Hey guyz n galz.
Something you may not know about me yet is that I hold my purse strings rather tightly. People sometimes say that a plant-based lifestyle is too expensive, but that is not the case at all. Not only does canning meat and dairy cut out some of the most expensive foods you can buy, but if you follow my little tricks and avoid buying branded or over-priced vegan foods, you will 100% be able to live well on a budget.
- Milk it
Don’t get me wrong- almond milk is niiice. But it’s also pretty pricey. For this reason, whenever I need milk for a recipe (e.g. my killer vegan mac’n’cheese), I make a little bit of oat milk. Simply put 3 heaped tbsp. of regular oats into a jug, and top with 500ml of water. Stir vigorously, then leave to soak for around 15 minutes. Give it one last stir, and then pour through a sieve into a container (or directly into what you’re cooking). Push down on the oats to make sure all of their starchiness gets through, and that’s it! Perfect for creamy sauces and banana milkshakes.
- Don’t Go (Coco)nuts
Coconut oil- it’s having a moment in the spotlight, and the shops are certainly making the most of its new found popularity! Coconut oil certainly is a good natural vegan substitute to butter, especially in cooking and baking because it doesn’t have a strong flavour. However, I don’t think you need to go crazy on the stuff. First of all, for regular cooking such as frying veggies or making sweet potato wedges, don’t feel the need to use coconut oil because of its new ‘superfood’ status. Olive oil has long been known as an excellent and healthy oil for all of this stuff, and is certainly cheaper. When you need to use coconut oil, don’t head straight to Holland & Barrett or Wholefoods. My local supermarket (Sainsburys), and ethnic food shops that I have visited sell a brand of coconut oil called KTC. It’s not organic (if that’s a big issue for you), but if you’re a vegan on a budget I’d definitely choose a £2.40 jar of pure coconut oil than the same thing for £16 in a health food shop.
- Aisle tell you a little secret…
That leads me to my next point: ethnic food shops and the ethnic aisle or ‘world foods’ aisle of supermarkets! If you go to the bigger supermarkets, you will find aisles full of 25p cans of chickpeas, 75p coconut milk, hug jars of tahini and big bags of nuts and dates. It’s pretty sneaky of the supermarkets to hide this bargainous stuff away amongst oddly branded and unfamiliar products that we might usually ignore. Don’t let ’em swindle you.
- Easy, Freezy, Beautiful
We all know about freezing bananas, but my freezing passion doesn’t stop there. I hate to waste food, and so often freeze leftover curries, pasta sauces, soups, and lasagnes for a rainy day or a satisfying packed lunch. These things are really easy to bring back to life in the microwave. Another thing I like to freeze are soaked cashews. Cashews are expensive and I use them sparingly. I rarely think 8 hours before dinner that I should put a tablespoon of cashews to soak. So, I soak a packet at a time (overnight or all day), drain them, and chuck them into a freezer bag. When you need them, just pour over some water from the kettle and they’ll be soft and ready within minutes.
- Use Your Grain Power
I know some people are saying that grains are bad for us, but I don’t buy it. It’s a really important efficient energy sauce for plant-eaters, and tinned and dried grains and pulses are excellent value for money. Pearl barley is a lovely chewy grain that costs around 5p for a really generous portion. Lentils are fantastic too (especially in my dreamy lasagne). Watch out later this week for a pearl barley lunchbox recipe.
I have many, many more money-saving tips, recipes, and meal plans, so let me know if you’d like more posts like this. 🙂