I'm Amanda, a brand new blogger over at VeganCents and am honored to be featured on VegBlogger
today. Thanks, Jacqueline!
Almost every time I get in a conversation with someone who's curious about veganism, the topic of money eventually comes up. So many people write off a veg diet because they think it's too expensive. I'm here to tell you that is not true.
First of all (at the risk of sounding preachy), when you buy a product, you're essentially voting for that company with your money. When you see products and food from companies that don't care about animals, you can probably be sure that those companies are the same ones that don't care about the environment, the health of the consumer, their workers, or future generations.
Unfortunately, a lot of the "cheap" food out there is the most processed, the least healthy, and the least kind. But that doesn't make sense, right? Wouldn't it take more work and money to make the more processed stuff? Logically, yes. But yet the price-tag is smaller. This is because of something called Cost Externalization. We have a choice. We can fork over more money, and be healthier and more sustainable, or we can pay less at the checkout counter, but then pay exuberant amounts in different forms later on. These forms of payment include health costs, obesity, costs in taxes for cleaning up the environment, emotional costs, such as losing a loved one, or even invaluable costs like losing our planet, our lives, clean air, the list goes on...
And, you're not the only one that has to pay for your choices. Your children, their children, workers in other countries, not to mention animals, also suffer. So, really, we pay more for Cheese Puffs, Twinkies, Soda, and A LOT more for Big Macs, than we do for the slightly more expensive organic, vegetarian, responsibly cultivated, whole foods.
(I first learned about Cost Externalization from watching The Story of Stuff, a very interesting and enlightening short film.)
Ok, but when I said being vegan is cheaper, I wasn't talking about externalized costs. I meant, you really can pay less at the register. I've narrowed down my list of how to save to what I think are the best, most efficient ways:
1. Emailing manufacturers- This sounds lame, but it saves me so much money. Email companies of products you'd like to buy, asking for coupons. Often times, they send FREE product coupons, or even an entire free item via snailmail. I started doing this long before I entered the vegan world, and found that it works much better with organic/veg-friendly companies. Just the other day, I received a 2 lb bag of organic rice in the mail, completely free!
2. Farmer's Markets- If you don't live near one, it may be worth a little drive every week. Just sayin'... This is where I get all my produce. It's true, some things that aren't in season can be quite pricey, but I find overall that the produce is better, lasts longer (in my experience, about 3x than grocery store produce), and is much cheaper.
3. Stacking Coupons- Many great stores like Whole Foods offer their own coupons. For almost all stores, you can use 1 store coupon + 1 manufacturer coupon for the same item. This is called "stacking," and can get you many grocery items for cheap, or even free. Some bloggers (like me!) post weekly Coupon Match-ups to make it easy for others to get good deals.
4. Stockpiling- You can get the same amount of protein (and enjoyment!) from beans as you could from meat, but for much, much cheaper. ou can buy beans when they're on sale, or with coupons, and stock up a whole year's worth, if you want, for super cheap. Unlike meat, you don't have to refrigerate/ freeze them, and they keep almost forever! This applies to any other non-perishable too. Milk is another great example. You can't stockpile cow's milk, and there are rarely coupons. However, you can find Almond/Soy/Rice/Oat/Hazelnut/Hemp Milk in the non-perishable isle, and there are almost always coupons and sales! By coupon-stacking and stockpiling, I haven't paid a dime for milk since I made the switch.
So there you go! A few tools to help you start saving on your vegan groceries. Really, that's just the tip of the iceberg, but how long can one post really be? Hope to see you over at VeganCents.com