It doesn’t matter how high or low your salary is, chances are you don’t want to spend $250 on groceries every week, right? There’s better things your money could be going towards, so why waste it on food?
The good news is that the myth that eating vegan means you’re rich is, well, just that — a myth.
The fact is, you can stretch your grocery money as a vegan, and even spend less than your average carnivore does each week.
Buy In Bulk
As a vegan, you’re already eating plenty of grains. Lentils, rice, barley, you name it. Think about what those items have in common: one bag can last for weeks.
This is what is referred to as buying in bulk, and it is vital to saving money on groceries.
Items to look out for include:
- Quinoa – $3.68 for 16 oz.
- Rice – $0.82 for 1 lb.
- Beans – $0.98 for 15.25 oz.
- Lentils – $1.44 for 16 oz.
- Rolled Oats – $1.54 for 16 oz.
- Dried Fruit – $1.98 for 7 oz.
Products like this last a long time, keep you full, improve your overall health, and keep more of your money in your pocket. The best part is that because they last a long time, you don’t need to get these on a weekly basis. You can get away with purchasing these once a month, maybe even two!
Note, the prices above are reflective of Walmart the beloved grocery store known for selling brand name products at half of what you’d pay at stores like Whole Foods. That is not to say you should only be shopping at Walmart, but more on that later (see below).
Freeze What You Can
Here’s something else every vegan is guilty of, especially starting out: letting fruits and vegetables go to waste. In the grocery store, it’s easy to overestimate how much you need for the week. And that means there’s plenty of food waste.
That’s directly contradictory to the vegan lifestyle! Not to mention terrible for your bank account.
Here’s what you should be doing:
- Chopping up fruits like bananas, peaches, strawberries, etc. putting them in glass containers, and storing them in the freezer. This helps reduce waste, and ensures that whatever you don’t eat that week gets eaten the following week. It helps to label each container with a date, just to keep track of what to eat first.
- Chopping up vegetables and freezing them in containers as well. Only, you could do something slightly different here — making different vegetable mixes for different recipes. Maybe you want to make a vegetable stew, so combine the carrots and the broccoli in the same container! Not only does this save valuable freezer space, it also spares you from having to invest in 30 glass containers.
- Freeze your bread. That’s right, freeze it. Assuming you don’t want to be rushing to finish it, or use it in other recipes each week, wrap it up tightly, freeze it and allow it to thaw on its own when you’re ready to finally use it.
Here’s something else: most people like to do their grocery shopping one day out of the week, at one store only.
This is awful for your budget as a vegan. Imagine if all those specialty items, like your matcha or vegenaise came from organic food stores!
Let’s take a look at a vegan favorite for illustration’s sake.
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise Original is:
In other words, different stores list the same items differently. Some items are cheaper in certain stores, but other items may be priced higher. It all depends on location, demand, and most importantly, what deals they’ve managed to strike up with their own suppliers. The cheaper it is for them to obtain items, the cheaper they’ll be priced.
So ultimately, shopping around is the key, and that means spreading out your grocery shopping. Maybe a Harris Teeter is close to work, so you can purchase cheaper, specialty items there. But maybe they don’t have particular items, or charge more for others. That means on a weekend excursion, you may want to go to a store that’s closer to the movie theater instead.
Grow What You Can
Finally, assuming you have the space and a green thumb, try your hand at growing fruit and vegetables. It’s a relaxing hobby that can wind up saving you loads of money every summer.
And if you live in a location where it’s relatively warm year-round, it might be even more beneficial.
Here’s how to start your very own vegetable garden:
- Select a sunny location, because vegetables need an average of 6 hours of sunlight per day.
- Invest in loamy soil, and enrich it with compost. This helps to grow healthy vegetables, and ensures you have proper drainage.
- Space out the crops evenly. Anything too close together will compete for sunlight, water and nutrition. Always read the seed packets and tabs, as they clearly state how much space each crop will need.
- Get high-end seed packets. They’re still going to be cheaper than outright purchasing the plants themselves. The reason for the quality seeds is simple: the higher the quality of the seeds, the higher the chance they will germinate and provide a crop in the first place. Cheaper seed packets tend to fail and result in a loss of time and money.
Think you’ll have too much produce at the end of the season? No such thing! Sell what you can locally, and help fellow neighbors, give some away to friends and family, and freeze the rest.
Want to Save More Money?
I can’t stress enough how much money you can spend by just not going to health food stores. There are plenty of vegan items in most grocery stores these days, especially online stores.
For instance, Thrive Market is known for selling name brand health food for up to 50% off sticker price. They sell everything from Veganaise to Daiya cheese, and everything in between. And better still, they deliver your order right to your door.
And for a limited time, you can get a free Coconut Aminos with your order! Think of it like soy sauce, but without all the added salt and sodium. 100% vegan, and completely free!