You might think a vegetarian lifestyle would be hard on your
wallet. But by keeping it simple and being a little creative, you
may actually be able to save. Whether it's for moral, religious,
or health concerns, here are five reasons vegetarian living can
be financially savvy.
1. You'll avoid rising meat prices
Meat prices are high and could well rise even higher. According
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the prices for meat are
expected to increase by 2.5% to 3.5% in 2014, with beef and veal
increasing by 3% to 4%. So it's a good time to skip out on meat,
and the big bill that comes with it.
2. You can prevent additional medical bills
Red meat is a good source of protein, iron, B vitamins, and zinc.
However, a recent study suggests eating too much of it could lead
to atherosclerosis, or the thickening of artery walls with
plaque, which in turn could lead to heart attack or stroke.
Cardiovascular disease, which includes both heart disease and
stroke, is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Whether or not you eat meat, you should consider getting free
preventive screenings for cholesterol and blood pressure, both of
which can contribute to your heart health.
In addition to the burden on your physical well-being, these
ailments can lead to high costs for medications and other medical
bills, lost wages, and a potentially decreased standard of
living, and perhaps even medical bankruptcy. Several meat
substitutes that provide many of the same nutrients include
peanuts, beans, and tofu.
3. GIY: You can grow it yourself
Starting your own garden may seem like a big investment, but it
doesn't have to be. Managing a garden will not only help you save
a few bucks in the long run, but it can also be a fun hobby and a
rewarding experience. With a little planning and the right tools,
just about anyone can start his or her own garden. Here are a few
tips to get started:
- First, think about what you want to grow. You can choose to
have a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices,
or you can stick to a few items.
- Maximizing your return also depends on where you're located
and the type of soil you have. Find out what you're able to
grow based on your climate and soil before choosing your
- Think about the space you have for your garden. Whether
it's your kitchen windowsill or your backyard, make sure the
area has access to the appropriate amount of sunlight for what
- Keep in mind that different crops have different
requirements, including the amount of sunlight and water.
- Make an event of it. Once your garden is up and running,
invite family and friends to help you maintain your garden --
and get rid of those pesky weeds.
4. You can shop strategically
When it comes to nonperishable items such as grains, beans, and
other canned or bottled items, you can save big if you buy in
bulk. Compare prices per unit of measure and make use of coupons
and on sale items -- but remember to check expiration dates and
purchase only what you'll be able to eat before it expires.
Although fresh fruits and vegetables can spoil quickly, there
are several other ways to save. For great savings, ditch the
local stores and head to your local farmer's market. You'll save
by buying directly from the source -- and you'll also support
local farmers. If you must shop at the grocery store, keep an eye
out for items that are in season. Fruits and vegetables that are
in season are typically cheaper, because there are more of them
floating around and shops save by not having them shipped in.
5. You can preserve your fruits and vegetables
Get in the habit of freezing fruits and vegetables you know you
won't eat before they spoil. You can freeze many fruits and
vegetables at the peak of ripeness until you're ready to use
them. You might also consider canning and bottling -- the
possibilities for creating your own sauces, jams, and jellies are
almost endless. You can learn lots more on step-by-step guides
from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
As a last resort, you can even start a compost pile. Think of
it as a form of recycling. Throw your old fruit, fruit skins, and
vegetables in a secluded bin. After a little management and a few
months, spread your compost into your garden, and watch your
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