I think one of the common misconceptions of eating plant-based is that it’s expensive. The truth is that yes, it can be expensive if you make it that way. Just like eating a standard American diet can be expensive if you’re buying things like salmon, organic foods, name brand items, or pre-made meals, the same is true if you’re buying a lot of processed plant-based options (dairy-free cheese, vegan cookies, pre-made vegan mac & cheese, etc.). These tend to be pricey; however, but most of the time a plant-based diet is a lot cheaper. If you opt for food choices like lentils, beans, potatoes, and vegetables, which should make up the majority of a plant-based diet anyway, you can save a lot of money. Here are my top tips to save on groceries:
- Shop in bulk. This is my number one tip because you can save so much money this way. My favorite place to shop, even before I was plant-based, is Costco. They have so many good deals that help you get the most bang for your buck. My Costco favorites are broccoli, carrots, spinach, avocados, bananas, berries, potatoes, oats, canned beans, frozen berries, almond milk, soy milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, and nuts.
- Shop in season. Look and see what’s in season in your area and buy produce from this list. This will vary depending on where you live but these items will be cheaper and fresher. Now-a-days, you can get pretty much buy any fruit or vegetable at your local grocery store at any time of the year but you can also pay a hefty price for doing so. For example, getting a dragon fruit in the middle of winter in MN might cost you the same amount as 5 pounds of bananas.
- Shop local. Shopping at the local farmer’s market can be significantly cheaper than shopping at your local grocery store. The farmer’s market also predominantly has in season produce which makes it cheaper.
- Limit processed foods. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, vegan processed foods tend to be very pricey. If your diet is primarily made up of processed foods, not only will your wallet be hurting, but you will be missing out on vital nutrients.
- Limit eating out. It always made me upset that a salad was more expensive than a burger and unfortunately, this is the case for a majority of restaurants & fast food places. Sadly, meat and dairy are subsidized by the American government making them significantly cheaper than other products like fruits & veggies. To help save money, I’d recommend eating out less since this can add up quickly. Personally, I only eat once a few times a month and it makes it that much more special when I do.
- Plan ahead. Eating plant-based can add up quickly if you’re constantly using different ingredients for your meals. While you should try to diversify your plate, it’s also important to use up the groceries you have on hand and make sure they don’t go to waste. You can do this by planning out what meals you’re going to make during the week and using recipes that use similar ingredients. For example, if you make lentil tacos one night, the next night you can make chili and use the leftover cilantro and homemade vegan sour cream.
I hope these tips help you save money eating plant-based! Let me know what you think and if you have any additional tips in the comments!