Money Wellness
Image of Veganuary spelt out in vegetables and pulses
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calendar icon10 Jan 2024

Veganuary can be good for both your waistline and wallet

We may be well into the second week of January but don’t let that put you off making a change. There’s strong evidence and countless studies that show a plant-based diet can significantly improve health with lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Eating less meat has also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

What’s more, following Veganuary could also save you money! Contrary to popular belief, a plant-based diet can be lighter on the wallet with staples like beans, lentils, rice, and seasonal vegetables often cheaper than meat and dairy products. Just be careful to steer away from processed alternatives if you want to avoid running up your shopping bill.

Here’s our cost-effective tips to ditching the meat and dairy this January:

Create a meal plan

An obvious starting point, but there is nothing more cost effective than planning meals ahead of time. Firstly, it’ll make your shopping trip less chaotic and will also stop you from buying things you don’t need, so it will also be cheaper.

It doesn’t need to be time consuming- just create a rough guide of meals you’ll cook for the week and the ingredients you need.

Eat in season

Visit your local fruit and veg markets for great deals on produce in season. In January look for beetroot, celeriac, chicory, kale, leeks, mushrooms, squash, swedes, turnips, white cabbage, spring onions, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips and Brussel sprouts.

If you’re not used to cooking with these ingredients, you can find inspiration on websites like SuperCook and Tesco Real Food, where you can create meal plans by inputting what you’ve got available.

Buy wonky veg

Wonky veg is stocked by many supermarkets to help curb food waste. Typically, the product looks less attractive, but are just as healthy and nutritious as their prettier neighbour. On average wonky veg is roughly 30% cheaper than standard stock, meaning you could make great savings.

Alternatively, pick up fruit and veg that has been reduced to clear because it has passed its sell-by date. If you’re quick, you can whip up a number of meals to get the best out of the ingredients and freeze them to be eaten at a later date. Lidl is offering 5kg of slightly past its best fruit and veg for £1.50.

Get funky with tofu

Tofu is a blank canvas and can be turned into anything. From scrambled to stir fries and even used as a meat substitute in traditional dishes, tofu can do it all. It doesn’t really taste of anything on its own but when combined with herbs, spices, and sauces it can be the star of the show. What’s more it’s cheap too – starting from around £2.06 for a block of 396g.  

Look for deals and January offers

Most of the major supermarkets capitalise on Veganuary by running offers on vegan products all month. A lot of the processes vegan food can be costly, but you should be able to pick up some meat-free bargains by shopping around.

Aldi has launched 12 new additions to its Plant Menu range for Veganuary, while Tesco is offering £4 off a £12 spend on all selected plant-based products. And Sainsbury’s has a fruit and veg box available for £2.

Use food in your pantry

Changing to a new diet or way of life can be costly. But with Veganuary the chances are you’ll have lots of the ingredients you already need in your cupboard at home. Make the most of recipes that can be bulked out cheaply with things you’ve already got like rice, pasta, or noodles.

And don’t forget you’ll often eat vegan meals without even thinking about it such as a slice of toast in the morning or a jacket potato and beans at lunch. Don’t underestimate how good basic meals can be.

When replenishing your cupboards opt for store brand staples which are a lot cheaper than more well-known brands.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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