You Deserve Nice Things

For as long as I can remember I have always been very cautious about spending money. Part of me is quite proud of that trait actually. My mother praised me as a child when she saw how I saved my Christmas money instead of immediately spending it all like my sister would. It made me feel mature and savvy. I feel safer when I have a good chunk of money squirreled away somewhere. Yet as I’ve gotten older and accumulated more and more, it still seems like I never have enough to really feel secure.

I came from a rather poor family growing up. We had more than a lot of people in my area, but my parents definitely struggled a lot when my sister and I were younger. Eventually they managed to rise on the economic ladder, but their thrifty shopping habits never went away. When you learn to live on the bare minimum, it can be hard to feel comfortable spending money on frivolous luxuries even once you can afford to. When my sister and I were younger we used to hate buying our clothes from Gabe’s. We were embarrassed and wished our parents would buy us expensive clothes from Pacsun or American Eagle. The funny part is now that I’m an adult and could probably afford to buy myself expensive clothes, I absolutely never do. I adore going to Gabe’s now and hunting for the best deals. I pride myself in finding expensive designer clothes there for a fraction of the original price. When I receive complements I even tend to brag about how cheap the item was.

From an early age I began to view people that bought expensive, full-price things as stupid. Especially when they were conceited about it. Why would you show off the fact that you wasted so much money? I often wondered. They were just getting ripped off as far as I was concerned. I can’t even remember the last time I bought an article of clothing for more than $10-$15. Even that is pushing it for me. I prefer single digit prices. I think a lot of people would be surprised by that though. I love to dress fashionably, and I have a lot of seemingly expensive, name-brand clothes. A lot of my favorite cardigans were once priced at $50. I got them for $5.

All of that being said, I’ve managed to save up quite a good sum of money after working full-time for a few years. I don’t have many bills to pay. I don’t have children to spend money on. I hardly ever go out to eat. I no longer have to pay rent. I only very recently took out my first small loan for a car that I will probably pay back in half the allotted time. Not to mention I also got those stimulus checks this past year, which were basically just free money since I never stopped working during the pandemic. Yet even though I’ve got a stable income, few expenses, and a lot of savings I still rarely allow myself to make any big purchases. The few times I actually have, left me feeling anxious and guilty.

For example, even though it was my first loan, a great deal, and a car I badly needed, it took me weeks to finally relax and stop stressing myself over my monthly payments. Even though I am more than capable of making them. I also decided to spend some of my stimulus money on a new MacBook after having my old one for over ten years. I really had to keep framing it in my mind as a “free” laptop from the government in order to convince myself to go through with the purchase. And even though I absolutely adore it, I still often feel twinges of guilt and wonder if that money could have been better spent elsewhere.

A few days ago I accidentally dropped my iPhone in water. At first it seemed okay, but then as the day progressed I noticed the speakers weren’t working right. Then the following day it wouldn’t hold a charge for more than an hour or so. I had already been looking into getting a new phone since I’ve had this one for around 4-5 years. I was even pretty excited about it. Of course I needed to feel like I wasn’t spending money though so I dug out the roughly one grand I got from my birthday and Christmas last year. I had yet to spend a cent of it after nearly six months. To be honest I would often forget I had that money at all. Yet even with all of that I still feel insanely guilty about buying myself a new phone yesterday. Especially since I woke up this morning to find my old phone working normally again. I haven’t even opened the new one yet, and I’ve even contemplated taking it back.

Part of the reason I wanted to write about this topic today is to convince myself not to do that and to keep my new phone even though I don’t technically need it anymore. Of course it wouldn’t be wise to always be making big purchases like that, but once in awhile is perfectly fine. I shouldn’t feel guilty for treating myself every now and then. What is the use of having money if I never allow myself to spend it on things that make me happy? It’s important to have savings for sure. But it’s also important to use my money in ways that serve me.

I am not going to return my new phone. I am going to let myself be excited. I deserve to be excited about it. Technically I could say it’s a Christmas gift anyway. I’m sure my friends and family wouldn’t want me to feel bad about spending the money that they gave to me. They would want me to relax and enjoy spending it on whatever makes me happy. Instead of feeling guilty and anxious when I start setting up my new phone today, I am going to focus on feeling grateful. I am grateful for the generosity of my love ones that allowed me to have the money to buy my new phone. I am grateful for a chance to do something nice for myself. I deserve kindness. I deserve self-love. I deserve to treat myself with nice things. I deserve to experience pleasure and excitement without guilt.

