You’ve checked out all of the vegetarian cookbooks, watched the health documentaries on Netflix, and *finally* decided to take the plunge into a plant-based lifestyle. The only problem is — you’re broke as a joke. Thankfully, being vegetarian isn’t nearly as expensive as you think, if you do it right. Small things like buying in bulk and freezing casseroles can make a huge monetary difference. Scroll down to learn about how to go vegetarian on a meek millennial budget.
1. Plan your meals in advance. Sit down on a Sunday night and jot down dinner ideas for the week. Make a list and stick only to what’s on that list. This way, when you get to the store, you’ll avoid the expensive impulse purchases that you don’t really need.
2. Make enough to have leftovers. It’s easier to double a recipe and eat it throughout the week than to think about what you’re fixing for lunch every day. When you’re left wondering what to eat, that usually leads to ordering in, which can get very expensive.
3. Don’t be afraid of the freezer. Soups and casseroles are historically cheap to make, and they freeze really well. Buy what you need when it’s on sale and make several batches for later. This works well for seasonal produce that would be more expensive in the off season as well.
4. Shop in the bulk section. The bulk bins at the grocery store are where the real savings are. You can often purchase pasta, rice, spices, beans, and even honey and peanut butter at cheaper prices than pre-packaged brands. This way, you can buy as much or as little as you need, and it’s at a major discount.
5. Buy dried beans instead of canned. Legumes are an essential protein source for vegetarians. You may think that canned beans are cheap enough, but dried beans are *much* more affordable. If you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot, you’ll even be able to cook them with minimal effort. Think of how much money you’ll save on hummus!
6. Get a Costco membership. Sure, you have to pay the one time fee, but the savings as a vegetarian are well worth it. Use your newfound status to buy giant bags of avocados, quinoa, and even tofu. Don’t forget to use your new freezer trick with your loot.
7. Don’t be lured in by vegetarian-specific packaging. When you walk into a health food store, you’re immediately inundated with vegetarian products they claim you need. Remember, all you’re doing is removing meat products from your diet. When you see a pack of cookies that are $7 that says “vegetarian” on the box, they’re probably just using the label to upcharge you.
8. Don’t eat out. This one probably goes without saying, but eating out means a lot of dollars lost. Besides, it will be a lot easier for you as a new vegetarian if you prepare your own meals for a while. You’re far more likely to slip up and order something you can’t have when you’re not taking the time to prepare it yourself.