Today we’ve got an awesome and super interesting guest post from Emily from Conservation Folks. If you’re vegan and looking to save big bucks on food then you’ve come to the right place! Emily wrote a brilliant post that includes a ton of valuable tips for saving money on food while being a vegan!
Anyone who buys groceries knows one thing for sure: produce can be a budget-busting part of a shopping list. And, because a vegan lifestyle hinges upon a diet replete with fresh fruit and veggies, it may seem as though following an animal-product-free diet would therefore cost big bucks.
But it turns out the choice to go vegan doesn’t have to cause a budgetary crisis. So many meatless recipes cost less to whip up than their meat-centric counterparts — you just have to shop smartly for all the ingredients to save big.
How to Save Money on Food While being a Vegan
Follow the Grains, Green, Bean Format
One of the easiest ways for vegans to piece together a budget-friendly meal is to follow this simple formula: grains, green, bean. Start by cooking your healthy grain of choice, which could be quinoa, couscous or brown rice, for example.
Then, as the grain nears the end of its cooking time, throw in your favorite leafy green. As your spinach or kale wilts, finish your meal off with a helping of your favorite cooked bean. You can mix up the flavor with spices, salt, pepper or vegan-friendly sauces. But the base of your recipe will always be simple and cheap to put together.
Don’t Always Go Organic
Those who make the switch to a vegan lifestyle likely have concerns about the effect their food choices have on the earth. As such, you’re probably prone to pick up more organic products made without harmful pesticides.
But sometimes, even organically produced foods cannot protect you from harmful mosquitoes, insects and pesticides. You’re better off taking the time to clean every fruit and veggie you buy to make sure they’re pesticide-free, so organic isn’t entirely necessary. Simply mix together four parts water with one part plain white vinegar. Soak your produce for 20 minutes, then rinse and eat without worry that you’re consuming unnatural, unhealthy pesticides.
Say ‘Yes’ to Frozen Options
We’ve already covered the fact that fresh produce can be costly. Many people shy away from frozen foods because they fear they’re not as healthy as the fresh alternative, but that’s simply not true. Produce is often flash-frozen to preserve more nutrients. And, if you store your selections in the freezer, they’ll last longer than their fresh counterparts, which are notorious for going bad before you can use them all up.
Buy in Bulk
Many of your vegan dietary staples have a long shelf life. Grains, dried beans, seeds, nut butters… everything will last a while in your pantry. So, to save money, buy these items in bulk. If your local grocery store allows you to buy single portions of grains or beans from a bulk-buy section, that could be a budget-friendly option, too.
Use a Grocery-Shopping App
Smartphones are aptly named. They can simplify so much about your day-to-day life, including your weekly trip to the supermarket. By downloading an app like CheckOut 51, you can earn cash back on the shopping you would do anyway.
You’ll have to do a bit of prep to make the most out of your cash-back opportunities. By logging onto the app a day or two before your weekly your shopping trip, you can see which product will help put money back in your wallet. As you find vegan products you like, add them to your list. With that practice as part of a routine, you’ll be making money on things you’d buy anyway.
Grow Your Own
Because a vegan diet is plant-based, it’s a good idea to grow as much of your own produce as possible. Start with an herb garden, which is a simple project that thrives both indoors and out. Once you’ve got a green thumb, you can expand into growing your own vegetables and fruits.
With ample fresh produce on hand, you might have to get creative so all of it goes to good use. Learning to preserve, freeze and can your fruits and veggies will mean you have fresh options all year long.
Avoid Fad Foods
The staples of the vegan diet are nuts, fruits, vegetables and beans, not the pre-packaged vegan fad foods you can find at specialty grocery stores. And, although it’s nice to indulge in a vegan cookie, ice cream or premade burger patty every once in a while, you shouldn’t make these items the centerpieces of your diet. That’s because, most of the time, they cost much more than the food you can make yourself.
Enjoy Your Efforts
With this information in mind, veganism will become a much budget-friendlier way of life. Not only that, you’ll reap the many benefits of choosing an animal-product-free lifestyle, which will make all your planning and dedication that much sweeter.