In addition to boosting your health and reducing your carbon footprint, becoming a vegetarian can significantly lower your grocery bill. And if other family members such as your kids and spouse also jump on the vegetarian bus, you could save thousands of dollars a year — which could pay for a fun vacation, a home improvement, and the happy list goes on.
To help you enjoy the financial rewards of adopting a vegetarian lifestyle (pro tip: your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner!), here are five great money-saving grocery store hacks:
1. Don’t dump your ordinary, conventional grocery store.
Yes, shopping at stores like Whole Foods is enjoyable, and it’s a welcome change to find aisles and aisles of vegetarian options — all with clear, bright signs created by a company like the Landmark Sign Company (find them at landmarksignusa.com.). However, don’t give up on your ordinary, conventional grocery store just yet. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover how many vegetarian-friendly foods they’re offering these days, and with price tags that are substantially lower. And while you’re at it, check out the bulk section as well for even more savings.
2. Don’t buy absolutely everything organic.
Yes, generally it’s better to buy organic. But sometimes, the premium price isn’t worth it. To help you decide what to buy, check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen,” which are 12 foods that typically contain the most pesticides (and as such you’re better off paying for organic). Currently, the notorious list includes: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes.
3. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Instead of letting your cravings decide what fruits and vegetables to buy, take a look at the calendar and choose produce based on the season. For example, you’ll typically pay less for bananas, grapefruit and lemons in winter, and less for mangos, melons and peaches in summer. Of course, there are other factors that can influence price, but generally speaking the greater the availability and the less time (and money) it takes to ship, the cheaper it will be.
4. Make Your Own Veggie Burgers
Folks who have been vegetarians for several decades remember a time when veggie burgers — if you could find them — looked and tasted pretty awful (if you were invited to a barbecue, you usually had to bring your own patty, and non-vegetarians would look at you like you were from outer space). Things are much different today, and far better! Well, in every way except one: store-bought veggie burgers can be extremely — and in some cases ridiculously — expensive. The best way to avoid this price shock? Make your own veggie burgers! You’ll find tons of recipes online. Experiment to discover what you and your family like best.
5. Grow Your Own Herbs
Herbs can make or break a meal — and indeed, make or break a food shopping budget, too! That’s why you can easily and enjoyable grow your own herbs, such as basil, rosemary, and the list goes on. Herbs are very easy to grow indoors or outdoors (i.e. you don’t have to have a “green thumb”), and they also serve as all-natural air fresheners. What’s not to love?