Sunday, September 15, 2013

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

I have been working on budgeting for grocery shopping.  Many people hear the word vegan and think I spend hundreds of dollars on groceries each month.  I'm trying to prove that you can be frugal while eating a vegan diet.  I've shopped around and I've looked for deals.  I always buy the cheaper products.  I also will pay a little extra for fortified foods.  I want to make sure I get plenty of calcium and iron.
My favorite grocery store is Trader Joe's.  I've found it's cheaper than my local grocery store.  If I cannot find what I need, I will go to my local grocery store, Wal-Mart, or Whole Foods.
I went grocery shopping the other day to test out my budget.  I have a monthly limit of $200.  I live alone.  I'm sure those with a larger household will have a different budget.  You'd have to play around with it and figure out what's best for your home.
The top of my receipt.

My total: $149.78.
 All my groceries will last me a month except for the fresh stuff.  So when I run out of those, I will buy more.  And I will still be within my budget.  I also did not buy faux meat.  I bought a couple boxes of my favorite veggie burgers, but that was it.  I stuck to fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains (I got some new ones to try), beans, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth.  Those are my basics.  I don't need anything else.  Although there's a dessert I'd like to make and I need one more ingredient.  I can always run to the store.
During my trip, I paid attention to prices and went through my meal plan in my head.  I'm pretty confident I calculated correctly.  However, if I didn't, I can always go back to the store.
Here's what my fridge and pantry look like now:
I have brussel sprouts, celery, regular/baby carrots, grapes, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, corn, avocado, lemons (I use avocado and lemon as dressing...something I learned from my mom.  So delicious!)

Earth Balance butter (vegan), fruit preserves, unsweetened applesauce, salsa verde, garlic, pineapple

I found Gluten-free Brown Rice bread.  I haven't tried it yet but it was the only bread that wasn't made with milk or eggs.  I have tons of frozen veggies on the top shelf: peas, corn, pearl onions, green beans, peppers.  Then I have Trader Joe's Masala burgers on the bottom (my favorite) along with frozen fruit that I use for smoothies.

I have oats, brown rice, a whole grain mix, whole wheat pasta, popcorn kernals, almond butter, beans (garbanzo, black, baked, red, and white), potatoes, freeze dried raspberries (so yummy; I'm hoping to try the pineapple ones next), vegetable broth, a corn soup.

Then I have soy milk and all my seasonings; olive oil, agave nectar, maple syrup, tea, flour, sugar.

I always try to keep my pantry and freezer stocked for the entire month.  That way, if I don't have time to pick up new fresh fruits or vegetables, I still have what I need.

Food is fuel.  Our society teaches us to live to eat.  So many people live by what they're going to eat next.  I'm teaching myself how to eat to live.  I've already stopped craving meat and a lot of sweets.  I used to crave a lot of chocolate and candy.  Now I don't.  I'll sit and eat fruit or vegetables and will be satisfied.

What do you have in your kitchen?

"Keep Moving Forward"


  1. Lots of veggies and fruits here!

  2. Looks yummy! I always worry about produce going bad before we can eat it. I suppose I need to make a plan and stick to it. Lazy nights and deviating from my meal planning is always my downfall!

    1. I eat all my fresh veggies in the first and second week after shopping. Then I eat the frozen ones I got. It takes a lot of planning, but after a while you figure out how much is right for you.

    2. On my lazy nights, that's when I heat up baked beans, a veggie burger, and pick a vegetable. Or even cut up some veggies when soup is heating up. Whatever is fastest. I do cut up a lot of veggies after I buy them, like celery and carrots. Make them easier to throw on top of a salad.