Being Vegan On A Budget Is Stupid-Simple!

Being Vegan On A Budget Is Stupid-Simple! 1

It is commonly said by vegans and non-vegans alike that being vegan is expensive. Some say it is a privilege and that it is unreasonable to suggest that everyone can be vegan. This idea comes from a variety of misunderstandings and misnomers about what it means to be vegan. The staples of a vegan kitchen are actually a lot less expensive than eating a meat & dairy diet.

The Organic Fallacy

One of the main reasons people think veganism is expensive is because they associate it with eating organic. Of course, eating organic is great and a healthier choice but it has nothing to do with being vegan. Vegan means not eating animals. Organic or not organic is of no consequence.  If you can afford all organic vegetables, that’s great. If you can’t, that’s ok too!

The Processed Food Pitfall

Vegan processed foods, like the meat and cheese alternatives, are pricey! They are nice to have but no one on a budget can afford them. The great news is that you don’t need them. There are so many other options. Don’t fall into this trap of processed foods. It will suck your paycheck away. Avoiding processed foods is better for your health too.

So, What Do Vegans Eat?

The basics of the vegan diet are grains, pasta, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Grains, pasta, and beans are some of the least expensive items at a grocery store, especially when purchased in bulk.

Best Budget Beans & Pulses – Chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, soybeans.

Best Budget Grains & Pasta – Rice, couscous, pasta, barley, buckwheat, oats. Quinoa and hemp seeds are amazing but can be expensive.

Best Budget Nuts – Most nuts are expensive so look around for deals. Peanuts and peanut butter are generally less expensive options.

Best Budget Fruits & Vegetables – Always look for deals. It will vary depending on where you are located. Potatoes, onions, and garlic are usually good inexpensive options.

Being Vegan On A Budget Is Stupid-Simple! 2

How To Grocery Shop On A Budget

1. Discount Stores

Hopefully, there are discount stores near you! Dollar-type stores always have beans, rice, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, and other pantry basics like spices and sauces. These are great places to stock up on the necessities.

Search for discount stores that sell expired or nearly-expired goods. These can be a bit tricky or hit-or-miss but are almost always worth it. Use your discretion but also don’t be afraid of items that are a little expired – expiration dates are actually “Best By” dates. This means that the date listed is when the product will be past its peak quality. It has nothing to do with the actual safety of the food.

2. Shop Around

Check out all the stores in your area. You don’t have to go to the name-brand grocery store. You don’t have to go to the pricey natural foods store. Take a day or weekend and check out all the stores in your area and see who has the best deals. It’s a pain but once you’ve done it once, then you’ll know for the future and can make sure you are getting the most for your money.

3. Vegetable Discount Racks

Many stores have racks near the produce section with ugly or expiring vegetables that they can’t sell at full price. Often this means a bag of peppers with one looking wonky while the others are fine or a mango that needs to be eaten immediately. These racks are great resources for vegetables. If you don’t see one in your store, ask someone. They are often hidden.

4. Buy In Season

This is especially important with fruits & vegetables. If peaches are in season, they’ll be cheaper. This is a great way to try new things. Stock up on the in-season vegetables and fruits, freezing or dehydrating any you can’t use right away for later meals.

5. Be Flexible!

If you go to the store with a predetermined list of vegetables to buy, then you won’t be able to take advantage of deals. Look around and check out all the prices before making decisions.

Learn How To Cook!

You don’t need to be a master chef to be vegan. Some of the vegan basics may be new to you but that doesn’t mean they are difficult. Cooking couscous is so easy it’s ridiculous. If you can boil water, you can make rice and quinoa. Beans aren’t difficult to cook from scratch and its even easier to open up a can for easy meals. There are many blogs and websites and books that will teach you the basics if you don’t know them already.

If you don’t have basic cooking skills, then you’re going to be relying on pre-packaged, processed foods which are always more expensive and can destroy your grocery budget. There are many vegan recipes online, but sometimes it is preferable to have a physical vegan cookbook to follow along with.

Preparing your own veggie burgers, burritos, casseroles, and salads greatly cut down costs. Veggie burgers can be made at a fraction of the cost that you would pay in the store for frozen ones. Take the time to learn some basic recipes and watch your health and your budget improve.

Meal Plan

Walking into a store without a basic plan can be a sure-fire way of spending too much money. This may sound counter-instructive to the “be flexible” advice given earlier, however, the two can work together. Writing out the meals you want to make for the week goes hand in hand with keeping to a budget. Make a list of what you need but also give yourself some flexibility as to types of vegetables or fruit. For example, if you are making a stir-fry, the types of vegetables can vary but you’ll know approximately how much you’ll need for the week because it’s written down.

Grow Your Own

If you have space and time, growing your own fruits and vegetables is way less expensive than buying them. Plus, they taste a lot better! Seeds are inexpensive, even organic ones. There will be a small investment of money and time in the beginning when you set your garden up but after that, it’s a very low-cost project and provides you with delicious harvests.

If you are committed to living vegan, don’t be dissuaded because you aren’t made of money (who is?!). Anyone who desires to be vegan can be regardless of income. It may take a little investigating and work at first, however, it is possible and it is worth it!


Hi, my name is Jason and I am a vegan with a keen interest in plant-based diet and nutrition. This site was set up to help me explore the research, facts, and myths about veganism. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

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