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So I was reading the thread about how much people spend a week, and I saw a lot of posts about people spending 40-50 a week. I was wondering if people could post what a typical menu for a week like that would look like? I am new to being vegan (though been a vegetarian for years) and removing cheese has changed my entire menu. I didn't realize just how much of the stuff I was consuming. But anyway, now that I have changed how I am eating, I'm not sure how to keep it budget friendly right now. I'm definitely going way over my budget each week right now. Thanks guys!
 

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Hi
I'm really working on getting my budget down too. Aside from don't eat out something I hear alot and tend to agree with is stick with beans, grains, fruits, and veggies as your staples. A book that's totally helped me is called Vegan On The Cheap by Robin Robertson. It's taught me how to make so much from scratch whitch is cheaper like seitan, cheese sauce, mayo, and sour cream. Another thing tha'ts cool about the book is it gives a cost per serving of each recipe. Here is my menu from yesterday. Today's menu has an Amy's dinner as a treat whitch is not cheap.
breakfast 1/2c rolled oats with 1c water made in the microwave. I then add 1tbsp of peanut butter, 2tbsp cocoa powder, and 1tbsp sugar to make peanut butter cup oatmeal.
lunch Tortilla Strata made from Vegan On The Cheap. It's a layer mexican casserole.
Dinner chicken style tvp from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook with .5c kidney beans and salsa wrapped up in a flour tortilla.
snackGreen Goddess Smoothie from Happy Herbivore blog. 3c kale, 2 frozen bananas, 3tbsp cocoa powder.
Drinks 1 gallon tap water.

Other stuff that helps me is shop at discount stores if you have any near you. I go to Winco once a month for staples and then my local grocery whitch is more exspensive once a week for fruits and vegetables.

HTH
Audrey
 

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Having a cheap menu is something you learn over time. You will cook up something wonderful and realize "Wow! This whole meal for three people only cost $3.50!!! I rock!!!" <-- And then that becomes a go-to meal.

I CAN eat on $20 a week, but it sucks. I've also spent $200. Oops.

I've put together a recipe, bought certain produce items, a little of this and a little of that, and tally everything up and realize "I've just spent $14 per plate of food! I could have gotten multiple to-go meals from a nice restaurant for less!"

-----

I save money as a vegan by cooking up my work lunches all at once, and using my work lunches to cover my food groups. Tomorrow, I'm making two week's worth of work meals (freezing the second week's)

My lunches and breakfasts are my main meals of the day. In the evening, I may make some miso soup or a small portion of instant mashed potatoes (Idaho Spuds are vegan) if I have the hungries.

Breakfast (don't have prices handy):
Oatmeal
Walnuts
Raisins
Cinnamon
Earth Balance Margarine
Sugar
Flax seeds

The lunches, 10 meals total:
"Normandy Blend" frozen veggies from Walmart: $5.98 (a 4lb bag!)
Frozen Field Peas with Snaps from Walmart: $2.28 (a 2lb bag)
Pictsweet brand Whole Okra: $1.68
1 x-large bunch Kale...2lbs for $3.31
2 packets Mathama Spanish Rice with some old salsa I found in the fridge: $.89 x2
The above packets are stretched out with some plain brown rice from my pantry. About $.50 worth
I'm cooking all the veggies in some old broth leftover from last week's cooking.

= $15.53
/ 10 meals = $1.55 per lunch plate.

My lunches and breakfasts are my main meal of the day. In the evening, I may make some miso soup or a small portion of instant mashed potatoes (Idaho Spuds are vegan) if I have the hungries.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleigh View Post

I was wondering if people could post what a typical menu for a week like that would look like?
Kaleigh, what region do you live in? The availability of staples varies a little from place to place.

It's also important to ask what kind of food-prep tools you have.

A food processor, an oven, a pressure cooker- these kinds of things can make a big difference.
 

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I can't give you my exact budget but back when I was super poor and only working a part time job I would basically live on big pots of lentil soup. That's the cheapest thing I can possibly recommend, I'd just buy a bag of lentil soup mix (which was really just a bag of lentils with a few other types of legumes thrown in) for under 2 dollars, an onion, some carrots and a couple big potatoes and combining that with salt and spices I had at home I'd make a giant pot of soup for less than 5 bucks, and that pot would have a whole bunch of meals in it that usually lasted about a week in the fridge. Soup from scratch is generally really cheap and you can make it in large quantities and freeze it.
 

