Introducing another new VegCharlotte feature – Frugal Friday!
Featuring ways to live vegan AND save money by:
- Couponing and related strategies.
- Shopping at alternative stores.
- Planning meals wisely.
- Cooking from scratch instead of relying on processed foods, restaurants, and take-out.
- Making makeup choices that are budget friendly as well as animal friendly.
- And in many cases, avoiding vegan hoopla and all the newest vegan trends!
We’ll start with a series of posts on coupon basics.
I’m always surprised at the number of vegans who don’t coupon. Believe me, it is a BIG thrill when you look at your receipt and see, “Visa, $4.21. Coupons tendered: $53.03.”
I mean, I like skydiving but this is just a wee bit more exciting.
Plus, couponing doesn’t irritate my sinuses the same way skydiving does.
There appear to be two reasons vegans don’t coupon:
- They are afraid using coupons is unethical.
- They don’t think mainstream coupons offer savings on anything they can use.
Today, we’ll discuss ethics.
Some people, if they can buy a 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes for 25 cents, will buy that can of crushed tomatoes for 25 cents. I’m one of those people.
(Note: I am talking about a can of crushed tomatoes, not a crushed can of tomatoes.)
Others will not buy the tomatoes because the company also makes products that are not vegan – say, a line of soups that may have dairy or chicken broth. Or maybe all the products that company makes are vegan, but they’ve been bought out by a company which isn’t. Or maybe those tomatoes were grown in what used to be a rainforest, but they cut the forest down and killed all the orangutans and now use child slave labor to pick the tomatoes. Or …
You get my drift. And if you are that ethical, I salute you. I used to be that ethical myself, once. When I was a fresh new enthusiastic young veg*n and had time and money to burn. And believe me, it takes quite a bit of time and money if you choose the most vegan, environmentally correct product all the time!
Let’s face it … if you are even thinking about couponing it must be because you could use a little extra cash. You probably have obligations – a mortgage, kids. You may have some debt to pay off. You may be unemployed or underemployed. You or your spouse may have decided to live on one paycheck so one of you can stay home with the kids.
So I say, give yourself a break from the quest of being a “perfect vegan.”
As long as what you buy is meat, egg, and milk free – that’s enough! You are eating vegan and that is just so HUGE! Go ahead, take that coupon to Harris Teeter, tell ’em to double it, grab that can of tomatoes, waggle your fingers in your ears at the vegan police and don’t worry about saving the whole world!
Many top animal advocates advise using your resources (time and money) where they will be most effective. That may mean saving your time and money so you can use those assets better elsewhere.
A personal story: My partner and I were both laid off from our jobs within six months of each other. One of our survival strategies was to coupon like crazy.
(I’m good, but he is a black-belt couponing ninja. There would often be a hushed silence in our wake as we exited after one of our couponing escapades.)
We may not have always purchased products from the most ethical of companies. I mean, yeah, we bought Paul Newman salsa for a dime even though the Paul Newman brand also sells cheese pizzas.
But … EVERYTHING we purchased was meat, egg, and dairy-free! And since our grocery bills were very, very low, with the money we saved, we were able to:
- Provide medical care and emergency vet treatment for my elderly poodle Muggsy who developed ongoing seizures;
- Provide medical care and “hospice” treatment for my cat Charlie who developed cancer;
- Adopt Scruffy, a rescued Jack Russell terrier mix;
- Adopt Prince Harry, an orange tabby adult from a high-kill shelter in Nashville; and
- Adopt Tiger, a rescued gray tabby kitten that had been severely abused.
To me – WORTH IT!
BTW, through couponing we were also able to feed our furry children high quality pet food and provide an abundance of treats. In fact, most of our cat treats we got for free through double and triple coupons at Harris Teeter.
I know some vegans will disagree with me and that’s fine. You may not want to read my blog on Fridays.
But for those of you who are still with me … next week we will discuss “coupons don’t offer savings on anything I want to buy.”
You will be pleasantly surprised.
I love this idea! I’ve recently been thinking about the different degrees of veganism, and I’ve come to the same conclusion as you. I’m going to focus on the main things (dairy, eggs, meat) and not worry so much about the other things. I want to show people that being vegan can be cheap and easy, and obsessing about every little thing sort of turns them against that.
(Nothing against those who do worry about every little thing, of course!)
You’re absolutely right – obsessing about every little thing turns a lot of people away from veganism! In the Animal Activist’s handbook, the author really lays down some tough love, asking what is important – personal purity or helping the animals? If you’re always obsessing over every little detail, avoiding eating this or buying that, then you’re giving the impression veganism is difficult, discouraging people from trying veganism, and actually hurting animals! I think it’s important we make veganism seem accessible for the average person.
Are there a lot of vegans out there like that? I would think that would be nearly impossible in our very non-vegan (very oppressive, bottom-line) world. If my first encounter with a vegan was with someone like that, I don’t think I would have even considered veganism for a second. I think we all try to to do our best to reduce animal suffering and tread lightly on this planet.
But moving on from that 🙂 Can I just say HOW EXCITED I am for this series after seeing your reciepts. I always think that couponing is just for non-vegans. Because just as you say, I never see coupons that I can use. I’m excited to see your next post! I would LOVE to save some money. Who wouldn’t? 🙂
Unfortunately, yes, there are some vegans like that. Last year (or maybe the year before) when I posted some of our couponing activities on FB, I received a few nasty attacks. In one case we had stocked up on Silk “milks” for about $.70 each and we had checked expiration dates and bought enough for two months. Several people informed me Silk had been bought out by “XYZ” company which was not as vegan/ethical etc. so I shouldn’t have bought the drinks. There have been a few other incidences. I just wanted to address it upfront to head off any hate comments.
The credit for the receipts goes to my partner! I’m good, but not as good as he is! He has definitely taught me to save money, and I can teach you, too! Of course it helps if you have a store nearby that doubles coupons (Harris Teeter does,and sometimes triples them). I just bought some McCormick spices for nearly free (ground mustard, dried basil), peanut butter (I ADORE PB&J) for $.50 each, and then some Del Monte fruit cups (pack of 4) for 6/$10, I had 3 coupons for .$75/2, so I wound up paying $5.50 for those. So that’s about 30 cents per fruit cup. I know I should eat fresh fruit, but those little cups are handy to have on hand to throw into a lunch bag some mornings!
You’re my new hero! I feel exactly the same way! Have you considered posting exactly what coupons you take to which store for what savings? It would be a good way to walk people through how you do what you do. It might even convince a few to join us 😀
Thanks! Yes, once I cover the basics (like where to get coupons), I do plan to match up some specific coupons with stores and walk readers through the process!