Eating Vegan on a Budget
One of the best things about going vegan—aside from the whole “being healthy, feeling great, saving animals” thing—is that if done right, it can be a very cheap way to eat. Yes, you can spend an arm and a leg if you’re only buying prepackaged items or hard-to-find soy cheeses, but if you go the more natural route, you can really save.
The best money-saving trick is to stick to staples like dried beans, rice, and pasta. All three of these can be purchased for less than a dollar, can last a long time, and are healthy.
Loading up on veggies is a necessity for any healthy diet, and you can save a little cash by buying frozen veggies. They usually contain more vitamins and nutrients than the canned options and last longer than the fresh stuff—meaning that you never have to throw out that broccoli you never used and waste money.
Creative, ethnic dishes are a great way for vegetarians to add flavor to their meals while still cutting costs, and you can make easy at-home versions. Pick up a soy-based sauce (around $2 at many stores), add it to those veggies I told you about, tofu (four servings can be purchased for $1–$3), and rice or noodles, and you could have an easy stir-fry for four that comes in under 10 bucks.
Or if stir-fries aren’t for you, try simple sandwiches. Peanut butter can be purchased for, well, mere peanuts at most stores. Spreads like hummus, mock-tuna salad, and mock-egg salad might be expensive if you buy them already prepared, but making them on your own is cheap and easy.
And for those of you who are totally against all things green or natural—processed vegan items, like soy cheese and faux meats, are now readily available at just about any grocery store, and they’ve become much more affordable. If you ate only these items, you might not see any savings, but adding them to your menu sometimes definitely won’t break the bank.
These are just a few pointers, and there are many other ways to save while eating vegan. To find out more about specific budget-friendly meal ideas, check out our guide to going vegetarian.