When last did you buy meat? How did it taste? Was it really worth it? Could you have used that money for something else, maybe like that new pair of shoes (with no animal by-products used in their making) or a shiny new piece of technology?
We have to face it. Buying meat and dairy is just too expensive. By buying seasonal fruits and vegetables (that haven’t been flown halfway across the globe), we can save money and we can save even more money by stocking up on vegetarian/vegan staples such as beans, rice and potatoes. Even if we’re buying “expensive” organic options.
Let’s break it down into ten easy steps to save money on a vegan diet
Bake your own bread. By doing something as simple as baking your own bread, using only vegan products of course, you can save yourself loads of money. Any bread that is unused can go into the freezer before it spoils and all it needs is a pop in the toaster and it’s ready to be eaten. No need to buy that expensive bread which isn’t that good for you anyway, make your own!
Buy in bulk. Many vegan staples such as grains, beans, rice and nuts can be bought in bulk and easily stored without spoiling. Sure, you may end up sleeping with ten bags of flour under your bed and using a bag of frozen peas for a pillow, but at least you’ll be cool during the summer, right? Estimates have shown that by buying in bulk, you can save a lot of money by eating vegan. Some estimates are as high as saving 35%.
Buy produce that is in season. Not only will this save you money, this will also make your life more exciting. It is well known that when people are first adopting a vegan diet, they battle to build a bank of recipes that excite them and are enjoyable to eat. If you buy produce that is in season, you save money because that produce hasn’t had to travel halfway across the globe just to satisfy your needs.
Often, this transported produce isn’t of great quality anyway – and besides humans weren’t meant to eat strawberries in the dead of winter. Think of the possibilities – grapes in the summer, pumpkin in autumn. Why not adopt a changing roster of recipes and food choices that are linked to the seasons?
Do not buy meat substitutes. As mentioned in the previous point, many new vegans/vegetarians battle to kick the meat habit. Unfortunately, meat substitutes such as vegetarian burger patties or vegetarian sausages are actually expensive. You can save money on a vegan diet by avoiding these choices, in fact, the chances are you are actually taking in enough protein through your other foods anyway and have no need to supplement it with these expensive substitutes. Once again, the fun part of this diet is finding exciting ways to get protein in different, healthy ways.
Choose cheap vegan snack foods. We all know that empty feeling in our stomachs just about halfway between meals, and if we listen hard enough we hear things like: chocolates! Potato chips! Sweets! Of course, vegans can’t partake in any of those snacks, but that doesn’t mean they can’t spend their money needlessly on vegan snacks such as dried fruit or nuts.
An easy way to get around this problem and save money in the vegan diet is to prepare snacks at home. Why not cut up some pieces of cucumber, carrot and red peppers along with some cherry tomatoes? Or make your own granola bars, where you can decide exactly what you’d like to go into them.
Prepare food in large quantities. Even if you’re living alone, it’s easy enough to cook enough of something that you can freeze it and keep it for another day. By having this quality, vegan food at hand, you can save money after a hard day when you can’t be bothered to cook. Just defrost some of your food that you cooked earlier and resist the temptation to spend money on expensive and unnecessary convenience foods which might not only leave a dent on your pocket, but may be unhealthy too.
Long-term health benefits also save us money. Being a vegan saves money in the short term, but being vegan can also save money in the long term. A healthier lifestyle overall ensures fewer visits to the doctor and less need for medicines. Saving money, being healthy and fewer annoying visits to doctors and not to mention a better quality of life – sounds great!
Start your own vegetable garden. The amount of achievement humans can feel when they grow their own vegetables, harvest them and eat them is huge. You can save money on a vegan diet by buying seeds and planting them. A packet of seeds costs next to nothing, when compared with how many potential plants and vegetables you can get from them.
Why not involve the whole family, get your kids involved and teach them about plants and biology? Pay attention to the seasons, buy the right seeds and plant them and care for them. In a few short weeks or months you’ll have farm-fresh vegetables ready to eat, as soon as you wish – just remember to wash off the dirt first!
Keep a price-check list. This may sound crazy, but something as simple as noting the prices of vegetables and vegan products can save you a lot of money. Once you know how much items generally cost, you can stock up on them when you notice a drop in price. It may seem like a little homework at first, but this can save a lot of money in the long run. Even writing an extensive shopping list can help you save money on a vegan diet. If you know exactly what you need you won’t find yourself splurging on unnecessary items.
Learn to cook and spend the time to do it well. We all know that convenience foods can be terribly expensive. And as mentioned earlier, they can be quite unhealthy too. On top of that, they often come with way too much packaging, more things to harm the environment. If you learn to cook and are not relying on store bought ready meals you can save money on a vegan diet.
Also, food that you cook yourself just tastes better than food bought at the store. As with growing vegetables, why not involve your spouse or your family? Cooking together can be a great bonding experience for couples and families alike, not just a way to save money!
As shown, vegan diets don’t have to be expensive, in fact, many people have found that once they start shopping wisely and making the right choices they really can save money on a vegan diet. The benefits are not only linked to health, but also linked to our pockets. No more expensive meat, clogging up our arteries and lightening our wallets. Instead we can fill ourselves with good food that makes us feel good, has less of an impact on the environment and really can save us money.