Money Saving Monday!

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m poor as poor as poor can be. And no matter how hard I try, the stores still won’t take my money.

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I mean, they should consider themselves honored to have the rare “pi dollar bill” with its skillful art work and improper Latin motto (should be “Te occidere possunt, sed te edere non possunt.” Look that one up, it’s worth it.) That thing will be worth bazillions someday!

Keep an eye out for the bazillion dollar bill, on its way to a Courtney near you.

Counterfeiting aside, I’ve found a lot of ways to make the actual US tender in our house stretch. It’s a misconception that vegetarians spend more on groceries than the average family. I actually spend less on groceries now than I did when I ate meat. I also spend a lot less on fast food, antacids, and we currently have a huge surplus in the beef jerky portion of our budget. (Mike: “Why did we even budget for that?”)

But still, there are naysayers who use money as one of many excuses to continue their eating habits. That’s why I’m trying out a new feature on my blog–Money Saving Monday. Will it be awesome? Maybe. Will it be complete and utter tripe? Hey, that’s totally a possibility, too. I’m really just winging it over here.

Today, I’m going to give you some reasons eating less meat, and healthfully in general, is better for your budget–other than the horesh*t reasons Health Professionals give about saving money on future health care by taking care of yourself better (blah blah blah blah etc). I’m going to give you something useful–an honest answer to the question, “However can you afford it?” that will make the person asking it look like the biggest idiot in the universe. Because in the end, healthy eating habits are all about making the other person look bad. 🙂

And so, I present to you…

Courtney’s Top Ten Reasons Veganism is Cheaper than What You’re Eating Now

1. As far as I can tell, there is no vegetarian equivalent to the “Surf and Turf” at a restaurant. Nothing you ever eat will cost even half as much as that monstrosity. Actually, even if you continue to eat meat, you should probably just never eat that. Ever.

2. You know what’s not particularly cheap? Butter. You know what is? Canola Oil. You know what the difference is? A cow. In fact, if you do a per cost analysis, Olive Oil usually comes out cheaper than Butter, even. Especially when you consider how little of it you’ll be using, now that you’re a super healthy person who doesn’t dip their onion rings in bacon grease.

Am I telling you to spread the oil on toast? Oh lord no, that’s disgusting. But, you’d be doing fine to switch it out in baked goods. In fact, most of the time they can be swapped for unsweetened applesauce or some mashed banana. I’m not even kidding, there is NOTHING cheaper (or healthier) than that.

3. Beans and rice cost almost nothing and you will be eating them constantly. Seriously, half of my protein comes from beans. If you’re using cans, and unless you have loads of free time you probably are, you’re paying between 80 cents and a dollar a can, which is three and a half servings. Whoever can name me one animal source of protein that cheap wins one pi dollar bill. If you have the time and inclination you can get those beans even CHEAPER by cooking them yourself and freezing what you don’t use. Crazy!

4. Peanut butter goes on everything and costs about $3.50 a jar. You can’t get the same combo of protein and healthy fat from anything else you’re eating for that price. And I’m not kidding when I say it goes on everything. Recipes to come…uh…someday!

5. The only cheap meat at the grocery store is terrifying. I speak from experience, here. I’ve bought that cheap meat, I’ve grimaced while preparing it and I’ve tried to eat it without fear. But the fear is there, and it is real. Anyone who’s ever accidentally bought and ingested bad meat is with me on this one, I’m sure.

6. Protein is not nearly the issue carnivores make it out to be. Protein is in almost everything I eat, including my grains. If anything, I’m more concerned about Iron, but I get plenty and that multivitamin I was taking before I stopped eating meat is just as effective on herbivores.

7. The increased amount of fiber you eat will allow for easier…stuff…to happen. This will save you hundreds on plumbing repairs, since nothing is more costly and embarrassing than dealing with constant…blockages…

8. You need a separate cutting board for meat and veggies in most households. Not mine! Total savings=$10 of sweet, cross contamination free, goodness.

9. I hardly ever eat fast food anymore. Back in the dark ages, when I weighed 240 lbs and loved bacon, this was a huge deal, as I ate it at least twice a week, more if I was depressed. Now, it’s such a hassle that I just never want to deal with it. I save 10-20 dollars a week on that. Worth it!

10. I managed to get healthy, starting with my decrease in meat consumption, without having to spend money on a gym membership, nutritionist, or personal trainer. I just started following the rules of Michael Pollan (whose books are great! Read them!), and the weight, fatigue, and stress of being so unhealthy began to fall off of me. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” When that epiphany came, everything finally fell into place.

Thanks for bearing with me today, readers. In future Mondays I’ll tell you where I shop, why I shop there, and where you can get weird items on your grocery list at a discount. I may not be an extreme coupon-er (I have a life) but I certainly know how to be thrifty when I need to be. It’s all just part of the “broke” aspect of being crunchy, hip, and broke!

Happy Monday, loves!

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6 responses »

  1. Morgan here–I’ve been on a much stricter budget recently too and I have to say I’m not a vegan and not willing to become one (although I’m currently off dairy so I’m like a meat-tarian but my recent obsession is soups with ham hocks. SUPER cheap and two ham hocks (they usually come in packs of two) will add a lot of heart and flavor to bean soup!!!

    • Morgan, I’m never EVER going to be the vegetarian who forces other people to stop eating meat. To be honest, I still eat dairy and eggs from time to time, and get very pissy when self righteous vegans tell me what’s wrong with what I’m eating. The way I see it is, if I’m comfortable with what I’m putting in my mouth, that’s really all that matters (we can make a that’s what she said joke about this, later). Personally, I try to buy from as humane a source as possible. As such, my eggs usually cost about two bucks more than the average super market egg. Part of the reason I’m mostly vegan, is because it’s really such a waste to bake with them, you know? Love them hard boiled any day of the week though, and super nutritious. (Plus, and this is nerdy I really, really like that if I have to I can drive twenty minutes out of the city and pet the chicken who laid my eggs. Cuuuuute!)

      As far as ham hocks, we always put those in soup when I was growing up, and I loved the salt it added. Honestly, though, these days I just don’t miss it much. I’ve found a lot of onion and broth will make a soup super (souper) yummy too, and my FAVORITE soups are bean soups that get really mushy and stew like while they cook. Makes the soup richer without adding cream or anything else. My favorite examples of this are Split Pea Soup and Pinto Bean Soup (which I’m sure I’ll post a recipe for, later). They get all mushy and hearty without adding jack, though the pinto bean soup benefits from a handful of corn being tossed in (what doesn’t?).

      Oh, and if you’re off dairy (I assume this has something to do with nursing, though I do recall lent being a thing right now) you should really give almond milk a try. By far the CLOSEST thing to real milk I’ve tasted. Especially good for those out there who just can not drink soy. 🙂 You can even find recipes for it online. Hooray!

      Take care, beautiful!

      • anthony is lactose intolerant so almond milk is the thing around here! I love bean soups…and love having my smidge of ham in them! nomnom

        also the clintonville community market far and away has the cheapest good eggs and they have kombucha made by a local hippie including unflavored options. i buy eggs when i pick up my CSA.

        also what is the name of that other vegan ‘meat’ stuff, it’s made of grains…. i would know it if i saw the word… i have had and liked it….

      • Seitan! At least, most likely it’s seitan. It has, by far, the most fun name in all of vegetarianism. I’m a huge fan of it, but I’m not as familiar with it as I am tempeh and tofu. Even with those, we mostly just eat beans and nuts!

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