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Hi Kaleigh,

One usefull trick i learned was this; Go to the local market close to closing times. The fresh produce sellers do massive discounts to get rid any fruit and veg they have left, if you haggle a bit.

Sometimes I used to get three or four carrier bags full of stuff for just a couple of quid.

Apparently any meal that is 'beans over grain' is pretty much a complete meals, or so I have heard. Baked Beans on toast, Chappati and Dal, mexican bean burrito, etc ... all easy to make and all as cheap as chips.

Stir fries and curries are good ways of making very cheap food into something tasty too!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleigh View Post

So I was reading the thread about how much people spend a week, and I saw a lot of posts about people spending 40-50 a week.
I'm curious too. I think some people might not be including the money they spend eating out. Or they might be eating 1500 calorie diets.
 

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I tend to buy staples whenever they're cheap and stock up on perishables once a week if necessary. I've planned and budgeted the majority of my meals for the next four weeks. It includes:

Porridge
-£1 per box + £1 per litre soy milk.
Toast
-£75p per loaf
Cereal
-Varies, about £2 per box
Soy yogurt
-£1.50 per large pot
Salad
-£3 for three servings
Sandwiches
-75p per loaf, £4 a month on fillings
Soup (from scratch)
-£2 per pot, serves six
Spaghetti Bolognese (from scratch, big pot)
-£4 per pot, serves six, £1 a month on pasta
Pie & mash with vegetables
-£3 per serving x 8
Curry & rice (from scratch, big pot)
-£5 per pot, serves 8, plus £1 a month on rice
Chilli & rice/jacket potato (from scratch, big pot)
-£3 per pot, serves 8, plus £1 a month on rice and £2 a month on potatoes
Sausage casserole (from scratch, big pot)
-£7 per pot, serves 8

This, plus extra things that I haven't accounted for like condiments and impulse food purchases and baking expenses and the occasional meal out, comes to about £80 a month, or £20 a week, which is $37.79.

Of course, food prices might be different for you, but the really cheap foods on that list should still be fairly cheap for you to make
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post

I'm curious too. I think some people might not be including the money they spend eating out. Or they might be eating 1500 calorie diets.
I eat out only about once or twice a month, and I do spend about $40-$50 a week on groceries. I stock up on staples like grains, pasta and dried beans when they are on sale. Dried beans are a lot cheaper than canned most of the time, and you definitely get more for your money. I can get two huge batches of hummus out of a bag of chickpeas plus either cutlets or chickpea salad, as opposed to one big batch of hummus from two cans of beans that would cost about 50 cents more than the bag. I try to buy fruit and veggies that are in season and on sale as well. I also don't buy a lot of prepared vegan foods like seitan or frozen faux meats because they are pricey. I make my own seitan and veggie burgers, which saves quite a bit of money. And I do this with a pretty busy schedule. Yes, it takes a bit of planning, but once you get it down, it becomes second nature. Some weeks, I only spend about $20 a week, mostly on fresh produce, because I don't need the staples.
 

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are you buying lots of replacement foods like tofutti and daiya? i consider analogues sometimes foods for special occasions and treats, not to be relied on for everyday meals.

buy in bulk whenever possible.
shop in stores that sell dried goods in bins so you can get exactly as much as you need, and stock up when items are on sale.
buy seasonal and local produce, better prices and tastes better bc its in season. if you don't know what's in season where you live, ask the produce clerk.
use up all you leftovers to make into other meals.

here is a rundown of the foods i buy regularly:
beans-pinto, black, chickpea, navy, lentils, split peas, mung. i buy bulk when they are less than $1 per pound

brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, barley. also all about $1 per pound

pasta, wheat flour, white flour (from the flour i make french bread, pita, chapati, pizza crust, tortillas, buns, and sweats like cinnamon rolls), pasta about $1 per pound, flour less than 50 cents per pound

frozen peas, carrots, and sometimes french fries (if on sale)

canned tomatoes (less than $1 per can), tomato paste, vegetable broth or bouillon/concentrate, egg roll wrappers, nori paper

veggies: romaine or red leaf, spinach, kale or chard, celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and whatever else in season like squash or green beans
fruit: whatever is in season, right now - oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, guava, persimmons

spices (only need to buy every few months) - cumin, coriander, chili powder, basil, parsley, bay, thyme, oregano, sage, turmeric, cinnamon and many more...

