No, eating vegan is not super expensive. Yes, you will still be able to spend money on things other than food if you go plant-based.
Let’s just call a spade a spade: plants are not expensive. That’s not true for meat, dairy and fish, which all need a ton of resources to be produced and made into human food. And if you can live on a carnivore diet for cheap then it’s because a) some animal foods are massively subsidized by the government and b) these are low quality “foods” that you shouldn’t be putting into your body. Quite frankly, your health bill and future health care expenses triggered by a carnivore diet will ultimately negate any “savings” you think you are making by consuming animal products.
So I’m not sure where the bad rep for plant-based eating comes from, but regardless, it doesn’t have to be an expensive diet. Although there are definitely some processed/packaged vegan foods that are quite expensive, these sorts of foods are purely optional. One can live (and thrive!) quite frugally on plants alone. That being said, there are some super easy things you can do in order to save even more money while eating vegan.
1. Shop in the bulk section. My favorite place at the grocery store is the bulk section. Yep, that’s where I like to hang out and nothing makes me happier than discovering self-service dispensers filled with delicious and cheap (!) plant-based goodies. I mainly buy my grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in the bulk section. Not only are you saving on packaging and hence doing a good deed for our planet, but you are also totally in control of the exact quantity you’d like to purchase. This way, you won’t waste anything, and you can manage some portion control (which helps me when I buy dark chocolate almonds because these can ALSO be found in the bulk section). Bulk foods are usually 20-40% cheaper than their packaged siblings, which means you are saving a ton.
2. Embrace the farmers market. Another way to save some cash is to become a local farmers market member. It’s a totally free membership–just find out where your nearest farmers market is located and go. It’s perfect for veggies and fruit as well as fresh bread and sometimes even things from canned and picked foods to homemade jams. My favorite little secret, which is not so secret, is that getting there an hour before closing can give you access to some great deals and discounts as farmers just want to get rid of their goods when they close up for the day. Another amazing thing about buying at the farmers market is that you will most likely eat seasonal food 95% of the time.
3. Sign up at a co-op. Finally, if you are super committed to the food you are eating, you could sign up at a local food co-op. Co-ops are stores that generally sell healthy foods as well as fresh produce, and they are typically community-managed. This means that if you become a member, you’ll most likely have to work at your local co-op for a couple hours each month. The benefit is that you get access to all their wonderful natural food products–and at a discounted rate. And in addition, you get to know how to operate the co-op and will most likely meet and hang out with like-minded people.
I hope this article helps you to get some useful ideas on how to save money on your vegan food, and most of all, I hope you’ll share it with your friends who think that eating plant-based costs a fortune.
What are your favorite ways to save money while shopping for vegan food?
Also by Isabelle: Finally, Some #Realtalk About Protein & Why You Shouldn’t Stress Over It
Related: Spend v. Save Diaries: Pilates Instructor and Fitness Editor
6 Things You’ll Never Regret Spending Money On
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!