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7 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Save on Raw Vegan Groceries This Fall

Fall is a fantastic season for spending time in the kitchen and trying out all sorts of delicious raw vegan recipes. Thanks to food-focused holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, there are numerous opportunities to get creative with your favorite autumnal ingredients, such as apples and pumpkins. However, buying all of those ingredients can really add up, especially when you’re eating raw, vegan, and organic.

These popular tips are designed to help reduce your weekly grocery shopping bill. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also learn about what produce is in season during the fall, how to grow some of your own fruits and vegetables, and which raw vegan staples you can make yourself using inexpensive ingredients.

1.    Stock up on local, seasonal produce

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fall produce. There is so much variety – and seasonal produce is cheaper, too! Whenever possible, try to buy from your local farmer’s market so that you can guarantee the produce is fresh and local (and, ideally, organic).

Check which fruits and vegetables are in season before you plan your weekly meals. And if you buy more than you can eat, you can always freeze excess fruits and veggies for later.

During the fall, you’re likely to see lower prices on many of your favorites, including:

Fruits: Apples, bananas, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangos, pears, pineapples, pumpkins, and raspberries

Vegetables: Beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, green beans, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, pumpkins and squash, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, and turnips

2.    Organic is best, but these “Clean 15” foods have very few pesticides

Buying organic produce is always optimal, but it’s not always possible. There may be a limited organic section at your supermarket, and it may be prohibitively expensive. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group’s 2020 list of “Clean 15” foods includes plenty of delicious fruits and veggies that tend to have very minimal pesticide residue – meaning they’re better for you and for the environment.

  1.  Avocados
  2.  Sweet corn
  3.  Pineapple
  4.  Onions
  5.  Papaya
  6.  Sweet peas (frozen)
  7.  Eggplant
  8.  Asparagus
  9.  Cauliflower
  10.  Cantaloupe
  11.  Broccoli
  12.  Mushrooms
  13.  Cabbage
  14.  Honeydew melon
  15.  Kiwi

Of the “Clean 15,” onions, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage are in season during the autumn, so you can combine eating locally and seasonally with eating clean, even if you can’t always buy organic produce.

3. Buy in bulk – especially when shopping online with a free browser extension

Rather than making frequent trips to the supermarket, there are lots of vegan groceries that you can purchase online. Shopping online for groceries makes a lot of sense, especially if you buy in bulk, as the unit price is much lower than what you would pay in a store. You can stock up on vegan pantry essentials like dried beans, pulses, nuts, and seeds, as well as finding good deals on items such as coconut oil, stevia, and maple syrup.

To ensure that you’re always getting the best prices while shopping online, try adding a coupon rewards browser extension such as Capital One Shopping. It’s free, and it won’t slow down your computer or show you annoying ads. Instead, you’ll be alerted whenever another retailer is selling the item you’re interested in at a lower price. Capital One Shopping also automatically applies any available coupon codes to your shopping cart, so you don’t have to waste time searching for them and testing them out yourself. You’ll also earn loyalty credits that can be turned into gift cards for retailers such as eBay and Macy’s.

4. Make your own nut butter, plant-based milk, and vegan cheese

Nut butter, plant-based milk, and vegan cheese are often essential parts of a vegan diet. Still, like many specialty items, they can be expensive when purchased from the grocery store. Surprisingly, these are all items that you can whip up at home, although some will require a fair amount of preparation. However, you’ll be amazed at how much money you can save – and you can avoid buying packaged, preservative-filled foods, which is always a plus. You’ll find plenty of recipes online for vegan staples such as almond mylk and vegan cheese.

5. Make the most of produce markdowns at the grocery store

When you do go to the supermarket, try to schedule your trips to correspond to markdowns on fresh fruit and vegetables. Generally, grocery stores will discount produce an hour or two before they close. Find out when your local supermarket usually makes its reductions and plan your shopping accordingly.

6. Be creative and make substitutions for expensive ingredients

Many delicious vegan recipes call for cashews, pine nuts, and pecans. Unfortunately, they can be costly. Play around with recipes by substituting pumpkin or sunflower seeds for these pricey nuts. When it comes to tasting your homemade pesto, you probably won’t notice a difference in flavor, but you’ll definitely see the difference in your savings. Replacing nuts with seeds on salads is also a handy way to save. Seeds are a great source of fiber and are packed with lots of healthy vitamins and antioxidants.

7. Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs

Perhaps the absolute best way to save money on fruits and vegetables is to grow your own. Not only is this far cheaper than store-bought produce, but you can ensure that your home-grown fruits and veggies are free from unwanted chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. Some easy (and hardy) vegetables to start with are zucchini, radish, spinach, and kale.

If you don’t have enough space to create your own vegetable patch, try growing something on your windowsill. Salad greens, wheatgrass, cress, and sprouts are surprisingly easy choices for windowsill gardening, or you could try some pre-potted herbs. They’re relatively easy to grow, don’t take up much space, and you’ll be able to stop buying overpriced packaged parsley, mint, and cilantro. Plus, if you take good care of them, the plants should continue to grow and thrive, even while being used as ingredients in your kitchen.

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Crystal Bonnet is an International Raw Food Chef, Instructor and Cookbook Author. Her culinary passion started with living, plant-based food in her own kitchen which led her to train at industry leading culinary schools. Read more.

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