Did You Know?

Did you know??
Although using avocados and bananas are all the buzz now to get soft and shiny hair, all it will get you is a messy kitchen and bathroom. These products are great to help your hair for one day, but the proteins in them are way too big for your hair to absorb. And unless you are going to use them each day (yikes!), then you should head to a beauty supply store and check out some Vegan products that use "hydrolyzed" proteins - proteins from avocados and bananas that actually are small enough to help your hair.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegan on the Cheap #2

Happy 12/12/12!

The poor vegan's bible, as I dub these posts, are crucial for the financially-challenged.  There's nothing wrong with being financially challenged; I work for a non-profit and teach in an alternative night school, so I'm quite intimate with the cash-strapped lifestyle.  The important part is to recognize what you can and cannot afford.  What's more important, however, is to be able to look at long-term costs.  I'll explain.

You're poor and shopping at the local low-cost market.  You see the cheap olive oil, priced at only $3 for a half liter-- you say, hey, how can I go wrong with that price?  Well, that's $6 a liter.  Not too bad.  However, there's another container of olive oil and it's huge-- 5 liters!  But, it's the good stuff-- extra-virgin cold pressed.  Liquid gold.  And at $19 bucks, it better be-- that's a lot of freakin' money!  But is it really?  At the price of the cheap stuff, $6/liter, 5 liters of the cheap stuff would cost $30-- more than the good, expensive brand!  While it hurts your wallet at the moment, you're actually saving money by buying the better brand because of the bulk amount you're buying.  That's right, you're saving money AND eating healthier!

You might think, well, that's money I need to spend somewhere else.  And it can be tough when almost every penny is being counted and spent on essentials, but that's why I introduced Vegan On the Cheap #1 first-- learn how to curb your basic spending habits in terms of food before buying larger quantities.  That new money to spend gives you leverage!  And if I'm starting to sound like that intro to finance class you took in college, well, it should.

Of course, some things aren't really influenced by bulk.  Our health foods store sells nuts, berries, and grains by the pound, so even if we buy bigger items, it doesn't really make a difference.  But it does make it so you don't have to go out and spend gas/bus fare so frequently.  And some places have a 'charge' on the containers they include.

For example, a grocery store down the street from us buys 50 gallon drums of olive oil.  You can fill up a container the provide, with the initial costs of the small container being $5 (2 liter) and the large container being $10 (5 liter).  To fill up the small container costs $10, and the large container is $20.  First fill-up for the small container is $15, and the large container is $30.  While the $30 up front is daunting, you're getting more than double the amount of oil already, and will continue to save money with each filling.

Okay, okay; you get it.  Buying in bulk can save lots of money, but don't always assume that buying in bulk is automatically cheaper.  What else can I do?  There's got to be other things that can help.  Well, you're right.

Another HUGE thing to keep in mind is buying premade foods.  Say it with me: Make Food at Home.  Make. Food. At. Home.  Make-food-at-home.  Let's look at the easy example; pizza dough.  Water, flour, salt and yeast.  A jar of yeast, enough to make 100 pizzas, costs about $3.  Your water is practically free.  A couple cups of flour-- ballpark is around $.30.  A tablespoon or two of oil-- you can even use vegetable oil, which typically is less than half the cost of olive oil; even going with our $3 half-liter of olive oil, a tablespoon is roughly $.05.  A dash of sugar and salt, being generous and giving them $.05 cents total, means it costs about $.43 to make pizza dough.  And that's an expensive home-made pizza dough.  Those pizza shells at the grocery store are at least $2.50 each, and your home-made dough will taste 5x better.  And at $2 saved a pop, you can enjoy that pizza knowing you've saved boatloads of cash for good sauce and other toppings.

Hopefully this helps you a bit if you're struggling to find ways to afford the vegan lifestyle.  Keep checking for Vegan on the Cheap, a/k/a The Poor Vegan's Bible #3!

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