Eating vegan can be really expensive. There are so many specialty foods designed to be animal product free that you can spend a fortune on just a handful of ingredients. It can actually put people off the vegan lifestyle.
You don't have to spend a ton of money to eat well as a vegan, however. Let's take a look at some ways you can save money.
1. Make your own. It's convenient to buy flavored cashew cheese at the store, but did you know you can make your own really easily? It's worth setting aside a day every week or two to work on making your own sauces, cheeses, etc. You'll know precisely what is in them and you will be able to save a lot of money.
2. Don't eat out. Are you in love with the wraps at the new vegan cafe next door to your office? While it's fine to splurge once in a while, don't eat there all the time! You will save a lot of money by simply packing your own lunch. Wraps and salads tend to do very well in a lunch box.
3. Grow your own herbs. A window box is all you need to have basil and thyme growing in your kitchen. If you have a bit more space, you might want to go ahead and plant some simple veggies, like chiles, tomatoes, radishes, etc. Growing your own can really make a difference in the grocery bill over time.
4. Barter. This is something that I've learned over time. The farmer's market is often full of delightful produce, but it can be really expensive. What I like to do is see if the vendors are up for bartering. You can trade any skill or product that you produce yourself (like your vegan cheese from point one!) for fresh goodies.
5. Avoid the fancy stuff. Oh, there's all kinds of fancy food that you might want to try, but for every day eating, you're better off sticking to basics. In fact, you can fill up quite nicely with regular food. Get the fancy stuff as a treat from time to time, but don't eat it every day.
6. Shop at the grocery store. Specialty stores rack up the prices on you, so if you're just getting brown rice and dried fruits, you are much better off shopping at the local supermarket instead of a specialty shop.
7. Eat more beans. Legumes of all kinds are very healthy food. You'll find that they can really fill you up, too. Add to this the fact that they are a healthy form of protein, particularly when mixed with a grain and you have the perfect budget food.
8. Share food. Not sure if you can pull off a loaf of vegan bread? Find a friend who can and swap some soy cheese for her bread. You can even set up a group where everyone makes a specific kind of food each week, enough for everyone and then you all share it.
9. Buy seasonal and local. Your farmer's market is probably going to be the best option for fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, but even in the supermarket, you'll save money by opting for produce that doesn't have to be imported or grown out of season. You can also freeze fresh produce for use later in the year when it will be far more expensive to purchase fresh.
10. Menu plan. Having a menu in mind for each day of the week will ensure that you only buy what you really need. You won't have as much food waste, which will save money in the long run.
What are your tips for budget eating on a vegan diet?
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