10 Easy Tips On How To Go Vegan And Stay On A Budget
According to One Green Planet, 7.5 million Americans are now vegan. This represents a 2.5% increase on 2009, which demonstrates that a vegan diet is rocketing in popularity.
There are reasons for this: Going vegan can help you lose weight quickly, improve your physical wellbeing, boost immunity, reduce your risk of developing cancer, and it’s 100% healthy and good for you.
But one of the questions that always comes from newbie vegans is “how do I manage to be vegan on a budget?”
It’s a good question because we’re often told how the “good stuff” is really expensive compared to junk food. The good news is that surviving as a vegan on a budget is totally doable and here are 10 easy tips that show you how to do just that.
Always Buy In Bulk
When I first went vegan, I made the rookie error of buying individual, prep-packaged goods. This is a big mistake when you’re looking to stay on a budget, and I soon dissevered this.
Most supermarkets have a bulk section where they keep their cereals, beans, grains and tins of vegetables. This is where you need to head if you want to keep costs down.
You could also get to know the produce manager so that he/she can keep you up to date on any price reductions and discounts.
Buy Store Brands
Lots of people give me a funny look whenever I tell them to buy store brands. They look at me as though I’m weird.
“Store brands are cheap and nasty,” they tell me with so much conviction in their voice.
But this just isn’t as black and white as it seems. Okay, store brands are cheaper – but that’s the point. And they certainly don’t always skimp on quality. Indeed, if you tasted store branded cereal and a popular brand cereal, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
In fact, you might even say that the store brand cereal tasted better.
They will certainly save you money!
Buy Frozen Foods
Fruit and veg can be frozen, and buying frozen foods means that you can buy a lot less than you ordinarily would. All too often we buy a bag of carrots, use two and throw the rest in the refuse before buying another bag a week later. When you buy frozen vegetables, you can use two now and use the rest whenever you want.
Go And Visit A Farmers Market
Lots of towns and cities now have regular or at least seasonal farmers markets where local farmers come to sell their wares.
You should definitely get down to one of these because you can save yourself a bit of cash. Farmers sell their products at lower prices than the big supermarkets, and they’ll most likely give you a discount if you buy in bulk, too.
Let’s say you’ve got some beetroot, cucumber and vegan cheese leftover in your fridge. These ingredients have been there for three days now and are coming close to their use-by date.
You’re probably ready to throw them all away because they surely don’t go together, right?
Wrong! Stick them all on a sandwich and add a dollop of the last remnants of your mustard, too.
Food can go a LONG way if you get creative and start exploring some more. You’ll be amazed at how far you can stretch stuff if you think outside the box a little bit.
Stop Eating Out So Much
There are a lot of trendy and hip vegan cafes and restaurants out there, especially if you live in a city. Although these places serve up some quality, tasty dishes, you should see them more as a treat now and then rather than a place to go for your every single meal.
Although the chefs might be able to do a better falafel burger than the one you bought from the supermarket, eating out all the time is going to cost a fortune. Learn how to cook the vegan way and you’ll save a fortune.
Grow Your Own Produce
No doubt, the most obvious way to save money as a vegan is to grow your own fruit and vegetables.
Now, this sounds really daunting at first but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Moreover, it’s really exciting and rewarding.
There are many places you can look online for tips on how to grow, sow and harvest your own produce, and you can e-books too.
All you need is somewhere to grow your produce, such as an allotment, and a little bit of know-how. Once you get into the swing of things, your grocery bill will plummet!
Bulk Out Your Meals With Beans And Rice
I used to overspend when I first became a vegan because I’d get really hungry between meals. So I spent a lot of my money on snacks in a bid to stay filled up.
And then I realised that I could just bulk my meals up with extra carbs and proteins via cheap beans and rice instead. I saved a fortune, and I was amazed at how far a bag of beans or a packet of rice lasts. Fantastic!
Always Plan Your Meals Ahead
I used to spend a fortune on food each week because I never planned my meals ahead. So what happened is that I wasted so much food – and money.
I’d buy vegetables such as spinach and never use the full pack. Or I’d open a bag of spinach on Monday and then want to use the rest of it on Friday, by which time it had gone black and slimy and I’d have to buy a second pack. This meant throwing half a bag of spinach in the refuse.
If you plan your meals ahead, you’ll be saving so much money and waste.
Avoid The Fancy Foods
A lot of vegan foods are really fancy and tasty and OMG I just want to eat it all right now.
But you can’t be a budget vegan if you’re very very weak.
My last piece of advice, then, is to avoid the fancy stuff and stick to the regular stuff. Hey, it’s still healthy and vegan.