I constantly hear people say that they don’t have enough money to eat healthier. They “can’t afford to be vegan”. It’s actually a myth that healthy food is more expensive than junk food (unless you live in a food desert, which is a completely different issue). In the long run, whole plant foods are more affordable and way better for your health and the environment. It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to eat plant-based. With the tips I provide you and a little planning, you will realize how easy it can be to adopt this lifestyle.
- Buy in season. If you prefer fresh produce (who doesn’t), buy fruits and veggies in season. Avoid buying summer fruits and vegetables in the winter and vice versa. Squash is more affordable in autumn and winter. Avocados and tropical fruits are less expensive in the summer. Potatoes and starchy vegetables are typically affordable year round. In my area, spinach and kale is around the same price all year as well. If it’s more expensive to buy fresh, go for the frozen option.
- Buy frozen. Fruits and vegetables are actually frozen at peak freshness, so buying the frozen option allows your food to stay fresh for longer and it is also more affordable. I prefer to buy broccoli and most of my fruit frozen. Corn is also good to buy frozen. You don’t have to worry about using your fruit or vegetables before they go bad because you can store them in the freezer for an extended period of time.
- Avoid name brand. If you are buying packaged food, you don’t need to get the name brand version. Just get the generic version (if it’s vegan friendly) because it is most likely exactly the same. Some generic products are even manufactured by the same company that produces the name brand version.
- Minimize the “organic” products. Occasionally, I do buy organic products. However, it is common for products to be labeled organic in order to justify the higher price. If eating organic is super important to you-that’s great, but you might have to adjust your budget. Buying organic potatoes, bananas, and dark leafy greens won’t leave you broke and they might be better. You do not need organic packaged food because it’s essentially the same.
- Buy rice, legumes, some pastas, potatoes, etc. Stick to whole plant foods, rice, beans, and pastas. You don’t need to buy various meat alternatives or vegan junk food items. Buy the most affordable plant-based options at your grocery store and buy those each week.
- Shop at different places. Where I live, there are two main grocery stores. One has more affordable packaged goods and the other has more quality fresh vegetables and fruit. I shop at both to get the most out of my money. This can be time-consuming, so I do this on days I don’t have work or school. Additionally in some states, there are programs where you can have discarded produce sent to you. This is also a good option if you want to save money.
- Make a list. This seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t do this. Write down your plan and follow it. This will help keep you on track and help you avoid impulse purchases.
- Do your best. Don’t over think buying groceries. It isn’t supposed to be a stressful situation. You don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle overnight. Slowly add more plant-based foods into your grocery shopping. Do some research and shop around. Also, cruelty free makeup and hair care should come second to what you eat (especially on a budget). I have been vegan for a year and not all of my cleaning products, hair products, skin care, and makeup products are 100% cruelty free. My goal is to get nearly all cruelty free and vegan products, but I don’t use these products very often and I don’t want to waste the products I have. Putting so much pressure on yourself, will turn you off from the vegan lifestyle. Trying your best is all you can really do. Start with food and then go from there.
It can be overwhelming to change your diet and lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. The vegan lifestyle is so amazing and money shouldn’t be a deterrent. On average, I spend $40 for 10 days worth of groceries. I don’t spend money at restaurants, so I save money in that aspect. In the summer, my groceries can be as cheap as $20 for a week. If you live on the coast, your groceries will probably be even less expensive. I hope this helps you in your vegan journey. If you have tips or advice, leave them in the comments!