How to Buy Vegan Groceries on a Budget
Budgeting for any type of food shop can be hard at times, but following a vegan diet doesn’t have to make it any more expensive – in fact, the healthy vegan meals that I eat are often cheaper than those with meat!
We’re going to be covering some of the best tips-and-tricks in order to Buy Vegan Groceries on a Budget, including meal planning, eating leftovers for lunch, and how to find great ingredients at a reduced cost.
Planning Your Meals
Knowing exactly what you want to buy and how much of it you need before going shopping is a great way to stay disciplined and only buy what you need.
It’s often tempting to buy snacks and treats when they’re on sale and, while you may not spend a large amount of money on them each time you shop, it can really start to add up over a couple of months.
Writing a list of ingredients beforehand and sticking to it is one of the simplest steps you can take that will start saving you money immediately.
An example vegan grocery list may look something like this:
- 2kg basmati rice
- Carrots (bag)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Sweet potatoes (bag)
- 400g of kidney beans (pack of 6)
- 400g of chopped tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Tomato puree
- 1 avocado/ guacamole
- Red pepper
- Herbs & spices
With grocery shops close to almost all offices and schools, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of people choose to buy their lunch individually each day – often making it the most expensive meal.
When cooking vegan meals (or any other type of food) it’s often cheaper (per meal) to cook in larger quantities. This is especially noticeable in recipes that may require small amounts of things (such as broccoli) that are only sold in larger quantities.
That’s why cooking multiple portions of each meal and then eating the leftovers for lunch/ dinner on another day can save you massive amounts of money.
It’s also more cost effective to buy things in larger quantities – such as multi-packs of beans or larger packs of vegetables.
When creating a meal plan, it’s a good idea to see how many recipes have similar ingredients, so that you can cook a larger variety of meals while still taking advantage of bulk pricing.
Although it’s a bad idea to impulse-buy snacks and other things simply because they are reduced, there are ways to tactically buy the ingredients you already needed at a discounted price.
When shopping near the closing time of a store, you may have noticed a large quantity of discounted foods. This is because, towards the end of the day, staff reduce the prices of items, so that there is less wastage.
That’s why doing the same shop in the evening can often be a lot cheaper than just a few hours before.
If there’s an ingredient on your list that isn’t reduced, it’s a good idea to ask a member of staff if they plan to change the price – as they’re often on their way round the store constantly changing the prices of items.
When shopping regularly enough at this time of day, you may notice that the same items are often heavily discounted. This can be a good opportunity to look for vegan recipes that include these ingredients.
If you do find an item that’s on sale (as long as it’s not perishable) then it’s a good idea to buy a large quantity of it – assuming it’s something that you eat often.
Things like rice, beans, and spices can be kept for a long period of time and can often be found on sale.
Try Different Shops
While it’s convenient to get all of your food in one place, you may notice that specific shops have good prices on different items.
It’s a good idea to do your first few shops in different stores – making a note of how much each item costs – and then splitting your shopping list up per store.
While this is a good way to save money, it’s important to calculate the travel costs & the cost of your time going to multiple different stores.
Grow Your Own Ingredients
The beauty of a vegan diet is that everything you eat can be grown at home. While it doesn’t make economic sense to grow absolutely everything yourself – and you may not have room to do so – there are a number of foods that can be enjoyable to grow yourself at home.
Growing ingredients that go off quickly, but can easily be grown at home, such as herbs and tomatoes, can save you money and also provide a nice hobby at the same time!
Don’t Buy “Vegan” Food
When walking through a supermarket, you may often notice a lot of items are branded as “vegan”.
Foods that are branded as vegan or vegetarian are often much more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts. Milk, cheese, and meat substitutes can be nice, but you can also have a perfectly balanced vegan diet without them.
Sticking to natural fruits and vegetables can save you a lot of money in the long-run.
Make Your Own Sauce
As well as “vegan” branded foods, sauces are often much more expensive than the ingredients that they contain – yet they can be made easily at home.
When following a recipe that includes a sauce, it’s a good idea to try and buy the ingredients individually and have a go yourself.
This takes more time than just mixing in a pre-made sauce, but things like stir-fry sauces can often be made with ingredients that you have lying around anyway.
Hopefully you’ve picked up some useful tips for buying vegan groceries on a budget. To summarise, the main points are:
- Planning your meals in advance
- Cooking more than you need and having the leftovers for lunch
- Shopping just before the store closes to get discounted products
- Buying different ingredients at different shops
- Growing your own ingredients
- Avoiding “vegan” branded foods
- Making your own sauces