It’s January and January means: a whole lot of new good intentions for the year! A lot of us know the story though, about how excited we are when we start a new year and then suddenly reality kicks in and our goals quickly fall apart under the surmounting pressure of…well, simply living life and dealing with all the curveballs it throws at you.
If this all makes you sad and depressed, fear not, I have solutions and advice! Because saving money AND eating healthy are two of the main goals that most people set for themselves in the new year, I took a crack at finding some real options and solutions for you in that space by create 5 practical ways that anyone can implement.
1. Invest into timeless and life-changing equipment
Yes, you read correctly! To save, you need to first spend. But not too much! I recommend to use some of that Christmas cash you received a few weeks ago an invest into two timeless pieces of equipment: a high speed blender like a Ninja, and an instant pot. Both can be acquired for under $200 and you will most likely have them FOR-EVER. The blender comes in handy to make smoothies, nut milks, soups and of course, your own granola (yum!). The instant pot is the most magical tool when it comes to cooking beans without soaking in 20 minutes, making lentil dals for days or prepping soups and stews in balk on the weekends.
2. Buy in bulk
Not only is buying in bulk more environmentally friendly—yes, just make sure to bring your own reusable bags (preferably canvas ones that you can wash regularly)—but it’s also so much better for your wallet. You can either buy a can of chickpeas for $1 and get two cups out of it or buy the equivalent amount in bulk and get six cups out of it. That’s pretty much 3 times less money that you will be spending on beans and the same goes for nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, flour and sugar. The other advantage of the bulk section is that you can monitor exactly how much you want—so if you know you will never use that bulgur again then you can simply get half a cup in the bulk section and not waste the whole 16 oz bag.
3. Make the staples yourself
What you define as staples depends on who you are. I have a couple favorites that I know I eat all the time and hence, it’s so much cheaper to start making them myself. Granola for example, is without a doubt overpriced—$11 for 2 or 3 servings? You can probably make the same amount for under $4. Same with apple sauce and apple butter: I’m obsessed with those ingredients in Fall and Winter and it’s SO easy and SO quick to just make them in my instant pot. Non-dairy milk is another one—have you also caught on to the oat milk obsession? If so, make it yourself: just oats, water and a little vanilla extract in a blender and boom, you got your homemade oatly.
4. Shop at the farmers market
Not only does shopping at the farmers market mean eating seasonal food—yep, right now that means turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, winter squash, pears, apples and the list goes on—but it also means saving lots of money. Skip the grocery store blueberries (imported from California) for apples at the farmers market. The good thing is that seasons change and you will find new fruit and veggie all the time. Farmers markets are ubiquitous in urban and even suburban areas, so google one near you and make it a goal to stop by once a week. During the week, you can make it part of your lunch walk and during the weekend, it can be a little fun outing. By the way, most stands will give you extra discounts if you come by an hour or so before closing because most farmers do not want to shlep everything back home.
5. Bring your lunch
Yes, I know, bringing lunch requires some minimal planning but it’s so much cheaper! My husband used to spend $12-$14 on lunch every single day. Then he decided to challenge himself and for almost a year, he has been bringing lunch and making it at his office. It usually consists of tofu or tempeh, a grain like brown rice or quinoa, frozen veggies, peanut butter or some other nut butter, soy sauce and an avocado. He mixes it all together and cooks it in the microwave at the office. It comes out to $4 per serving—twice as much quantity as when he buys lunch out and pretty much a third of the price. Lunch can also be toast and avocado, oatmeal or a quick salad—all things that you can whip up at the office in under 5 minutes and for under $5.
What’s your best tip to eat plant based on a budget?
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