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Could you use an extra $200 this month?
Heck yes you could!
You might associate eating vegan with expensive grocery stores and a huge grocery budget, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Eating vegan can actually save you a chunk of change each month and I’ve got a few examples of how below…
We started with the toughest one but don’t click away just yet!
The average American eats out something like 4-5 meals PER WEEK. That’s 16-20 meals per month.
A Zagat article in 2018 stated that the average American restaurant meal cost $36.40 per person.
That seems pretty high for this Midwesterner, but even if you cut that expense in half it’s still over $18 per meal or over $75 per week.
Now please don’t think this blog is anti-restaurants. But the fact is eating vegan at a restaurant is REALLY hard. And trying to lose weight while eating at a restaurant is even harder.
Just think about this – how many times have you sat down at a restaurant, ordered, and when the food came you knew right away that you were going to have leftovers?
That’s not good in those weak willpower moments. (Or after a glass of wine).
It’s so easy to just eat one more bite, and one more bite until it doesn’t make sense to save any for leftovers. Not good.
Then there’s the vegan aspect of eating out. So many dishes have meat, or egg, or cheese that options at most restaurants are limited. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat out and still eat vegan, just that it’s a bit harder.
So, with eating out, it’s: harder to eat vegan, harder to lose weight, and expensive.
For the sake of this article, let’s say you like to eat out, though. So we’ll cut out 2 restaurant meals per week. That saves over $120 per month right there! Not to mention it saves a ton of calories.
Savings: $120 per month
Vegan Meal Planning
This is one of the key parts of going vegan and bonus – it’s also very effective at saving money. A vegan diet plan isn’t really any harder to do than a meat-eating meal plan, it’s just a little more important when you want to go vegan. For example…
Didn’t bring a lunch to work? Don’t want to cook dinner?
“Normal” eater: go out to wherever.
Vegan eater: find a salad without meat on top, order a vegan bowl at Chipotle, locate a specialty restaurant, or… give up and eat a big cookie.
Eating vegan is a more intentional way of eating, but it doesn’t have to be more painful.
We talk about steps to going vegan in another article, but the moment you decide to go vegan is really where the change begins.
Ask yourself: Do I want to eat vegan?
Do you want to say “no” to some foods in order to change the way you think and feel?
Are you willing to make a small change today for lasting, dramatic changes in the future?
If the answer is yes, then you know that this change isn’t bad or scary – it’s exciting and rewarding.
The first change is that you have to be intentional about eating. What does that mean though?
It means that you’re going to eat well.
It means that you’re going to fuel your body like a finely tuned machine.
Practically speaking, it means that you need to put in some effort to have a game plan going into the week for the meals you’ll make and the food you’ll buy at the store.
If you don’t want to do your own meal planning check out Forks Over Knives – our favorite meal planner, complete with a free trial. It creates easy, fast, and healthy meals for you with links to grocery lists and meal prep planning steps.
Or if you don’t want to take the time to shop, you can use a grocery delivery service to buy fresh, hand-selected foods through a service like Instacart.
The thing about meal planning, though, is it’s one of those things where a little effort up front saves a ton of time and effort down the road.
When you meal plan (or have someone else meal plan for you) you don’t have to ask “what’s for dinner tonight” or wonder what you’re going to make. You don’t have to wonder if you have the ingredients at home for what you want that evening. It’s extremely freeing and wonderful.
You just stick with the plan.
Less thought = less effort = good.
It also means fewer trips to the store, which usually means saving money. How much? That’s up to you, but probably more than $10 or $20 over a month.
Saving: $20 per month.
This may seem obvious to some readers, but vegans don’t eat meat.
That means that vegans don’t BUY meat either.
To break it down for you, where we shop (at the cheapest places possible), chicken costs around $1.99 per pound and ground beef costs around $4.00 per pound.
Those are the absolute cheapest.
At most stores, prices are 1.5 times to THREE TIMES that much. Because this is an article about saving money, we won’t include the steak and lobster that some of our fancier readers may buy.
If you used a pound of meat for each dinner you made at home and alternated between chicken and beef, you’d spend around $18 per week on meat for your dinners. (Assuming 6 dinners cooked per week). That’s $70 per month on just MEAT.
You’re probably thinking “if I’m not spending money on meat, I have to replace that food with something”.
You’ll probably use a mix of beans, edamame, and other plant based protein sources throughout your week. Bottom line is: it’ll be tough to spend as much or more on plant based protein as meat. Beans are just cheaper!
Saving: $30 per month
Have you ever bought a snack at a gas station on a work lunch hour? I’ve worked in buildings that even have those stores already in the office for our “convenience”.
Those snacks are just destroying your progress!
This goes back to willpower. Had a rough day at work? Did well on a project? You deserve a reward; and our minds and bodies are hardwired to be drawn to sugary, salty crap food.
Buying a snack or a soda every day doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s bad on two levels.
First, let’s all just admit it – it’s bad for us. Candy, chips, and soda are highly processed, highly sugared food that does nothing for our bodies.
An extra snack every day can neutralize your effort at the gym and slow your progress toward getting ready for swimsuit season.
Second, though, it’s expensive. One or two dollars a day doesn’t seem terrible, but that can quickly turn into two or three dollars a day, which can add up to $50 or $60 per month.
Cut that crap out.
Go back to your meal plan… You can pick up some hummus, carrots, nuts, or peppers at the store (or from your delivery service), cut them up, toss them in Pyrex containers on Sunday night, and then you have your snacks all ready for the week.
Does it take effort?
Is it worth it to save money, feel better, and keep your gains at the gym for yourself instead of giving them back to Little Debbie?
Savings: $30 per month
So there you have it. Making the decision to eat vegan is great for your body, your mind, the planet, and your wallet. None of these steps takes a ton of time or effort, but they add up to make a huge impact.
Think about your own habit and patterns – how much could you save if you went vegan?
If you like saving money, share this article or pin on Pinterest to help your friends too!