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20 Ways Frugal Vegans Save Money
Some people think that being vegan is expensive. But, it is possible to be a frugal vegan!
Honestly, it’s easier to go vegan on a budget than it is to consume animal products and be frugal.
The best way to eat vegan is to focus on eating healthy, and to eat whole, plant based foods.
Plant foods tend to be much, much cheaper than dairy, meat, and processed foods! Plus, they last longer because they satiate hunger better.
Remember the last time you ate a bag of chips or box of cookies, vegan or not, they probably didn’t fill you up, at least not for very long!
Keep reading to find out the best ways you can save money and be a frugal, healthy vegan.
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1. Frugal Vegans Stock Up On Sale Items
Stocking up on sale items isn’t only for vegans, this tip can be for anyone. But, it’s a great tip, so it needed to be included!
But, keep in mind that not all food items should be stocked up on when on sale, such as food that will go bad before you get to it.
For example, don’t buy a ton of produce just because it’s on sale, unless you know how to can or freeze it.
Stocking up on food isn’t going to save you money if the food ends up in the garbage!
However, there are plenty of foods you can stock up on, just be mindful of the expiration date. These foods generally include:
- dried beans
- nuts/seeds (be sure to stock up on these when on sale, they’re generally not very cheap)
- canned goods
- baking items
- other pantry items
- frozen food (if you have the space in your freezer, or have a chest/deep/separate freezer)
But, don’t just stock up on things that are on sale because they are on sale. Make sure you first you’ll actually use the food, and that you like the food, and that it’s slightly healthy. If you don’t like frozen artichokes, don’t buy frozen artichokes!
2. Frugal Vegans Buy Dried Beans
One of the items above that you should buy and stock up on is dried beans. But, dried beans may not go on sale, since they’re so cheap already, same with rice and lentils.
Those foods you can buy, or stock up on, at anytime to save money, or try basing your meals around beans, rice, or lentils to save money.
Just be sure to put them away properly when you get home!
If you’ve never had a weevil issue before, then you may not know…..but take my advice, don’t just leave those foods in their plastic bags!
The best thing you can do is keep them in strong plastic or glass containers. I use mason jars.
If you don’t properly put them away, and a single bag has a weevil in it, say goodbye to any food that they can get into! And, have fun cleaning off their eggs from anything they can get to.
3. Make Your Own (Condiments, Vegan Cheese, Etc.)
Making your own food, whether it be condiments, like dressings, or vegan cheese, turns out to be cheaper than buying it.
So, take advantage of Pinterest and their search feature to search for a copycat vegan recipe for what you want to make yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised what you find!
4. A Frugal Vegan Is Sure To Shop Where Things Are Cheaper
I sure hope this is at least somewhat obvious!
If you’re looking to save money, don’t go to a fancy health store where you know every item is about 30% more expensive than at Walmart or Aldis.
Also, don’t try to think you’re better than going to Walmart or Aldis, or a super saver store.Saving money is saving money. Don’t be picky about where you shop!
5. Frugal Vegans Buy Select Items In Bulk
It’s also smart to buy in bulk, for some items.
Many times, buying a huge amount of a food will save you tons of money, especially if you have access to a Sam’s Club or a Costco.
When buying in bulk you need to consider the price per ounce, or pound, or any other measurement that is used.
For example, buying nuts or seeds in bulk will save you money per ounce. Sure, it may cost you like $12 to buy a large jar of them, but it’s cheaper than buying the same thing in smaller jars that equal the amount in the large jar.
6. Bulk Section Vs. Packaged
Now, don’t confuse buying bulk with the bulk section in your grocery store.
Buying in bulk = buying a lot.
Buying by bulk (or from the bulk section) = buying from those little bins at the store. You know, the ones where you get to decide exactly how much you want to buy.
Many times, buying the exact amount of food you need from the bulk section will be cheaper than buying it already packaged. Especially when you only need a very small amount of the food.
However, you need to consider the price per ounce, or size, for buying this way as well. For example, say the dates you need are 49 cents per ounce in the bulk section (I’m making this up) and the packaged dates are $3 for 8 ounces (again, making this up). With these made up numbers, it would be cheaper to buy the packaged bag, unless you only need 1 or 2 ounces and are really tight on money.
7. Organic v.s non-organic
When trying to save money, only buy organic if it’s the same price or less than the non-organic version.
And, don’t tell me that organic is always going to be more expensive. Consider the brand.
For example, organic Great Value brand is generally less expensive than other brands, such as for canned tomato products. But, of course, the non-organic version of Walmarts brand is going to be cheaper than their organic version.
So, it’s up to you, is the brand more important, the fact that it’s organic, or are you truly trying to save as much money as possible?
8. Frugal Vegans Don’t Care About Brand Names
This was just mentioned above; brand name products are more expensive than generic or store brand.
