Happy Frugal Friday!! Today we’re talking veggies and fruits, giving you five frugal tips for going vegetarian! The price tags on many vegetarian cuisines may leave you a bit shell-shocked and hesitant at the idea of switching to a vegetarian diet. Actually, a vegetarian diet is much cheaper than a meat eating diet – you just got to know where to look and how to pinch the pennies in the right way.
Look into CSA, Farmers Markets, Co-Ops, and other local options
Shopping locally is one of the best ways to save money, especially if you’re able to become a part of a farmer’s market or a co-op. Farmer’s markets offer the perk of shopping locally grown vegetables, often organically. Co-ops often require an initial membership fee, but save in the long run on products storewide. There’s also the added benefit of getting money back at the end of the year if the co-op did especially well. Plus, both markets give you access to local vegetables, which saves a ton of money on transportation costs, and you know they’ll be fresh!
CSA’s (community supported agriculture) are another great option. Recently I was a part of a CSA where I paid $220 for the season (roughly $50 per share) – I had vegetables spilling out of my fridge every time I opened the door! CSA’s often give you the ability to try vegetables you normally would skip, giving you new options.
Skip prepared meals and start from scratch
Grabbing a store prepared meal or something from the freezer is one of the easiest (and quickest) ways to get food into your belly, but it’s also very costly. $5/meal, with very little food, and often loaded with sodium, preservatives, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients. Even the organic and “healthier” options are still loaded in sodium. While creating a meal from scratch is more time consuming, it is possible to create a weeks worth of meals for $50 (bringing your total to just under $3 a meal)!
Use dairy and eggs as an addition, not the main meal
Diary is expensive. One organic yogurt (a single serving) can be anywhere from $1 (on sale) to $4! Organic, free range eggs can be pretty pricey as well, ranging up to $7 for a dozen (ouch!). It’s tempting make your full meal using eggs and dairy, but can be very costly in the long run.
Look for other options for protein
Many switch to a vegetarian diet and cheese and nuts becomes their main source of protein. Cheese is expensive, costing as much as $15+ for one pound! Even the more affordable cheese can still range from $5 – $6 a pound. Nuts are equally expensive, and high in fat! There are plenty of other protein options out there for a fraction of the cost. Try beans, chickpeas, chia seeds, quinoa, greens, and hemp instead.
Opt for the Clean 15 when possible
The dirty dozen are foods you should purchase organically whenever possible, but there’s a set of Clean 15 you can get away buying non-organic. These Clean 15 are the fruits and vegetables that have thick skin, are protected from the elements, or need fewer pesticides to keep them free of insects.
Do you have a tip not listed above? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on Facebook!
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