Veganism for Cheap-Asses Like Me!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I’ve had many friends and co-workers who have questioned me about my vegan lifestyle…whether or not I feel left out, hungry, if I crave certain things, how I plan meals, etc. I actually love when people come up and ask me these things, because I know that they are genuinely interested, and I’m not “preaching” if they come to me, right?! Well, the two biggest questions I get are:

“Where do your nutrients come from?” (Discussed in an earlier post)


“Isn’t being vegan super expensive?”

Now, in all honesty, I have no idea where that second question comes from. I mean, I get the first question. As a society who grew up with the Meat and Dairy industries funding our Government and the Food Commissions, many people believe we cannot survive without red meat and cow milk in our diets, so obviously, that question is understood by me. But the thought of our “diet” as expensive boggles my mind! Now, maybe it’s because I’m probably one of the cheapest people you’ll ever meet…or maybe it’s because I hate seeing things go to waste, but in all honesty, switching to a vegan diet has done wonders for my cashflow!

When Julian and I were eating meat, dairy, and processed food (although very little, but we did have an occasional processed package of food see our pantry), our grocery bill totaled around $200 every two weeks. For two people, we had friends that were very impressed with how little we could spend, but I still felt like this was a lot of money. Our groceries would consist of large bags of chicken breasts, cheeses, milk (for Julian, not me…I was never a milk drinker…I don’t even like drinking soy or rice milk!), ground turkey, eggs, pastas, rice, and various other completely unnecessary things. Now that our home is meat and dairy free (aside from occasional fish that Julian buys since he eats it about once a week), our grocery bill has dropped to less than HALF of what it was before! Just to show you that you most certainly CAN feed two people on $40 a week, I did a little online grocery shopping to show what we buy and how we do it. I don’t know of any grocery stores that deliver here in Wisconsin, so I went to, which was a grocery store we shopped at in Los Angeles. Now, their foods were a little pricier, and they incorporated a “delivery fee” in this, so it’s actually still a little more than what we pay now, but only by a couple of dollars. Now, this is what we buy every two weeks or so at the grocery store. Keep in mind, that all the beans and grains typically last longer than 2 weeks, so sometimes we can stretch this to last an entire month, or else we’ll replenish one or two items at a time for less than five bucks.

Our total for these groceries is around $45 for two weeks. Then, each week, we pull out a $20 bill and use this for produce. We only use $20 because it’s only the two of us, and limiting what is in the fridge makes you more aware of everything you have, and more likely to use it up before it goes bad. We can usually find everything we need at the weekly Farmer’s Market, but if not, we’ll take our leftover money to the grocery store produce and get what we need there. So:

$15-45 every two weeks at the grocery store
$20 every week for produce
$28-42.50 a week for groceries
$112 to $170 a month for groceries for TWO PEOPLE!!!

Okay folks, we went from spending around $200 bi-weekly, which is around $400 a month to less than $200 a MONTH!!! And we eat well (if you don’t believe me, just look at our recipes!)!!!

So there you have it. Next time someone tells you that being vegan is way too expensive, have them check this out! The fact that two people can eat tons of food and eat healthy and nutritious for $112-170 a month is something I would have never believed myself, but it’s totally possible! So not only is veganism good for your health, but it’s good for your wallet, too!

What I mock-ordered from to show what we buy at the grocery store every 2 weeks or so:
2 bags Stacy’s Naked Pita Chips - $3.99 each
2 packs Boca Vegan Burgers - $3.00 each
Whole Wheat Pita Bread - $1.79
16 oz. bag of pearled barley - .81
16 oz bag of pinto beans - $1.74
16 oz. bag of black beans - $2.45
2 – 16 oz. bags of navy beans - $1.25 each
2 – 16 oz. bags of red beans - $1.65 each
10 lb. bag of rice – $14.79
42 oz. box of Quaker Rolled Oats - $5.29

Total - $46.63 for 2 weeks

Filling up on your veggies at the Farmers Market is usually much more cost-effective than the grocery store, and you get to see exactly where your food is coming from!

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AKM said...

I find that since I'm buying couldn't-be-cheaper items like beans and veggies for most of my meals, I can still afford the treats like mock meats and Daiya that cost a bit more. It all balances out!

Jennifer said...

Do you have a sample of a weekly menu on your blog? If not, would you mind posting one?

Amanda said...

I think it depends on how much you like to cook and make everything by hand. I hate cooking, and spend $40 a week for one person. I understand the comment because vegan stuff is more expensive - shampoo costs $8 instead of $3, mascara costs $15 instead of $6, etc. etc. There are less vegan items on the market (aside from beans and veggies), so they can charge more for it. I wouldn't say being a vegan is more expensive, but for me, its def not cheaper.

Danielle said...

Thanks for the response, Amanda! I appreciate your feedback, and really just wanted to say that this post was more to show how economical being vegan can be, if that's what you are looking for. No doubt that some items are a little pricey, but that's the same as non-vegan items. Yes, I spend $20 on a bar of vegan solid shampoo...but it lasts me almost a year, so in the long run, I don't see it as more expensive. Yes, sometimes I don't feel like cooking and we'll raid the vegan aisle of our grocery store's frozen section which is kinda pricey, but because we've saved so much on the basics, it still doesn't add up to how much we were spending as non-vegans. It's give and take, but I just didn't want people to be scared off by what they have heard about veganism being so expensive.

AKM said...

ALDI has a line of makeup and skin care that is cruelty-free and dirt cheap! Same with Avon...

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