Thinking about Going Vegan? Organic? The Financial Effects…

by David Bakke

veganOur household recently went almost completely vegan, and in addition to that, we went almost completely organic too.

While I am not here to debate the pros and/or cons of either, or the potential health benefits/risks, I did want to speak to the financial effects of each of these.

Our “household” consists of me, my wife, and our three year old son. And while we certainly did weigh all of the health benefits/risks and pros/cons for our son before making this change, I can tell you that I was at first skeptical. I say this because going organic would certainly mean higher costs in our grocery budget, right? Well, here is what I have found out so far.

I have no cold hard facts or numbers to give you, because I did not track it in that much detail. What I can tell you is that it seems that there is very much a cost benefit to going “just” vegan. You are no longer buying meat, chicken, or fish (we still cheat a little on the fish) and these items are replaced basically by just vegetables.

Vegetables and more vegetables. The effects on your budget will obviously depend on the expense of which vegetables you decide to buy, but with us, going vegan has had a positive effect on our finances.

Besides changing out all meat for veggies, I also noticed that there are a number of other products that we simply no longer have to buy. Among these are: condiments (you certainly don’t need ketchup, mustard, and mayo anymore if you’re not eating burgers), milk, cheese, eggs, and cooking oil. We steam most of our veggies now, so regular cooking oil is no longer needed. You can add butter to the list, along with most all sweets.

In short, going vegan it seems has saved us money. I wouldn’t do it only for this reason, and I would do some research. So far, we all seem to be healthier with stronger immune systems, and personally, I have lost almost 10 pounds in 8 weeks. So there you go.

Organic is a different story. I was concerned at first because I didn’t think we could even afford to make this change. I had always thought that organic versions of just about anything would be astronomically more expensive. Well, here is what we did and here is the effect.

Obviously, changing your diet to organic will be more expensive. The question that remains is, is it worth the extra expense to you for the added health benefit? What I have found is that depending on how you do it, the increased expense is not nearly as much as you think it might be.

Let me elaborate. First, we are not 100% organic. What most experts will tell you is that you should switch to organic for the items that you buy the most. For the others, it is not so important. And for some, there is no reason at all. For example, bananas. Think about it-there I no point in buying organic bananas. What I also found is that the apples are not THAT much more expensive, and neither are pears and a few other fruits. Spinach seems to be a little higher, and again, some things are so much more expensive that we have not made the switch yet (avocadoes, mushrooms, and a few others).

With non-produce items, the situation gets a little dicier. There is an added expense so again, you have to decide if it is worth it to you. What I can tell you is that going vegan along with going organic can eliminate a lot of these added expenses. If you do the vegan thing as well, the added expense of pastas and rice and milks and everything else become irrelevant.

My conclusion after our first month of vegan/organic? I believe that the increased expenses are probably a lot less than most might think. Also, if you decide to do a combined form of both while not doing both in any sort of strict fashion (like we did), you will probably see that the costs almost balance themselves out to where you are not spending that much more money at all.

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January 31, 2010 at 6:38 pm


1 Robert J. Fischer January 31, 2010 at 10:24 pm


My guess is that you will need to budget for some new clothes since in a few months you will lose some weight. You also may find that you need to visit the doctor less.

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2 David Bakke February 1, 2010 at 12:01 am


Actually, my weight is kind of like a roller coaster. So, I’ll really be fitting into clothes that haven’t fit me for awhile.

Great point about doctor’s visits that I fogort to mention–its a definite plus.

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