1) Cook For YourselfRelying on pre-packaged items, such as expensive frozen meals, or dining at pricey restaurants can send your weekly food budget through the roof. If you are scared of venturing into the kitchen, help is on the way. There are so many wonderful cookbooks, websites and podcasts that teach everything from properly cutting an onion to assembling a three-layer cake. For free recipes and cooking videos, check out ChooseVeg.com.
2) Stick With the BasicsBeans, grains and produce are low-cost and should be the backbone of any healthy vegan diet. A two-pound bag of dried beans costs around $1 at my local grocer and will easily feed me and my husband for a few meals when used in dishes like chili and soups. Even canned beans are affordable and require zero preparation. Full of protein and fiber, beans should be used often. Rice, pasta, and nontraditional grains, like millet and quinoa, are very easy to prepare and have a variety of uses. Fresh and frozen produce are essential to have on hand. Local farmers' markets are wonderful for providing inexpensive local fruits and veggies which in turn supports your local economy.
3) Make A ListTaking the time to create a shopping list for a week's worth of meals can be daunting at first, but you will get the hang of it. Just remember, you are saving money!
4) Think EthnicWhen omnivores ask me, "Well, what do you eat?" as if I am dramatically limiting my options by choosing to go cruelty-free, I take pleasure in naming foods of which they have never heard. The plethora of international cuisine, whether it is Indian, Asian, Mexican or Middle Eastern, is not only tasty but really inexpensive.
5) Plan a PotluckIf you are watching your budget, chances are your friends are too. Planning a potluck in which everyone brings a vegan dish is a great way to enjoy a yummy meal, while only investing the time and money for the one dish you prepared.