Today I want to share with you some tips for eating vegan on a budget or more particularly how to eat a plant based diet on a budget including some of my favourites cheap vegan eats and recipes.
Switching to a vegan or plant based diet can already save you a lot of money. Meat in Australia is really expensive and switching to plant based protein sources will definitely help you save some money.
As a family of 5 we spend on average $150AUD per week (not including nappies for Annabelle). This includes breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners for all 5 of us. This is less than half of the average budget of Australian families on food. Most other Australian families with young children spend $336 per week. (Source: ABS)
Tips for eating a plant based diet on a budget:
- Avoid packaged and processed products.
Most convenient packaged products, processed vegan meats, cheeses and snacks really add up on your grocery budget. Try using more plant based protein sources like tofu and legumes instead of vegan meats. These are so much cheaper. And keep vegan ice-cream as an occasional treat rather than a weekly buy!
2. Avoid buying too many snacks.
Also avoid buying too many packaged snacks. Making your own bliss balls or baking a banana bread is much cheaper. Or snacking on a few nuts, a smoothie or hummus and veggie sticks are not only healthier but much cheaper too.
3. Meal Plan
I really believe in the power of planning our family weekly menu and then creating a grocery list based on it. It avoids mindless buying in the shops, takeaway orders and food waste. Before going to the shops, simply write down the next 5 to 7 days worth of lunches and dinner ideas.
4. Buy locally and seasonally.
Eating vegan on a budget means your trolley will be probably full of fresh produce. To reduce cost on fresh produce try to buy the ones on special, in season and in the ‘ugly’ produce aisle. As mentioned above I always create a meal plan but sometimes I will swap the vegetables in the meal for the ones that are currently on special.
5. Compare prices using price per kg.
This is not just for plant based eating on a budget but for anyone. When choosing between 2-3 different products always only compare the price per kilo. Often the bigger sizes have a cheaper price per kilo – this is helpful for nuts and seeds as the price can really vary when buying a larger quantity.
6. Don’t buy the brand names.
I pretty much never buy a brand name but rather buy the supermarket’s own brand. I have found the quality is often just as good and the price much cheaper.
Example of our plant based diet on a budget shopping list:
As an experiment I calculated how much we spend on each food category. On average we spend:
- $60-$70 on fruits and vegetables.
- $15 on sliced breads and wraps
- $10 on plant based protein (1-2 blocks of tofu + 3-4 cans of legumes)
- $5-$10 on wholegrains and flours. (pasta/rice/flour)
- $5-10 on seeds and nuts (might not require this weekly)
- $10-$30 on kids snacks, nut butters and other breakfast foods.
- $10-20 on other things like sauces, oils etc.
More tips for eating plant based on a budget:
On top of doing the 6 tips above, to save some money some weeks I try to challenge myself to not spend much at all by emptying the pantry. I think most families would have almost a whole week or more of food in their pantry. Getting creative by using up the items from the pantry is a great way to save some money.
Plant Based Budget Meal Plan idea:
Our weekly meal plan often includes this type of meals:
(you can find more healthy plant-based family meal recipes in my cookbook Healthy Little Tummies)
- Pastas (like pesto pasta, black bean meatballs, cashew mac and cheese)
- Curries (chickpea satay, lentil dhals)
- Veggie soups (like this cauliflower noodle soup)
- Tofu bowls like this baked tofu and red cabbage recipe.
- Vegan quiches (like this vegan leek quiche)
- Tofu scramble, sandwiches, hummus veggie wraps etc for lunches
I hope you will find this blogpost useful to learn more on eating vegan on a budget. Send me an email if you need more help for eating plant based on a budget or would like help with nutrition.