One of the biggest and most frequently expressed concerns from non-vegans regarding the vegan diet is the increased cost. People look at veganism and similar diets, see words like “organic” and “non-GMO,” and immediately start feeling their wallets begin to constrict in their pockets. It’s not completely unfounded either. Unfortunately, the more sustainable and healthy farming techniques can often be more costly than their GMO counterparts.
That said, it has been proven that vegan diets cost on average about 40% less than diets that include items like meat, dairy, and other animal products. But how?
If you are considering going on a vegan diet and have concerns over cost, the good news is that there are many ways to actively reduce your food expenses. Not only that, but you will also notice many ways vegans inherently end up spending less money on average than the majority of regular store goers.
We will talk about a few ways you can cut costs and find affordable ingredients to support your vegan lifestyle. So grab your grocery list and pour some cucumber water because we are about to explain how you can save money as a vegan.
The Immediate Difference
There are many ways in which a vegan diet can require a bit of extra effort on your part. Lucky for you, cost doesn’t have to be one of them. The following are two major ways that you will instantly find yourself spending less just for choosing a vegan diet.
Is It True That Many Vegan Specialty Items Cost More Than Their Animal-Based Counterparts?
Yes, that is often the case. Specialty items like black bean patties or other pre-made meat substitutes can be more expensive than the alternative.
But that is also operating under the assumption that the majority of your vegan diet will be pre-prepared. While that is certainly an option, it is neither healthier nor more cost-efficient to do so. When it comes to a vegan diet, the more cooking you do yourself, the better (more on that to come).
But I Love My Milk! How Can I Save Money When Almond and Soy Milk Are Twice the Cost of Regular Milk?
Valid question. If it did just come down to the milk in your fridge, this would be a tough pill to swallow. But when you also take into account things like cheese, butter, and yogurt that you will be reducing or cutting out of your diet entirely, the cost of almond or soy milk pales in comparison to your savings.
In fact, almond and soy products keep substantially longer, meaning that you run less risk of wasting them due to spoilage. That’s just more money that you won’t have to pour down the drain (literally).
Plus, vegan snacks and foods are often higher quality and very filling, so you may not feel the need to snack quite as often. A great example of this is MiiRO’s White Chocolate Bar With Crispy Almond Pieces. It contains less than a teaspoon of sugar for the whole bar and is loaded with almonds. It’s actually pretty filling, and most of our customers tend to break it up into pieces to enjoy it.
Tips and Tricks for Saving Money When Vegan
We’ve gone over a few of what could be considered the ways that veganism can inherently save you money, but what about the more active approach? There are several ways to actively reduce the cost of a vegan diet, and they are more simple than you may think.
Always Fresh Isn’t Always Best
Veganism is often seen as some sort of elite diet that consists solely of straight-from-the-field, organic ingredients. There is absolutely no room for canned or frozen goods, right? Surely a true vegan would never stoop to such a base practice.
Well… No. That would be impractical and silly. You can absolutely use canned or frozen ingredients. Of course, you still want to look for those that have not been heavily processed or made with GMOs, but just because you need a can opener to get to something doesn’t automatically make it an inferior product.
Not only is it cheaper, but it will also allow you to buy more at a time, which will end up reducing costs in the long run as well, which brings us to our next money-saving tip.
We are not talking about going to the gym (although exercise is important too). In this case, we are referring to buying in bulk.
Anyone who frequents Costco or Sam’s Club will know that, generally speaking, more means cheaper in the long run. Anything you could want can be bought cheaper in bulk, from canned beans to vegan yogurt. This suggestion goes doubly for frozen or canned goods as they can have a virtually infinite shelf life, giving you ample time to use them for many meals to come.
Another great way to buy larger quantities of the foods you use regularly is to visit the manufacturer’s website. Often, they’ll give you the option to buy large packs of certain items for a lower price. Many companies also offer “subscribe and save” models, in which you’ll receive a monthly shipment of the items for a lower price overall.
Support Your Local Veggie Vendors!
Two words: Buy. Local. Don’t know what’s in season? Drag yourself out of bed early this weekend and jaunt merrily over to your local farmers market. We promise they will probably be happier to see you than the bag-boy at your local grocer, and their products are likely to be fresher too.
It’s also a great way to get non-GMO products and get the pulse on what's in season. Fresh, quality organic ingredients? Check. Cheaper than buying organic in the store? Check (Usually). Supporting local farmers? Double check.
Congratulations, now you are a vegan, a supporter of small businesses, and a go-getter! Just look at you.
If you’ve done some research on veganism or been on a vegan diet for any amount of time, you have probably noticed a trend. The more you do for yourself, the better. That means nutritionally and financially, you will be doing yourself a major favor.
Don’t Have Time for the Farmers Market? Grow Those Carrots and Tomatoes Yourself!
Having a home garden will cut down on your produce needs, and you will always know where it’s coming from. Not to mention that the cost of seeds is practically nothing compared to what buying the same veggies at the store would cost you.
Even if things are out of season, you can still grow many kinds of herbs just on your kitchen windowsill that will be able to spice up your sauces and make fancy garnishes.
When You Go to the Store, Buy What’s in Season To Maximize Ingredient Freshness.
Buying things that are out of season can often mean GMOs. Not only that, but most out-of-season ingredients are both lower quality and higher price.
There’s nothing like biting into a nice, oversized Honeycrisp in the middle of January and feeling like your mouth has been invaded by wet, faintly apple-flavored sawdust. You are more than welcome to go for it if that’s your thing. We think we’ll pass.
When You Get Those Fresh Items Home, Get Cooking!
Don’t buy expensive, frozen, veggie burgers that will sit like hockey pucks in your freezer for six months. Make your own! Or put together some homemade dressing to pour over your chickpea salad. It’s quick, simple, and far cheaper than anything store-bought.
If you are at a loss for what to fix, check out some of our recipes. We’ve got appetizers, dessert, and everything in between.
On a vegan diet, you should always be looking for ways to add pages to your cookbook and ingredients to your pantry. You never know when you may need to pull out some gooey and delicious chocolate chip cookies.
Going Vegan Is About More Than the Money
People have all sorts of motives for going on a vegan diet. These can range anywhere from nutritional requirements to allergy avoidance. But perhaps the most common reason given by vegans is that they do it out of a desire to support a more eco-friendly world and reduce the reliance upon those companies and products that use cruel and exploitative practices on animals or their habitats.
We’ve gone over how veganism can actually be more cost-efficient than the alternative when properly executed. But you also have to keep in mind that you are saving a lot more than mere money by going vegan.
You help promote a lifestyle that supports cleaner living and healthier practices both for you and the planet we all share. We can’t speak for everyone, but to us, that fact alone is worth every penny saved on meat and dairy products and every effort spent buying natural, sustainable products.