty superfood.
10. Pasta for dinner
Pasta is one of the most budget-friendly meals for dinnertime. Pasta is cheap and comes in many varieties. You can prepare different types of pasta such as macaroni or rigatoni and match these with sauces and vegetable toppings. Overall, you get a hearty meal for only pennies per bite.
Pasta is loaded with carbohydrates, which means a little goes a long way. While you would have to consume a larger quantity of other bread or rice to get your daily intake of starch, a smaller portion of pasta suffices. This further saves money due to the sheer quantity of food you need to purchase.
11. Pancakes for breakfast
Finding healthy, affordable foods for breakfast can sometimes be a challenge for vegans. One amazing idea is an alternative to traditional pancakes. Swap out milk for a plant-based alternative such as soy milk. This lets you enjoy homemade pancakes for a fraction of the price that an expensive breakfast eatery might charge.
Soy milk isn’t exclusive to pancakes either; it is overall a fantastic source of protein and fiber that can be enjoyed anytime. Moreover, the price of soy milk isn’t susceptible to large fluctuations like true dairy products. It is far more stable, and an inexpensive good that you and your wallet can rely on.
12. Cookie bars for dessert
Just like the pancakes, swap out meat-based ingredients in your favorite cookie recipes for plant-based ones. This will give the cookies a slightly different texture, a hardened one that resembles a granola bar. Thus, we call these creations cookie bars – tasty sweets that won’t break your budget for dessert.
In comparison to other sweet delectables, these bars require inexpensive ingredients that can be found at any nearby market. They will satisfy your sweet tooth without becoming a financial burden. Add fresh fruit on the side for a memorable snack and a good night of sleep.
With proper shopping, vegan foods can be inexpensive and delicious. By planning each meal ahead of time, you can get into vegan eating habits without the need to change other parts of your lifestyle. Follow the steps outlined in this post and enjoy the rewards of tasty, inexpensive vegan meals.