According to my favorite internet resource, www.urbandictionary.com, being broke means “refers to being penniless, out of cash, completely fucking spent, skint.” This is the case for me. I’m a stay at home mom and I find myself very fortunate to being able to spend my days taking care of my boys and my home. However, living on only one income is tough. Being broke and vegan isn’t typically something that non-vegans can comprehend. The myth that you have to be wealthy to be vegan is ridiculous, but it has provided argument fuel to people for years.
The reality is that my husband and I have constantly saved money on our groceries since becoming vegans. That extra savings goes to other things like bills and we rarely splurge on anything for ourselves. If we’re using money for anything other than bills, the mortgage, or groceries/necessities, we’re spending it on our kids.
When I say that we’re broke, it means that after filling our fridge, paying our bills, and clothing our kids, we have nothing left. There is no wiggle room. None.
We work around this through a variety of ways. Here are some tips to try, vegan or not:
1. Use a rebate app: I use Ibotta (#notsponsored) and it allows me to get money back by scanning my receipts after I go shopping. They’ve recently started including rebates for online purchases as well. These receipts aren’t exclusive to grocery trips either. I’ve used it after trips to the craft store, the gas station, the drug store, and even your local dollar store. In the last year, I’ve gotten almost $100 just from scanning my receipts.
2. Sign up with a cash-back shopping site: I’m signed up with www.shopathome.com. You use it to shop through various sites like Amazon or Vitacost and then it applies a percentage to your purchase that you get back as a rebate.
3. Don’t waste anything: When I first went vegan, I felt very pressured to get rid of everything I owned and switch to vegan alternatives. The reality was that that wasn’t possible. I simply couldn’t afford it. Instead, I decided to use up everything without purchasing more. This was already something I was committed to as someone who is trying to live a low-waste life, but making the decision not to throw anything out and use it up before purchasing vegan, cruelty-free options really made the difference.
4. Thrift: Seriously, thrift shop. Not only does it save you money, it also makes an impact on the planet and the fast-fashion industry. (Check out The True Cost on Netflix. It’s eye-opening.)
5. Buy in bulk: You’ll cut down on your grocery bill. When you buy your dry goods in bulk, you can get more for less money. You can get almost everything in bulk, depending on where you live.
6. My last tip – Make everything homemade: I’m including cleaning products in this too. Doing this has helped us so much over the last few months. It saves on waste, cuts down on cost, and (if you’re into it) it can limit the amount of “toxins” in your home.
Being broke is more commonplace as time goes on due to the current political and socioeconomic climate we live in, but we can make do until policies change. Buy smart, don’t be wasteful, and be mindful.