Is It Expensive To Eat A Vegan Diet?

In season vegetables and fruits Sprouts vegan shopping
A bountiful little haul from Sprouts for $10
I get asked this question all the time: Isn't it expensive to eat a vegan diet?

The answer is: it depends upon how you define a vegan diet. I personally eat tons of fresh vegetables and fruits, and although I try to go all organic whenever possible, I do buy some things that aren't in order to save a ton of money on those particular items (some good examples here are broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Yes, I realize some of those items are on the "Dirty Dozen" list...but I try to wash everything really well with veggie cleansers, and I pray a lot. Ha.)

I've been working hard to reduce my living expenses over the summer so that I can afford more travel as well as invest some extra money for retirement. Thus, I've been keeping track of every expenditure, scoping out where all the very best bargains are for things I buy, and finding out that I can actually eat really, really well on less than $300 a month--and that includes purchasing mega bulk vegetables for juicing (boatloads of carrots, spinach, cucumbers, and celery.)

Costco bargain vegetables and fruits vegan shopping
A ton of awesome veganness from Costco for $71

Today, for example, I went to Costco and for $71 I picked up 4.5 pounds of organic quinoa, 10 pounds of organic carrots, 6 cans of organic coconut milk, 6 huge avocados, 2 lbs of Campari tomatoes, 3 huge English hothouse cucumbers, 2 lbs of cauliflower, 3 lbs of broccoli, a 2 liter bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil, 3 lbs of bananas, and 3 lbs of spinach for $71. The quinoa will last me two months; the olive oil a month or more; the coconut milk probably 2 or 3 months. I'll be juicing a lot of the carrots, spinach, and cucumbers and using the bananas and spinach in smoothies, and I make entrees and salads out of everything else.

Vegetables and fruits Trader Joes haul vegan shopping
Here is what $16 can get you at Trader Joe's.
There is a Trader Joe's on the way home from Costco, so I also stopped in there to pick up a few miscellaneous items. I spent $16 and got a pound and a half of zucchini (normally they have organic zucchini but I didn't see it there today,) a package of green onions, two very delicious-smelling nectarines (which I don't buy in bulk because here in Colorado it's impossible to eat them before they rot,) a package of fresh cilantro, a ripe avocado for tomorrow's salad, a bottle of red wine vinegar, two cans of olives, a can of organic white beans, and a can of organic pumpkin. These items are to finish out the ingredients I need for a variety of salads and entrees.

So for approximately two weeks' worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks, desserts, and daily veggie juices, I spent a grand total of $97. I may be stopping at the Sprouts on the way home from work to pick up a miscellaneous item or two, so let's add maybe another $30 to that for the two weeks = $127, or $63.50 per week. That leaves me $46 for "specialty" expensive items like miso paste, yacon syrup, monkfruit sweetener, veggie bouillon, flaxseed oil, and the occasional vegan frozen pizza or carton of sugar free vegan ice cream. I don't have to buy all of these expensive items all the time (the last package of Gen Mai miso I bought lasted me a year,) but you get the idea of how I can stay under a $300 grocery budget per month and eat an awesome vegan diet.

Cucumbers tomatoes zucchini avocados flaxseed oil lemon juice
I also buy lemons in bulk at Costco because I put lemon juice on everything.
After putting everything away, I quickly cut up my current go-to raw veggie salad using the produce I'd just bought. Recipe will be posted here. Vegan happiness!


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