Money is tight these days. If it’s not for you…can I come live with you for a bit? For the rest of us looking for easy ways to cut needless expenses from our budgets, there’s always one of the simplest and most effective money-saving options: Going vegetarian. If you’re already eating veg, you may already know some of these things, but if not, here are a few tips and reasons why becoming a vegetarian can actually save you money.

Vegetables are Cheaper than Meat

So becoming a vegetarian is already going to cut meat from your diet for either health or ethical reasons, but when it comes down to the specific costs, you’ll find that when comparing the price per pound, meat is insanely expensive. You could spend $15 and only feed your family on that cut of meat for one meal, whereas a whole serving of brussel sprouts will be maybe $3.

Buy Produce in Season and Freeze It

Probably the smartest way to shop through your produce section is by knowing which fruits and veggies are in season and which aren’t. When something is in season, its price will typically be much lower as it’s currently available everywhere. When it’s out of season, prices will jump quite a bit. You’ve probably seen this happen with corn a lot. If you plan your meals around what’s in and what’s cheap, you save money. Plus, buying now doesn’t mean you have to eat it right away if you stock up and freeze the rest. Buy when something’s in season, cut it, shred it, or dice it, then put it in a container and freeze it for when you need it. This not only saves money but also time when preparing meals.

Salads are Cheap

Let’s think to the usual meal price when dinning out. Usually, you’ll end up paying over $10 for something simple and potentially over $20 if you’re looking into something fancy. Just like in the grocery store, meat is always more expensive, so picking the salad option is not only the healthier option, it’s the cheaper option by a wide margin.

Health Costs are Lower

Assuming you’re leading a vegetarian lifestyle, you’ll probably be praising the diet for helping make you healthier. Well, the healthier you are, the less likely you are to need a trip to the doctor, and when you do go, chances are your costs will again be lower. More importantly, healthcare and insurance premiums are typically lower for vegetarians as they’re considered healthier individuals. I’d recommend asking your healthcare provider if there’s some way of cutting your premiums due to a healthy lifestyle.

Meat Makes You Hungry, Veggies Fill You Up

Meat has protein, which can give you energy, but veggies are rich in fiber, which fills you up and keeps you full. Some of the cheapest vegetarian friendly ingredients- brown rice and beans- are perfect for not only hitting that protein requirement but also for making you full and satisfied. Typically it means that if you slow down while eating your vegetarian meals, you’ll feel full sooner and stay full longer. This lets you spend less per meal and also stretch what you have a lot farther.

Growing Your Own Vegetables Doesn’t Cost Much

One of the greatest benefits vegetarians have over meat-eaters is that the staple of our diet, plants, can be grown extremely easily in our backyard with minimal cost and effect. Raising a cow or pig in any setting soon becomes rather expensive and impractical in many cases. Even doing something small like a window planter box is simple and affordable, plus it offsets some costs for grocery store produce.

Living vegetarian is one of those lifestyle choices that just keeps proving itself a wise decision time and time again. Not only is it healthier than a meat-heavy diet, it’s far cheaper as well. So get out there and save some money with veggies!