But eating vegan is expensive!
'It must be expensive to be vegan.' This is probably on one of those BuzzFeed posts with a title like: 47 things every vegan has heard before, along with 'OMG I could not survive without cheeeeeese!' The reality is that eating vegan and maintaining a balanced diet is budget friendly and delicious!
There are just so many reasons to buy bulk: the price per unit is cheaper than most of what you can get at the supermarket; the reduce/reuse meter is through the roof, and best of all you can buy just the amount you need for a recipe.
Here are my tips for making the most out of bulk stores:
- Bring your own containers! Reduce and Reuse come before Recycle. So when you think about it, it doesn't matter if the packaging for those organic lentils are in recyclable/biodegradeably/100% post-consumer plastic because you could save the need for packaging at all by rocking up to Bin Inn with reused containers from the items that just do not come in bulk and fill them and make storing them in your pantry so much easier!
- Sometimes you only need a cup. We had a friend stay with us that has Coeliac's Disease and CL wanted to make pancakes for Sunday morning brunch. We needed quinoa flour, buckwheat flour and corn flour. The chance of me doing some gluten free baking within the next 6 months to a year was slim to none. Thankfully these are all usually stocked at our local bulk store and we were able to buy just the amount that we needed rather than a whole kilo of each.
- It's good for the budget. See above. Plan your meals, find out how much you need, buy that amount for the week.
Organic is Overrated
Eep! This is going to be controversial. I don't buy organic. It is an expensive label. I shop at the Otago Farmer's Market and Veggie Boys. Veggie Boys in Dunedin is fantastic! They are so much cheaper than the supermarket, they buy from local producers, have great fruit and vegetables and are just super friendly! Ok, I dodged the whole organic is overrated but just remember vegan does not equal organic. Do your own research and make the choice for yourself.
Make a Meal Plan
This saves so much money because you are only buying what you need for your meals and you can avoid filling your cart and racking up your bill with things you don't need. I make the plan on Saturday morning and head to the market, Bin Inn, Veggie Boys and the supermarket. Yes, that is a lot of shops, but it is my routine and really enjoy my Saturday mornings. I save so much doing this.
Convenience foods are expensive
Vegan speciality foods are so expensive, especially in New Zealand. Don't rely on them. There are so many delicious things that you can make that do not need meat and dairy substitutes. Try to avoid recipes that call for them. Who knows, it might lead you to new and exciting meals that you have never attempted before!
This list is Dunedin-centric but I know that these cost saving shops exist in other parts of the country as well. Let me know in the comments about your local places and we can start creating a list of shops from around the country.