One of the biggest reasons people will give for not changing to a plant-based diet is money. They are concerned about the cost of buying large amounts of produce and other expensive whole foods. I have two answers to that: First, you may end up paying a lot more in health care when you develop a chronic disease like heart disease or diabetes so you have a choice to make. It is a choice between living a healthy life now and spending money on quality food or living a poor quality of life with chronic disease and spending money on expensive medical care in the future. I choose the former. I choose to spend my money now on food that will give me the best chance of avoiding disease as I age. Second, there are ways to save money on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Additionally, some of the cheapest foods on the planet are staples of this diet like beans and rice so let's explore ways to save.
Money Saving Tips
- Go into the store with a plan- Most budget gurus will tell you that money is wasted when you go into a store and just start throwing things in your cart. Taking a few minutes to plan your meals and create a list increases the chances that you don't waste food and end up throwing away a lot of your purchases and it decreases the likelihood that you make spur of the moment expensive purchases.
- Stick to mostly whole, unprocessed food- Not only is processed food unhealthy, it costs more in general.
- Compare prices at different stores- Especially for the foods that you purchase on a regular basis or consume a lot of, take the time to compare. That doesn't mean that you need to go to 3 different stores every week. It simply means that when you need those foods, you are better off buying them and stocking up at that store.
- Shop on sale and stock up- Check out the weekly flyer for your favorite store and plan your meals according to their sales. For example, a store may have sales that run from Wednesday to Wednesday and if you shop on Wednesday you may be able to take advantage of both sales. If it is an item that will not spoil stock up on the sale!
- Shop in season- This goes along with shop the sales. If something is in season it will be cheaper so be flexible in the produce you buy and shop what is in season. Not only will it be cheaper but it will also taste better.
- Sign up for the store rewards card- They are free to sign up for and can yield big savings!
- Shop in bulk- Buying from bulk bins will often save you money on staples like rice, dry beans, nutritional yeast etc.
- Go generic- I shop at Kroger and they have a Simple Truth brand that is often less expensive and just as good as the brand name. Most stores have a generic version so check them out!
- Compare fresh and frozen prices- Often frozen will be less expensive and will last in your freezer longer than fresh. Depending on what you are making, frozen can be a great alternative to save money.
- Limit specialty vegan or prepackaged convenience products- These foods should only be a small part of our diet anyway so limit how much you spend on them.