It’s the most popular excuse in the book: “Going vegan is expensive.”
Yes and no. It takes zero dollars to stop eating animal products. But moreover, there are two factors that go into whether eating a plant-based diet is expensive:
- What you’re buying
- Whether you plan/have time to cook
What you choose to put in your cart and whether you plan and have time to cook make a huge difference in what your grocery bill each week is going to add up to. It’s like this: imagine you’re going to the grocery store as a regular ol’ person, and you’ve decided you want to have burgers this week. Sure, you could reach for the ground beef, but there’s ground turkey, too. It costs a little less and is a little healthier, but it’s about what you want to buy and how much you want to spend.
In terms of what you’re buying, there are 3 price points of being vegan:
- Inexpensive/Cheap Vegan, aka the Plant-Based Vegan
Conventionally-grown, seasonal vegetables are the most fiscally , as are beans, oatmeal, lentils, pasta, peanut butter, and rice. Many grains and beans can be purchased in bulk or in inexpensive store-brand dried bean/lentil bags. You can generally find them in the canned vegetables section near the soup mixes, most of which are also inexpensive and vegan-friendly. However, when purchasing fresh vegetables, keep in mind what’s in season as well as what’s generally affordable. Potatoes, onions, carrots, and winter squashes are usually pretty cheap at my local grocery store, so I always ask myself how I can use those ingredients in my meals. However, when corn is in season again and 6 for a dollar, I’m going to be more apt to buy it fresh to roast in the oven! Check out and screenshot Cooksmart’s table below on when different vegetables are in season.
- Somewhat Dollarsome
Going organic when choosing produce? It’s going to cost a little more. Love cashews, almonds, or other whole nuts? There are a lot of calories and a lot of servings in those containers, so while it may seem like nuts cost a lot, you’re also paying for quite a few servings. Research the differences between organic and non-organic food, and find out more about the Dirty Dozen– the twelve most contaminated (with pesticides) fruits and vegetables that you’ll need to wash before use or purchase organic. Check out the table below for more information on the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen!
- Making It Rain
Love meat and cheese and don’t want to give it up? Don’t worry: there are plenty of vegan substitutes! Unfortunately, while conventional dairy products are relatively inexpensive, vegan dairy replacements don’t always tend to be– yogurt is around the same price, but vegan cheese? Not so much. However, you get what you pay for, and it does taste good! If you want your buffalo “chicken” wraps with a vegan substitute and you don’t want to DIY the faux bird, you’re going to have to shell out a few more bucks, but it’s all about whether you’re willing or able to shell out the moolah. Check out my post here on where to find coupons for prepackaged vegan foods!
On top of how much you’re spending at the grocery store, going vegan– or eating homemade food in general, whether meat or meat-free– is going to take some time. It’s not going to be as easy to stop at a gas station on a road trip and pick up a complete meal. You’re going to have to be prepared and either know where to stop or have food prepared with you. We’ve done both, but it’s important to be prepared ahead of time, whether it’s for work, play, or while traveling! Plan ahead and you’ll be prepared for anything that comes at you.
Questions for you:
How do you plan your grocery trips?
Do you eat organic or vegan junk food? We’re trying to cut it out a little more this month in an effort to eat cleaner, healthier foods, but Luna + Larry’s coconut ice cream gets me every time!