Going Vegan On A Budget

as i have mentioned in my previous blogs, one of the main concerns in any diet change is having to think of what to eat, and where to get it. because most people already know what to buy, they are well aware of their budget. according to the USDA’s website (www.usda.gov), a low income grocery shopper spends about $600 a month on food to last a family of 4, whether it’s at a local market, Costco, or a combination of both. imagine what an average income person spends! but what is on their food list?

i was one of those who bought some of the most common, easy to prepare and/or cook foods:

  • bread
  • cereal
  • milk
  • eggs
  • poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • pork or beef
  • processed meats (canned corned beef, sardines, hotdogs, bacon)
  • fruit juice by the gallon
  • frozen ready-to-eat meals
  • junk chips and snacks (ice cream, microwaveable popcorns)

after i have at least a few of these, i would then go get the veggies and fresh fruits. mostly it would be the reverse, but the foods listed above were marked as important. what gets me disappointed every single time is that no matter how little of each item i get, my bill never went less than $60. just the beef alone to be cooked for one meal is already close to $12. as bad as i would feel upon going back home for the amount of money i spent on ‘crap’, i always thought that we needed the crap i just bought.

now that i am vegan, i feel more excited in going to the grocery. i realized that i didn’t have to get meat and dairy products anymore, and for that i can save more money. the good part is that i didn’t have to fear going to places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. one good example is when i went to Sprouts two days ago and i got the following items (actual price included):

  • 1 container of strawberries, $2.50
  • 2 cucumbers (promotional 2 for 1), $0.50
  • 2 avocados (promotional 2 for 1), $1.00
  • 1 zucchini, $0.27
  • 1 organic bananas, $2.16
  • 1 bunch organic green beans, $2.26
  • 1 red bell pepper, $0.98
  • 1 sweet potato, $0.72
  • 1 jar capers in vinegar, $2.29
  • 2 salad dressing (promotional 2 for $4), $4.00
  • 1 jar organic coconut oil, $4.49
  • 2 dairy free yogurt, $2.18
  • 1 pack vegan shredded cheese, $3.34
  • 1 pack tofu, $1.29
  • 1 pack organic tempeh, $3.69

the total with tax came to $34.60, that is a far cry from the usual $60 or more that i would spend. i couldn’t believe what i saw on the screen when the cashier showed me what i have to pay. i thought i’d demand a recount, just for kicks. with that being said, i saved almost $30, so i was able to get other things we needed at home.

it’s all about knowing where to go and what you want to get. you don’t have to be in a high end market just to avail all things vegan or vegetarian. when purchasing the most basic items like veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains, your local market is good enough.



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