As our community continues to come together over the shared values of plants and the planet, together we continue to drive this eco-friendly and healthy movement forward. At the same time, we have noticed that we are naturally rewarded for choosing this conscious lifestyle. While the health section of Plantd covers how our body is rewarded, and sustainability covers how the planet benefits, we wanted to share a more personal and taboo benefit – the one that affects your hip pocket.
Money can be a dirty word, but it doesn’t need to be. When it finds itself in the hands that extend from a human who has an eco-conscious and humanitarian heart, it can actually be an essential source of energy that allows us to further extend our impact. Regardless, we all want to save more of our hard-earned dollars rather than mindlessly spending. When it comes to having financial resources to support your family, we wish you nothing but abundance.
HOW CAN WE SAVE THE DOLLARS?
THE PLANT-BASED DIET is a given. With salmon fillets costing $10.99 per pound, rib-eye steak $13.99 per pound, beef ground (minced) $6.99 per pound and chicken breast $7.99 per pound, plant-proteins turn out to be a more affordable source of protein based on a quick Whole Foods comparison. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are a competitive $2.49 per pound, red kidney beans $2.79 per pound, lentils $2.49, black bean $1.99 and rolled oats a modest $1.40 per pound. The best part is that unlike the meat prices, they are all organic and can be purchased in bulk, meaning less transport emissions and packaging waste. This calculation is not even to mention the environmental savings of the emission burden that animal agriculture is.
LESS-TO-ZERO-WASTE means less mindless spending. If the kids know that you refuse plastic, and even better if they are on board, you may just find that you are spending less money on overpriced and over-packaged kids toys, lollies and chocolate – which also means less nagging in the supermarket. They may instead enjoy shopping at op-shops, being creative with up-cycling old toys or resources, or choosing eco-conscious toys that are not made from plastic. Birthday presents can also shift to experiences that involve quality time and memories rather than the accumulation of more stuff.
NATURE-BASED ACTIVITIES such as beach clean-ups or hangs, hiking in nature, going camping, kicking the footy, playing at the local park or visiting wildlife are all inexpensive, if not free activities. When children are not exposed to nature-based activities, free time can so easily be filled with technology, excessive gadgets and toys of which, is not exactly inexpensive to try and keep up with. We then get used to accumulating new stuff, which of course, costs money.
RENEWABLE POWER! If you’re averaging a monthly electricity bill of $250 a month in a single family home, your solar bill may come in closer to $175, saving you $75 a month. Although there is an outlay fee, there are usually payment options where the $75 that you’re saving, will have it paid off in around several years without doing a single thing. If you sell your house in the meantime, the progressive solar power will likely add more value to your home, as well as taking responsible care of this precious planet.
EXAMPLE CALCULATIONS TO CONSIDER
SAVING THE PLANET. When one person has been a plant-based vegan for just one year, the Vegan Calculator suggests that they have spared 1,519,823 litres (or 401,500 gallons) of water , 6,607 kilograms (14,600 lbs) of grain, 1,022 square meters (10,950 square feet) of forest, 3,322 kilograms (7,300 lbs) of CO2, as well as 365 animal lives. This is not exactly a modest impact for a single person in a single year.
SAVING THE HIP-POCKET. Let’s assume that the Department of Agriculture were correct when predicting that Americans ate 222.2 pounds (100.79 kilograms) of meat per carnivore in 2018. If we roughly estimated, based on this statistic, that an average American family of 4, accounting for children, ate at least 700 pounds (approx. 317 kilograms) of meat or poultry, costing on average $7 per pound (which may be a vast underestimation), then the family may have spent almost $5,000 on meat for the year.
If they consume salmon and steak, it’s more likely that they would spend closer to $10,000. By buying plant-based proteins in bulk at an average of $2.49, assuming that the sides costs the same, they would have spent a small $1,700, saving $3,200 for a family who eats cheaper cuts of meat, or a whopping $8,300 ($157 per week) for a family who consume pricier cuts, such as steak. For those who pay for premium meats, such as grass-fed and organic, may be looking at closer to $15,000 per year – but we will leave the rest of the math to you.
REFUSING CONSUMING. If you refuse buying plastic and save $20 per week by saying no to everyday purchases such as buying water in plastic bottles, $20 per week on buying treats to-go and plastic toys, as well as saving a modest $20 a week on buying less gimmicks, clothes and other stuff, you would save another $60 a week, approximately $3,000 a year.
THE COLLEGE FUND. The average US college fund to send one child in the US is estimated to be $46,950 which means that by switching a steak-eating family to a plant-based diet, based on the calculation above, would enable a family to save up $98,400 in total in 12 years – a healthy college fund. With an extra $3,000 a year of savings from buying less stuff, then it may take closer to 9 years to save up for the college fund, increasing access to education for young people.
QUALITY OF LIFE. Nutrition facts references the myriad of research that has demonstrated that a plant-based diet may help prevent, treat, or reverse some of the leading preventable diseases. It has also been associated with many health benefits such as improved digestion, increased energy, better sleep, significant improvement in physical functioning, general health, vitality and mental health.
Eco-friendly families are therefore eco-savvy in more ways than one: they are helping the environment, supporting a more sustainable and kinder planet, as well as likely saving a lot of money that comes at the expense of eating meat. This frees limited family resources to spend on more worthwhile causes of their choice, such as their child’s education, potentially enhancing their health, wellbeing and quality of life all at the same time. We consider this a win (planet), win (money), win (education), win (health) and win (wellbeing) scenario.
Please note that all figures are estimates based on prices sourced when writing this article as an example. If you have collected data of your own savings, reach out and share your eco-savvy family tips with us @plantd.co as we are sure that our community would love to know!