Going vegan may not only be good for your waistline – it can also help you save money. Thanks to Jen Hayes of Frugal Millennial for sharing her tips for going vegan on a budget!

When I told a friend that I wanted to lose weight and she suggested trying a vegan diet, I had reservations. I assumed that a vegan, whole-food diet would be difficult and expensive.

I was surprised to find out that I was wrong. It is entirely possible to eat a vegan, whole food diet on a tight budget as long as you follow a few crucial tips.

Going vegan on a budget. Tips and easy recipes to get you started.

Get to Know Whole Foods

Whole Foods is known for being an expensive grocery store, but it’s also well-respected and offers a wider variety of healthy options than most grocery stores do. If you love Whole Foods but you’re on a tight budget, you don’t need to stop shopping there.

Whole Foods coupons

There are numerous ways to save money at Whole Foods:

  • Using coupons
  • Using the Prime app
  • Bringing your own bags (the store offers a small discount if you do this)
  • Buying in bulk
  • Looking for sales
  • Sampling items before buying them
  • Getting a punch card
  • Using rebate apps
  • Purchasing discounted gift cards

Superfood pizza recipe

Get the recipe: Superfood pizza

Find an Affordable Store

If you don’t want to take the time to find coupons or use any of the other methods for saving money at Whole Foods, there are other excellent alternatives. Safeway, The Daily Table, and Fresh Thyme are a few affordable grocery stores that offer a wide selection of healthy, organic options.

Your standard grocery store may even offer an organic section. Costco is the largest seller of organic food in the U.S., and Walmart is also making its way into the organic food market.

Further reading:

Use Your Freezer

One of the most common ways that we waste money on food is by throwing away food when it expires. Obviously, whole foods will expire more quickly than processed junk food. For that reason, eating a whole-food, vegan diet can get expensive if you aren’t careful about not buying too much food.

To prevent food from going bad, make use of your freezer instead!  That way, it won’t expire even if you don’t eat it right away. Get tips for freezing food.

Cheap quinoa tabouli salad recipe

Get the recipe: Cheap quinoa tabouli salad

Meal Plan

Another smart way to avoid wasting food is to plan your meals in advance. If you do this, you can ensure that you don’t buy food you won’t actually use.

It’s also a good idea to prepare your meals ahead of time as well so you aren’t tempted to make something that’s quicker and more convenient instead.

I like to prepare all of my lunches for the week on Sunday afternoons. Because I do this, I don’t have to worry about preparing lunches at all during the week. I have much more energy on the weekends than I do after a long day at work, so this approach works well.

Black bean sloppy joes/ A vegetarian version that will not disappoint. Repin to save!

Get the recipe: Black bean sloppy joes

Start a Vegetable Garden

There are some initial costs associated with starting your own garden, but gardens can still be an excellent way to save money on produce.

In order to save as much money as possible, make sure to grow vegetables that can be easily stored, choose vegetables that are expensive in the store, and do your research.

If you’re new to gardening, it’s wise to start small. After you’ve learned what works well, you can expand your garden. This approach will prevent you from wasting too much food when you begin your garden.

Indian-spiced chickpea and peanut salad. Repin to save!

Get the recipe: Indian-spiced chickpea and peanut salad

Rely on Staples

Not only are staples like rice and beans filling, they are also quite cheap. The average cost of rice in the U.S. is 74 cents per pound. It’s hard to beat prices like that!

A whole-food, vegan diet has numerous benefits – it can help you to lose weight, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. Eating healthy can become expensive if you aren’t careful. However, if you follow the strategies detailed above, it can be affordable.

Here’s to a healthier body, mind, and wallet!

Jen Hayes is a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials to lead healthier lives — financially, physically and mentally. Jen is currently on a journey toward shedding 50 pounds and $117,000 of student loan debt by 2018.