Vegan on a budget is completely doable when you know the right way to do it. In this post, I am going to share my top tips on reducing your vegan grocery shopping bill, and still maintaining your health. I will also include my FREE unprocessed high-raw vegan grocery list!
This week, I went to my go-to store for a fun photoshoot. As I walked into “The Fruit Stand”, I told the owner, Marlette, that I will not be shopping today. I’ll just be taking some photos. She said that was ok with her, and I was on my merry way to pose for the camera.
While taking the photos, I was explaining to my photographer about how I use the different fruits and vegetables in my kitchen. For example, how ripe they need to be, and what I love to use them in.
As I explained these things to her, I was touching and smelling the gorgeous produce around me. And I just couldn’t help myself… my two giant grocery bags started to have some colorful produce in them.
At the end of the photo shoot, I walked up to Marlette, and put down the produce next to her. “I thought you weren’t going to shop,” she said. And I replied, “what can I do? I am addicted to The Fruit Stand!”
I discovered The Fruit Stand, only about a year ago. When I walked in, I realized I was in paradise. All of these beautiful fruits and vegetables, most of them locally grown. And the prices were epic!
While I never knew about it before, and I used to drive by it all the time, this place has been around for years! All I had to do was discover it.
Tip #1 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Find the Right Store
Firstly, Find the right place to shop. This can be the right farmer at the Farmer’s Market, the right outlet store like Grocery Outlet (where I also shop), or a place like The Fruit Stand – that is all fruits and vegetables.
This means finding a place where you can buy your essential items for the right price, allowing you to eat vegan on a budget. Think about your favorite types of foods that you buy most, and compare prices at a few different places. You don’t have to shop at 1 store only.
Finding your staple store also means finding a store that you can trust in terms of the quality of produce. The more local, the better. Many stores even bring fruits and vegetables from tiny backyard farms – those are the best! Because a majority of those farmers will not be using pesticides as much as the largest chains.
A way to find great places to shop is by asking your vegan friends. You can do this in person, or even by asking online on forums and Facebook groups. In my free Facebook group, there are members from all over the world who may be able to help you. Make sure to join: www.soulintheraw.com/RawSouls. There are also hundreds of other vegan Facebook groups where savvy vegan shoppers hang out. Join one and ask away!
Tip #2 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Develop a Relationship with your Store Owners and Farmers
“I’m back,” I said to Marlette, while holding YET ANOTHER giant box of almost ripe hachiya persimmons. “Again!??!” she asked, laughing. Yes, every single time I go to The Fruit Stand I have to buy another box of my favorite winter candy – hachiya persimmons. I have to make sure that I always have a line up of this fruit, ready to ripen. Otherwise, I may end up with a ton of unripe hachiyas. That would be a hachiya catastrophe!
After you find the perfect store for you, begin to develop a relationship with the store owner. Let them know that you rely greatly on produce, and that you will be buying large quantities from them. Ask them for a discount, and do not by shy! They will be more than happy to form this relationship with you, as you support each other. You can ask them with something like, “if I buy all of your X, how much will you charge me for it?” or, “could you discount a giant box of X for me”
And by forming a relationship, I don’t just mean asking for discounts and buying large quantities. Talk to your farmers or suppliers, and get to know them. Become friendly with them. After all, they are truly important people in our life! They keep us healthy! And it always makes me so sad when I go to a regular grocery store, where no one knows the cashiers who work so hard for us… chat with your store owners and form a bond with them. This relationship is so important, for both parties.
Tip #3 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Chose 2-3 Main Stores to Become your Staple Stores
I typically shop at 2-3 stores. One, The Fruit Stand, is where I shop most, and buy the largest amounts. The other 2 are for little things that are cheaper there. I also have a store walking distance from my apartment that has relatively cheap organic items. So I shop there too sometimes.
Thirdly, choose 2-3 main store to shop from. This will allow a few things when it comes to shopping vegan on a budget. Firstly, it allows you to get into a grocery shopping routine. It also allows you to get the bulk of your produce from one place, warranting a discount. And you can also rely on an additional store or two for certain items that do not exist at your main source of food.
Tip #4 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Shop at Outlet Stores or Shop in Bulk
The other places can be outlet stores, which exist all over the world. These stores can be gems! They often have great produce, and even organic items. I love Grocery Outlet in San Diego. Not only do they sometimes have great organic produce, but they also have additional items like organic quinoa, hemp seeds, and even almond butter for way cheaper than a regular grocery store.
Another option for eating vegan on a budget is shopping in bulk. This means buying at stores like Costco, or any of your local stores where you can get a larger quantity for less money. After all, we eat more on a vegan diet, and that’s a bonus!
Tip #5 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Shop Online for Pantry Items
Shopping online can save a ton of money and time. My favorite place to shop for all of my pantry items, including spices, nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, and supplements, among many, is Vitacost. Not only do they have excellent customer service, but they also deliver everything right to your door with impeccable speed and quality. Many of their items are much cheaper than at other stores. Click here to get $10 off your first order on Vitacost.
Tip #6 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Don’t Purchase Processed Food
If you want to shop vegan on a budget and preserve your health at the same time, don’t buy processed foods. Those are actually much more expensive than fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains!
Download my unprocessed high-raw vegan grocery list here:
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Tip #7 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Buy Organic Only When Necessary
Know the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists well! These change every year and are country-dependent. They showcase the fruits and vegetables that are most sprayed, and those that are least sprayed with pesticides. If you want to shop vegan on a budget, purchase organic Dirty Dozen items and conventional Clean 15 items. You can see the list here.
Tip #8 on Eating Vegan on a Budget: Ripe and Free
Lastly, to get free produce, ask your grocery store if they have any items that are “over-ripe”. Many grocery stores will throw such items away. In reality, these items are actually perfectly ripe and good for use. Bananas are a great example for this. Ripe bananas are constantly trashed! Whenever you go shopping, be sure to ask your produce managers if they have any such bananas, or other fruits, in the back. They will often give it to you for free!
That’s it my dears! If you have any more unanswered questions, please be sure to post them in the comments below.
Thank you so much to my photographer, who took all of the photos in this post. To work with her, go to: https://sarahmaysphotography.com/
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