The Frugal Vegan Explained, Part 2: How to live on $3 or less a day

(This is a follow up of this post.)

I probably COULD spend a lot less on food, but choose not to, simply because it’s a financial priority for me to feed my family a variety of high quality plant foods. I know that’s somewhat of a luxury, especially when you find yourself in hard economic times. The first things to go if I had to trim my budget would be novelties like agave nectar, pure maple syrup, fresh herbs, spices, Soy/Rice ice creams, essentially non-essentials, the stuff that doesn’t really fill you up but are really nice condiments. Out of season produce and exotic, far-away fruits and veggies can also run up your grocery bill, but this is where buying local and in season really helps. The really expensive vegan stuff are the pre-packaged veggie burgers, vegetarian “chicken nuggets” and corn dogs, and other things that are highly processed and aren’t really all that great to make as staples of your diet anyway.

One of our favorite, easiest and cheapest meals: some variation on rice and beans (or in this case, quinoa, mexican style, and beans).

Grains and legumes, especially things like wheat, oats, rice, pinto beans, and lentils really go a long way, and if you’re looking to stretch your food budget try including at least one of these in most of your meals. Produce is more costly, but if you know what to buy and where to shop you can get a good deal. Bananas, apples, lettuce, and sometimes spinach are examples of produce that tends to go on sale frequently, and even when it’s not, the price still isn’t out of this world.

There’s a great article by Dr. McDougall on how to live on $3 or less (per person) a day on a vegan diet. Check it out, this is the most informative thing I could find on the subject of being frugal and vegan.


  1. StephenOlsonFamily
    on February 18, 2009 at 8:23 pm said:

    We always have the morning star (from Costco) in our house, and I keep the pre grilled chicken in our freezer for occasions when my husband wants it. He eats 95 percent meat/dairy free at home, and eats his meat at work. It works out great for us. THe key to sticking with this lifestyle is to educate yourself constantly, and have a support group (ie- this website) Flexibility is a good thing to have. I'm not as strict as Janae, I'm about 98 percent there. You might notice people freak out when they find out that you eat whole foods, no msg, no corn syrup, no milk etc. It's amazing how threatened they feel. I really could care less what other people eat. There's no right or wrong way. Eat what makes you feel good.

  2. Vegan Mothering
    on February 17, 2009 at 3:22 am said:

    I love all of the questions. I will try to answer best I can. Dr. McDougall is not LDS. As far as the Morningstar sausages go, as far as I can remember they are quite tasty. I don't use "alternative meat" very often, but it's a great transition food. I don't use oil, except to condition my cast iron skillet. I use both soy and rice milk and prefer either depending on what I'm doing. Soy is creamier, rice milk has a lighter taste.

  3. Abbie
    on February 17, 2009 at 2:40 am said:

    So sorry to be asking more. Do you ever use oil to bake or cook with? What about rice/soy milk? (for cooking) I read the side bar and won't be drinking it with a meal but just using it in recipes. Thoughts?

  4. Abbie
    on February 17, 2009 at 2:28 am said:

    I seriously need your email address. I have hundreds of questions. 🙂 My latest: What is your take/thought on Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties? I have had them numerous times and love them. I was just thinking of making a veggie pizza tomorrow for dinner and thought they might make a good topping. (Since I'll be missing my cheese) PS. I'm giving it a try. We had whole wheat tortillas and beans, veggies, brown rice, etc. tonight for dinner. Very filling and completely vegan. I'm also reading the China Study.

  5. Abbie
    on February 16, 2009 at 12:49 am said:

    Very good article. I liked it. Is he LDS? Still loving your blog.Side note. To create the link. Highlight the address as you have it on your webpage, then go and click on the button that looks like a link. A little box will pop up and you then type (or paste) the address in. That's it! Good luck.