Living frugally as a vegan

Jason of has a guest columnist vegan university student Laura Beaulne-Stuebing giving her tips on how to live frugally as a vegan in this installment of her Vegan University column.

As far as eating affordably as a vegan goes, I don’t think it is different than any other lifestyle. The same general principals apply:

1. Start off with basic ingredients and make things yourself whenever you can.

2. Learn the prices of the things you buy at the stores near you.

There are a bazillion money saving tips, but I think that these two ideas alone will produce 85% of the value.

This is a fun topic so feel free to add all of your money saving tips in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “Living frugally as a vegan”

  1. I have been buying premade sandwiches and Honest T iced teas a lot. The sandwiches are about $4 each, the teas about $1.50. Other costs are the plastic wrap for the sandwiches and the bottles for the tea.

    I identified at least one regular situation where I do this: for dinner before going to the gym.

    So, I figured out that what I like about their sandwiches over mine was the use of a moist spread: hummus of faux mayonaise. I started making my own sandwiches using reusable ziplock bags and making my own iced green tea simply refilling some old Honest T bottles. I’ve been doing this for about a week and a half and I must have saved at least $15 already.

    Here is my recipe for a cheap substitute for Honest T:

    1. 2 quarts of filtered water ( use a Brita filter pitcher – about $20 )

    2. 1/4 cup of loose green tea leaves

    3. About 1 Tbsp of loose leaf stevia

    Fill up a tea infuser with the stevia leaves and put it in a cup of freshly boiled water. Let it sit and steep.

    Bring the 2 quarts of filtered to a light boil. As soon as you see the first bubbles appear turn off the heat and wait for the water the water to stop boiling. The moment it does drop the green tea, in a large tea ball, into the water. Steep it for about 3 minutes. Then remove the tea ball.

    Once the green tea has cooled pour it into a pitcher. Pour in about half a cup of the stevia leaf infusion to cut the bittnerss, or more to taste. Chill it.

    Enjoy your “Honest T” at a fraction of the price.

  2. If you are willing to settle for slightly less quality, Chinese grocery stores are a great way to get much cheaper tofu and soy milk.

    Ordinary soy beans are often GMO, but even boiled organic soy beans are much cheaper than soy foods. They have the same or better ( since they aren’t processed ) nutrition at a fraction of the cost. They also taste good. They have an appearance, texture, and taste similar to cooked navy beans.

  3. Making your own salad dressings & sauces is another top money saver.

    It is a top money saver because home made dressings & sauces cost only a tiny fraction of prepared counterparts and unlike other money savers is very fast, very easy to do. Home made dressings & sauces are often healthier too.

    I highly recommend Jo Stepianaks “The Saucy Vegetarian”
    ( yes, it is vegan except for 1 recipe that uses honey )

    Aside from a plethora of dressing and sauce recipes she give you a very good guide for putting together cheap meals out of left overs or basic ingredients.

  4. Where is there a good Chinese grocery around here? Is their tofu cheaper than Trader Joe’s?

    I like making unsweetened cold-steeped iced white tea. Just take a teabag and stick it in a bottle of water and you are good to go.

    Something that really helps me to save time with dried beans is to cook them in big batches and freeze them in plastic bags. I used to do this with rice and pasta too, until I got into the habit of doing all my cooking for the week at the same time. So now I will cook a big pot of rice or pasta, keep it in the fridge, and eat it over the course of the week.

  5. Around here, Trader Joe’s tofu, and soymilk too, is cheaper than the local Chinese grocery stores.

    I save my agave nectar squeeze bottles and re-use them for homemade salad dressings and sauces.

  6. Its crazy you bring this topic up because as I was riding my bike today running errands (to save on gas money) I was thinking about what a good idea it would be to start a thread on all of the different things pple do to save on cash. One thing I’ve started to do, even before reading ingredients, is scan the numbers. I see the general area of an Item I want which may be clustered in with other like items and begin a visual scan for the lowest numbers/ prices…I don’t look at brands only the numbers. I’m gaining more and more of these little personal $ savers as time goes on…it’s sort of becoming this obsession/fun activity.

  7. another small way to save $$$- instead of buying paper towels, tear up old t-shirts, towels, sheets, etc to use to clean up messes, as napkins, etc- save paper & save money!

    being an electronics-unplugging-nazi can also save a ton on electric bills- microwaves, chargers, audio equipment, etc waste a lot of energy when they’re plugged in and not in use (i think 50%+ of the energy they use is just sitting around). i was able to reduce my elec bill by 20$ a month doing that.

    & in the summer, opening all the windows and having a fan or two blowing is a lot more energy efficient & cooler than air conditioning (plus, as summer heats up, you gradually get used to the heat to where it’s not so bothersome)

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