Ten Tips for Being Vegan on a Budget
Tip Number Two: Menu plan a week in advance. During a busy week, one of the things that can seem most daunting about dinner time is trying to decide what to make. Takeout is all the more tempting when I feel like I am in a food rut and I am too tired to decide what to do about it. So now every Saturday, my husband and I sit down and think about what dishes we would like for the days ahead, factoring in scheduling issues and other evening commitments so we don't plan something too complicated on an evening when we will be short on time. Having a list of dinner ideas to refer to is really helpful, and might even give you something to look forward to, (like: Oh yeah, tonight we are having portobello mushroom burgers! Yay!) Also, don't feel like you have to stick rigidly to your plan--the plan is there to help you but if your mood changes and you realize you want to do something different, then go for it. When eating is a joy, not a burden, then it is easier to be frugal and keep to a budget. Tip Number Three: Grocery shop once a week. After you have planned your menu for the week, make a shopping list so that you will have everything you need for the days to come. It is easier to stick to the plan if you don't have to run out to the store for last minute ingredients. Tip Number Four: Don't buy too much. While bargain shopping is good and while there are some items I like to stock up on, I stop myself from buying too many of something just because it's on sale. While tempting, it's not a bargain if you just end up throwing it away later. Think back to when you cleaned out your kitchen if you need motivation to restrain yourself from buying too much. Tip Number Five: At the same time, stock up on things that you use regularly so that your cooking options are always expansive. For me, I like shortcut items like pre-made organic vegetable broth in cartons for soup or casserole bases, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, pinto beans, brown rice, pasta, frozen veggies etc. Speaking of frozen veggies, they are great for when you are tired but you need a good veggie side. I eat steamed frozen broccoli a few times a week--easy to make and good for you. Frozen corn and peas always cook up well in soups, and frozen green beans aren't too bad. (However, I can't stand frozen carrots--the texture gets all weird, or at least that's how it seems to me.)
- 2) Buy and use a Crock pot. Crock pots are a great long-term investment because they are both awesome and easy to use. And if you have never used a Crock pot before, there are some great cookbooks out there, or even free recipes online that can give you some ideas of what to make. I make a big batch of something every Sunday that my husband and I take for lunch every day for the first few days of the week. I once made a fantastic "beefless" burgundy stew that we ate over my homemade "buttermilk" biscuits. It was easy to make but tasted like a fabulous rich and hearty home-cooked meal. As I write these word there is a yummy sweet potato, tomato, and peanut stew cooking away all by itself downstairs without me having to do anymore than throw all the ingredients in together and push a button.
Tip Number Nine: When it comes to cosmetics and household products, use up what you have and before you buy more, look into making your own. Most of the time, homemade products are easy to make, and they are also better for the environment. Plus, if you make them yourself, you can be assured they are truly cruelty-free. I have been using my homemade detergent for quite awhile now, and I see no reason to ever go back to the store-bought kind.