Don't think I can afford it. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-20-2007, 08:15 PM
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I just became a veg on St. Patty's Day and I'm really excited about it. The problem is that I'm a student and I'm working part time and don't make a lot of money. I'm doing this on my own and I don't want it to blow up in my face. Where can I go shop for food that isn't all that expensive? Cause it is expensive!
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#2 Old 03-20-2007, 09:36 PM
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The grocery store?

Things that aren't expensive:


kidney beans










not to be sarcastic, but being vegetarian can be a lot cheaper than eating meat if you don't use faux meats. You might try or VB's recipe boards if you aren't sure what to cook.

If you don't know how to cook, there are a lot of vegan cookbooks out there that tell you how. Vegan Planet & How it All Vegan are two of note.
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#3 Old 03-20-2007, 11:35 PM
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Congrats on going Veg!!!

I jave to second Amy's post. Being veg is not more expensive than eating meat. It only is if you eat a lot of processed/convinience foods and those aren't very good for you anyway. Meat is expensive, and cutting that out can actually save you money!

We've had tons of threads here recently about eating veg*n on the cheap.

You can try using the search function to find some and read up on peoples great ideas.

Here are a few to start you off:

The first is the tip of the day thread. Most helpful thread ever for all new veg*ns!

A few tips that I have picked up:

I buy pasta, rice and other grains like Quinoa from the bulk bins. It's cheaper, and more environmentally friendly if you reuse the bags.

Dried beans are also cheaper than canned, but they take planning. I have some, but I rarely use them.

You do things like making your own veggie burritos and freezing them for a fraction of the price that it would be to buy premade ones. It's fast and easy, and they are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. To make sure they're healthy, use whole wheat tortilla wraps and brown rice. You can use any kind of bean, just make sure if you buy refried beans that they don't have lard in them. You can make a whole batch of 10-12 at once, then freeze them in ziplock bags and nuke them.

Making chili, soups and stews are really inexpensive, and healthy. Make sure to add legumes and beans to up the nutirion/heartiness factor.

I think the whole 'being veg on the cheap' thing just takes a little more time, but it's really easy if you do some research, buy things in season, avoid processed foods and try to hit up farmers markets and ethnic stores for cheaper produce, tofu and legumes than you will find at your local grocery store.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

'May everyone everywhere be happy
May the whole world be joyous'
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#4 Old 03-20-2007, 11:43 PM
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OA and synergy present good info here. I also suggest the book "Becoming Vegan" and suggest a rice cooker (non-stick, not aluminium bowl) and the book "The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook". You can get used copies at eg. A rice cooker can help you dive into a wider variety of things like barley and rices and quinoa and millet. Tortillas are good, too, because you can roll up pretty much anything in them, from mashed bananas and berries, to veggies & salsa.
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#5 Old 03-20-2007, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by synergy View Post

it's really easy if you ... buy things in season, avoid processed foods and try to hit up farmers markets and ethnic stores for cheaper produce, tofu and legumes than you will find at your local grocery store.

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#6 Old 03-20-2007, 11:50 PM
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<<-- a fan of early Todd Rundgren works.
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#7 Old 03-21-2007, 07:38 AM
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Your profile says you live in the LA area - you should have a lot of ethnic vegetarian options to choose from there. Grocery shopping can be cheap if you stick to the basics (the economic benefits were actually one of the reasons I went vegetarian). Chinese and Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores often have rice and beans and tofu at very reasonable prices. Another cookbook you might want to consider getting is "The Student's Vegetarian Cookbook" - it has good, easy, cheap recipes which will get you started.

(If you're looking for fast food options and realizing you can't eat off the 99 cent menu any more - Taco Bell will make anything with beans instead of meat, and Subway's Veggie sub is also vegetarian. Burger King has a veggie burger that is vegetarian, but not vegan.)
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#8 Old 03-21-2007, 08:30 AM
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Dried beans are cheaper than canned, but if you watch for sales you can usually get canned beans at a good price. (I rarely use dried beans because I can't ever get them too come out right and I'm lazy).

If you can checkout farmer's markets to see what the price on fresh veggies is, you could find some good deals.

Also check out the sales flyers of grocery stores near you on a regular basis to see what goes on sale. Most grocery stores have sales flyers on line and a lot of them have a regular rotation of when certain items and you can start taking advantage of that. Watch for sales on frozen veggies, although I prefer fresh for most things frozen veggies can be nice to throw in for soups or pastas.

Eating in season definitly helps save money and it's spring so there are lots of choices.
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#9 Old 03-23-2007, 06:47 AM
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I agree with the advice that the other posters have offered.

I buy lots at the Asian grocery store where tofu, sauces, and many veggies are roughly 1/2 the price of the regular grocery store. My regular grocery store sells "day old" produce at deeply discounted prices, so I buy a lot from there. I've found big packages of portabella caps for $.99 and they still had a few days of "shelf life" in them.

I also shop sales and stock up on things I know I'll use like canned tomatoes, beans, stir fry mix, etc.

Risotto is yummy, filling and cheap once you get the technique down. So is pizza.

When I first went veg, I got a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks from the library, copied recipes that looked good and gave them a shot. Now I've got a whole collection of stuff I can make and I watch the sales for when the main ingredients go on sale.

Veggie cooking has proven to be much less expensive than my old meating way of eating. If you don't buy them on sale, meat substitutes like veggie burgers, crumbles, etc. can be expensive, so I've been trying to perfect my own veggie burger recipes, and also playing with bulgar, and TVP.

Congrats on your decision, you'll have it down in no time!
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