John Lockwood

Unboxing a Mind

Vegan Savings on Groceries

There are a lot of good reasons to adopt a vegetarian diet.

My own reasons are mainly health related. My personal physician once told me that if I wanted to lower my cholesterol, a surefire way to do it was to adopt a vegetarian diet. So I expect my numbers to be better next time we check them. A few studies have found that a vegan diet can halt or even reverse heart disease, and these studies were good enough to receive a write-up in the Harvard Heart Letter, a publication of Harvard Medical School. With three coronary artery stents already installed and a family history of heart disease, it’s really the evidence of these studies that inspires me more than anything else to leave the office pizza in the box.

For some, it’s the love of animals that drives them, or the wish to see them free from suffering. To me this motivation is secondary but important – as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m still a bit of an apostate when it comes to clothing choices. However, seeing some of Merrell’s cool “vegan-friendly construction” choices like this one, I might clean up that part too at some point.

Of course, for all of that, my favorite vegetarian joke is still this one: “I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I just really, really hate plants.”

Adding Up The Savings

One really unexpected but welcome benefit we found is that our grocery bill every week changed by quite a bit. I noticed this right away – and more formal studies such as the one quoted here have come to the same conclusion.

Though I knew from looking at it that we were saving money, I decided to make my own semi-scientific study based on my bank account statements – we almost always pay by debit card, so it was easy to track. The data below represents eight weeks of shopping (mostly for my wife and I, but my daughter, who’s not vegan, spends about every other weekend with us). We shop at Winco, so these are our typical grocery bills.

Week Carnivore Vegan
Week 1 $94.15 $76.95
Week 2 $87.24 $72.90
Week 3 $94.08 $39.55
Week 4 $83.86 $85.13
Week 5 $89.43 $60.85
Week 6 $102.72 $92.04
Week 7 $94.03 $62.67
Week 8 $87.61 $49.50
Average $91.64 $67.45

So in our family, the financial benefit of our plant-based diet works out to be a savings of 26.40%, for a weekly savings of $24.19. Over the course of the year, we put something like $1,257.95 back in our pockets.

What a great bonus!