Eating vegan plant based doesn't mean you are eating healthy if you opt for mostly fast food and processed foods. Are they cheaper? Not in my opinion. While a bag or can of something appears to be less money than fresh foods, the processed foods usually leave you wanting more to eat as they are nutritionally inferior and have additives such as salt, fat and sugar that are highly addictive substances. Do you think a bag of potato chips is cheaper than buying a bag of potatoes, or even a single potato for instance? The old saying of I bet you can't eat just one is so true with potato chips because of the added fat and salt and sugar if it's a BBQ flavor. Yet look at the serving size and calories on the bag and unless you only plan to eat one bag of chips and hardly anything else for the day, you probably have consumed nearly a day's calories and yet your body is starving nutritionally, and you gain weight. So then what? You eat more food to satisfy your urge to eat and you gain even more weight, your health suffers, you might end up on drugs for the pain issues of a poor diet, etc. And so the cycle begins.
Buy a single potato and eat it without all the additives and you will feel more satisfied because you are feeding you body food and not junk. Potatoes, dry beans, rice are all cheap and affordable foods. You must cook them of course, but they are far less money than buying a can of beans with additives that don't even taste as good as making your own beans. Yes in our fast driven world, you must cook your own food and plan ahead to do so, but once that becomes a habit it's not so bad. Isn't it better than driving to a fast food restaurant or grocery store to pick up a can and driving back home and then preparing your meal? All that driving back and forth, your meal could be cooking at home, while you do something else like exercise or clean the house, etc.
Buy beans, rice, etc in bulk and soak overnight while you sleep and cook them in the morning. Cook enough for one day, or a few days, depending on your needs. Add a bit of fresh foods to flavor the cooked beans and rice for example, green onions, lettuce, tomato, and you have a healthy meal that doesn't cost much.
There is a hidden cost when you buy too much fast foods and that is the medical costs. You may not feel ill now, but eat fast food for years and you will be suffering from weight gain, migraines, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Those issues do not happen over night, but they do happen. I have a friend who lives off fast food and other junk foods and she is on all kinds of drugs, has had numerous surgeries, is overweight and is sick nearly every day. I tried to help her, but she flat out told me she won't change her diet. So she has to live with the pain and take drugs as that is her choice. She will probably die of heart disease, cancer or diabetes one day, but she made her choice to eat junk and not even give healthy foods a chance!
I have been eating healthy vegan plant based for over 32 years and I do not go to the doctor, do not take any medication at all (I am 63 years old), and feel great! My food budget is my medical plan. I would rather pay more for healthy foods than to pay the doctor later for poor food choices. I do not have health insurance now, but when I did I didn't really use it as I had no need to see a doctor. Plus I know myself better than any doctor will ever know me, no matter what questions he/she asks it is NEVER about my food choices! Doctors know nothing about nutrition even in the 21st century! Look around, America is the sickest, fattest country that is hooked on drugs (legal ones) and there are doctor offices on every corner with several hospitals in every city, and yet people don't get it! If all the drugs and doctors worked, we would be the healthiest country! Big corporations and big pharma are all keeping people right where they want them and that is dependent on their products, all while they reap the huge profits! For that reason alone, stop supporting these big ass companies with your hard earned dollars!!!!
So eating healthy is not giving into the fast food temptation or you will get hooked and won't be able to stop. Fast foods are like drugs as they know how to keep you coming back for more by putting in the right amount of fat, sugar and salt, all addictive substances. Even more addictive than taking drugs. And the bottom line for all those companies is profits before people.