How to Eat Vegan on a Budget
Are you interested in going vegan, but worried that it will eat away at your bank account? If so, you’re not alone. But what many people don’t realize is that going vegan can be a real money-saver when done thoughtfully. In fact, research shows that not eating meat can actually save you up to $750 a year! So, if you want to enjoy these savings, this guide on how to eat vegan on a budget will introduce you to some easy, money-conscious strategies.
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Cook Your Own Vegan Meals
Vegan or not, dining out and ordering takeout can get expensive. The average American spends over $200 every month eating meals that weren’t prepared at home. That said, it’s not surprising that the best way to save money is to focus on making your own vegan meals.
One of the best ways to do this is to meal prep. When you prepare your meals for the week in advance, you’ll be less inclined to eat out. Whether you pay for a meal planning service or do all of the planning yourself, you’ll certainly save time and money.
That’s not to say you should never eat out. There are benefits to that too, like supporting your local vegan restaurants and businesses. Even if you cut the number of times you dine out or order takeout in half, you’ll still save a lot of money.
Keep It Simple
Vegan dishes don’t have to be filled with a variety of expensive ingredients to taste great. In fact, making your own vegan meals doesn’t have to be complicated at all. The simplest dishes such as a grain bowl or salad are often the most satisfying. These can be made with minimal ingredients and items you already have on hand, which is great for cutting back on spending. Remember, simple also doesn’t have to mean boring. You can always spice things up by adding different seasonings, sauces, or dressings to a meal.
Shopping at specialty, vegan-friendly stores may be convenient, but it’s not always the cheapest option. Most vegan-pantry staples like beans, grains, and produce can be found at any chain grocery store for a much more affordable value. You can also find fantastic food bargains at international markets. Many of their products—especially produce—tends to be less expensive than Western grocery store chains, and you’ll also find a lot more variety. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and shop around at a few different stores in search of the best deals.
Only Buy What You Need
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail — and shopping for groceries is no exception. If you’re trying to eat vegan on a budget, only buy what you need to create your favorite dishes. The best way to do that is to create a detailed grocery list and stick to it.
If you recently transitioned to a vegan diet, you might be tempted to buy every vegan item you can spot. However, with some careful planning and research upfront, it’s easy to find meals you’re sure to love and purchase only the ingredients they require.
In addition, as a general rule, you should never shop when you’re hungry. Doing so can lead to a lot of impulse buys and a higher grocery bill.
Stick with Vegan Staples
One of the main reasons people believe it’s expensive to go vegan is because items like vegan butter, non-dairy cheese, non-dairy ice cream, and meat substitutes often come at a price. But these aren’t the only foods that make up a vegan diet.
Purchasing fresh produce that’s unprocessed is healthy, delicious, and very cost-effective. To save even more on produce, simply avoid buying pre-cut fruits and veggies that charge a price for convenience. Other vegan staples such as grains and beans are also extremely affordable. While specialty vegan items are nice to have on occasion, it may become expensive if they make up a large part of your diet.
Buy in Bulk
Buying foods like oats, grains, nuts, and seeds in bulk is usually less expensive than purchasing individual, pre-packaged foods. However, don’t assume that every bulk bin is always cheaper. To determine which product is less, look for the price per unit. This will tell you the exact cost per ounce or pound. In addition, you don’t have to limit yourself to the bulk products available in-store. There are plenty of websites that offer great deals on bulk food items and pantry staples.
Eating fruits and vegetables when they’re in season has its benefits, especially for your wallet! Fresh produce is cheaper when it’s in season because it’s more abundant. Plus, seasonal produce tastes better and has more nutrients.
It’s also a smart idea to shop local! When you buy produce that’s grown locally, like from a farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the travel and storage expenses are less, which reduces production costs.
Want to freeze your spending? Then consider buying frozen produce! Some people think that frozen produce isn’t as nutritional as fresh produce, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness, which is when they’re most nutritious. Once they’re harvested, they’re cleaned, cut, and frozen within a few hours, which preserves the nutrients.
In addition to having a near-identical nutritional profile to their fresh counterparts, frozen produce can save you time, because all the trimming, washing, and chopping is already done. Plus, the shelf life is much longer, so you’ll never have to worry about throwing away old produce that you never got around to eating, hence saving you money.
Visit Beyond Sushi in NYC
We hope this guide on how to eat vegan on a budget assists you! However, when you become tired of cooking at home, choose Beyond Sushi as your vegan restaurant of choice. We’re best known for our innovative, plant-based offerings and globally-inspired menu that will leave a lasting impact on both your palette and the planet. Dine in with us or order takeout or delivery today!