5 Reasons Vegetarian Living Is Financially Savvy

Loading up on plants can be good for your health and your wallet. Here's how.

Mar 30, 2014 at 1:00PM

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 crops.
  • 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 you're growing.
  • 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 plants flourish!


Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers