There’s a common myth going around that the vegan diet is expensive. And while that is possible, the vegan diet can also be the cheapest diet out there. Knowing which foods to buy, where to shop, and what to avoid will make it easy for you to eat vegan on a budget.
Whether you’re a penny-pinching college student, a broke young professional, or you just want to watch your budget, you’ll be able to thrive on a vegan diet using these simple tips to save you money.
Stock up on the cheapest staple foods
Bananas, Potatoes, Rice – these foods should be your staples, the bulk of your food intake. They are some of the cheapest foods in the grocery store.
At Trader Joe’s you can buy bananas for 19 cents each. If you were to eat a 2,000 calorie diet of just bananas, that would cost you $3.80 per day! Let’s be reasonable though, you’re not going to eat only bananas. Throw in some potatoes at $1.69 for a 3lb bag.
You can’t beat the prices for these staple vegan foods, so stock up and get creative in the kitchen.
Buy in bulk
You’ll be eating larger quantities of food to make up for the fact that plants aren’t as calorie dense as animal products, so a great way to save money is to buy in bulk.
If you have a Costco membership, this is a great place to start. Stock up here on fresh fruits and veggies and frozen fruit for your smoothies.
If you don’t belong to Costco, talk to your grocer to see if you can work a bulk discount. Farmer’s markets also sometimes offer bulk discounts, though you’ll want to compare the final cost to what you would pay for smaller quantities at the grocery store. It may not be cheaper.
Eat at home
I know…this sounds boring. But trust me when I say there are some amazing recipes out there that will rival any over-priced restaurant meal.
$10 for avocado toast you can make yourself for $3.00! $15 for spaghetti marinara that you could whip up for $5.00?! Save big by making it at home.
Pick any meal you love to order out and try your hand at cooking it yourself. You can also find some simple, easy-to-make recipes on my blog that use staple ingredients you won’t buy just to use once. As an added bonus, when you eat at home, you can make your food exactly they way you like it.
Stay away from processed vegan foods
This is why veganism gets a bad rap about being an expensive diet. Processed vegan foods like vegan “meat”, vegan “cheese”, vegan “egg”…basically anything that is imitating an animal product is going to be pricey.
The industry is relatively new so processes for producing these types of foods is still pretty expensive. At the same time, it seems that as soon as you slap the word “Vegan” on something, it doubles in price.
A better idea is to buy plant foods and use spices and seasonings to create your own variation of these foods.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to live on Cup Noodles. Eating cheap on a plant based diet just takes a little knowledge, investigation and creativity.