Written by Pracheer Saran
Monday, September 16th, 2019
A year ago, I became vegan and the change wasn't easy. It was expensive, and many friends made comments that made me feel like an outcast.
Going from carnivorous to herbivorous had its difficulties, but a year later, I feel healthier, my eating habits are more interesting and I've even become a vegan on a budget. Here's what I've learned, along with some shopping tips.
Before I Became Vegan
Before adopting a vegan lifestyle, I thought deeply about how it would affect those around me and how we shopped for groceries. You might be buying food for meat eaters too, so make sure everyone is on the same page to prevent surprises along the way.
When it came to shopping, I started paying more attention to the prices of plant-based products. My diet before I became vegan included vegetables, so I already knew the cost of my favourite veggies.
Starting Out as a Vegan
Early on, I noticed so many expensive and fancy vegan products listed as "super food" and "organic". I could've spent more on those products, but I stuck to the simple vegetables I liked and was glad I did because it made it easier to stick to my budget.
Making Weekly Shopping Interesting
Shopping can be exciting if I explore. If I'm shopping for myself, it's okay to treat myself to something new during my weekly grocery trip. It's how I discover new things.
Looking for Deals
If I have some time, I'll compare prices at different stores by checking online or reading weekly grocery flyers. Mobile apps like Flipp come in handy. Depending on where you shop, your grocery or nutrition store may have a loyalty program with rebates for future purchases.
Sticking to Weekly Sales
Still figuring out what kind of vegan dishes you like making? Your local store will have different sale items every week, so if you're curious about something, consider waiting until it goes on sale. Many grocery stores have significant discounts for food that's close to the expiry date. Take advantage and cook that night with produce that's still good.
Many vegan items like nuts and grains are non-perishable, so they're perfect for buying in bulk.
Cooking at Home
Cooking at home is not only healthy but economical. Thanks to the internet, I'll never run out of new dishes to try. Cooking is fun and an interesting way to learn a new skill at home with the only cost being groceries.
Growing Your Food
Whether you're living in an apartment or a house, if your situation allows it, you can grow your own herbs and vegetables. You'll know they're fresh and you'll waste less compared to buying a big package of herbs every week.
Save Your Receipts
At the end of every month, I go through my grocery store receipts to get an idea of where I stand in terms of staying within my budget. I mark the items that I probably could have done without or that provided good value for the long run.
Becoming vegan has been a fun, interesting, educational and an enjoyable experience. The best part has been that over time, I've learned to save money at the grocery store. They say money doesn't grow on trees, but fruits certainly do.