i also buy a bottle or red and white wine about once a week (both under $4 a bottle, Big Lots sells great wines for incredible cheap and Tisdale is always under $3 at the markets here)

from these ingredients i make a BIG variety of meals, here are a few: falafel with pita, split pea soup, pizza, pasta, veggie burgers, tacos/burritos, pot pie, curries, tortilla soup w black beans, sushi, egg(less) rolls, mung bean soup, pho, chili, french onion soup

check out this blog for more ideas about spending less: http://melomeals.blogspot.com/
 

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Check out the weekly specials, then search for recipes for whatever happens to be on sale that week.

A couple of weeks ago, organic zucchini was .99lb, so I bought a bunch of it and made zucchini bisque, zucchini "crab" cakes and zucchini bread.
If tomatoes are $3lb, I don't buy them.

I was wasting some fresh produce, so now I buy more frozen. If you buy a case, many stores will give you a 10% discount.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audretoburrito View Post

Hi
I'm really working on getting my budget down too. Aside from don't eat out something I hear alot and tend to agree with is stick with beans, grains, fruits, and veggies as your staples. A book that's totally helped me is called Vegan On The Cheap by Robin Robertson. It's taught me how to make so much from scratch whitch is cheaper like seitan, cheese sauce, mayo, and sour cream. Another thing tha'ts cool about the book is it gives a cost per serving of each recipe. Here is my menu from yesterday. Today's menu has an Amy's dinner as a treat whitch is not cheap.
breakfast 1/2c rolled oats with 1c water made in the microwave. I then add 1tbsp of peanut butter, 2tbsp cocoa powder, and 1tbsp sugar to make peanut butter cup oatmeal.
lunch Tortilla Strata made from Vegan On The Cheap. It's a layer mexican casserole.
Dinner chicken style tvp from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook with .5c kidney beans and salsa wrapped up in a flour tortilla.
snackGreen Goddess Smoothie from Happy Herbivore blog. 3c kale, 2 frozen bananas, 3tbsp cocoa powder.
Drinks 1 gallon tap water.

Other stuff that helps me is shop at discount stores if you have any near you. I go to Winco once a month for staples and then my local grocery whitch is more exspensive once a week for fruits and vegetables.

HTH
Audrey
I second Vegan on the Cheap!

Someone here recommended it to me and I've made three delicious meals from it so far.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audretoburrito View Post

Hi
breakfast 1/2c rolled oats with 1c water made in the microwave. I then add 1tbsp of peanut butter, 2tbsp cocoa powder, and 1tbsp sugar to make peanut butter cup oatmeal.
that's a good one, I often add protein powder and eat it uncooked.
 

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Don't forget to also check out local ethnic markets. They often sell produce and dry goods at prices that are significantly lower than regular supermarkets. If you have any dollar stores in your area you can often get good deals in there too. I recently got a bunch of soymilk, some spices and a few bags of beans and a couple of different types of herbal tea for about a quarter of what it would have cost me had I bought that food in a supermarket.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchabbey View Post

Don't forget to also check out local ethnic markets. They often sell produce and dry goods at prices that are significantly lower than regular supermarkets. If you have any dollar stores in your area you can often get good deals in there too. I recently got a bunch of soymilk, some spices and a few bags of beans and a couple of different types of herbal tea for about a quarter of what it would have cost me had I bought that food in a supermarket.
Yes!
Ethnic Grocery Stores and the Hispanic section of the grocery store (depending on your area).

I buy all my unfiltered sugar off the hispanic isle now. WAY cheaper than the "natural" sugar from the regular sugar isle.

Also, I buy all my spices, flours, and dry beans from Indian grocery stores. Why Pay $7 for a tiny bag of chickpea flour, when you can pay $3 for a giant bag you carry under your arm? They have the tiniest little chickpeas, too!!!

