Dollar Store Vegan

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So, you want to eat well…but you are broke, and everyone says that in order to eat decent food you’ve got to have a Whole Foods budget. MG does not have a Whole Foods budget, yet MG regularly feeds her family wholesome, nutritious foods on a shoestring.

Earlier I posted about how I do that in my Penny Pinching for Life series, but I wanted to focus on a different approach to grocery shopping. The kind of nitty, gritty shopping that doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of options and is rooted more in a desperate need to make it to next payday.

Are you counting how many trips to work you can make on a single tank of gas too?

I feel like this is the theme song for the new generation… and it is a sad, screwed up, vastly complex discussion that we are not going to get in to today. I’m broke, you’re broke, we’re all broke!

I’m channeling my inner-Oprah here, but I’ve regularly wondered what does someone do if they’ve got $50 bucks left after everyone takes their pound of flesh and that person still needs to eat.

And I have the answer!

There is this fun little shop I like to go into when I want to feel better about myself. The kind of store that has got me envisioning myself at the check-stand pulling out my debit card with a shrug like some kind of baller. It is the kind of store where literally everything is in my price range and I walk around with my head held high because I can actually buy anything they have.

Welcome to the Dollar Tree.

I’m kind of a V.I.P. there.

I know, you might be balking at this, or you might be thinking that there is no way but come along with me on this magical journey and I’ll show you the light! The bright, glaring, florescent light over the exciting products you too can buy for just one single dollar.

I recently walked through my Dollar Tree and took a good look at everything they had to offer, just for you. I then quickly jotted down a few meal ideas with what I found. Now, I expect that you’ll understand that a regular diet of Dollar Tree food is not sustainable or recommended, but if you are in a bind you can find frozen vegetables, frozen fruit, juice, beans, and rice there. It will get you through without feeling like you are sacrificing too terribly much. Your dollar will go a lot further and get you the same products you can get at a big box store.

Shall we begin? *queue dramatic Daenerys Targaryen voice*

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Spring Rolls

  • 1 Pack of Spring Rolls
  • Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
  • Bag of Rice

Veggie Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 Pack of Veggie Burgers
  • 1 Bag of Sweet Potato Fries

 

Bean & Rice Burritos

  • 1 Bag of Pinto Beans
  • 1 Bag of Rice
  • 1 Package of Flour Tortillas

 

Gnocchi Pasta & Veggies

  • 1 Package Gnocchi Pasta
  • 1 Bag Frozen Spinach
  • 1 Bag of Navy Beans
  • 1 Can Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Bag Frozen Broccoli

 

Taco Soup & Tortilla Strips

  • 1 Bag of Beans
  • 1 Large Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bag Frozen Corn
  • 1 Bag Frozen Bell Peppers
  • 1 Bag Rice
  • 1 Pack Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Can Oil Spray

 

Spaghetti with Vegetables

  • 1 Pack Pasta
  • 1 Can Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bag Frozen Broccoli & Cauliflower

 

Beans & Rice

  • 1 Bag Beans
  • 1 Bag Rice
  • 1 Bag Frozen Bell Peppers

 

Bean Fajitas

  • 1 Bag Pinto Beans
  • 1 Bag Frozen Bell Peppers
  • 1 Pack Corn Tortillas

 

Black Bean Hummus & Pitas

  • 1 Bag Black Beans
  • 1 Bag Pita Chips

Smoothies

 

  • 1 Bag Frozen Fruit
  • 1 Carton Juice

 

Plain Oatmeal

  • 1 Container Oatmeal
  • 1 Box Cane Sugar
  • 1 Dairy Alternative

 

Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

  • 1 Carton Oatmeal
  • 1 Box Cane Sugar
  • 1 Dairy Alternative
  • 1 Bag Frozen Fruit

 

The Dollar Tree has several vegan snacks, including nuts, dried fruit, crackers, and vegan chips and pretzels.  I loved the Popcorners Carnival Kettle Chips personally, and I saw they’re over two bucks a bag at big box stores. Maybe paying less makes them taste better? Maybe it is the fact that I can enjoy “popcorn” with the kids on movie night without breaking my teeth. Either way, they’re delicious and I plan to return and buy the lot.

 

 

I was also pleased to find a few really awesome pantry staples, such as coconut milk, coconut oil, and dairy-free baking chocolate, and pumpkin puree. Who is ready to get their fall baking on? Pumpkin Pasties anyone?

You can also find pizza sauce and crusts if you’ve got a hankering for junk food. Just make your own cheese and you’ll be set.

 

You can even find Non-GMO and Organic products there too! While I was there, I found Organic died tomatoes and thought a buck a can was a screaming deal. I wanted to stock up, but we’re headed to SLC on a road trip for a farewell concert at the end of the month so finances would not allow me to buy the whole store. I grabbed eight and felt super successful with my life.

But when I got to the check out–everything changed….

The nice fellow rang up my assortment of things and gave me my total and I did a quick count in my head. I knew I had more than 15 items, yet my total was only $15? I paid and quickly snatched the receipt from him eager to find my hidden savings. And there it was… the tomatoes were only $0.50 a can!!! The nice man asked me if I needed anything and I told him I was going to need ALL THE TOMATOES! *war cry*

He pointed me to cases stacked along the isles, where I happily scooped up three and returned to his line. I learned that day, that unless it states otherwise- canned goods are only half the dollar at the dollar store. It was a beautiful and glorious time for me in my life.

I am now a canned tomato hoarder, but that is besides the point here.

The point is the Dollar Tree is the worlds happiest place best way to stretch your food money.  I have seen several of these same products at big box stores for double and higher the cost. The mango nectar I suggested for smoothies is over $3 at Walmart, but the exact same product and size carton is only a buck at the Dollar Tree. Um, do ya’ll know what that means in simple math? Smoothies for days!

Now you too can be a Dollar Tree V.I.P. with a closet case of tomato hoarding like me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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