4 Steps to Shopping Plant-based on a budget
We are huge advocates of eating organic! The health benefits and freshness of the ingredients are generally superior to those that are non-organic. There are some instances though where it does not matter if you purchase organic and knowing which items those are could save you money. When organic options are not available or significantly more expensive, we consult the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists. If it’s on the Dirty Dozen list it means it has a significant amount of pesticides on it and should be purchased organic. Items on the Clean Fifteen list are fine to purchase non-organic because they are either not sprayed by pesticides or have thick exteriors that prevent the pesticides from penetrating the fruit. The Environmental Working Group publishes an updated list every year.
Shop Bulk + Longer Shelf-Life
Membership Warehouse Clubs
Consider joining a membership warehouse club like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s. Each trip is more of a financial investment than a grocery store but you will find you’re taking fewer trips and saving a good amount of money. Cost to join generally ranges from $10-150 annually depending on what membership you choose and which benefits are important to you. Shop with family members, friends, or roommates and split perishable bulk items to keep your grocery bill even lower and ensure nothing is wasted.
Purchasing longer shelf-life items like spices, beans, etc on Amazon is a great way to save money and save a trip to the store. You can easily compare prices of different brands. Free shipping for Amazon Prime members is super convenient and you save on that gas money!
Buy items in bulk that do not perish as quickly. For example, potatoes, rice, beans, seeds, and nuts have longer shelf lives and if you don’t get around to making tonight’s dinner like you had planned, the ingredients will keep for another day.
We all have those moments of aimlessly wandering the grocery store isles filling our carts with items we do not need. To help avoid buyers-remorse, plan out your needs for the week and make a list before you get to the store. Check out your local grocery store deals for that week and tailor your list accordingly. Then stick to your list! This will avoid buying things that you don’t need and also will ensure you don’t miss something on your list saving you a second trip to the store later. Planning ahead also ensures you have meals planned out so you don’t end up going out to eat which can get expensive quickly!
Grow or Make your own
One option, Tower Garden, allows you “to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers in less than 3 square feet – indoors or out. Using aeroponics—the same technology NASA uses—Tower Garden grows plants with only water and nutrients rather than dirt. Research has found aeroponic systems grow plants three times faster and produce 30% greater yields on average. That means you’ll be enjoying abundant, nutritious harvests just weeks after planting.” It is a cost effective, low-maintenance way to growing your own non-GMO plants and it can be a living room fixture that serves as a decorative piece and conversation starter! Cost for a Tower Garden is $45.12 per month for 12 months.
There’s nothing like getting your hands in soil and planting food in your backyard. You can purchase seeds or transplants from a nursery or farm to plant in your garden and with some patience and a little hard work you can get fresh produce for your meals. The upside is it is cost effective and you can ensure your produce is picked at its freshest and not sprayed with pesticides.
Avoid Meat and Dairy Substitutes
Purchasing meat and dairy substitutes can rack up your grocery bill. Consider making your own nut milks or meat alternatives like almond milk, black bean burgers, and tofu. Making your own ensures it’s fresher, less costly, and no preservatives or additives are added. Bon apetit!