Basics Part II: Vegan On A (Student) Budget

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I’m going to keep today’s post fairly short to avoid boring you all, and because many of the things I’m going to say are fairly obvious.

When people find out that I don’t eat dairy products, many of them ask whether it isn’t a very expensive way to live. The short answer is: No. It is not.However, their question does have a point. If you have moved from a meat- and dairy including diet to a vegan one, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that it takes a little bit of research and getting used to. Not only is there the seemingly endless battle with nutrients (which is far easier to win than you would think), but you’ll find that meat and dairy replacements are, in fact, quite expensive. To keep within a reasonable budget, it’s vital to view those foods as occasional treats (except for staples like non-dairy milk and spread of course, but those aren’t too wild in pricing) and make sure that the majority of your meals come from actual fruit and vegetables.

This is hardly a breakthrough realisation, of course, but when I first decided to move to a plant-based diet, I felt like every place I turned to was trying to make me believe that vegan cheese and fake meats were unavoidable parts of a standard vegan diet. At that time, these types of foods were hard to get a hold of and incredibly expensive. To avoid falling into this trap, there are a few important points to make the process much easier:

Learn to cook. Cooking at home is ALWAYS the cheapest option.

Invest in cookbooks. There is an abundance of recipes available on the web, but nothing is as inspiring as sitting on the sofa and leafing through a brand-new (or second hand) copy of Veganomicon.

Order a Veg Box. I know I’ve been going on about these endlessly, but veg boxes do make life so much easier. I’m not going to go into them too much now, but if you’re want to learn more, you might be interested in this post.

Prioritise. What are vegan-specific things you absolutely need, and which items do you only need occasionally? My must-haves are almond milk, Pure Non-Dairy Spread, soya yoghurt and tofu. Things I only buy occasionally would be vegan cheese substitutes and processed fake meats.

Take advantage of reductions. Supermarket shopping is an activity most of us take part in on a more or less regular basis, and knowing where to go when is key. Every supermarket has typical restocking times, and everything that hasn’t been sold by then will be reduced. Try to find out when these times are. Additionally, closing time on Sunday is a good time to buy fresh produce. My local Tesco has a few shelves dedicated to reduced items, but make sure to always check the regular aisles for deals as well. I’ve managed to bag a pack of organic strawberries for under £1.00 more than once!

I hope this might have been of some help to the odd person, I know I wish people had told me these things when I first went vegan. By the way, these points can all be applied to non-vegan shopping as well. Do you have any particular tips on how to save money on your food shops? I’d love to know, I’m forever trying to save money!



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