LoL... When I travel to visit family, I "fill orders" for spices and stuff from my local ethic groceries. The prices can't be beaten!!!
 

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I typically spend about $50/week. Typically I eat:

* Pasta 1x - 2x a week. I usually make my own sauce using oil/garlic/crushed tomatoes/spices
* A stir-fry with tofu and fresh veggies (broccoli, peppers, snap peas)
* Tacos/quesadillas/wrap.... I like these tortillas that use liquid smoke/white beans/nutritional yeast spread. Sometimes I do a tofu/veggie/dressing wrap
* Chickpea "Tuna" Salad
* Potatoes.. baked, french fry form, in soups
* Soups & stews..... lots of fresh veggies (onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes which are all pretty cheap here), stock, canned tomatoes, pasta, and beans.
* Lentil stew
* Sometimes I have the money to buy "cheese" and I do a from scratch pizza... but putting tomatoes, basil, & olive oil is just as yummy....
* Stuffed tomatoes
* Bean balls or patties
* Other type of breaded patty (Have a really yummy recipe for a pumpkin rice ball)
* And I bake from scratch tons... but usually pawn it off to others. =-)

Maybe not all in a week... but these are the dishes I tend to rotate around the most.

I utilize canned foods... its actually cheaper to use bagged beans, but I usually don't have time to cook them. But here I can get canned beans for about 0.69 and about 4 or 5 cans is plenty for the week.... its cheap protein.
I try to shop in the "bulk" section.... its way cheaper to get some rices, quinoa, etc there, then already buying it packaged.
I buy more cheap veggies (celery, carrots, potatoes) vs more expensive (tomatoes, red peppers)
I avoid "meats" and "cheeses" they eat up my budget. I usually let myself have 1 of these items a week if I have the money... usually a $2.99 Boca item
Find out where the best deals are.... I can get $3 grapes at Aldis vs. $7 grapes at other grocery stores....
Shopping in season is also helpful...... unfortunately I have the need for red peppers all year long... so I budget around it.

The biggest thing is that I make whatever I can from scratch! Seriously I can make a batch of soup big enough for 8 hearty meals cheaper than the price of some cans of soup! This also goes for pasta sauce, pizza dough, and "snacks." Snacks are another biggie.... if I want something like a brownie I have to make it from scratch.... its also a good ways to bring people to the vegan side.


I do already have a large stash of basics like breadcrumbs, rice, pasta, spices, flour, etc so don't have to replace these every shopping trip, but when I do I factor it in and remove some other normal items...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone! I have many of the kitchen staples (as far as equipment goes) except for a pressure cooker and a juicer. I have discount stores and stores where I can buy from bulk bins. I guess I am struggling to find food that I eat and that the fiance will eat. Which don't get me wrong, he eats more veg and tofu than many males I know, but if I served rice and beans and a side of veg, he might not be the happiest person. He would eat a serving, but then in an hour or two, he would be looking for more food, and not what I had served. And his turkey already eats up $8 a week, which isn't a lot, but I could make dinner every night for that much basically (pasta with sauce for a few nights, pasta with garlic and earth balance and maybe some peas..) so yeah. I wish we had more ethnic stores here. I'm from New Jersey, so there were a lot of Indian markets there. Here, I have to drive 30 minutes to find even an Asian market.
 

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Huh that's a tough one. Meat and cheese and things like that can pretty exspensive. The one thing I can suggest is see if your super markets have discount bins for meat and stuff that is nearing is sell buy date. My local grocery does this and I use to buy it and feeze it in individual prtions and just take out what I needed to cook for that meal. All that stuff stay good for quite a while in the freezer.

Audrey
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audretoburrito View Post

Huh that's a tough one. Meat and cheese and things like that can pretty exspensive. The one thing I can suggest is see if your super markets have discount bins for meat and stuff that is nearing is sell buy date. My local grocery does this and I use to buy it and feeze it in individual prtions and just take out what I needed to cook for that meal. All that stuff stay good for quite a while in the freezer.

Audrey
I hope you mean the vegetarian "meat".
 
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