In recent years, plant based living has gained immense popularity for its health benefits and positive environmental impact. However, the misconception that it’s an expensive lifestyle choice still lingers. The truth is, you can enjoy the benefits of this plant based on a budget lifestyle without breaking the bank. In this topic of the week, we’ll explore 12 simple practical tips to help you thrive while being plant based on a budget, by eating great food and staying within your financial means.

1. Plan Your Meals

One of the key strategies for a budget-friendly plant based lifestyle is meal planning. Take some time each week to create a menu, make a shopping list, and stick to it. By planning your meals, you can avoid impulse purchases and reduce food waste. Find resources like our MEAL PLANNING PRINTABLES and GROCERY LIST PRINTABLES to help you simplify this sometimes cumbersome process, then get into the habit of doing this on a regular basis. This is the most significant thing you can do to live plant based on a budget.

2. Buy Staples in Bulk & Generic

Purchase your STAPLES AND ESSENTIALS items like rice, beans, lentils, oats, and pasta in bulk and generic whenever you can. This often comes with a lower unit price, saving you money in the long run. Just make sure you have proper storage containers to keep your ingredients fresh.

3. Embrace Seasonal Produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher but also more affordable. Check out your local farmer’s market or join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program to access fresh, in-season produce at reasonable prices.  Check your local grocery circulars for sales on these items and plan your meals around them.

4. Cook at Home

Eating out can be costly, especially if you’re seeking plant based options at restaurants. Cooking at home allows you to control your ingredients, portions, and costs. Invest in a good set of cookware and other Useful Gadgets to make the cooking process easier and enjoyable. The savings you will reap will cover the cost for these gadgets.

5. Emphasize Whole Foods

Whole foods like grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits are the backbone of a plant based diet and are often more budget-friendly than processed alternatives. Avoiding packaged and processed vegan products can save you money.  For example, 16oz of dried pinto beans with a few staple seasonings can yield a very large portion of refried beans to serve throughout the week and to stock in your freezer.

6. Make Your Own Snacks

Instead of buying expensive vegan snacks, try making your own. Roasted chickpeas, CHOCO-OAT ENERGY BALLS, and smoothie bowls are simple, budget-friendly options that are both nutritious and delicious.

7. Leftovers are Your Friend

Don’t underestimate the power of leftovers. When you cook a meal, make extra portions to enjoy later in the week. This reduces cooking time and minimizes food waste. Or make a meal and extend the leftovers in another way, like adding rice or a different serving sauce.

8. Explore Frozen Foods

Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones and often cost less. Plus, they have a longer shelf life, reducing the likelihood of food going to waste.  Stock up on these items at a discount grocer or a big box wholesaler to make your dollar go even further.

9. Stock Up on Spices

Spices can transform simple ingredients into flavorful dishes. Build a collection of affordable spices to elevate your plant based meals without increasing your grocery bill substantially.  Buy these in bulk when possible or slowly add to your repertoire to keep your pocketbook in check.

10. Reduce Food Waste

Be mindful of food waste. Only buy what you think you may consume.  If something in your fridge or pantry is starting to go bad, switch gears and plan a meal around it.  If you are confident in your ability to maximize your grocery list abilities, use up everything in your pantry before buying more. Reducing food waste will not only help your pocketbook, but the planet as well.

11. Join Plant Based Communities

Connect with like-minded individuals in local or online plant based communities, like the FORKS OVER KNIVES resource. They often share tips, recipes, and resources to help you maintain a plant based on a budget lifestyle. Keep in mind that some of these groups, like the one I listed have great free and paid resources.  Be sure that you will use any paid resources before investing in them. As fate would have it, just before publishing this article, Forks Over Knives published their own article “1-WEEK VEGAN MEAL PLAN: HOW TO EAT PLANT BASED ON A BUDGET FOR $3 A MEAL” – check it out, it is a really comprehensive how-to with specific meals and shopping lists.

12. Invest in Long-Term Savings

Consider planting a small vegetable garden or herbs on your windowsill. This can save money in the long term and provide you with fresh ingredients at your fingertips.

Living a plant based on a budget is entirely feasible with some careful planning, smart shopping, and a focus on whole foods. By following these 12 tips, you can enjoy the benefits of a plant based diet while keeping your wallet happy. Plus, you’ll be contributing to a healthier you and a healthier planet.