Sometimes eating vegan can get to be a little intimidating when you’re on a budget. While you are saving money on avoiding animal products like expensive beef, you’re still spending quite a bit on fresh produce and more exotic foods like miso paste. It’s a far cry from resorting to a burger off the dollar menu, though it is far healthier for you. Yet you can still eat healthy vegan meals while still on a budget. Below are several ways to eat vegan on a budget.
Source your food seasonally
One of the easiest ways to eat vegan on a budget is to source your food when it’s seasonal for your area. A writer at bankrate.com went out into her community to see whether local produce really was cheaper. What she found was that there were significant savings to be had by hitting up the local produce stands over a box retailer like Wal-Mart. Tomatoes alone were at $0.89 and $1.29 at two local places, while Wal-Mart was at $1.99, all estimated per pound. She made a full chart detailing the savings. Plus she stated that the ripe tomatoes tasted like they came out of her backyard.
Along the same lines, you might also consider starting a garden, whether in your own backyard or in a community gardening space. It’s a way to plunk down a few cents on some individual packets of seeds and end up having to go to the store less during growing season.
A blogger at newdream.org charted out her estimated savings by having her own veggie garden. She planted thirteen different types of produce, from tomatoes to kale. Then she calculated the value of the produce, plus her meager spending on the garden of $21.78. She estimated a net savings of $308.30.
Cost compare your protein sources
One of the biggest strains on any food budget is quality sources of protein. While vegan protein sources are cheaper than meat, for instance dry beans cost on average as of 2014 1.1 cent per gram/protein while steaks cost 4.5 cents per gram/protein, you’ll still want to hone in on the most bang for your buck in protein if you’re on a tight food budget.
For instance, generally your cheapest sources of vegan protein are going to be rolled oats, dry beans, dry chickpeas, dry lentils and brown rice. These range in the one to two cent range per gram of protein, versus more exotic and trendy goods, like tofu, at around six cents per gram of protein as of 2014.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your favorite trendy food prices, such as quinoa, which has seen some epically skyrocketing prices around 2014 before falling in 2016 again when supply adjusted to keep up with demand.
Look into grocery coupons
The world of couponing has never been easier with the rise of digital services. Many stores will have rewards programs that automatically apply savings and coupons to your purchases.
Then there’s specific websites like CommonKindness.com, which features tons of coupons on organic foods and puts funds towards non-profits while you save. Also check out the more traditional sites like Coupons.com and RedPlum.com.