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Erin Huffstetler

Is a Vegetarian Diet Cheaper?

By July 25, 2007

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A new MSN article, "Go Vegetarian to Save Money," suggests that adopting a vegetarian lifestyle is an effective way to save money because it can:

  • lower your grocery bill
  • lower your chances of developing health problems
  • increase your quality of life

Would you agree? Should we toss aside our concerns about rising milk and meat prices and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle? Will a vegetarian diet help us to avoid health problems and medical bills? Is it really cheaper to be a vegetarian?

Frugal Vegetarian Recipes:

July 27, 2007 at 3:08 pm
(1) Sara says:

Yes, yes and yes.

July 31, 2007 at 8:02 pm
(2) manas says:

obvi. even if you go organic for veggies, you save money on meat. even if you buy cheapie meat. Its more money than the organic veggies.

August 1, 2007 at 1:51 am
(3) Lisa K says:

I agree, it is certainly cheaper to buy grains, veggies and fruit for food than meat and milk and animal products. Plus, there is no doubt that it is better for your health, considering that it is reported all the time that a large majority of the populace doesn’t get enough fruits and veggies as it is. You do need to be smart, do a little research on where to get your replacement nutrients that you would usually get from the animal products. I’ve heard it said that we could also feed the whole world and become more sustainable if only we focused our production and resources over to plants instead of animals as a food source.

August 1, 2007 at 9:50 am
(4) dee says:

After having very high cholesteral and switching to a vegetarian diet in Jan, I just went back to the doc 1 week ago to find my cholesteral was back to normal and I had lost 15 lbs. I have cut my food bill in half and feel better then I have in a long time, so YES I do feel people should stop eating meat products.

August 1, 2007 at 9:54 am
(5) erindreg says:

I definetly agree with this article. I went mostly vegetarian in college because I couldn’t afford meat! It really is simple to cut out when your finances don’t allow it.

August 1, 2007 at 10:06 am
(6) Christine says:

Yes!! I have been saying this for years!!

I became a vegetarian before I became a frugal fanatic, but I definitely believe that is has been one of the keys to my success at living the frugal lifestyle. My grocery bill is VERY low compared to my meat eating friends and even eating out I save money because vegetarian dishes are usually the cheapest on the menu. I would definitely suggest people try this, not just because it is a healthy lifestyle that helps prevent illness and disease, but because it is absolutely the most frugal way to eat!

Remember: beans are one of the best replacements for meat and we all know how cheap they are!

August 1, 2007 at 10:24 am
(7) Beth says:

Yes! Absolutely! I have been a vegetarian for about 7 years, and I have no idea how people can afford to buy meat, as opposed to vegetables, fruit and grain. Plus I spend no money at the doctor. Definitely a money saver.

August 1, 2007 at 1:32 pm
(8) Kathy says:

Yes, it’s definitely cheaper and better for you!

July 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm
(9) Haverwench says:

I’d have to give a qualified yes. It’s certainly possible for a vegetarian diet to be both more frugal and more healthful than a meat-centered diet–but there are many different ways to be a vegetarian. A meatless diet composed largely of Oreos and French fries, for instance, certainly wouldn’t be healthful. The costs also depend on which types of vegetarian foods you choose. Pound for pound, beans and grains are still cheaper than meat (though their prices have risen alarmingly), but dairy products and eggs, which many vegetarians eat, actually cost more. Also, as the MSN article points out, it’s certainly possible to blow your grocery budget on high-end plant foods, no matter how good for you they are. So it isn’t enough simply to give up meat and assume that your health and your wallet will benefit; you still have to use your judgment.

August 6, 2009 at 12:55 am
(10) joan says:

Agree with Haverwench that we need to use our own judgement, especially on choosing a vegetarian diet which can provide the sufficient nutrients for our bodies.

I would suggest trying a raw vegetarian diet during lunch – which comprises raw vegetables (such as carrots, spinaches, baby tomatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, etc) The effect turned out to be good even though I didn’t like the taste – I feel more energetic and alert physically and mentally (in contrast to the usual fatigue and lethargy I felt after having a lunch with steaks). I don’t even need coffee to stimulate me again after having a salad bowl rich with antioxidants and fruit nutrients – though I am not sure how this can work for other people, I can say a vegan diet is generally more low maintenance for me while it makes it easy for my body to absorb the necessary vitamins and nutrients (minus the stress to burn up fats, carb and calories that most meats have.)

On a side note, I think it’s NOT necessary to only eat organic vegetables or high end plants – as they can cost a lot.

There are also some vegetarian meals (especially the cooked or processed ones) which we should avoid – as they can contain a lot of sugar, flavour enhancers, gluten and batter (which have been widely used to make vegetarian food taste better – I personally find this unnecessary – it’s not only costly but unhealthy).

Have been a non-vegetarian, I have experienced that consuming more meat tend to cause lethargy, fatigue when the digestive system tries to burn a lot of fat (despite the fact that meats and rice have more calories and carb which give more energy).

