Eat Vegan on $4 a Day Author Offers Ten Money-Saving Tips

Courtesy of Book Publishing Company
One of the many arguments against a healthful, meatless diet is its cost-prohibitive nature. Being vegan means shopping exclusively at Whole Foods, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, veganism can be achieved even via Walmart.

Author Ellen Jaffe Jones is all about showing folks how to maintain a heart-healthy, longevity-inspiring lifestyle on the cheap. Her book, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, offers all kinds of strategies for inexpensive eating. We spoke with Jones for her best suggestions on plant-based penny-pinching. Check it out after the jump.

See also: Why Don't Food Companies Label Their Products as Vegan?

Jones -- an athlete, author, veg coach, and former investigative reporter -- was inspired to adopt a vegan lifestyle due to a family history of breast cancer.

"I felt like this had become the investigative reporting job of my life," she says. "As a reporter, I wanted answers. There's no money in broccoli, there's no broccoli lobby... you have to try to figure out what's right for you and what's really the truth."

Now she speaks to audiences across the country about vegan living, health issues, and her athletic endeavors.

"The recipes in the book are based on ingredients you can find at Walmart or in any big-box store. Most people are close enough to a Walmart that you can't give me the excuse that you can't do this on a budget," she says.

Here are ten of her money-saving tips:

10. Use your head (not your heart or stomach) at the checkout counter.
"Don't go to the store hungry," Jones says. "Keep a shopping list, and as you run out of items during the week, keep a running list and stick to that." Stay within your budget, and don't use shopping as therapy, she adds.

9. Check the unit price.
This little red sticker is just below the item's retail price on many store shelves. It reveals the product's price per ounce, which is actually the most important determiner of value, Jones says.

Keep in mind that cooked products (such as beans) can be a little more complicated. One dry ounce of beans, for instance, can yield three to four ounces cooked, so they're always cheaper than the precooked kind. "Beans as your main source of protein is the best thing someone can do," Jones says. "That leaves you with plenty of money left over to buy produce."

8. Buy in bulk.
Bigger generally means more cost effective -- but don't buy what you can't use.

"An eight-pound bag of pinto beans will make more than 100 half-cup servings of cooked beans. Each serving is roughly about a dime," Jones says. "But if you buy a lot of stuff and store it in the fridge and don't use it, it's certainly not worth the investment."

Beans can be kept for years in hermetically sealed jars, she adds.

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My Voice Nation Help

These tips are fine.  But, forgodssake, I would think a vegan would be the last person to suggest to people that they should shop at Walmart.


More good resources to go vegan on the cheap! I've been vegan for 25 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees).

Here's a video to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice and why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.:      

Also, here's a link for everyone who wants to join the revolution: 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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