I have had a few people tell me that they would change their lifestyle to be vegan if it wasn’t so expensive.
Well, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to cost you loads of money to maintain this diet!
All it takes in some effort. People seem to be in a rush all the time. They need the fastest solution right away. I feel that is why our society is so unhealthy. It takes more effort to prepare your own food than to order take out. However, the quick fix is usually not the best option. Giving your body what it needs requires some time, but I feel as though that time is completely worth it. I mean, what else is more important, really, than taking care of this body you were given?
Marty and I have chosen to live as minimally as we can. After using a lot of our money to move across the country, we are getting back on track and saving as much as possible. The only things we spend money on are our bills and our food. We are both passionate about food and love eating. This has gotten us in trouble in the past, as we end up buying WAY more than we need. Now, we seemed to have a system down and I would like to share that with you.
Here are some tips on how to shop as a vegan with a budget:
I love making lists. It keeps me organized and my mind less cluttered. I also love the satisfaction of crossing off a task when I’ve completed them.
Grocery lists are no different. I see recipes online all the time that I want to try and it can become overwhelming. When I write out a list, I can see if I’m going to go over my budget or if I’m going to be purchasing a lot of items that I will only need for one recipe. If that’s the case, then I take it off the list. I want to be buying items that I can be using for a variety of different meals or snacks, not just one.
I also organize my list by store. We shop at a few different groceries stores in order to get the best deals and the different brands we like. The list may look daunting, but when you write out everything you need at each location, it always seems doable.
2. Stick to the Essentials
There are so many amazing vegan recipes out there, and I want to try them all. But this can really raise your grocery bills. When writing your list, start with all the essentials. Things you know you want to eat every day for the week. For me, that would include bananas, dates, nuts, frozen fruit for smoothies, fresh produce like tomato, spinach, cucumber and zucchini and almond milk. This will take care of my smoothies, my dinner of vegetables and snacks in between.
Now that I have these listed, I will continue with some other items that will add to my essentials or are part of a recipe I want to try. For me, that might include sweet potatoes, oats, beans, hummus and maybe veggie burgers. Once we have all these things in your cart, you can assess if you really need anything else.
I also advise you to not over do it with meat substitutes. Every once and awhile, we will crave a huge, loaded veggie burger. However, we both like to stick to meat substitutes that don’t have a processed ingredients or soy. There are a few brands that use sunflower seed or nuts instead and they are equally as delicious! Remember, being vegan is more than just what you “can’t” eat anymore, it’s about health and giving your body the best of the best. Meat substitutes are great, but I recommend only indulging occasionally. This will also keep your grocery bill down.
3. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
This is crucial for Marty and me, as we are obsessed with eating. If we go into a store full of food and we are starving, we know we are going to spend a ridiculous amount of money. It’s happened many times before. Now, we go out of our way to make sure we are properly fed before grocery shopping. When you are starving, your body craves whatever will satisfy this hunger the fastest. This is usually carbs. You will probably come home and wonder, “Why did I buy so much bread? Were these cookies really necessary?” Maybe that’s just me…Be advised: Eat before shopping.
4. Shop Local
If you are fortunate enough to have a farmers market in your area, take advantage! We save a ton of money by buying our produce from our local market. Not only are they delicious and way better than the grocery stores fruits and veggies, they have a higher possibility of being organic. I have a special spot on our grocery list for all our farmers market needs such as tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, plums, grapes, berries, and spinach. We buy enough of these things to last us a week and it usually amounts to about only $40.
5. Trader Joe’s
This is a whole category of its own because Trader Joe’s is that amazing. Not only do they guarantee that none of these food contains GMO’s, they also have super affordable prices. Items like bananas, dates, oats, beans, nut butter and raw nuts, sauces, tea, potatoes, mushrooms…they are all in our price range and the cheapest I have found so far. And they are good quality, which is the most important. Marty and I do the bulk of our shopping here. We on average spend about $100-$120 for a little over a week’s worth of groceries. Seriously, if you have not been to Trader Joe’s do yourself a favor and check it out!
6. Look for Deals
This may seem obvious but I decided to include it. This week, at Whole Foods, they were having a sale on kelp noodles. If you read my previous post, you know I made an amazing raw pad thai dish with kelp noodles and that I was obsessed with how delicious it came out. Now, I have the option to make the dish again this week. This helps me plan my meals as well. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with what to pack for work or what to make for dinner. By sticking to whats on sale, I can elevate this feeling and prepare whatever I have in my fridge.
I firmly believe you can be vegan on a budget! We spend an average of $160 on food per week. We split this cost down the middle.
You will be saving so much money by not buying cheese, meat, and eggs! Then that money can go toward buying wholesome, live food like produce. I eat delicious meals every day. I am never starving, I am never unsatisfied by what I eat. I look forward to grocery shopping every week! I love seeing my refrigerator and counter tops filled with life-giving foods that I have the privilege of eating every day. If you want to change your lifestyle, you have to commit and take the time. Once you have your rhythm, it won’t feel like a chore. It will be something you look forward to. I want everyone to take pride and have excitement for the goods things they are doing for their body!
Life is a journey and I love what I have learned so far.
Have a happy, healthy day!