How to go vegan on a budget

15 November 2018

Following a plant-based diet on a budget doesn’t mean you have to live off potatoes. We’ve put together a handy guide on how to stick to a vegan diet without breaking the bank.

Preparation is key

It’s not the most exciting tip, but planning really does pay off. Plan your meals for the week so you know exactly what you need to get when you do the food shop, and stick to your shopping list! That way you’ll avoid impulse buying those more expensive items, and you’ll be less likely to spend more than you planned to.

Make an extra portion and freeze it

It won’t take you much extra effort, but it’ll save you from ordering a takeaway or doing an expensive last-minute food shop if you don’t have anything in for dinner.

Use your freezer for cheap fruit and berries that may be nearly past their best. Just give them a wash and chop them up – they’ll last a long time and be an instant addition to puddings and smoothies whenever you want them. 

Use your melon

Think carefully about the fruit and veg you buy. It goes off quickly, so only buy what you need. Frozen veg, such as peas and sweetcorn, retain most of their nutritional value and can be used in the right amounts for each meal.  

It’s also a good idea to buy veg that’s in season, because it tends to be cheaper, and  having a good repertoire of ‘leftover’ recipes is useful too.

Grow your own food

This is a bit of a challenge, but if you can get green-fingered, it will save you plenty of money. Start out small, by growing herbs in your kitchen, then progress to fruits and vegetables in your garden. If you’re already a keen gardener, check out our list of the best veg to grow this time of year.

Always check the reduced section

Visiting your local supermarket or shop near to closing time can reap big rewards as there are often massively reduced fresh goods and bakery products.

Breads and pastry items can be frozen to last a lot longer, and there’s almost always some fruit and veg just waiting to be snapped up. And not knowing what you’re going to get, who knows what amazing creation you’ll come up with.

You don’t have to stop eating out

There are loads of affordable chain restaurants that offer plenty of vegan options – we made a list of our favourites here. If there isn’t anything plant-based on the menu, it’s usually pretty easy to drop a couple of ingredients to make it vegan. Ask the chef to leave out the dairy and eggs – as long as you give them clear instructions, it should be fairly easy for them to make a vegan dish for you.

A vegan store cupboard

The cheapest way to eat vegan is to cook at home. To make sure you’re not caught short, it’s useful to have some staples in stock. Here’s our list of essentials that can be used to make a wide range of dishes:

  • Seasonal fruit and veg
  • Tinned beans and dried pulses
  • Vegetable stock cubes
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Egg-free pasta and noodles
  • Couscous, brown rice, whole oats and pasta
  • Dried herbs and spices – keep a variety on hand to add flavour to your food
  • Nutritional yeast – this has a nutty and slightly cheesy flavour, so it works well as a cheesy topping
  • Agave nectar – a great alternative to honey

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Going vegan isn’t something that has to happen overnight – it can happen gradually as you find out what works for you. It may take a while to get the hang of going vegan, let alone going vegan on a budget, but there’s help at hand – here’s our handy guide to going vegan.

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