It is a common misconception that veganism is inherently more expensive than a diet that includes animal products; an assumption often based on seeing people eat specialty vegan ready meals and faux products. These products are popular and can help transition away from animal products, but they aren’t necessary for a plant-based diet. While plant-based eating is very accessible for most people, there are things you can do to make it even cheaper.

1) Buy in bulk

Items with a long shelf life can often be bought at a significant discount in
bulk. This means having to pull together more money for the initial purchase, but in the
long term, it works out far cheaper. Some of the most notable items are rice, pasta, and
noodles. Buying small packets of these products is cheap, but buying large sacks of them usually costs substantially less for the same amount. The only problem is storing the items, so clear out some space and invest in good airtight containers.

2) Buy frozen/canned goods

Frozen and canned items usually have a significantly longer shelf life at a mere fraction of the price of fresh. They’re just as nutritious and are quick to prepare if you’re short on time. You should get into the habit of freezing items you usually might not, like bread, which will extend its shelf life significantly rather than wasting it.

3) Buy irregular items

Many supermarkets will sell irregular produce, these are usually purely cosmetic imperfections and won’t have any impact on taste or nutrition. Things like bruised fruit can be purchased and used for desserts or cooking, and damaged vegetables aren’t noticeable once they’ve been properly prepared. Keep an eye on sell-by dates though, many out-of-date items are perfectly edible but it will depend on the specific food.

4) Buy irregular items

Fresh vegetables are not always expensive. Seasonal vegetables are usually cheap in most supermarkets; you just have to be a little more adaptable in terms of what you are using to prepare your food. Some vegetables like carrots, turnips, onions, cabbage, and cauliflower are inexpensive all year round. Similarly, bananas and citrus fruits are widely available fairly cheaply throughout the year.

5) Prepare simple meals

Relying on simple meals can get you into the habit of living and eating plant-based on a budget. A meal like beans/chickpeas/lentils and rice/noodles/pasta is incredibly cheap, easy to prepare, filling, and healthy. If you can throw together quick sauces you can make a huge variety of dishes with just simple ingredients like these, with minimal time or cooking ability required.

6) Cook in batches

Instead of cooking enough for just one meal, try to use all of your ingredients and cook enough for multiple servings. If you invest in reusable containers you can freeze or refrigerate these meals for later. This usually works out cheaper too, since it cuts waste and will let you reuse leftovers, which is great for reducing food waste. It is also likely to make you less tempted to spend money on takeaway, expensive ready meals, or fast food when you don’t have the time or the energy to prepare a meal.

7) Invest in spices

Setting up a decent spice rack isn’t just for foodies, it can make your cooking much more interesting, and crucially, much less expensive. Buying pre-made sauces when you can prepare your own very simply with cheap spices is a waste, and you can make simple meals much more appealing with some flavouring. Don’t worry too much if you don’t know which spice goes with which ingredients – just experiment and you’ll pick it up in no time.

7) Grow your own

This can sound like a lot of effort, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you’re just keeping a couple of herb plants like mint or sage by your window, or growing salad leaves in a pot, they’re easy to maintain and will save you some money. If you can then extend that to simple vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and potatoes, which can also be grown in pots, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of produce you have to buy. It’ll take some time to get started, but it could be worth your while in the long run.


With other aspects of veganism like clothing, veganism doesn’t limit your
options much in this respect. Synthetic or plant fibers are usually either similarly
priced or cheaper than their animal-based counterparts, and materials like faux leather are hard-wearing and cosmetically very similar to the ‘real’ thing. They are even cheaper when bought second-hand from thrift stores or online.

For household products and cosmetics, you may be surprised to find out how many brands are not animal tested and don’t contain animal ingredients. They aren’t usually any more expensive than animal-tested products, either. Many budget drug stores offer ‘accidentally’ vegan items and many make-up brands offer a wide range of affordable vegan options.

“Veganism is not ‘the’ solution to all the world’s problems, but no solution would be complete without it.”

Melanie Joy