Some specialty vegan ingredients can be really expensive which leads many to assume that a plant-based diet is more costly than a regular one. To give you an idea of what it’s really like, here’s this weeks grocery haul.
There are two adults living in our home. One of them is a 6’4”, 20 year old male who has recently taken up cycling so he eats a lot of carbs (thank goodness for rice and potatoes). He is also vegetarian (not vegan) and still consumes cow’s milk.
Our food has to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner pretty much 7 days a week as I take a packed lunch to work and we rarely get takeaway food (there are not a lot of vegan choices in our area).
When we were eating a regular diet, our food obviously included eggs, meat, and milk/dairy (lots of cheese) as well as processed foods. We also spent a lot more on takeaways and bought lunches and we were averaging a total of $340 per fortnight.
This is what a typical week for us looks like now.
Our food (excluding fresh produce which I usually get from the farmer’s market) came to $137.65.
Our fresh produce this week, which I ended up having to get from the supermarket anyway because I didn’t make it to the farmers market in time, totaled $41.71. This normally works out about $10 cheaper if I get it from the market.
I also bought milk for my son, olive spread (which I forgot to get in my original food purchase) and ginger beer (to go with our homemade pizza). This came to $18.35.
So, in total our bill came to $197.71.
I would expect this to last us for 2 weeks. I try to eat most of the fresh food first before it goes off, or I cook it and freeze it to get us through to the end of the fortnight so that I don’t end up throwing good food away.
Now, there are no potatoes or rice in this food haul because I didn’t need to buy them this week. Each time I shop I usually pick up a couple of staples (this time it was chickpeas and lentils) so the food bill averages out to about the same every fortnight.
So, $197.17 compared to $340 is pretty good. Even if I allow another $50 for the odd bought lunch or takeaway that’s still a saving of almost $100. I’m also about to start growing my own vegetables which could save me even more money.
In my view, the real cost of a plant-based lifestyle is ‘time’. Avoiding processed, convenience foods means you have to spend time making things from scratch (such as my homemade hummus). I really enjoy doing this – the whole ‘slow-living’ approach appeals to me. However, I understand that it’s not for everyone and so the trade-off is the cost of convenience.
I hope my sharing our approach was helpful for you. I’d love to know how it compares to what others are doing – just leave a comment below, or if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about, please let me know.