When I was younger, my mom would always buy the generic brand foods, or store brand, so that’s what I did when I started shopping for myself. I didn’t think a thing of it…then I went shopping with my husband, and he always thought he needed the brand name of everything. No generic brands for him!
After the first grocery bill, I was like ‘no, just no, we’re not going to buy everything name brand anymore’. It was a huge difference in price, and honestly, not worth it.
It’s the same product, just in a different box, usually. It’s just cheaper for the store to sell it in their own box rather than a name brand box, like kellogs, pillsbury, silk, or whatever brands you normally buy.
9. A Frugal Vegan ALWAYS Checks for Markdowns
Not every store, or every section of every store will have markdowns, but some will.
Usually when you think of markdowns you think of meat or produce, which meat obviously isn’t vegan, but produce is.
Sometimes you’ll find bread or bakery items marked down, too. Just be sure to take a look at the ingredient list to make sure it’s vegan!
Just be careful with these markdown items; most times you’ll either have to eat it or freeze it right away for it to actually be worth buying it. So, if you’re not planning on eating it or saving it properly the day, or day after, you buy; just don’t bother.
10. Comparison Shop
Comparison shopping goes back where you shop.
Maybe you notice that produce is of good quality and cheaper at the super saver store in your area. But, the frozen food and pantry items you need on your list are cheapest at Walmart. And, then there are a few items that you need that are cheapest at the health food store, because they’re items hard to come by, or different.
If the scenario above is what you’re up against, determine if the cost of gas and time to go to all the different stores is worth actually going to all the stores.
If all the stores are within 10 minutes of each other, then it may very well be worth it. But, if you have to drive half an hour in one direction to get to one of the stores, and then half an hour in the other direction to get to another, it may be more affordable to choose the store that week that you need more items from and go to that one.
Or, go to the store with the non-perishable cheaper food once a month and stock up on what you need, and then all the other weeks go to the other stores.
11. Check Online
Another option, because this online world is booming (and people are helping it grow by being lazy and not wanting to leave their homes) is buying online.
If you have an item you need that you can only get at a health food store but it’s far away, or something that is generally more expensive at stores that you either need a lot of or don’t need very often; check online for it.
Avoid the time and headache it’ll take you to find it in stores, with whining kids trailing behind you, and just search for it to see if the price is comparable online. Or, if it’s something you always seem to need, you may be able to find a better deal online for stocking up on it than in stores.
Check out Amazon Prime Pantry to buy your groceries from a trusted online company!
Other sites you could check out are:
Or, check Walmarts website to see if their online price is cheaper than in store. If the one near you does the grocery pick up, you could always to that, too. Even if you won’t save money up front, you’ll save time! (And the stress from having to shop with other people around, like your kids who are asking for anything and everything that’s eye level to them!)
12. A Frugal Vegan ONLY Shops Once a Week
Whether you’re vegan or not, if you’re trying to save money and be frugal with your food budget; you NEED to stop going to the store more than once a week.
Honestly, if you can get away with only going once or twice a month, or just going out once a week for perishable items, do it!
The more you go into a store, the more you’re going to spend.
This is where those online pick up options, or grocery delivery services will save you the most money.
If you don’t have to go into a store to buy your groceries, you won’t be tempted to buy items that aren’t on your list but still think you need to have.
A grocery budget doesn’t work when you spend your grocery budget for the week during your regular grocery trip…
and then stop off at the store a couple times a night to pick up a couple of more things each time.
My husband doesn’t believe me on this one, I’m hoping you will!
13. A Frugal Vegan Relies On Their Meal Plan
Meal planning is the absolute best thing you can do to save money on groceries!
Not only will it save you money, but if you actually follow it then you’ll know exactly what you’ll be eating everyday of the week, for every meal.
AND, you’ll be able to plan ahead to make sure the meals are made before you need to eat them, to avoid having to stop on the way home from work for something quick to eat!
Meal planning has saved my sanity more times than I can count, at least in one part of my life.
Even when my sanity starts to fade as my 3 year old spills her cocoa the day after Christmas all over the light colored rug in our home….and as soon as I’m finished cleaning it so it doesn’t stain, she spills her very green smoothie all over the exact same spot; at least I know what I’m giving her, and the rest of my family for dinner that night. And, knowing that everyone is having leftovers from the night before; I know that I don’t actually don’t have to cook and therefore, not stress about the amount of time I have to spend cleaning up her mess and giving bathes!
14. Make a Grocery List
If you make a meal plan, then you’d be
stupid silly to not make a grocery list.
You know what you’re going to make and eat, therefore you know what you need to buy.
Make a list, and buy only what’s on that list. Don’t stray! This will save you from buying unnecessary items, and it will prevent you from having to stop at the store during the week because you don’t have something you need for meals that week.
