I know that one of the main arguments that people give as to why they don't become vegetarian or vegan is that it's "too expensive". I know that's one of the things my Mom says to me all the time. Really - that isn't the case at all. Especially when you look at the big picture. Going Vegan today will save you so much money on future doctor and prescription costs in the future. The risks for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, high cholesterol all go down when you're consuming a diet rich in plant foods. If you're still worried about your budget - here's some tips that I've found helpful to keep my grocery bill small!
Tip #1 - Buy in Bulk
I know a lot of you have seen the bulk department in your local grocery stores - and have walked right past them. I was totally the same way until a couple of years ago. According to bulkisgreen.org, buying in bulk can save a shopper 30% to 60%! I know I've found that to be true. I buy all of my beans, grains, nuts, and seeds in bulk. You save so much money that you would normally spend on packaging. Plus, if you bring your own container (like I do!) you're saving the planet by reusing packaging!
Tip #2 - Cook Your Own Beans
If you're following Tip #1 - you should be following tip #2! I know beans are a huge part of my diet - and are a part of most healthy Vegan diets. It's so much cheaper to buy them dried than it is to buy them canned. They take little time and energy to cook, especially if you have a pressure cooker! I love mine! To learn more about cooking your own beans and for a handy cooking time chart - read my BASICS post on cooking beans!
Tip #3 - Visit Your Local Farmer's Market
Summer is my absolute favorite time of year - and not only for the weather. Last year was the first time I went to the Farmer's Market in Downtown St. Paul and it was amazing! All of the fresh, local produce looked so delicious - and the prices were crazy good! 10 organic, local apples for $5, bunches of herbs for $1 each, a bag of lettuce for $2. The list goes on and on. Not only are you saving money, but your helping the environment by purchasing local. The food has far less distance to travel when you buy from the farmer's market. Plus you're helping your community buy buying from your local farmers!
Tip #4 - Start a Freezer Veggie Stock Container
If you use a lot of vegetable broth like you do - this strategy is such a money saver! You know all those scraps of vegetables that you don't put into your meal? You know that celery in your fridge that's looking a little limp? What do we all usually do with them? Throw them in the trash or compost them! Well I was introduced to this idea by my friend Brandi from Adventures in Midwestern America. Instead of throwing all that stuff out, store it in a food safe container in your freezer until you've stocked up (so to speak...) on enough veggies to make your own vegetable broth! It's saved me so much money! For more information on making your own broth - read my BASICS post on the topic!
Tip #5 - Grow Your Own Food
Seems kind of simple, right? Growing your own food is probably the biggest way to save money that someone can do. Even if you only have a small deck or patio to work with - you can still grow some of your favorite fruits and vegetables! On my patio right now I'm growing brocolli, kale, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and bell peppers! It's saves you so much money - and a trip to the grocery store!
Tip #6 - Clip Coupons and Shop Sales
I know the Sunday paper usually doesn't have a ton of options for Vegan coupons. If you're willing to look elsewhere though - you can save a bundle! One of my favorite Facebook groups takes all of the work out of it for you by find the coupons FOR YOU! Vegan Coupons searches high and low for the best Vegan coupons on the web and in the paper. They even give the Sunday paper a grade every week on how "Vegan friendly" the coupon ads were! Some other great resources are Organic Deals, Mambo Sprouts, or you could even find some Vegan deals on Coupons.com!
Tip #7 - Make Your Own Bread Crumbs and Croutons
I couldn't even tell you the last time I bought bread crumbs or croutons from the store. In my opinion - they're one of the most over priced items in your grocery store! Do you have any day old bread or you know those two end pieces in the loaf of bread that nobody eats? Throw them in the freezer in a food storage bag until you need to make some breadcrumbs or croutons. For bread crumbs, thaw the bread and throw it into your food processor with some herbs and spices! For a great crouton recipe - see my recipe here!
That's all my money saving tips for you! Does anybody have any other good tips that they use to save money?