One of the most common things we hear people say is that being vegan is expensive. And while yes, buying a lot of the “veganized” foods can rack up your grocery bill, being vegan can often be affordable! Think about it, if you’re eating healthy and cook your own meals, 80% of your groceries are produce!
Fun fact: In Canada and in many states in the US, produce (fresh, canned, or frozen) is not taxable!
So when it comes to eating a vegan diet, these are our 5 tips to help you keep that bill down while keeping your stomach full.
Tip #1: Buy produce that’s in-season
One of our favourite things to do is buy in-season produce. Sure, we have our year-round staples we love to eat (we’re looking at you strawberries!), but have you ever noticed the price tag on those staples sneak up? That’s because when things go out of season, they cost more to import. Not only is it more costly, but they can often expire faster too.
When you focus on buying in-season products, you’ll be able to get them at their cheapest price tag since supply is ample! Plus, this is a great way to change up your meals on a seasonal basis and try some new things.
Seasonality changes based on where you live, so be sure to check for where you live!
Tip #2: Shop at your local farmer’s market
Also a favourite when it comes to saving, shopping at our local farmer’s market! We are lucky enough to have a permanent one right downtown, but in the summer month’s there are pop-up markets in many parks and bring farmer’s from all around Ontario. By shopping at a farmer’s market, you’re getting your produce right from the source! Tying back to our #1 tip, you’ll get fresh, seasonal produce, and usually it’s much more cost effective since it’s right from the farmer.
This tip has an added bonus, because wandering around a farmer’s market is just so fun! Usually a sample or two, lots of things to see and eat, if you’re lucky, it could be dog friendly!
Tip #3: Buy the “imperfect” produce
Have you ever noticed how uniform and good fresh produce usually looks? That’s because there’s a standard, and the oddly shaped foods often don’t make the cut. Some grocery stores take those imperfect vegetables and package them together at a discounted rate. This is also a great way to save money. They tend to cost a fraction of the “perfect” versions, and are often just as fresh.
Where we are we are able to get key ingredients like peppers, carrots, and avocados in their “imperfect” form, which is just perfect for us!
Tip #4: Freeze your produce before they expire
This is more of a post-grocery tip, but if you find you have too many leftover vegetables (those imperfect bags often come with way more veggies than you’d expect), you can make sure they don’t go to waste by cutting up your fruits and veggies before they go bad and throw them in the freezer. You can use them for quick weeknight meals like Stir-Frys, and make them go a lot longer than a week’s worth of groceries.
Tip #5: Don’t buy processed food if you don’t have to
Like we said at the beginning, where you’ll see your grocery bill start to climb is when you add things like frozen pizzas, chick’n strips, mac n’ cheese boxes, you know… the yummy junk food! Don’t get us wrong, we love indulging in junk food every once in awhile. And if you open either of our freezers, you’ll probably find an emergency frozen pizza on-hand. But, if you want to stay healthy and keep your costs low it’s best to try and avoid these items as much as you can.
The best part is, it’s super easy to make a lot of those junk food items yourself at home for less money, and they’re usually way healthier! When you cook at home you can add in more beneficial ingredients (like how we sneak extra protein in our Mac n Cheese), and reduce the amount of salt you eat.
So there you have it, 5 super simple tips to help keep your vegan diet affordable (and healthy!). Do you do any of these things already? Do you have a tip for us to keep our bills down? We’d love to hear from you!