I gave up my own job to move to London with Nick’s job, which means I currently have no real money coming in. Going from having that constant income every month to next to nothing is hard to get used to.
I do have a lot in my savings and so I still wanted to pay for things like the food shopping so that Nick isn’t paying for everything. This means that I am reigning myself in (decided after I bought a ticket for Write this run, some Sweaty Betty sale stuff and some Vegan Toms!!). No more throwing money on things that I don’t really need, no more spending hundreds in health food stores and on iHerb, I’m taking things back to basics and trying to cut down the spending as much as possible- at least until I’m employed again!!
I thought I would run a little weekly Vegan budget series to show you how I am getting on. I already had a fairly well stocked pantry that I packed and shipped over to our new place from Dublin so I only needed a few bits to get me sorted and then I am just onto buying the fresh stuff every week. I’m not even sure what a reasonable budget per month would be, I think I’m going to dedicate £50 per week for food and grocery shopping and see how that is working out for the next few weeks.
I did a fairly big shop last week so I didn’t really need to stock up on too much this week, just some fruit, a few veggies and some store cupboard items. Being Vegan and eating healthily in general gets a reputation for being expensive or out of peoples price range but it really isn’t, I’ve put together a few tips to help you minimise the cost and make the most of a Vegan diet on a budget.
Buy in bulk- This is a key one for me, if you know there are items you go through quickly then it makes more sense to buy them in bulk, you can save a lot of money and you don’t have to keep going to the store and restocking as often. I buy things like beans/grains/nuts in bulk and they last a really long time. I like to keep nuts in the fridge as they keep much better that way. Places like the world food section of supermarkets tend to have much better deals as well, I got a huge bag of chickpeas and almonds for under 8.00 in Tesco’s.
Cook in bulk- I like to cook up bit batches of things like soups, stews and curry’s, they go a long way and you can often use up any veg that has seen better days, limiting your wastage. You can always add a bean/grain for a complete meal, I like to cook up big batches of a bean and grain and keep them stored in the fridge for the week, that way I can just grab them when I need them, saving time and effort.
Meal plan- This is not something I’m currently doing, I just tend to decide what I am making the evening before, but it can be a really good idea as it ensures you only buy what you need, therefore limiting wastage. It can also keep you on track at the store as you only grab what you need and not those added little extras.
Hunt around for bargains- Discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl tend to have great deals on fruit/veg. Unfortunately there aren’t any near me in London. Grocers, markets and farmers markets are all a good place to shop too. Last week I got 5 pink lady’s for a pound, 4 avocados for a pound and about 8 figs for a pound from a local market stall. Buying things when they are on offer is a good idea also, I like to scout out the supermarkets and get bits from each one depending on what is on offer, obviously this is a little time consuming but it does save me money.
Buy in season- If you buy in season then products tend to be cheaper, i.e berries in the summer. You can get really good value for your money buying in season, the cost is so much higher when things are out of season, that you are much better off.
Don’t buy anything that you could make at home for less- Things like snack bars here are a big one for me. 2-3 pounds for one bar, when I could make a whole batch for the equivalent if not less is not viable. This goes for things like ready meals and takeaways too, although they may be convenient you could make something for much cheaper and it will be much healthier if you just make it at home.
Dirty Dozen- When I was not on a limited budget I was buying absolutely everything organic. This doubled my grocery bill and I was spending on average 3-400 euros a month for the two of us!! Now on a budget I can’t really afford to buy everything organic, so I am sticking to just buying organic for the worst dirty dozen fruit/veg. That way I’m avoiding the worst offenders and reigning in my spending a huge amount.
So they are my top tips and I’ll be sticking to them as much as I can over the following weeks to try and stay on budget!! Hopefully this has shown that you can eat a healthy vegan diet on a budget, with a bit of planning and organisation it is certainly possible, and I look forward to sharing my budgeting adventures with you guys!