College Vegan on a Budget: A New Low

One college vegan’s mission to save money while still maintaining her clean eating standards.

I’ve really been needing to reign in my spending habits lately. Between a $40 iHerb purchase last week (mostly necessary, but some were impulse buys to get the free shipping), picking up a few personal care items at Target the other day that set me back $30 (including some heavier free weights–woohoo, I’m progressing!) and going out to eat a few times with friends (not a bad things, since I need to get more comfortable with this), the last thing I needed was a giant grocery bill this weekend. And luckily, I was smart with my spending and walked away spending just over $80 for the week. This has become my new weekly goal, so let’s see if I can hit it more often than not!

Sprouts buys under $30.

Sprouts buys under $30.

*=organic

Sprouts

What I Got: dried apple rings, Medjool dates, hazelnuts (for vegan healthy Nutella–stay tuned!), Kevita strawberry acai coconut probiotic drink*, raw cacao powder* (this brand was much cheaper than my fave Navitas Naturals), poppy seeds, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, Wholly Guacamole avocado verde salsa (one of the best salsas I’ve ever had!)

What I Spent: $26.86

Verdict: Again, Sprouts can be a big money saver. The salsa was literally $1–and it’s the best $1 I’ve ever spent! They have the cheapest nothing-added dried fruit and nut selection and their produce is dirt cheap, but is just as good as anywhere else. 

Whole Foods haul under $55.

Whole Foods haul under $55.

Whole Foods

What I Got: Kale Krunch cheezy chipotle kale chips*, 365 brand light coconut milk x2*, cashew butter, liquid smoke (for eggplant “bacon”), WFM brand almond oil, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds, Hail Merry raw chocolate macaroons and chocolate tart, raspberry balsamic vinegar, Thai curry cashew mix, raw cashew pieces (on sale!), raw vegan brownie, pineapple chunks (also on sale), eggplant*

What I Spent: $53.47

Verdict: One of my cheapest Whole Foods trips for weekly staples ever! I even bought a few splurge-y items (ahem, raw desserts!) but still stayed under $60 and got a lot of things that will last awhile and stuff I needed for recipes I want to try out. 

What’s the best salsa you’ve ever had? What new recipes have you been trying out? 

Estes Park Day 3

If you want to catch up on my previous vacation recaps, go here (day 1) and here (day 2). Thanks for reading!

Sorry for being so slow on these vacay recaps! I’ve just been pretty busy and it honestly has slipped my mind. I love all the comments I’ve been getting recently and all the new readers/commenters are great. I promise to be back with the last recap very soon. I can’t believe it’s already been exactly two weeks since this all happened. Summer sure flies by 😦

Monday was the Fourth of July (of course) so I knew it would be amazing. I even had a patriotic outfit all planned out! And I started the day out right by hitting up the pool first thing. I loved that we got it pretty much to ourselves (unlike Sunday) so there was a little swimming, a lot of splashing and some tanning involved. But, almost as soon as we got there, my sister and I realized that we completely forgot to paint our toenails (red, silver and blue for the holiday, obvs) so we sprinted walked back to the condo and painted them quick. You can’t go without patriotic toenails 😀

Pool time+me=the best

 

Patriotic toenails oh yeah!

After some swim and sun, we went back inside for lunch. I was originally going to have a red white and blue wrap (Ezekiel tortilla with organic strawberry jam, bloobs and banana slices) but I opted for a snack plate instead. Definitely a good lunch option for an indecisive girl like me.

Banana, carrots, Kashi crackers, multigrain chips, guac, salsa, dried berries and Whole Foods sandwich cookie

 

Insert a quick shower here, and then my mom, sis and I went for a little hike on the trail behind the condo. It was great…except that I was totally wearing the wrong shoes. Don’t blame me for only packing sandals on my trip 😛 Of course, the trail was slippery and steep. On the way back, we decided to go up an even steeper incline. Big mistake. Luckily, I made it up alive and without too many scrapes from close plant encounters! Definitely enough adventure for one day 😉

My shorts are red, white & blue!

 

Sis and mom hit the trail

We went into town to check out the make-your-own cereal bar that I mentioned in the last post. This time (luckily) it was open! I ended up getting some Kashi Go Lean mixed with Silk Dark Chocolate almond milk. I’d never had it before, and it was really good. A little too sweet, but if there’s an unsweetened version out there, I’ll def get it!

A restaurant with cereal? My kinda place 🙂

Surprisingly, the cereal really filled me up–so much that even after a quick walk around some stores and a detour at another winery, I still wasn’t in the mood for dinner. We ended up at a Tex-Mex place by the river and despite how busy it was, we got an outside table pretty quickly. None of us were really hungry (but we had to eat then because we were going to the fireworks later) so we tried to stall our waiter in taking our order 🙂 I got corn tortillas with mango salsa, and the salsa was actually muy bueno (notice my lame-o Spanish skills there). I would have normally not ordered that, but I wasn’t hungry and nothing else on the menu was really appealing at the time. But it was yummy, so I didn’t mind ordering something weird.

Afterwards, we went to this cool boutique place that we’ve walked by millions of times but never actually went in. The store had some blingy purses I liked (but didn’t buy, unfortch) and a lot of other random stuff. My personal favorite was the legit purses made from real license plates!

I. Want.

We hit up the condo briefly. I was finally starving, so I had another bowl of cereal (no dark chocolate almond milk this time, sadly) and then we headed back to town for the fireworks show. We staked out a place on a hill overlooking the lake (where the fireworks were set off) and even though we were surrounded by tons of people and a bright gas station below us, we were able to enjoy the show. It was funny because a smaller show nearby was trying to compete with the main event, but obvs they couldn’t. But we got twice the fireworks!

Just one of the many fireworks

The show ended around 10:30 and almost as soon as we got back, we all fell asleep. Guess being out and about all day really took it out of us!

What did you do for the 4th (if you’re from the U.S.)? Favorite cereal/milk combo?

Look for the last vacay recap post soon!