I recently asked Twitter, “Do you spend more or less money on food as a vegan than you did as an omnivore?” and the responses fell pretty evenly into the following categories.
Specialty Vegans – One group said they spend more because food items made for vegans are so expensive. (See Vegan Grocery Bills -Part 1 on vegan replacements for old favorites like cheese and marshmallows.) Restaurants that cater specifically to vegans also tend to charge slightly more per plate than low-end standard eateries.
Organic shoppers – Another group said they spend more now, but that it’s because becoming vegan lead them to critically examine the items they consume, and they now buy significantly more organic produce and other high-priced health foods. Tahini, raw cashews, coconut oil, chai seeds, spelt flour, organic peanut butter; all those would have seemed like luxuries to, say, my mother. This group of folks is paying more, but eating much higher quality food.
Home Cookers – People in the third category said they actually saved money as vegans by eating out less (sometimes because so few vegan options are available) and by cooking more, usually from scratch. This is the secret to being a frugal vegan eater. By all means, use Chick’n patties and vegan cream cheese as needed, especially as you transition to eating vegan, but keep in mind that your goal should be eating more whole plant foods.
Yes, this means learning to cook. Yes, it takes some time, but it saves you a bunch of money, and as much as you may think you hate cooking, you’ll find that a simple meal can taste scrumptious when you have put it together yourself. Accomplishment is a spice that goes well with everything. Read the rest of this entry »