Tips for a frugal vegan (or anyone who wants to save money)
If you could ask my friends to name five things about me everyone’s list would include that I’m vegan and a bit frugal. Well actually, they would say that I’m a ‘cheap vegan,' but I prefer the term frugal, it helps me feel a little bit better about my affliction. Besides, there’s not much difference between how I shop as a frugal vegan and how other people shop as frugal omnivores. Check out the ways that my husband and I manage to eat for less than $8.50 a day (that's $4.25 each!)
- Use an app to track store prices- Keep track of what stores sell your favorite items and their cost with smartphone app. It will help you identify great sales and let you know what stores have the best deals.
- Coupons- For environmental (and cost) reasons I choose not to get the newspaper, so most of my coupon finds come from the internet. There are tons of online coupon sites, it just takes a little time to sort through them. Once I find a coupon online I print as many as allowed, printing on scrap paper of course. If I do get a coupon from the Sunday paper I ask all my family and friends to clip it for me too.
- Buy in larger quantities- Buy more save more and help reduce waste. Get a gallon of Simple Green and dilute it for multipurpose cleaning. Buy a jug of soy sauce or the 5 lb bag of rice and refill smaller containers in your kitchen. Don’t forget the warehouse clubs. Even if you’re not a member chances are you know someone who is, I have my mother-in-law pick up cat litter and veggie burgers whenever she goes.
- Visit stores other than supermarkets- I go to the farmer’s market for fruits and vegetables, the local Korean market for tofu, discount supermarket chains for canned goods, and I even visit the dollar store for things like frozen fruit and shampoo. You can also order online to save money, May Wah is a great place to order frozen mock meats.
- Set a budget- Watch where your money goes, you may find that you spend $125 each month eating-out. Try Mint.com to track your spending and set budgets.
- Have a garden- During the summer many of my vegetables come from the backyard. Don’t have a green thumb? Grow scallions, lettuce, and tomatoes in your flower bed. If you can remember to water them, the plants are great in pots too. Also, composting is a great way to help the earth and not have to pay for fertilizer
- Clearance racks- Get to know when things go on clearance, ie. winter clothes receive the large discounts in February (after the post holiday sales) TV’s tend to go clearance just after the Superbowl. This goes for food too, look for the discount sections of stores for reduced price veggies and canned goods. Many stores also discount food that is close to expiration or discontinued.
- Don’t impulse buy or wait until the last minute- Leave time to shop around or check prices online before heading to the store to make a purchase. There is nothing worse than picking up that last minute baby shower gift, only to see it for 50% less somewhere else after the party.
Don’t wait until you are out of something to buy more. Waiting to buy staples, like toilet paper or peanut butter, may cost you more in the long run. Things never seem to be on sale when you need them.
- Make it at home- Laundry detergent, cooking oil spray, sunblock, dishwasher detergent, seitan, cleaning spray, and your lunch are all things you can easily make at home that will save you money!
- Reuse it- Reusable sandwich containers eliminate sandwich bags. Keep plastic take-out containers for storage. Plastic (or paper) shopping bags can be reused for trash can liners. I store my crafting items in old pickle jars, and I create mini greenhouses from soda bottles.