Congratulations on getting a job and graduating! And congrats on deciding to try veg again!

Here’s my very unofficial guide to cheap veg living :)

Money tips:

1. One of the biggest keys I think is buying in bulk. Bulk beans, rice, and wheat berries (or barley/farro/etc) are great bases for a lot of delicious not-boring meals. (Especially ones you can make in bulk and store for later meals like wheat salad or stir fry)

2. Good, inexpensive, and healthy protein options are whole grains, eggs, beans, and tofu. I especially like garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Learning to cook good-tasting tofu takes practice, but can be done. I basically just cut it into cubes and fry it in oil until it’s golden-brown. You can also marinade it like you would meat before you do this!

3. If you can, shop from Asian and Hispanic markets. They are usually half (or less) the price of your average grocery store and have tons of delicious spices, sauces, and veggies. The Asian place I shop at has everything from Chinese and Korean food to Indian and Thai food, plus really cheap humane eggs that come from the owner’s backyard-roaming chickens.

4. Eat seasonal produce as much as you can. This is where people feel like vegetarian/vegan diets get expensive, but they don’t have to be. Avoid getting spring/summer fruits in the dead of winter, and stick with dark leafy greens, winter gourds/squashes, and tomatoes while it’s still cold.

5. When you do shop at a regular grocery store, always buy the store brand over the name brand. There’s usually no difference and it’ll save you so much. Also, if you have one, Aldi’s is a magical wonderful grocery store full of cheap produce/other necessities.

Try and make sure any pastas you buy are whole grain, as they have a good deal of your daily protein needs. We also have a smoothie aficionado in the apartment, and he uses either peanut butter or protein powder to give it that extra kick. If you like bananas, there’s not much better than a peanut butter banana smoothie with some chocolate syrup/ hot chocolate packs in it. It’s healthy and tastes like dessert. Regular nuts have good protein in them too but can get pretty expensive, so I just keep peanut butter around. Nutritional yeast is also pretty fantastic. A little goes a long way and it’s packed with protein, iron, and other nutrients. Tastes cheesy.

All in all our monthly grocery bill for 2 people looks like this:

$1-2 for bulk rice ($9 20lb bag from Walmart that lasts several months for 2 people)
$3-5 for beans
$25 for supplies from the Asian market (2 lb rice noodles, 3 packs tofu, fresh produce, sauces, Indian curry, tea, egg rolls, miso)
$10-15 for cheese
$2 wheat berries. I order these online. You can get $1/lb on Amazon or most other sites. It lasts forever.
$15 on whole wheat pasta (you can get this in bulk too, making it even cheaper)
$12-15 on eggs and almond milk
$25 on other produce/misc

Total: $93-$104

I do spend more on the eggs and milk since they’re backyard eggs and almond milk, so if you’re really strapped for cash that would bring it down probably an extra $5-$10 a month.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions about this set-up/anything else. And best of luck!

I just realized how much my everyday life defies normality and also defies odds in general

I am a first generation college student. Actually my father is an alcoholic and has gone to jail multiple times in my lifetime, and I grew up under the poverty line for almost as long as I can remember (so we didn’t even know if I’d be able to go to college at all).

I come from a mix of hardcore baptist and super italian catholic backgrounds, yet I identify as genderqueer and pansexual and use primarily they/them pronouns (also I’m not really religious at all). Oh I also live in North Carolina, so if you hadn’t guessed my parents are both republicans (which I am not).

I have tons of tattoos, a septum ring, and my fashion sense is I guess on the darker/edgier side (I hate calling myself edgy tho it feels like another version of “not like other girls”), but I’m literally always smiling and laughing about anything and everything, and I try never to be rude to anyone if I don’t have to.

To go along with that last one, I’m a stoner on top of that. I also am a double major/double minor in my junior year of college (majors in sociology and women’s and gender studies, and minors in classics and african american studies). I’ve never failed a class. I don’t skip unless I know I won’t miss anything vital. I am literally going to get my doctorate in sociology with a concentration on gender studies in a few years.

Like yo thank god I got out of my fucking past and continue on to defy stereotypes and heteropatriarchal and cisnormative culture and to learn that some of the reason I even made it this far is because of the privileges I do have (such as the white one).