We’re always looking for ways to save money and grocery shopping is one of them! Eating a whole-foods plant-based diet doesn’t have to cost a lot especially if you know a few tips and tricks.
Here are 10 things we do to make sure we stick to our budget and still eat healthily and wholesomely!
1. Check the Reduced Price Produce
The reduced price produce section is a great place to check out fruits and vegetables. It’s particularly good for produce that you will use straight away and in certain recipes like smoothies, banana bread and soups. If the produce is not too overripe we like to freeze it for later too. It’s also a really good habit to get into to help reduce the growing problem of food wastage.
2. Compare Prices between Places
It’s not a bad idea to browse at different grocers, supermarkets and local markets for the best price around your area. Over time, you’ll know which places have the best prices for certain items and it can make a difference in savings long-term. In terms of supermarkets, some will have their home brand versions of vegan milk, nut butters and the likes which may be worth comparing. We love buying our Asian foods from our local Vietnamese/Chinese grocery store as its cheaper and there is a greater selection of brands. So make sure to check out other ethnic grocery stores too!
3. Buy Direct to Consumer
Check out Facebook Marketplace or your local online classified advertisement (like Gumtree, Craigslist) for fruits and veggies. They are often cheaper because they’re sold directly by the farmers without the middle man and mark-up. If you grow some of your own produce, you can also do veggie swaps with the local community. Every month or so we do a drive around the farm areas and pick up produce in bulk which costs considerably less!
Sometimes you’ll also find delicious home-made vegetarian/vegan meals sold on Facebook Marketplace!
4. Avoid Food Wastage
Food wastage is a huge problem in the bigger society but it can also undermine your finances. Make sure to use everything up in the fridge and recipes like soups, salads, stews and smoothies are great for leftover produce. We also prefer to do little shopping trips more frequently because we only buy exactly what we need. However, if you don’t live close to the shops, meal planning can help you stay on track with what groceries you buy!
Freezing is a good option for when you have a leftover vegetable that you have no idea what to do with it. When we bulk buy our produce, we freeze over half of it to make sure that it doesn’t spoil.
5. Plan Meals
We love planning our meals a week in advance because it helps us budget. This way, you can also write down a grocery list for all the meals and buy everything that you need for that week. Going back to the point above, it also reduces food wastage because you know exactly what to buy and do with the groceries. It also keeps track of the food items that you often use so you know to buy lots of it if it’s on sale!
6. Look at the Cost Price and Compare Brands
We usually go for the brand that has a lower cost price but will also experiment with others if it’s not too great in taste or quality. Also it’s worth comparing the ingredients between brands to know what you’re paying for. For example, plant-based milk brands will differ in the concentration of almonds, soy and coconut but have similar pricing.
7. Buy in Season Produce
Although we love cherries, there is no point paying a higher price for imported cherries because it’s out of season here locally. Buying in season produce is an easy way to budget on a plant-based diet. We love switching up recipes and making do with the current season’s fruits and veggies that are offered!
8. Buy Whole Foods Over Processed Vegan Foods
Buying processed vegan foods such as plant-based meats and vegan cheese will be more expensive than eating a whole-foods plant-based diet. Buying food from the fresh produce section is significantly cheaper and considerably healthier too. If you’re looking for meat substitutes then there are many vegetables out there that can do that for you!
A tip if you’re really keen to try or have some processed vegan foods handy in the kitchen is to buy them on sale (usually towards their best before date towards the end of the day) and freeze them!
9. Don’t Shop Hungry
It is very true that we make more impulsive decisions when we shop hungry. Impulsive, emotional decisions can lead to overbuying and indulgences on foods that we wouldn’t usually buy. Not only is this expensive but we usually choose calorie-dense, unhealthier foods too. We recommend going out on a full stomach when shopping!
10. Consider Canned/Frozen Foods
Certain products can be cheaper when they’re in cans or frozen. We like to buy canned beans and corn and frozen stir-fry veggies and blueberries. But in saying this, make sure to check out the cost price because some canned/frozen fruits and vegetables may be more expensive than fresh ones. For example, frozen bananas are dearer than fresh bananas at our local store so we buy lots of overripe bananas (to amp up the sweetness) and freeze them ourselves!
Love Grocery Shopping?
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