Welcome to my guide on how to eat vegan on a tight budget.
There is a preconception that being a vegan is really expensive. How wrong this is!
I actually think I am spending far less money than when I was eating meat, and less than when I was a vegetarian. This is because meat, fish and cheese are all really expensive, none of which buy anymore. Other than that I’m buying a lot of the same things, and extra things which are cheap, such as beans.
I give myself a tight weekly budget and probably spend around £20 on food per week, sometimes less. Check out my blog post ‘My Budget Vegan Grocery Shop‘, if you’d like to see what I normally buy.
I’ve put together some top tips on how to eat on a tight budget, and make your money go further 🙂
Buy non-perishable foods in bulk
Food is usually cheaper per 100g, if you buy a bigger bag or packet.
Of course, this mainly applies for non-perishable items that you know will not go out of date if you don’t eat them all quickly. These include frozen foods, rice, pasta, grains, dried beans, tins and cans, herbs and spices etc.
If you’re buying something that you know you are likely to go through and will need to buy again, just pay a little more and get a bigger bag. Although it may seem as if you are doing the opposite of what you are aiming to do, it works out better in the long run 🙂
Just be sure to check the date of the goods that you are buying, to ensure they won’t go off before you get the chance to eat them!
Buy foods on sale
Look out for items that are on sale, and stock up on them if they are non-perishable, or are something you know you will get through.
If I see something on sale that I know I will run out of in the near future, I will stock up, to save me from paying full price when I do run out.
For example, if I have less than half a bag of rice left, and I see that it’s on sale in the supermarket, I will buy some now to save me from paying the extra in a week or so.
Frozen foods are another one that I stock up on during sale periods. Frozen sausages and burgers are a regular one for me. I don’t think I ever buy them full price anymore 🙂
It’s about thinking for the future.
Different supermarkets have different prices for different items.
Figure out which supermarkets offer the best deals for certain items so you know where to go if you’re running low on something.
I was quite lucky to live near a Sainsbury’s, a LIDL and an Asda. I figured out which items are cheaper in which supermarkets and went there specifically for those items.
Don’t be scared to get the value stuff
Some people are embarrassed to go for the value, or basic options. Don’t be!
From my experience, and trying all the different ranges, there really isn’t much of a difference at all. Apart from the packaging, which ends up in the bin anyway!
For example, tins of beans, chickpeas and chopped tomatoes can be bought for around 30-40p and are the exact same as the ones that are on sale for £1+.
You can really save SO MUCH money from buying the value items.
Of course, this doesn’t have to apply to everything. Wine for example. WOW, I would really not recommend you buy Tesco Value wine. Unless you like your wine to taste like vinegar.
Buy frozen vegetables
Fresh vegetables can be expensive, and it’s sometimes tricky to know how much to buy as they can go off quickly.
Try frozen vegetables. They’re still a healthy option and are so handy when it comes to throwing together quick meals.
There are loads of options – you can buy bags of one certain vegetable such as peas, or mixed bags.
You can also just add them to meals to bulk them out a bit! I often cook curries using a mixture of fresh vegetables, and frozen ones.
I personally, always have a bag of ‘stir fry’ vegetables in my freezer, along with the standard peas and sweetcorn 🙂
Buy your fresh fruit and veg at markets
This isn’t always the case, but quite often fruit and vegetable markets sell their produce cheaper than the supermarkets.
Check them out to see if this is the case for you.
They often have a nice variety of produce too, and sell things that you wouldn’t normally find in the supermarket.
Cook extra portions
This is something I absolutely swear by. To save money, and for those lazy days when I just can’t be bothered to cook!
Cook extra portions and keep leftovers either in the fridge if you plan on eating them within a couple days.
You can take leftovers to work with you to have for lunch. I found that this is a big saver. The days that I didn’t bring lunch to work with me, I ended up spending £5 a day in nearby shops and restaurants! Even £3 on a meal deal adds up to a lot over time.
For those extra meals that you don’t eat for lunch, put them in the freezer. In no time, you’ll have a freezer full of different meals that you can just pop in the microwave for a quick lunch or dinner.
Cook from scratch
This is an obvious one – cut back on the takeaways and cook your own meals. Takeaways are pretty much always overpriced and cooking them yourselves is far cheaper.
It’s also quite often cheaper to make you own meals from scratch, as opposed to buying jarred or ready meals from supermarkets.
Pasta sauce is something that I used to buy ready made in jars, out of convenience. However, I soon realised that making it from a tin of chopped tomatoes and a range of spices and herbs, I was making cheaper and tastier pastas!
Cook with pulses
Pulses, such as beans, lentils and peas, are some of the cheapest foods in the supermarket. They’re great as they’re filling and are really versatile.
You can get them in tins or in dry form. Both are great as they last ages. I personally opt for tins as they don’t require any soaking before using.
As a bonus, they’re low in calories and fat, as well as being packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals and count towards your 5 a day.
Write a list before shopping
Write a list list of what you need and try not to stray from it.
Try not to shop when you’re hungry as you’ll probably end up going home with a lot of things you don’t need. These are also more likely to unhealthy foods, high in saturated fat.
Shop towards the end of the day
Towards the end of the day, before supermarkets close, they start to reduce items that they will have to throw away if not sold.
The best time to go is normally a couple hours before close, when they’ve started to reduce items, but before all the best deals have been swept up already by other bargain hunters.
The best things to get towards the end of the day are breads, fruits and vegetables. Whenever I get fresh bread, especially if it’s reduced, I always freeze it 🙂
Hope you have found this helpful and are able to stretch your budget further!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Or if you have any tips you’d like to share, please do 🙂
Have a lovely day!