Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Quite often, the vegan lifestyle and diet gets a reputation as being expensive and only for rich people. This is exclusionary dialogue that tells people of different incomes, classes, and colors that veganism is only for rich people. This argument is obsolete, unfair, but most importantly, simply untrue.
There are a multitude of reasons to go vegan. One of them is largely your health. Other reasons include animal activism obviously, but there are also the vast environmental benefits that come with being vegan. The reasons to go Vegan outnumber the reasons not to. With Dr. Michael Greger and other groups such as The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine by Neil Barnard publishing scientifically-backed articles about health benefits, it is hard to not want to be vegan.
So here are mistakes that beginner vegans make that often break the wallet... When beginner vegans transition off of heavily meat based diets, they begin with very expensive products: frozen burritos, fine nut cheeses and other expensive artisan goods. In reality, the vegan diet is simple. It is largely based upon eating produce in abundance. Another common mistake that new vegans make when they begin going vegan is literally trying to “veganize” all of their favorite non-vegan dishes. You don't have to. In fact, it is important to try new foods. Quinoa, stir fries, smoothies, overnight oats, are all fun vegan-friendly dishes that also save you tons of money.
Here are tips on how to save money as a vegan
1) Buy in Bulk
Buying your staples in bulk like oats, rice, or other staples can save a lot of money.
2) Don't Go Soy-Crazy
Soy isn't bad for you, but that doesn't mean you need to eat it either. Soy products such as tempeh are sometimes very expensive. So, if you're on a tight budget, you may want to look out for that.
3) Easy on the Meat Alternatives
This also means you don't necessarily need to buy mock meats. While lots of vegans are huge fans of foods like Seitan and Soy Curls, there are other more inexpensive ways to get your protein.
4) Get Your Legumes!
Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Lentils are some of the heart healthiest and most fibrous foods that offer good amounts of protein.
5) No Need to Be the Pro of Protein
Speaking of protein, you don't need as much of it as you think you do. All foods contain small amounts of protein and beginner vegans fall into the trap of immediately buying all sorts of protein powders and other supplements. Nature offers most, if not all, of what we need.
6) Get Your B12
While there are better "branded" vitamins, don't worry too much at the beginning about things like "Bioavailability" Liquid Vitamins Vs. Not Tablet Vs. Fast Dissolving. Start out with a vegan vitamin B12 tablet.
7) Don't Let Yourself Become Iron Deficient
Nutrient-dense greens offer all the iron we need. And a bonus? Rather than putting your money on iron tablets and other products you don't need yet, look up foods that are rich in iron. And once you do that...
8) Cook With an Iron Cast Pan
Cooking in an iron cast skillet can add tons of iron to your food and therefore to your body.
9) Research Recipes
While we do offer loads of recipes on this site, you may want to also research other recipes by simply googling online or investing in nice vegan cookbook. (There are tons.) One tip is that you google “broke vegan food hacks.” It is often funny how people who transition to vegan diets think of all the food they will no longer be eating, when realistically, most people eat the same food almost every day. We are all creatures of habit. So make food fun! Start cooking and experimenting.
10) Compare Grocery Stores
A lot of new vegans automatically think they need to start shopping at Whole Foods when they go vegan. But you can buy vegan food anywhere. It is largely about eating plant-based; such food is ubiquitous and is found anywhere. That being said, we're not knocking Whole Foods either- we noticed that Whole Foods carries the cheapest and largest amount of hummus we've ever seen!
There is so much value in veganism. You are doing something that is positive for your health, the animals, and the environment. All life transitions tend to be hard. So enjoy the transition even if it is a challenging one. We promise it will be worth it.
Post contributed in part by Michele Quiles