Going vegan can be a great thing to do for your health and for the planet. Making this major transition in daily meal routine doesn't have to be difficult - or expensive. In fact, it is entirely possible to be vegan while sticking to a budget. Here's how to do just that. Follow some or all of these tips for maximum success and enjoyment.
Enjoy cooking and eating at home
Eating at restaurants is almost always more expensive than dining at home, whether you are a vegan or a junk food junkie. Learn how to cook and meal plan. If necessary, take some cooking classes online or at a local cooking school. You will probably soon discover that cooking is an enjoyable, relaxing hobby. You may even be surprised at your ability to put together beautiful and delicious menu items. Many meal components actually don't require any cooking and are easy to prepare. These include smoothies, salads and green juices.
Shop at lower-priced stores
Being vegan does not automatically mean you will be shopping at the higher-end, ultra-expensive local stores. In fact, there are many places to get great prices and take advantage of sales. Consider lower-priced local stores, whether they are national chains, warehouse clubs or small shops. Think outside the box. Even try going to nearby international and ethnic stores for great bargains on your grocery list items. Also remember that there are many places to purchase vegan foods online, so get to know the websites that provide excellent options at equally great prices. As you're working on sticking to a budget for food buying, think of other ways to save money too. This includes auto insurance, television providers, and other expenses. For example, look into getting cheap auto insurance quotes, and maximize your money savings even further.
Buy from local sources
Even better than buying vegan food at lower-priced stores is buying directly from the source. That is, look into buying from your local farmers either directly or through farmers' markets. Most cities, large and small, offer these markets that take place at least once per week throughout much of the year. CSAs (community-supported agriculture) are also sources for buying local and saving huge amounts of money on fresh produce. A bonus to buying from local sources: You are helping to support the operations of nearby farmers while increasing sustainability by cutting down on the fuel usage and costs required to transport food from producer to consumer.
Buy food items in bulk
Purchasing foods that are on your grocery list in bulk will typically be less expensive than buying in smaller quantities. In fact, the price per pound can be drastically lower when bulk buying. So look into getting nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, beans, olive oil and more in bulk. If you don't have many people in your household or don't have enough space to store large quantities of food items, consider going in with a friend or neighbor to buy in bulk. Your local food co-op store is a key place to buy in bulk.
Get your garden growing
Probably the least expensive way to eat vegan is to grow some of your own food. Even if you don't have a large yard, you can still grow some things like lettuce and tomatoes. If you have more property, you can grow fruit trees and a large vegetable garden. If you live in an apartment, start a lovely container garden on your balcony, sprout garden on your kitchen counter or herb garden in your living room.
Being vegan doesn't have to be synonymous with breaking the bank. With these tips in hand, you will likely find that you are able to both stick to your eating plans and stick to your budget too. Start with incorporating one of these strategies to your food shopping routine, and then gradually add another of the tips.