Most of the time I hear people saying that switching to a plant-based lifestyle would be too hard on the budget. They say switching to organic produce, whole grains and soy or seitan products is too expensive and they would not be able to afford it.
This is, however, untrue.
Most of the time switching to a plant-based lifestyle is actually contrary to what most people think. Especially if you live in a warm climate!
Here are 10 tips for going vegan on a budget!
1.) Garden, garden, garden! If you live in a warm climate you have access to fresh fruit and vegetables all year round! It is great if you have your own space, however this is not 100% necessary. Many urban areas have small plots that you can rent or have community farms. If you live in a cold environment, same goes. You just have to prepare for winter by having a greenhouse or canning/freezing your veggies.
2.) Shop at the Asian, Indian or Mexican food stores. Most of the time you can get rice, flour, other grains, beans or lentils at these stores for 1/3 to 1/2 price than you would pay at a regular supermarket. Most of the time they will be in bulk, for example 10 or 25 pounds of rice at a time, but much less than you would pay per pound elsewhere. Indian stores also have an excellent variety of lentils, many more than you can find at traditional or health food supermarkets.
3.) Don’t get too crazy on organic foods. If you have the money, great, go organic. Organic foods usually are better for you than conventional foods, however the prices are higher. It is always good to find out where the produce comes from, though. If it is near a field that used chemicals, chances are the same chemicals blew onto the organic stuff. Certain foods actually hold a good resistance to chemicals. Anything with a hard outside or thick skin is generally more resistant. Foods like strawberries, grapes, tomatoes and spinach are very delicate and absorb chemicals easily.
4.) Shop the farmers’ markets. Every city or town usually has a farmers market. And if you specific town doesn’t, chances are there is one close by that does. This is an opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables at a better price. The farmers don’t have to pay transportation or packages costs, therefore can pass the savings onto you. Plus, the produce is much fresher than in a supermarket.
5.) Online bulk companies. Many grains and flours are best purchase in bulk. If you are going to be eating a lot of quinoa, for example, it makes sense to buy it from a wholesale company who will give a discount for bulk pricing. It costs more on the front end, but pound for pound you can save a lot more.
6.) Cook it yourself. A lot of prepackaged things like vegan pizza or vegan cheese is really expensive. You can make the same dish at home for more than half of what it costs to buy it. A vegan pizza usually costs about 8-10 dollars in the store and it lasts one meal. However, a 10 pound bag of whole wheat flour (if purchased at the Indian store) costs about 10 dollars and you can make many, many, many pizza crusts with 10 pounds! Plus, if you have your own garden you have $0 costs (apart from seeds if you don’t keep them) to have veggies!
7.) Volunteer at an urban garden, ecology center or farm. Many times farmers or city greenhouses need an extra helping hand. In exchange for pulling up vegetables, trimming plants or hoeing the terrain, they will let you take a box of veggies home. Not only will you get fed, you will also get some sun AND exercise! Plus, the farmer will not have to pay someone for the labor. A win-win!
8.) Check which supermarkets discount the older produce. Many supermarkets will discount older produce before they are forced to throw it away. Things like avocados, bananas, zucchini, onions, lettuce, strawberries, and more can be found at very low prices. You may not necessarily be able to eat it super fresh, but bananas and zucchini work great for bread and avocados work great for guacamole!!
9.) Check store coupons for seitan, tofu and more! Many times manufactures have coupons that you can get directly from their websites. Usually you will not find these anywhere else except the websites! Check for any brands you’re interested in buying.
10.) Start a food share. People share everything else, like rides and apartments, why not food too? Get a group of friends together and instead of buying food, switch the stuff you have for something else your friends have!by