Quick tips on the cheap

Before I get into recipes, I’d like to give a few helpful hints that you can use to eat healthy while keeping your wallet happy. These aren’t all necessarily food-related, but can help save you money to help you pay for food.

1. Get a big ol’ bag of rice
Maybe this one sounds a bit odd, but hear (or read, as the case may be) me out. Most grocery stores sell huge 10 lb. bags of rice for $10-15. This may sound like a bit much, but you can get a lot out of one of those bags of rice, and it will definitely save you money in the end. If you can afford to buy bulk, it’s worth your while. Rice can be the base of many dishes, and the side to many others. That 10 lb. bag of rice will last you a long time, and you’ll be glad you bought it, especially since smaller increments of rice will cost you about a quarter of the bag of rice without actually containing a quarter. It really does make a difference!

2. Grocery gifts
If you’re on a budget as it is, chances are you’ve already sacrificed a lot of luxuries. One step further you can take on this is by asking your friends, family, and whoever else is likely to give you birthday and holiday gifts to give you grocery gift cards, available at most grocery stores you’re likely to shop at. Gift cards instead of money usually mean that you won’t spend the money on something you don’t need.

3. Save those pennies!
Any useless change you find is absolutely not useless. Keep it in a jar whenever you find you have spare. If your state/province/country gives refunds for recycling, save up your bottles and cans and take those in for exchange. This is good for your wallet and the environment. When the jar is significantly full, roll your change.

4. Deals and coupons
Maybe this goes without saying, but pay very close attention to the flyers at your local supermarket for coupons and weekly deals and specials. You can plan full meals around the deals you find. In addition, whenever canned vegetables or non-perishables like pasta are on sale, stocking up is always a good plan. Just make sure these are things you’ll be using in the future–don’t get 10 cans of diced tomatoes if you hate tomatoes! Save any useful coupons you get in the mail, or in your newspaper, or anywhere, really. Flyers you receive in the mail shouldn’t always be tossed immediately–give them a good look first.

5. Stick to your list
Make a grocery list and stick with it. If you deviate too much from it, you run the risk of going over budget with food items you don’t need. Stick to the necessities and don’t go overboard with unhealthy snacks. Giving yourself some leeway isn’t a bad idea, but try to budget that, too–restrict yourself to only $10 worth of unhealthy snack items, for example.

6. Keep your eyes open
A lot of big-name grocery stores will hold contests in which the prizes can be grocery cards. Sometimes these will manifest themselves in the bottom of your receipts, so pay close attention. You don’t want to miss an opportunity like that! Start collecting Air Miles, if your grocery store is affiliated with them, and save up to get gift cards.

*Keep in mind that a little sacrifice can help your budgeting in the long run. “Being good” isn’t limited to just your weight–it affects the weight of your wallet, too. Buying big bags of potato chips will add up monetarily after awhile.

These are just some small tips to build a foundation for your budgeting while partaking in a vegetarian or vegan diet. The recipes and articles will be coming soon!

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