Often people ask me if veganism is expensive. The answer to this question depends on many factors, namely your eating habits, how much money you spend on groceries currently (as a non-vegan), how often you eat out, etc.
I track all my spending in spreadsheets. I hope this breakdown gives you some idea about how much I spend on food living as a high carb low fat vegan.
My grocery spending doesn’t include non-food items like toilet paper or shampoo. My total spending in that category happens to be only £4! I don’t wear any make-up or wash my face, I use minimal shampoo and soap, I just don’t buy anything I don’t need. Only fruits and veggies are included in my grocery spending.
So far I’ve spent £354 on groceries, £20 on eating out (only twice! woo!), and £14 on decaf lattes out. Before the month is over, I will probably spend another £20 (at most) on grapes, berries, and whatever fruit I crave. We still have plenty of fruit at home but I like to have a variety of grapes available at all times.
So for the month of April, I can expect to spend a total of £374 on groceries, or approximately £93.5 per week. (My boyfriend’s food spending is similar. He spent £380 this month as well.)
This might sound high at first, but hear me out:
- I never restrict on which foods I purchase. If I want to eat blueberries every day of the week, I buy blueberries every day.
- Eating this way doesn’t need to be expensive. I could be spending less on food if I cut out convenience foods like Innocent smoothies. These are usually £2.50 – £3 each. I could also bulk up on cheap staples like bananas and potatoes.
- To get more fruit for my buck, I buy discounted fruit from Tesco (usually all of it!) whenever I can.
- I walk to the shops so I don’t spend any money on transportation.
- I save lots of time and energy by eating this way. Fruit meals require minimal prep if any at all. Steamed veggies are easy to prep as well: simply rinse and cut all veggies, fill the steamer with water and load it up, set the timer and forget about it for 20-30 minutes.
- We don’t have dishes to wash since our diet is devoid of fat, so we simply rinse off our few dishes the second we’re finished eating. Occasionally we’ll wash them with soap, but not every day.
- My boyfriend and I are more active than the average person, so we need to eat more calories. If you are less active you’ll require fewer calories, hence your grocery spending will be less.
How much do you spend on food?
If ~£400 spent on food each month seems too expensive for you, I recommend tracking all your spending for a month, every penny, just to see where your money goes. You may be surprised to find out you spend close to £400 on food and food-related expenses already.
Eating out, convenience foods or snacks, coffee, and alcohol are the biggest food-related expenses. How much do you spend eating out each week? Do you indulge in a latte every morning before work? Do you drink on the weekends? All these expenses add up, and none of them offer you real nutrition.
I rarely eat out because it’s too expensive considering the small portions you receive at restaurants. This month I ate out twice. Looking back on it, I would have rather spent that £20 in Tesco buying 10 packs of grapes instead. Instead of two meals, I could have 4-5 tasty nutritious meals at my fingertips. I’d also rather have the £14 I spent on decaf lattes in my pocket…I’ll keep that in mind for the month of May!
Reduce your spending in these areas first so you can afford all the produce you want. Fruits and veggies are well worth the cost considering you are paying for completely nutritious food. Processed foods, while cheaper, offer you a fraction of the nutrition found in whole fruits and veggies. You get what you pay for!
Do you track your spending? How much do you spend on food each month?