“Tip: Prevent overspending and food waste from happening by planning your dinner and lunch for an entire week, watching sales going on at your local grocery store. ”
You might be under the impression that a vegetarian lifestyle requires both time as well as capital investment. Of course it can be expensive, but this goes for any diet. Some people may encounter criticism when they even consider becoming a vegetarian; that, along with the costs involved, can be demotivating. I am a vegetarian on a budget–here’s how I do it.
No matter your income you should spend your money wisely. Future events cannot be predicted and therefore it is useful to have some money on your savings account. However, you have worked hard for your income and therefore you deserve to invest in your health. It is all about finding the perfect balance.
1. Create a clear overview
Before budgeting, create a clear overview of your total income and expenses. Then, deduct the total expenses to decide how much money you are able to spend. When it comes to savings, set goals that are realistic; otherwise, you might end up running short on finances and may even have to dip into your savings account, which is one of the main reasons that people fail at saving money.
2. Actually allocate budget for your groceries
Keep an eye on your eating habits. Do you tend to throw away vegetables and fruits on your plate? This is a sign that you are overspending–and wasting food. Prevent this from happening by planning your dinner and lunch for an entire week. Write down the ingredients you need for each meal on a piece of paper (and do not deviate from this list while grocery shopping). Keep in mind that every additional thing you purchase might end up in the trash bin and that reflects the money you have wasted.
Repeat this step and you will have better insight on exactly how much money you will need during a month for groceries. Leave enough wiggle room for, say, a day that you may have ran out a protein powder for your breakfast smoothies.
3. Become a sale hunter
Start watching for your local supermarket’s sales, making a comparison and shopping the deals that offer you the greatest cost advantage. Start setting a shopping schedule around those sales.
My food diary
Let me give you a better idea about a way that helps to implement the vegetarian lifestyle on a budget with a food diary.
- BREAKFAST: I do not like wasting food and therefore, I will put old fruit in the freezer before I throw it away, which helps me save money. I use the frozen fruit to prepare a smoothie and include oatmeal, protein powder, a plant-based milk and half of a table spoon of peanut butter. I also make sure that I eat 20 to 30 grams of granola paired with plant-based milk too.
- MID-MORNING SNACK: Between breakfast and lunch I eat dried fruit and drink two cups of green tea.
- LUNCH: It really depends what I eat for lunch, but I usually eat a quinoa salad to keep a sustainable energy level throughout the day so that I remain productive at work and avoid crashing. If I do not eat enough, I may not have enough energy to participate in evening physical activities. Again, since I do not waste food, I use leftover vegetables to make a lasting soup. This frees up my budget for purchasing less things for the week, contributing to a cost-efficient diet. Currently, my favorites are pumpkin soup and carrot-coconut soup and broccoli soup.
- EVENING SNACK: Between lunch and dinner I eat an apple and a protein bar.
- DINNER: I often end up eating some simple dishes; I love making a vegan burger with oven-baked potatoes. Most of the time, I eat cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
- DESSERT: I usually eat mixed nuts and dried fruits. If I am going to participate in physical activity after work, I make sure to eat a banana with some peanut butter.
Remember to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day!
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