As Heather has mentioned in a previous post, we're broke. And while we'd like to say that we always shop organic, buy local, and avoid such evil establishments as Wal-Mart, the truth is, a savvy and financially challenged vegan must find ways to adapt.
We've scouted areas for the cheapest buys. We purchase cheap rice milk and soy milk at Wal-Mart, along with Boca and Amy products when necessary. We also keep an eye out for organic canned beans and whole wheat pasta, which sometimes makes an appearance. Our local Earth Fare and/or Whole Foods is where we get our novelty items. And veggies come from any of the farmer's markets we can find (one of which is open year round off of highway 40 between Greensboro and Kernersville). Harris Teeter, the local grocery market has great deals on many sauces, pastas, and fruits and vegetables. Costco is a good place for us to get baby spinach, frozen fruit, oranges, almond butter, and Cliff bars (my usual breakfast). And finally, we have our local Co-Op, Deep Roots.
Deep Roots has just about everything we like, from organic and local produce, to Sun Burgers, to Vegenaise, to Primal Strips and most other delicious vegan items. While it isn't huge, it has most of the things you look for when you're trying to cook for the week, and we shop there often. The one thing that makes it awesome, and the greatest thing on the planet is the spice section!
While I realize that most savvy shoppers have explored the bulk spice aisles in their favorite grocery stores, this has been a fairly new endeavor for us. For years now, we've spent big money on little jars of spices, thinking that spices were just expensive and we'd have to deal with it. However, Deep Roots has a wonderful bulk spices section that includes most anything I'm looking for, including beet powder, to my pleasant surprise the other day! And to top it off, the items in this section are cheap! I bring in a spice jar that I already have, the cashier is nice enough to pre-weigh it for me, and then I fill it up with my favorite spice. In the end, I wind up spending usually around 10-20% of the amount that I spend in the grocery store, and since I'm re-using the same jars over and over again, I'm reducing a little waste as well. I highly recommend it for anyone in the Greensboro area.
If you don't live in the Greensboro area, fear not! It's very likely that you too have a nearby Co-Op or some sort of natural market. Perhaps it'd be worthwhile to check it out. You might find spice bargains of your own!