How to Save Money with a Plant Based Diet
Hey, Kickin’ Vegan, Isn’t this diet really expensive?
Ruh-roh! Truth bomb coming…..
NO!!! THIS IS A HUGE MISCONCEPTION- YOU WILL ACTUALLY SAVE MONEY!
It’s a common misconception that vegan food is SOOO expensive. And yes, ‘Vegan tax’ as I like to call it, is a real thing. Ice cream is legit 4x the price. But- news flash, and I know this will shock you, ice cream is junk food.
Let expensive vegan items serve as a red flag that it isn’t what you should be eating. Where you should be investing your dollars is on beans, rice, vegetables, fruits, greens, grains. The more things you’re cooking from scratch, the better. Not only will this add up to less at the checkout, but by using my food prep strategy, and batch cooking on the weekends, you will have much less food going to waste! That means you won’t be throwing away a fridge full of rotten food and leftovers, you will have everything prepared and easy to grab and you will eat everything you buy.
I am also going to help you learn to properly store your food, in clear containers so everything is prepped and also easy to see. Food that’s ready to eat and easy to see doesn’t go to waste. A bagged celery head can go bad in the fridge, because when you are in a hurry for a snack, you don’t want to open it, clean it, and chop it.
Another benefit of this lifestyle is that you will drastically reduce or eliminate going out to eat. How’s that for saving on the budget? You know that the meals you prepare at home are cleaner and more beneficial and you can control its preparation, so eating out becomes less of an attraction. Even if you are just eliminating drive through and grabbing junk on the run, but allowing a few date nights, you’ll still save!
- Save money at the register, and in food waste
- Rinsed, chopped and properly stored food will get eaten!
- Seeing everything you buy will eliminate waste
- Expensive items are often not the right choice!
- Shop seasonal and sale
- Eating out for convenience loses its appeal and saves you big time
Save money at the register, and in food waste
Here’s where you add up the savings; lettuce begin. (I know.) When you plan ahead what you will eat by making a list, it eliminates impulse buying, which is almost ALWAYS the most expensive stuff. Eat before you shop– don’t show up hungry, and have a list of snack foods that you will purchase. Things like fresh and dried fruits, nuts, hummus, celery, peanut butter.
Heading hungry into the aisles and loading up on junk food will ensure you pay triple for convenience and buy things that inspire you to overeat, spending even MORE money.
Prepping that food when you get home is going to ensure you don’t waste it, so let’s taco bout that now. (Stop me.)
Rinsed, chopped and properly stored food will get eaten!
As SOON as you get home, get out all your fruits and veggies and wash, rinse, chop and store them properly. Don’t waste money on food prepped items already chopped at the store. Buy a big bag of carrots and take ten minutes to rinse peel and chop them into sticks as soon as you get home. Open a jar of peanut butter and crunch away as you prep the rest of the stuff.
Chop your pineapple, watermelon, mango, papaya or whatever, and store in fridge. Separate and rinse that celery, and chop into sticks. Eat some with the PB while you’re at it.
Go ahead and chop everything that you can in advance, so that it is ready to grab and munch or dip or add to foods and salads. We are building a future easy street for your week.
Make baggies or containers of dried nuts and fruits to grab and go when you leave the house. Fill empty mason jars with items in those weird standup ziplock packages- clear, easy to see and pour. Speaking of containers…
Seeing everything you buy will eliminate waste
When you use clear containers that you can readily see the insides of at a glance, you are much more likely to eat it. This goes for the fridge, counter tops, and pantry.
I wrote a handy blog post about this very thing right here, so check it out!
Easy Food Storage to turn you into a Pro!
Expensive items are often not the right choice!
Alright, we kind of covered this above in “ice cream,” but it definitely rings true! If a “vegan” item is exorbitantly (even if totally unfairly) expensive, it is usually not a great choice. Delicious vegan cheesecake? Ready made pizzas? Ice cream bars (that one is truly rude) cheeses and meat substitutes? Baked goods, cookies, chips? These are all processed items! The great news, is that making vegan chocolate muffins at home is insanely cheap! Invest an hour, and spend $2 for 24 muffins instead of $7 for four pre-made ones that have quadruple the fat and sugar. Kinda goes the same for the whole list. We make homemade pizza every Friday night which ends up much healthier, cheaper, and with a ton more quantity than the overpriced frozen ones.
There will be some items that you’ll pay a pretty penny up front for, but they will last a long time and become staples that you fill a little at a time, not every trip, all at once. These are things like walnuts, dates, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, maple syrup, spices. When you stock your pantry for the first time switching to a plant based lifestyle, these can add up, so maybe just grab one or two of these at a time, then refill as needed. It will save you money in the long run!
Shop seasonal and sale
This goes for the whole store, but especially produce. It’s fine to budget for a spoil, knowing you will pay extra for one thing you really want, but it’s even better to grab something you’ve been wanting to try when it goes on sale.
Lots of times, when they introduce a new fancy vegan item, they will have a buy one get one promo, so grab it while it’s hot! Milkadamia is one of the best nut milks ever, and I only tried it when it was new and marked way down as an intro. I’ve only gotten it a couple times since as a treat.
As for produce, buy it in season when it’s big and ripe and fresh! You might love strawberries, but when they are out of season, they are smaller, not as tasty, and much more expensive. That’s how produce works. When they have it fresh, bountiful and in season, the prices are amazing. So look for the most abundant and fresh produce, at the lowest cost. Ask the produce people for help, they love helping someone who cares! They can even give you some insights on what’s coming down the pipeline and what’s going out.
Often, out of season items are cheaper in frozen, so I always stock up on icy blueberries and broccoli when they get expensive and sparse.
Eating out for convenience loses its appeal and saves you big time
When you get used to preparing your own food and being able to control what goes into it, you’ll start to be less appetized by prepared items. It is often too oily, too salty, too much. You can still plan for a few outings, but be conscious of grabbing food out for the sake of convenience, it’ll add up faster than anything else we talk about here.
Track how much you spend on food outside the home, and set yourself a budget. You may truly be shocked at how quickly little things add up! (Yeah, gas station treats and Starbucks, you expensive!)
You Got This!
Make some changes in your thinking of what it does to your wallet to eat plant based. Invest the time on the weekend to prep so that you save time and money throughout the week. Create habits that make snacking and shopping easier on you and your budget. Set yourself up for success.
I have created a really easy to follow food prep guide that you can follow, so add your email below and I’ll send it to you free of charge. If you think this information is helpful, pass it on! Let me know what you think. Do you have any other money saving tips? Do you have a struggle you need help overcoming? I can help! Just let me know in the comments.
Health Wealth, and Happiness for all of you!
Britt, Your Kickin’ Vegan