Seven ways to save money on groceries when you’re vegan!

Couponing often seems to be geared toward for people with few to no dietary restrictions, right?  Been feeling left out eating a plant-based diet?

Much of what we buy today is much more stable and longer lasting.   The “faux” meats come frozen, or if refrigerated, they’re good for 3-4 months after purchase.  Tofu, vegan cheeses and plant-based milks have long shelf lives in the fridge and all the dried legumes, nuts, seeds and grains we’re eating are good for what seems like practically eons if stored properly.  The only potentially problematic area still is produce, but we eat so much more of it eating plant-based, that we hardly ever toss anything these days.  In fact, since we began feeding our dogs a more plant-based diet, we’ve realized they often will happily take some less-than-perfect produce off our hands, and same with our pet rats!  So, in a way, you do have an edge if you’re plant-based or vegan!  Your food will last longer, so stocking up is less risky, and you can eat more of what you buy before it goes bad!

Truth, you’re not going to find tons of coupons for vegan or vegetarian items in the circulars.  It might not even be worth getting them and going through them weekly, unless you just enjoy it.  But particularly if you use only cruelty-free products, there isn’t going to be a lot for you.  If that’s not your thing, there are lots of coupons for personal care items.  If you combine sales and coupons, you can save a LOT.

(1) Coupons!

I prefer to use a coupon clipping service, where you pay a small fee for the act of clipping coupons and mailing them to you.  My favorite is The Coupon Clippers (affiliate link) but there are others as well.  This way, about once a month, I visit and grab any coupons I’ll actually use, and they show up in the mail about a week later.  Keep an eye on expiration dates and other details, so you won’t pay for coupons you cannot use!  You can also find coupons on Ebay and Craiglist, and check your local Facebook groups for people who will sell you JUST the circulars.  You can get multiple copies inexpensively and share the coupons you don’t use with friends or family.

(2) More coupons and deals!!

Get in touch with the companies who make the products you use and love.  It may be a matter of filling out a contact form, or composing and sending an e-mail, but most companies I’ve contacted have sent me anywhere from $1 to $6 in coupons in the mail!  Totally worth it!  Feel free to copy and paste my list of links to get started!  Keep track and please don’t contact the companies more than 1-2x per year…we don’t want to overwhelm them and discourage them from sending coupons in the future!  While you’re checking out those websites, check for printable coupons as well on the websites and/or the companies’ social media pages!  Many companies have coupons online, free for the printing.  They change them semi-regularly, so it’s always a good idea to check back a few times a year!  Also, check Groupon and other deal sites for deals at vegetarian/vegan restaurants in your area.  Or conventional restaurants with vegan options.  You can often save up to 60% or so…great way to get yourself a treat or have a datenight without taking too much funds away from the grocery budget.

Amy’s –
Back to Nature –
Banza –
Beanitos –
Better Bean –
Blue Diamond –
Bobo’s –
Bragg’s –
Crofter Organic –
Daiya –
Dr. Praeger’s –
Dream –
Earth Balance –
Earthbound Farm –
Enjoy Life –
Explore Cuisine –
Farm Wise –
Field Roast –
Follow Your Heart –
Gardein –
Go Veggie –
Good Karma –
Hilary’s –
Hope –
Justin’s –
Lightlife –
Mamma Chia –
Melt Organic –
Naked Juice –
Nasoya –
Nissin –
Quorn –
Ripple –
Sabra –
Silk –
Smart Balance –
So Delicious –
Sweet Earth –
Tasty Bite –
Texas Pete –
Tofurky –
Tofutti –
Yves Veggie –
Zen –

(3) Sign up for rebates and bonuses!

Ibotta and BerryCart are my favorites (affiliate links).  Ibotta has a $10 bonus just for getting started and I saved $5 on my very first receipt, by buying Ripple milk, which my family LOVES and I buy ALL THE TIME!  On my second receipt, I saved $6 on a $20 receipt.  They often have Daiya, Gardein, Go Veggie and other awesome brands on their program.  Getting started seems a little daunting, but it’s easy once you jump in.