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Vegan Grocery Haul

There is a common misconception that veganism is expensive. In this post I wanted to address that myth. It is certainly true that veganism can be expensive, but so can any type of diet. People seem to have a hard time imagining what vegans eat. Many think that their diets mainly consist of tofu and faux meats and cheeses which are usually quite pricey. Not many people realize that the staple foods in an average vegans diet are some of the cheapest foods you can buy: rice, beans, potatoes, and fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.

Just in case anyone is curious, I decided to show you all what a normal trip to the grocery store results in for an average low-income vegan like myself. All of the food in the photo to follow was under $45 at my local Kroger grocery store. I didn’t actually buy rice this time, but that’s because I always have that. The spices to season all of your delicious vegetable dishes can be a bit expensive in the beginning, but they are only a rare purchase as they last for a long time.

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In case you can’t make it out in the photo, here is a list of everything pictured:

  1. Watermelon
  2. Pineapple (x20
  3. Potato (x20
  4. Green onion bunch (x2)
  5. Cucumber
  6. Celery hearts
  7. Dark brown sugar
  8. Blueberries (1lb)
  9. Zucchini
  10. Avocado
  11. Red pepper
  12. Green pepper
  13. Radishes (3 bags)
  14. Frozen corn
  15. Broccoli (2 crowns)
  16. Tomatoes (3 Roma)
  17. Sugar snap peas
  18. Spinach
  19. Cilantro
  20. Kale
  21. Veggie stir-fry kit
  22. Dried apricots
  23. Cabbage
  24. Tamari
  25. Beet and ginger bean dip
  26. Mediterranean pickles
  27. Garbanzo Beans
  28. Kidney Beans
  29. Vegetarian refried beans
  30. Kombucha

That’s 30 wonderful plant-based foods for less than $45! I want to help spread the message that veganism can be easy, accessible and affordable. It takes a little practice. You learn how to shop with the season and benefit from bargain bins. But there is no reason that someone should hold themselves back from living a more compassionate and healthy lifestyle because of their income.

I hope that this can be an inspiring example to some of you out there that have held onto the false notion that veganism is simply too expensive to consider. If a 24-year-old, single, social worker can do it, so can you!

 

Vegan on the Go

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Sometimes, when you are on the go or in a hurry, veganism is not the most convenient diet. It is hard enough to find vegan options in a restaurant, let alone a fast food place. There is always the option of ordering a salad without meat or cheese, but in my experience, a good percentage of the time you will be thoroughly ignored and receive the salad with no alterations whatsoever. Then there are some who may consider just an order of french fries. However, many fast food restaurants fry these in meat greases. Also, french fries are not very nutritious or filling. Even the veggie burgers that are served by Burger King contain egg ingredients.

The struggle to find vegan options from fast food restaurants can be a blessing and a curse. It does prevent you from eating poorly when you could be eating something a little better for you. However, sometimes a quick bite of food is necessary. So, after years of irritation, I have finally found an option that has worked for me, and it is my hope that it can work for all of you other vegans out there as well. 

When I need a cheap morsel of food in a hurry, I will occasionally go to Taco Bell. For merely two dollars you can get a delicious and moderately healthy little meal! On their menu they offer a very yummy black bean burrito. It does come with cheese on it, but you can ask them to exclude that part. (I have yet to get one that still had cheese as I have with salads.) I also ask them to add guacamole, which is a wonderful replacement. 

Mexican fast food can be a delightful option for vegans trying to get a quick meal. There are only Taco Bell’s near my hometown, but I am sure any such fast food restaurant would have similar options. I hope that this can help some of you out. Now instead of greasy fries or a limp, unappetizing fast food salad, you can get a delicious, nutritious bean burrito!

Enjoy, my vegan darlings. ❤ 

Veganism is Not Expensive or Limiting

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Many people do not consider veganism an option because of their socio-economic standing or their desire for variety in their diets. Well, I have just returned home from doing my grocery shopping for the upcoming week, and just look at all of the wonderful treats I bought! In case you cannot see clearly enough in the picture I will list them for you:

  1. 2 cartons of blueberries
  2. 1 carton of strawberries
  3. Tofurky kielbasa
  4. Earth Balance vegan butter
  5. Popcorn with sea salt
  6. Grilled chik’n patties
  7. Apple crisps
  8. Frozen lima beans
  9. Fruit puree (which I mentioned in my post about vegan snacks)
  10. Croissants 
  11. Vegan riblets
  12. Granola cereal

Better yet, all of these items only cost me $23! Granted, I managed to find some incredible deals this week at my local grocery store, but if you are flexible with what you buy from week to week, it is always possible to save just as much money. I never spend more than $25 a week on groceries. So, there is no need to feel intimidated by veganism. You can do it! ^_^ Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go inhale some vegan noms.

