Easy Tips for Eating Vegan on a Budget

Want to know one of the most common objections that I hear regarding eating a vegan diet? "It's too expensive!" I call BS on that. Yes, it can be expensive if you buy fancy-dancy packaged (aka processed) vegan foods, but it doesn't have to be expensive at all. Beans, legumes, and grains - some of my dietary staples - are not expensive. You can trust me on this. I work for a non-profit, so yes, I actually use the strategies below every week! Read on for a few easy ways to save on groceries and stay on budget eating a vegan diet.

  • Buy in bulk. My favorite section in the grocery store is the bulk section. I take my own containers that are already labeled for my staple items, so it's easy peasy to refill them, and it's waste free. Just remember to have the clerk weigh the containers before you fill them!

  • Go light on the fancy pre-packaged stuff. This includes faux meats and cheeses as well as frozen meals. Pre-packaged basically means processed, which means you aren't following a whole foods, plant-based diet. I indulge once in a while, but these items are not staples, for me - and they can certainly be budget breakers!

  • Buy frozen. Living in North Carolina, I can't always get the vegetables I want fresh. Or even if the grocery store has them, they look just awful. Frozen fruits and vegetables are awesome for soups, smoothies, stir-fries, and more. (And hint: your local co-op might even have bulk frozen fruits, so you might be able to buy them zero-waste as well!)

  • Watch for sales and stock up! Even Whole Foods puts great stuff on sale sometimes (more so recently - thanks Amazon?), and that's when I stock up - especially on bulk and pantry items. My local co-op also discounts several bulk items each month, so I keep an eye on what's on sale and load up accordingly.

  • Look for generics, especially organics. The 365 organic brand from Whole Foods is one of my favorites - lots of organics, and the prices are great. Kroger has a line of organics called Simple Truth, but I don't have a Kroger in my area. If you do - check it out, for sure! Co-ops often carry Field Day organics, and they have a wide range of products. And sometimes Field Day products are on sale, so that's a real win/win!

I hope these tips are helpful and keep you on the vegan track. And if you're in the market for a book on this topic, check out Ellen Jaffe Jones' awesome book Eat Vegan on $4 a Day.

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