(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.
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.