A lot of people have the idea that it’s expensive to be vegan, but that doesn’t have to be true at all. If anything, I think it can be a lot less expensive to be vegan than to eat animal products. Just think of the price of meat compared to a tin of beans.
I’ve been vegan since I was 16, and have gone through college, even raising a kid while in college, and being a stay at home mother while my partner was in college, so am used to buying food as cheaply as possible. And because I’m careful about trying to save money on food, it means I save enough money to splash out on more expensive foods as treats sometimes, like vegan cheese and fancy chocolate.
Keep it simple
Some vegan foods can work out really expensive, like chia seeds, agave syrup and raw coconut oil, but there’s no need to buy them all the time. You can have a very nutritious diet eating inexpensive vegetables, legumes and carby foods like bread, pasta and rice.
Vegetables like onions, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, swede, cabbage, etc. are all quite cheap. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious and can be very cheap. Beans, peas and lentils are really cheap, nutritious and filling. Dried beans and lentils are especially cheap, but tins of beans are cheap too and really handy. Potatoes, rice and pasta are really cheap and filling. Tins of tomatoes are also really cheap and are great for making so many different meals, pasta sauces, curries, chili, stews, soup, etc. Sunflower oil is really cheap for cooking with. Though I usually use olive oil because it’s healthier and tastes better. It is more expensive but you can still get a large bottle for only a few euro in cheaper supermarkets.
Cook your own food
Home made food can work out much less expensive than buying ready made food. You can cook big batches of food and freeze portions. When I was a student I used to buy ingredients for one meal and eat the same meal for most of the week. A bit boring, but it can work out cheaper. If you bring leftovers as lunch to work or school then you can save a lot of money instead of buying expensive ready made food while out. Making home made snacks can save a lot of money too.
Cheaper supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl have a great range of fruit and vegetables and are really good value. They also have soy milk for about 85c a litre, as well as beans, nuts, pasta, rice, cereals, etc. And I think both of them have vegan burgers too. Asian shops can be great for getting better value spices, rice and other foods. You don’t have to go to health shops and spend a lot to be vegan. Though I have found that health shops can have very good value spices, rice and other grains, and things like that, so it’s worth comparing prices.
Buy own brands
Many own brand or value range products can be just as good as more expensive ones. Things like rice, pasta, flour, tins of tomatoes, tins of beans, etc. are often the same as the more expensive brands, just the packaging is different. I always go for the cheapest brands I can buy, unless a more expensive brand looks noticeably better or healthier.
You can save a lot of money by buying food on special offer. You can make a big batch of food with it and freeze it, or if you buy fruit on special offer, just chop it up and freeze it for smoothies. Some supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl, have special offers each week, like the Aldi Super Six, where several different fruit and veg are sold really cheaply. Going into Tesco late at night is great for picking up really cheap discounted veg.