Vegan-Friendly Dollar Store Meals To Help You Save Money

Is money tight right now? Are you on a budget and trying to save as much as you can? Try grocery shopping at the dollar store!

As a university student, I'm constantly trying to find ways to save money. Being in university, living off-campus, and feeding myself and my cat can be a big financial burden.

Sometimes, I don't have enough money to drop each week at the grocery store. A few months ago, I discovered that my local dollar store has plenty of grocery items and ingredients. I no longer need to bother spending an absurd amount of money at the grocery store when the same products are sold at the dollar store!

According to the Ohio State University News, a national survey conducted in 2015 determined that 70% of college students are stressed about money. Not only are college students already worried about the financial expenses of going to school, but they're also anxious about paying monthly rent, buying gas to fill their cars, and (most importantly) affording to eat.

Finding an efficient way to save money as a college student is complicated. That is why I wanted to share one way to save money when grocery shopping. At the grocery store, I end up spending at least $100 every other week buying the essentials. Why waste so much money at the grocery store when the same items can be found at the dollar store?

Now, I only spend a fraction of what I used to pay at the grocery store. All my extra money from shopping goes right to my savings.   

9 Vegan-Friendly Dollar Stores Meals

Try making these 9 easy vegan meals using ingredients from the dollar store when you're hungry and on a tight budget:

vegan ramen on a budget
Image Source: One Green Planet

1. Ramen

I found packages of ramen noodles at my local Dollar Tree. Because ramen is one of my boyfriend's favorite meals, I buy him a bulk package of 5 ramen noodle packages so he can cook up his dish. That's five simple meals right there for only $1!

If the ramen seems a little plain, Dollar Tree also sells a variety of spices. Add some sriracha salt, black pepper, or paprika to give your ramen some extra excitement. You can even throw in some vegetables or mushrooms to make it more nutritious. It'll taste just like a homemade dinner.

making a whole pizza and saving money
Image Source: NYT Cooking - The New York Times

2. Pizza

Pizza is my easy go-to meal when there's not much left in the fridge to eat. Instead of usually ordering pizza, I just head to the dollar store and buy some of the ingredients to make one myself for a little less money. I throw the minimal ingredients together and put the pizza in the oven.

Although I couldn't find any vegan cheese at the dollar store, you can still buy crusts and other toppings there.

After I have a slice or two, I have a few more pieces to eat later. Multiple meals for less than $5, you can't beat it!

the easiest cheap meal from the dollar store
Image Source: The Guardian

3. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

If you're not hungry enough for a full meal, the dollar store has everything you need for a simple peanut butter & jelly sandwich. This is a staple lunch to make for school or work, whether it's for you or your kids.

a healthy and cheap vegan meal
Image Source: The Recipe Critic

4. Veggie Stir Fry

Do you feel as though you've been lacking proper nutrition? Have no fear. In the frozen food aisle of your local Dollar General, there are bags of assorted vegetables.

Add in some protein when you incorporate some beans or legumes into the dish. You can get your healthy daily dose of protein, vitamins, and minerals for a cheap price.

cheap meatless pot pie
Image Source: Food Network

5. Pot Pie

A pot pie was my absolute favorite dish a few years ago when I was in high school. It's a perfect combination of vegetables covered in a light sauce, embraced by a crispy bread crust. What more could you ask for?

One night recently, I was craving a pot pie. However, I was missing a few ingredients to make it. I got in my car, went to the nearest dollar store, and picked up more vegetables and ingredients to make the crust from scratch.

I've heard that using chunks of potato is a wonderful addition to a pot pie. I'm going to try adding it next time I make one. 

almost everything you need to make tacos is at the dollar store
Image Source: Delish

6. Tacos

You've been to the Taco Bell drive-thru a lot this past month and you want a homemade meal. Head to the nearest dollar store because there is plenty to make a nice taco dinner.

Taco shells, beans, rice, lettuce, and sauces are just a few of the ingredients available to create a feast of Mexican-style cuisine. 

Tacos are a great food to make for a small group or party while still spending relatively little money.

cheap soup for a cold day
Image Source: The Healthy Family and Home

7. Soup

Sometimes, when the weather is just right, I enjoy having a nice bowl of soup.

I'm not a chef, so I just like to find a can of soup that sounds the most delicious that day. There are a lot of soup options available for vegan diets, especially from the Progresso brand.

Progresso has garden vegetable soup as well as a lentil soup. The Campbell's brand also offers vegan tomato basil soup and Italian veggies with farro soup.

A few cans of soup for only a few bucks. 

the most important meal of the day on a budget
Image Source: Well Vegan

8. Breakfast Foods

Lunch and dinner are figured out, but what about breakfast, the most important meal of the day? Well, Dollar Tree has some great food items to satisfy your breakfast needs. I found boxes of cereal and oats for some heart-healthy oatmeal. Just throw a few blueberries on top and voila.

For the past three years, I've been using almond milk for my cereal instead of dairy milk. It was the best decision of my life. Almond milk tastes better and it even has more calcium than dairy milk.

I was shocked when I noticed my local Dollar Tree sold breakfast foods. What!? It's both bizarre and convenient to have discovered this. Like I always tell my friends, you can get anything from the dollar store.

treat yourself and spend little money
Image Source: Nosh and Nourish

9. Dessert!

You've been going through a lot as you juggle classes, extracurriculars, and budgeting your money. Sometimes, you deserve a nice treat for your hard work. I've bought frozen lemonade slushies, candy, cookies, and more from the dollar store when I felt like treating myself over the last year of school. 

Saving Money

Money is a difficult topic for many people. Although, most of us are all in the same metaphorical boat, always trying to ration our spending and saving.

There are days when I feel like I have a decent amount of money to get by as an adult in college. Contrarily, there are other days when I feel like I won't be able to make it financially. It's hard not feeling stressed when almost everything costs money.

If you've ever felt the weight of financial worries or are currently feeling it, please know you're not alone. We're in this together. We got this. 

Saving money begins with baby steps, like transitioning away from buying everything at the grocery store and getting what you need at the dollar store. 

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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