How I saved money by going vegan

There’s a big misconception when it comes to the vegan and plant-based world. Many believe that switching to a vegan diet is an expensive privilege. To me, the reverse is true. In fact, going vegan has actually cut my shopping bill, reduced my reliance on supplements, and stopped me from having massages every week for muscle soreness.

The shopping bill

When my husband and I shifted to a plant-based diet our shopping bill immediately went down. Why? Because meat products are incredibly expensive.

If you don’t believe me, let’s take a look at a comparison. At my local grocery store, lamb chops will set you back $24.07 per kilogram, chicken breast $14.00 per kilogram, salmon $33.00 per kilogram, and beef mince $13.00 per kilogram. Tofu, on the other hand, weighs in at only $8.11 per kilogram and beans at, an incredibly low, $1.90 per kilogram.

Now, it’s no secret that vegan meat alternatives can be pricey. But for most vegans, meat alternatives are transition and treat foods. Given that many meat alternatives can be high in sodium, it’s no bad thing to see them as treats. Legumes, whole grains, and in-season fruits and vegetables are alternatively very cost-effective.

In fact, some of the least expensive foods in the world are rice, oats, and beans. They’re also staples in a plant-based dietary pattern. By buying whole-food plant-based items––some of the healthiest foods on the planet––then the chances of reducing one’s shopping bill are high.

Other ways to reduce the cost of ‘vegan’ foods:

  • Buy in season
  • Buy in bulk
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are on special
  • Make use of frozen fruits and vegetables if necessary
  • Focus on whole foods like beans and whole grains
  • Choose lightly processed proteins like tofu and save Beyond Meat types for treats
  • Shop at farmers markets

Supplements

I haven’t just made savings at the grocery store however, I’ve also saved a lot at the local health food store.

My standard western diet––with plenty of meat and dairy products––led my body into a less-than-healthy state. This meant chronic muscle soreness, light sleep, and fatigue. To combat these issues I spent many hard-earned dollars at health-food stores attempting to find supplements to boost my health. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, multivitamins, and various green powders were just a few of the regular supplements I tried.

Now that I’m 100% plant-based thriving, happy, and healthy, I don’t need those supplements anymore thus I’m saving money.

The only supplement I take is B12, a nutrient all people, vegan or not, should be conscious of, and instead, get my other nutrients straight from the source in the form of healthy foods.

Therapists

My muscle soreness also led me to countless therapists for treatments. Bi-weekly massages and monthly physio appointments started to add up. Therapists are not cheap, and while I occasionally visit a massage therapist for relaxation and might have a physio appointment for a quick tune-up, I no longer rely on these services to get me through the day.

I feed my body the fuel it needs to thrive and have been able to largely do away with therapies.

Vegan products

It’s also a misconception that vegan products are more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts. While there will always be exceptions, my current skincare, make-up, and shampoo are half the price of my previous non-vegan cosmetics.

Take for example my makeup: my non-vegan ‘Body Shop’ foundation cost me $32, whereas my ‘Very Vegan’ (which is both vegan and cruelty-free) foundation costs only $10 and, dare I say, it looks better on my skin.

Vegan clothing isn’t necessary pricer either. In fact, leather is one of the most expensive materials on the planet. Vegan leather and other non-animal materials are almost always less expensive and can be better for the environment too.

As interest in veganism grows, more companies are offering vegan alternatives to nearly everything on the market. These alternatives are cruelty-free and often kinder to your wallet.

The idea that being vegan is expensive is a misconception. Sure, some vegan meat and cheese alternatives can be pricey, but the healthiest foods on the planet are often the cheapest. By buying in season, supporting farmers' markets, and focussing on beans and grains, one can make significant savings.

Vegan products aren’t necessarily more expensive––especially if you shop around––and they’re often better for the planet. Going vegan may even help your health, as it did mine. That might mean saving when it comes to therapies and supplements.

So the question is: if it can be cheaper, healthier, and more ethical, why not give it a try?

Podcaster. Plant-Based. Writer. Pilot. Traveller. chloegarnham.com Instagram: @plantypodie

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