And, you know what happens when you make extra stops at the store during the week….
15. A Frugal Vegan Builds Their Diets Around Whole Foods
This money saving tip is one of my favorites!
Building your diet around whole foods, like veggies, rice, or quinoa, will help you eat healthier, too!
If you buy a bag of quinoa, it may be three dollars, but there’s probably 2 to 3 cups of quinoa in the bag. That’s enough for 2-3 meals, if you’re finding meals with quinoa that only use 1 cup of dried quinoa, such as:
Or, buy a bag of potatoes and base some meals off of that (like the quinoa stew above!), I can get a 5 lb bag of potatoes for less than $2. That’s a lot of food for a little price!
I honestly don’t understand why people think it’s so expensive to eat more produce or to eat healthy. It’s better for you to eat non-organic produce that’s cheap than to buy yourself and kids a box of poptarts for breakfast, or cereal!
So, just stop complaining, save money, and eat some real food so you can be real full! (Stop starving your cells of the nutrients they need because the frosted flakes taste better than kale, add that kale to a smoothie and enjoy it!)
16. A Frugal Vegan Avoids ‘Vegan’ Products
Alright, so one ‘myth’ about eating vegan is true; eating ‘vegan products’ is expensive.
But, you don’t need vegan cheese (as amazingly delicious as they are starting to get) or meat alternatives to eat healthy as a vegan. You could eat whole plant based foods, instead, and those are (again…) much cheaper and healthier!
Non dairy milk is even affordable, especially compared to any organic dairy milk.
17. Grow Your Own Food
If you can, growing your own food will save you a ton of money.
When we lived back East in Pennsylvania and were renting a house, we had a little garden and it was awesome! We grew tomatoes (so many that I was starting to have a hard time figuring out what to do with them all!), zucchini, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and more.
It saved us maybe $5 a week on groceries, but it saved us that much a week for a couple of months. Plus, we were able to eat more delicious zucchini- carrot bread than we were ever able to before! And, it tasted better than store bought.
However, if you can’t be trusted to keep plants alive (like me, I have to admit that keeping the plants alive was all on my husband and my oldest daughter at that time), then maybe growing a garden wouldn’t save you money.
18. A Frugal Vegan Picks Their Own Food
Another way you could save money and have fresher produce, without being responsible for growing your own food, would be to go to a farm and pick your own produce.
I’m not saying to steal the produce, or pick it without the owners knowing!
There are some farms, or orchards, that let you pick your own apples or berries and then you pay per pound. This tends to be a bit cheaper than buying from a store.
Plus, if you have kids, this could be a really fun activity to do with them; get them away from the screens and running around outside being active and learning about seasonal produce!
19. Fresh vs. Frozen
You also need to by savvy when it comes to buying produce and figuring out if fresh or frozen would be a better choice. What you buy depends a lot on what you need it for, not just the price.
Buying for smoothies; buy frozen, and in bulk, as this will be the cheaper option in the long run.
But, if you’re buying seasonal produce for a single meal, it may be cheaper to buy a little bit of fresh, instead.
Speaking of frozen, if you buy bread and get to the end of the week and have any left, freeze it. I usually just stick my bread in the freezer right when I buy it and only defrost what we need, when we need it, that way it doesn’t go bad before using it.
20. A Frugal Vegan Always Have Staples in Stock at Home
Having staple foods in stock at home is one of the most important tips I can give you to help you save money on groceries.
These are foods that you could live off of for a week if your grocery budget is basically non-existent, or like $25 for the week for a family of 5 (been there!)
These are generally non-perishables, such as:
- canned or jarred tomatoes
- canned veggies (no added salt)
- applesauce, and other sauces
- veggie stock
….and other non-perishable items you would generally stock up on in case there was going to be a winter storm and you were planning on staying cooped up at home for awhile.
These could also be frozen foods, such as:
- all types of veggies
- all types of fruits
- freezing bread, buns, or other baked goods (bought or made from scratch)
- and more!
Basically, anything that you can stock up on that will stay good if you forget about it for awhile. Use it when you really need it and are truly broke!
It’s Easier to be a Frugal Vegan than you may think!!
As you can see, there are many ways you can keep to your healthier eating habits and stay within your budget, even with a decent size family!
Simply focus on eating more plants, less processed foods, and stay away from most ‘vegan alternatives’.
Eating closer to nature, more local (such as your own backyard or the apple orchard right outside of town), and less unhealthy junk is what we should be doing anyways; so why not start when it’s your best option for staying in budget.
Just don’t forget to keep eating healthy when you have a less strict budget!
Looking for more ways to save money while vegan?
Be sure to check out Going Vegan On A Budget: The Complete Guide
Want to Remember This? Pin Ways Frugal Vegans Save Money to your favorite Pinterest Board!!