December 2016 was the last time my hubby and I purchased meat. For over a year our household has been vegetarian, and it’s honestly something I never thought we would do. My sister inspired the lifestyle change and we started last January with a one month challenge. Well, a month turned into 12, and right now there is no turning back in sight.
I want to be clear that we have still eaten meat when we were at someone else’s house, or when we have been out at restaurants, but we have tried to minimize the quantity we eat in those circumstances. The biggest motivator was not wanting to put anyone out or limit ourselves when we head out for dinner.
Since going vegetarian-ish we have both seen a number of changes mentally, physically, and monetarily.
Mentally, we both feel like our minds are sharper, I rarely ever get the “2:30” lull that I used to get, which has made working in the afternoon a lot easier. That being said I am hungrier more often so there are definitely more snacks during the day but then you’re eating a pile of vegetables you’re going to be in a good place mentally.
Physically, both of us have trimmed down. This was an unexpected benefit of going vegetarian, but after a two-week vacation in Mexico, last Christmas both of us had a couple extra pounds to spare. To anyone that is wanting to work on their waistline; honestly try going vegetarian for a few months, you will notice a difference.*
* This is, of course, assuming that you eat properly and healthy with lots of beans, lentils, chickpeas, and tofu in your foods instead of just pasta and bread.
Being a personal finance blogger there is no way we could implement this large of a change in our lifestyle without tracking the cost associated with it. After tracking all our receipts and taking out all the household products we buy on a monthly basis we have lowered our grocery bill on average by $200 a month. When you think about the cost on a weekly basis for chicken, fish, and beef, which is what our week consuming meat typically consisted of, you’re saving the following on just dinner alone:
- Chicken (2 people, 8 servings a week – $2.50 each = $20)
- Fish (2 people, 4 servings a week – $4.50 each = $18)
- Beef (2 people, 2 servings of ground beef – $3.50 each = $7)
- Total $45
It’s insane when I look at the fact that we can get enough protein for one dinner out of a can of black beans, or chickpeas. Not to mention lentils are cheap as hell, coming in at $0.35 per 100 grams.
In addition to this, there is far less wastage in our household. Vegetarian meals last longer in the fridge than meals with meat in them so we can eat leftovers for longer.
Becoming vegetarian has saved us roughly $2,400 a year, which is insane if you really step back and look at it. Now many people have mentioned to me that they would be perpetually hungry if they became vegetarian and could never do it, and I truly believe I used to be one of those people. However, finding nutritious and delicious meals these days is easy and I thought I’d share some of my favorite sources:
My favorite vegetarian (and vegan) websites and cookbooks:
- Oh She Glows & Oh She Glows Everyday
- Thug Kitchen
- Minimalist Baker
- Jillian Harris Website
- Erin Ireland’s Website
Easy cheap recipes that are nutritious and affordable:
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Tacos 5 ways
- Chickpea “Tuna” Sandwiches
- 10 Minute Pasta
- The best veggie burgers ever
In terms of meal prep being vegetarian has saved us a ton of time, the prep can all be done on one cutting board (you don’t worry about contamination) and the cooking times are typically a lot less and again you don’t have to worry about undercooked meat.
Overall, the benefits have far outweighed the costs and both of us see no reason to add meat back into our diet. So if you’re looking for ways to save on groceries this year, try going vegetarian! You can start with 1 meal a week and work your way up. I promise it will do wondering for your waistline and your wallet!