(4) Tar-jay

If you live near a Super Target or one with a good grocery selection, get yourself a RedCard debit card (credit is the evil!) and sign up for Cartwheel.  5% off for using RedCard AND you can get deals with Cartwheel.  Gardein was 25% off for the better part of a month!!  I had some $1 off coupons so I ended up getting a lot of Gardein products for $2-2.50.  Such a deal!

(5) Sign up for store and restaurant discount cards and app programs.

Sprout’s has one, Natural Grocers has one….I think most of the major grocery chains have them.  Often they have huge sales where you save $1 extra per item by buying in increments of four, etc.  Lots of the stores have mobile coupons associated with their savings clubs.  I’ve found a lot of the items I buy will be on these programs and it can lead to significant savings, especially as plant-based diets become more main-stream.  Red Robin, for example, has a program and I’ve earned several free burgers (they have a yummy veggie patty) over time.

(6) Avoid processed/pre-packaged vegan foods and/or use them sparingly.

This is a biggie!!  The more you spend on processed vegan foods, the more eating a vegan diet will cost.  It’s kind of the opposite of eating the conventional “Standard American Diet.”  Vegan cheese, cream cheese, ice cream, plant milks, yogurt and sour cream tend to cost about up to double (or more!) their conventional counterparts. If you were an omnivore who bought organic when possible, that gap is closed quite a bit.  I find that meat substitutes usually are less expensive or at least comparable to their meaty counterparts but you need to remember that you don’t need to buy as much, since they are lower in fat and thus more nutrient-dense.  If you usually used three pounds of ground beef in your tater tot casserole, and you want to replace that with three pounds of Beyond Meat crumbles, you’re not going to be happy with the cost.  The good news is that I find that everyone I’ve spoken with who has recently began eating a plant-based diet has noticed they are satisfied with less “meat” and less “dairy.”   I often would use 16oz of shredded cheese (or even more!) in a casserole, mexican dish or lasagna.  Vegan alternatives taste great and for some reason, are more filling yet leave you feeling less “heavy” after eating.  The addiction-inducing casein in cheese, for example, is gone, so you likely won’t find yourself wanting to dump a pound of cheese on your mexican dinner.  As far as plant milks and ice creams go, they do indeed cost more per ounce, but again…now that we’re no longer “addicted” to milk, we are satisfied with far less. Of course if your really want to save $$, just eat plants!

daiya cheddar slices

This package of 10 slices of cheese was purchased on sale for $2.50 and lasted for 10 faux-bologna sandwiches.  Not too shabby!

(7) Get back to basics.

Those expensive vegan cheeses, cream cheeses, sour creams, ice creams and cream soups that you can buy?  Pretty much ALL of this can be homemade ~ and easily!  You don’t need a Vitamix or an expensive blender to do it (though they are nice to have) and it isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as you might think.  Here are two words that will change you life ~ dried beans!  Yes, I’m serious.  They are as little as 1/10th the cost of prepared canned beans, and you control the amount of salt and doneness.  Super-easy in a slow cooker (grab a new one for $10-15 during the holidays, or even less  at a thrift shop if you’re on a tight budget) and even easier if you have a pressure cooker.  Electric pressure cookers often cost as little as $60 during the holidays and during sales and are life-changing.  If you own neither, a pot on the stove works too! Same for grains like rice and quinoa…don’t buy the frozen or shelf-stable premade ones…a waste of money.  If you are tight on time, cook beans and grains in quantity once every few weeks and refrigerate or freeze, and you’re set.  I cook beans, rice and quinoa a couple times a month and then I have small containers (two for $1 at the Dollar Tree) ready for meals all week.  Lastly, buy your grains, legumes, nuts and seeds from the bulk bins and you’ll save even more!!

Hope these seven ideas for saving money on vegan food is helpful!  Feel free to add tips, ideas, comments and questions!!

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