Vegan on a Budget
One myth regarding veganism is that you have to be rich! This is not true! Cheese and high quality meat are expensive so while some vegan food can be expensive there is no reason why being vegan can’t save you money! Here are my top tips for saving money on food as a vegan! These will work whether you are a student, tight on cash or have a whole family to feed!
1. Visit supermarkets late; when it is nearly closing time there are bargains to be had, bread and bread rolls from both the pre packed and fresh sections, samosas and other deli items and doughnuts and pies are all usually bagged or yellow stickered in the evening to extremely low prices. Pre packaged salads, fruit and vegetables can also be reduced, just the other day I got a jumbo bag of 20 bananas for 11p in Morrisons! I got some Hummus the same day for 05p! Most things can be frozen or cooked and frozen; we always freeze fruit, bread and veg and cook things such as apples, tomatoes and mushrooms into dishes before freezing.
2. Shop for items past their ‘best before date’. There are lots of sites where you can buy perfectly good items which shops are not allowed to sell as they are past their best before (not use by!) dates. I have found loads on Best Before It’s Gone including almond butter for 40p per jar, Provamel chocolate desserts for 50p and huge bags of pasta for as little as 5p! Approved Foods is another popular site good for cereal, tinned beans, soy milk and many gluten free goods and my personal favourite ‘Love Health Hate Waste’ specialising in free from and health foods, I have bought brands such as Almond Breeze, Orgran, Meridian, Sweet Freedom, Booja Booja and Bob’s Red Mills from this site. It’s great for stocking up on energy bars from popular brands such as Nakd, Food doctor and 9 Bar.
3. Head down to your local market to bag any fruit and veg which you can’t find reduced in the Supermarket. The prices are usually cheaper than in the supermarket with a market stall near me selling 2 punnets of berries for £1.50!
4. Check out your local ‘freezer shops’. Frozen food discount centres e.g.; Jack Fulton/Fulton’s Foods, Home Bargains and Cool-trader/Heron Foods sell discounted frozen foods, I always buy Linda McCartney and Cauldron products in Heron foods, and the refrigerator in Jack Fulton often carries vegan yogurts and milk. These are clearance shops though, so unlike Iceland and Aldi, the stock is not guaranteed, it’s a bit of a lottery.
5. Create a cheap/budget recipe folder/Pinterest board. There are thousands of cheap recipes in books and on the Internet, they are not necessarily on budget sites such as Jack Monroe’s blog, I find it handy to keep cheap recipes together. Whilst lots of nice vegan recipes have really pricey ingredients some are very simple. Remember that you can modify non vegan recipes too. Netmums have lots online, now that it is harder to access the BBC recipes, as do Channel 4 and forum Money Saving Expert. I also use Pinterest to search for new vegan blogs. Don’t forget recipe books though, I like using super old ones; ‘The Potato’ cook book taught me to make apple and chocolate sponge cake using mashed potato and ‘Beans, Grains and Legumes’ taught me to make white bean and banana peanut butter! Both of these recipe books were bought for less than £1 at a car boot sale!
6. Cook more than you need! Batch cooking/freezing is a revolution when it comes to frugality. If you are a single person you can even freeze individual portions in foil containers for instant cheaper and healthier ready meals. A slow cooker is a good investment if you are quite a busy person, they are great for making soups and stews; I really want one myself as I don’t have one! I do however have a hand blender which is great for blitzing when I want a smooth soup such as creamy mushroom, pea and mint or sweet potato and coconut. We also make and freeze our own veggie burgers and sausages, falafel and pasties!
7. Don’t buy for convenience. Time is not always money; remember to make your own hummus and snacks when you can. Homemade syrup flapjacks and peanut butter date balls are super cheap to make and hummus is very simple and not time consuming at all. My sister’s blog, ‘Archie and The Rug’ has some great hummus recipes and some other nice dip recipes too. The kids can get involved in baking so you are saving money on entertaining them too!
8. Take a packed lunch, they needn’t be boring! Even if your work has no microwave, soup or black peas can be taken to work in a flask on cold days or you can take a huge array of salads, pasta dishes, sushi, savoury muffins and scones, wraps and sandwiches.
9. Get the rewards card! If you are partial to a coffee then there is no reason not to treat yourself now and again, however remember to get the rewards card. Most independent coffee shops have a stamp loyalty card and Starbucks and Costa have their special cards. As a Starbucks gold member, I now have free syrups or coconut milk upgrades available. And in the summer they run Frappe happy hour too!
10. Monday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s…. If you are eating out try to go on a day the restaurant offers 50% or 20% off. ‘Odd’ in Manchester for example have 1/2 price Thursday and’ Las Iguanas’ members get Tortilla Tuesday. If this is not possible check for student, OAP or army discounts. If you are not eligible for these then get a voucher online on Voucher Codes instead.
Post by Indian Taylor
18 year old, India Taylor is a vegan foodie and lover of all things, fashion, beauty and Disney. She lives in Manchester with her crossbreed dog Marnie and her mum. She is currently a student whilst also working part time, running vegan groups, baking cakes to sell on her Facebook page ‘Off Main St Confectionary’ and blogging.