A vegetarian diet (on the other hand) helps to reduce stress and depression. For example, when I am currently encountering stress and anxiety, I can feel these symptoms vanish after I ate a bowl of salad as my lunch. Besides that, I also felt more energetic (reduction in fatigue and headaches) and happier – this indicates that a vegetarian diet especially most vegetarians and fruits have stress relieving properties. Reducing stress is one of the benefits many tend to get from switching to a vegetarian diet. Other benefits are that it’s also low maintenance (due to the fact that when your body get accustomed to a vegetarian diet, your cravings for sugars, caffeine and chocolate stop gradually. Most vegetables tend to be less expensive to buy and even prepare if you really don’t mind eating them raw. Most of them have more nutrients than most meats when they are eaten raw.)

Though I might now still find it hard to become a complete vegan since I love to have a meal with fish and chicken (I consider myself now a semi-vegetarian) – I will definitely switch to vegetarian diets for lunches and breakfasts (in order to fight stress and fatigue naturally without relying on stimulants).

August 11, 2009 at 3:36 am
(11) ohevshalomel says:

Everything in moderation. I personally don’t feel that a truly healthy vegetarian diet is a big money-saver. I can find meat pretty cheap: I know where to shop and which stores have good sales. Also, carbohydrate-heavy diets aren’t good to my body; I can always feel the aches and pains of too much glucose without fat, fiber, protein and vitamins. The best diet for my budget and lifestyle is one that is balanced between plant and animal products. Sometimes I have to compromise, but most of the time I can find healthy foods without spending a whole lot.

October 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm
(12) erzebet says:

this is the reason why i turned to veganism. i was a vegetarian almost all my life but i felt compelled to buy diary and eggs sometimes and they were so much more expensive. the vitamin b12 supplements are much cheaper than milk and eggs and since i got to be a vegan i’ve discovered so many new foods and so many new ingredients that i didn’t eat before like: zucchini, chickpeas, other types of beans, mushrooms, new cereals and fruits that i feel my diet is much more varied at half the price.

October 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm
(13) erzebet says:

i forgot to say that the most frugal snacks or lunch when i have no money and no time to cook are still nuts or seeds

October 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm
(14) Cyandhra says:

The #1 staple for over 1/2 of the world’s population is rice. But not rice as we here in the Western world use. They leave the bran on most of the rice they eat and trade. Here in the West, our staples have been corn and wheat. We don’t grind our own corn or wheat anymore. Since the early 40′s or so, we have gotten used to white wheat flour because the bran that covered the wheat kernel was clogging and causing other problems in the machines that ground it The flour and bread companies started campaigns that white flour and bread were better for us because of all the added vitamins and minerals added. Corn flour, -meal, grits, and starch were for the longest time were seen as ‘poor cousins’. Since we have found that leaving the bran and, germ, hull, and kernel on the cereal grain before and after it’s ground into meal is better. And now, friends and neighbors, corn is being sold to make legal moonshine for our cars, so now the price of corn meal and other products made from corn will go up. Remember the ‘Victory Gardens’ back in WWII? We all know how to grow veggies and fruits ourselves. I wonder if a business could be formed teaching the ones that don’t?

October 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(15) Ahaney says:

Yes, yes, yes!
And stay away from SUGAR!

September 28, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(16) Kate says:

Being vegetarian has saved me a least $150.00 a month in grocceries. It came down to meat or make up and the make up won.

February 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(17) John says:

there is no real answer to this absurd question. I’m a vegetarian and have been for over a decade. If you are living on rice and beans like some unfortunate poor individual, than yes, you’ll save money. If you eat well, diversifying your diet as to get all the vitamins (et all) your body needs, it gets more expensive. for every prime rib, there will be some organic tofu that might even be more expensive. The correct answer to this question is: “It’s completely relative to your location and choice of foods.”

August 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm
(18) Nick says:

I have just recently decided to go Vegan and I cna already have seen cost reduction in my grocery budget. Another way that I have found it to save me money, and this was an un-intentional effect, I find that my leech of a room mate who feels he can just eat what he wants when I buy the food and groceries no longer does this…when the fridge is full of Vegan items he stays away

February 5, 2013 at 7:35 pm
(19) Elle says:

Honestly, I don’t think that being vegetarian saves that much money. I’m also not a big meat eater to begin with though — I only eat chicken and deli turkey which are both pretty cheap, and I usually only eat meat for 1 meal a day (either lunch OR dinner, not both, and some days, depending on what I feel like cooking/eating, I go without).

And for me personally, being a vegetarian is the less healthy choice because I’m such a picky eater. Even though I do eat meat, I’m still anemic because I don’t eat much meat, and don’t eat any red meat at all…and while I like some veggies, the ones I like the best, for the most part aren’t the really nutrient rich ones.

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