24 January 2011

Believe it or not being a vegan can actually save you money

Here is the guilty confession you have all been waiting for:

I became a vegan so I could save money.

Over three years ago, I moved out on my own for the first time after college and was instantly bombarded with BILLS, EXPENSES, DEBT, and MORE BILLS! I didn't really know how I could slim down my already-frugal spending habits, so I turned a watchful eye to my diet.

Buying food in a sustainable fashion (I used to purchase only locally-raised, certifiably organic meat and eggs and dairy from people I personally knew) is very expensive. In my quest to avoid factory farms, antibiotic-laden meats, and inhumanely-run establishments, I discovered that I was spending the same amount on food as I was for my rent and utilities!

Clearly, that had to stop.

I started by becoming a vegetarian, something I had desired to be since I was a child. Once I was out of my parents' house, I could make my own food choices, so I cut out meat. Cutting out milk next wasn't a big deal, because I've never been that big of a fan, but cheese and eggs were the hardest. Cheese because I really, really loved quesadillas and eggs because I was (and still am) a very avid baker.

However, I persevered and three years ago this month I became a vegan. It was one of the best choices I've ever made, and it really has saved me money. Here's how being a vegan is much more cost-effective than eating animals:

1. Meat is expensive. Even factory-farmed meat is more expensive than an apple. So, buy an apple instead!
2. Assuming you are a healthy-minded vegan, eating this diet will be full of fibrous foods. Thus, you feel full longer after eating less food. Meaning, you don't buy as much food.
3. Eating out: salads are usually one of the cheapest items on a menu. Even if you want to buy pasta, a regular old spaghetti with marinara sauce will cost less than anything with a meat and cream sauce base.
4. Finally, your cost on this planet will be so much less. You are creating less greenhouse gases, less waste, and less in overall healthcare costs.

If you need a little extra help convincing you that being a vegan is doable on a budget, check out these two blogs, which have great tips on being a frugal vegan: Melomeals and The Frugal Vegan.

Good luck!

Geanna Marek | @greenvegnliving
Geanna was born and raised in veg-friendly Portland where she currently works as a freelance writer and librarian assistant. She is also currently acquiring the pre-requisites needed to apply for a Master’s degree in nutrition. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, exercising, reading, knitting, and cleaning. Find Geanna at greenveganliving.com.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/mjb