In the grand scheme of things, the vegan diet is the most inexpensive diet on this planet. Once animal products have been eliminated from the menu, virtually any chance of getting a disease has been eliminated as well. Our health is priceless. Yet meat, dairy and egg-eaters are rarely healthy and vibrant, especially in their golden years if they even make it that far. Add the cost of health care and insurance, prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, doctor visits and hospital stays, and you can easily see how meat, dairy and egg-eating is the most expensive lifestyle around!
When eating at fast food restaurants or other establishments, veganism is the cheapest way to go or, at worst, the exact same price as meat. For instance, one of the cheapest items at Taco Bell is the bean burrito without cheese (at 99 cents this means the McDonald's dollar menu folks have NO excuse not to switch to Taco Bell). The cheapest item at Subway is the veggie sub. When eating at Asian establishments, tofu and veggies are no more expensive than the meat dishes. When ordering a cheeseless pizza, you'll pay exactly the same price as a pizza with cheese. Specialty vegan restaurants might be pricey, but all specialty establishments cost more, and eating at vegan restaurants is not a requirement. Meat, dairy and egg-eaters love to ignore the fact that specialty places that serve filet mignon, lobster and fish are more expensive than a hot dog stand or a hamburger joint.
Some of the packaged soy/wheat meats might cost 50 cents or a dollar more than their meat counterparts. But processed items (meat or vegan) always cost more. One does not have to eat soy/wheat meat to be vegan. Many vegans don't even want a meat taste, so they choose as staples of their diet items like rice, millet, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, carrots, tofu, peanut butter, pasta and noodles, which are always the cheapest items around. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables is another way to reduce your grocery bill. Make smoothies with the frozen fruit using a combination of mangos, strawberries, kiwis, pears, bananas, blueberries, cherries, pineapples, peaches or raspberries. And don't forget to shop at your local farmer's market or dollar store for great discounts. Eating five bananas for breakfast is cheap and healthy, too. Grocers never charge more than about $1.15 for five bananas. You can also buy inexpensive textured vegetable protein [TVP] in bulk and make soy meat yourself. Check out the Vegan Recipes page of this site for plenty of free recipes. Or purchase Ellen Jaffe Jones' book Eat Vegan on $4 a Day.
Ten times out of ten, poverty-stricken societies are vegetarian or vegan because rice, millet, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, carrots, tofu, peanut butter, noodles and other pastas are the cheapest items around. This is why the world's largest feed-the-hungry organization—Food for Life Global—feeds millions of hungry people free vegan meals on a daily basis!
Finally, when I gave hundreds of lectures each year to poor college students nationwide, thousands ended up choosing veganism because it's truly easy and inexpensive. In fact, in 2011 the University of Texas-El Paso chapter of ONE, an international group that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease (and has NO links to animal liberation), challenged 15 students to live on campus for one week on $1.50 per day! Guess what they ate?
More importantly, veganism is an ethical lifestyle decision. Just like people who have decided not to rape women, wantonly kill humans or molest children, vegans have expanded their circles of compassion and decided not to rape women, wantonly kill humans, molest children nor support the killing of animals. Once an ethical decision has been made, it will be done. Until you've made that decision, excuses will be plentiful. Once you choose veganism, all excuses—including the plea that "going vegan costs money"—fall by the wayside.