Stay peaceful, my darlings. 

5 Affordable Vegan Snack Options

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Hello there! I have been feeling awfully lazy lately, but I fought through it today to share with you some ideas for vegan snacking options that are affordable, low-calorie, and healthy! Sometimes when first getting into the swing of a vegan lifestyle, snacking can be a problem. Most of the usual “healthy” snack options have something to do with dairy, such as string cheese or yogurt. However, I have compiled a few of my favorite things to munch on when I am on the go or don’t have time to prepare anything elaborate. I hope that these can help you out!

  1. Granola bars – Be careful to make sure they are vegan as some types and brands are not.
  2. Baby food (Fruit Puree) – These are so yummy and extremely good for you. They can even be purchased in a convenient pouch, which makes them an easy on-the-go snack!
  3. Lara bars – These are a great snack that are very dense and filling.
  4. Popcorn – I pop mine myself on the stove then just add salt. You could do the same or use microwave non-butter or kettle corn instead.
  5. Wasabi Peas – These may not be for everyone. They can be somewhat more pricey than other snacks and they are also quite spicy.

These yummy morsels have always worked for me. I hope that I have provided you with a few ideas that you had not previously considered. Let me know what you think and what your favorite vegan snacks are in the comments below! I will try to combat my overwhelming apathy in order to post something better tomorrow.

Have a peaceful day, everyone.

Sausage, Sauerkraut, & Noodles Recipe

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One of my favorite meals when I was growing up was my mom’s sausage, sauerkraut, and noodles dish. After becoming vegan, it was torment to smell her cooking this for my father, knowing that I could not allow myself a single bite. So, I did what any determined vegan does in such a situation. I fashioned a vegan replacement! This recipe is cheap, easy, quick, and even more delicious than the non-vegan version of the dish. Also, you end up with a ton of food!

Ingredients:

  1. Tofurkey Italian Sausage (or any other brand, this is around $4)
  2. 1 can of sauerkraut
  3. Your favorite type of noodles (I usually use spiral ones, but spaghetti is cheaper)

Instructions:

  1. Boil water and start cooking your noodles
  2. Cut up 2 vegan Italian sausages into small pieces
  3. Place Italian sausage into frying pan
  4. Add 1 can of sauerkraut to the pan
  5. Cook until warm and noodles are tender
  6. Mix together
  7. Enjoy!

Note: I realize that my recipes are not very specific when it comes to the amount of different ingredients. However, that is just how simple these recipes are! Using different amounts of ingredients will not alter the outcome very much, except for how much food you end up with, and that is up to you. 

Enjoy, my darlings! 

 

 

Inexpensive Vegan Meal

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Once you become vegan, it may be hard to think of cheap food options. For the most part, fast food is out of the question. Which, in the long run, is a wonderful thing. However, being a college student, I know that sometimes an extremely cheap meal is necessary. Today I would like to share with you one of the cheapest, most delicious vegan meals that I make myself.

This meal consists of only two ingredients, not counting simple household things. Better yet, these ingredients only cost around two to three dollars! And you will be able to make a ton of food! This meal is also extremely simply and quick to make. So here you are, dears.

Vegan Cabbage and Noodles:

Ingredients:

  1. Spaghetti noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer, spaghetti is just the cheapest)
  2. Cabbage
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. Olive Oil (or any type of cooking oil)

Instructions:

  1. Boil water and begin to cook noodles
  2. While noodles are cooking, put a thin coat of olive oil into a frying pan
  3. Add chopped cabbage
  4. Cook until tender, adding salt and pepper to taste
  5. Mix cooked noodles and cabbage together

I generally don’t measure the exact amount of noodles or cabbage I use. You can make more or less depending on how hungry you are or how many people you are cooking for. I found that this meal can come in very handy for the vegan with not much to spend. It is yummy, filling, quick, cheap, and easy to prepare! I hope that this can help any struggling vegans out there or any that would just like a quick vegan version of an old favorite.

Stay peaceful, my loves.

15 Cheap Vegan Treats

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One of the hardest obstacles to overcome when transitioning into a vegan diet (especially in an remote area like where I am from) is giving up practically every type of chocolate or pastry. There are plenty of recipes available online to create vegan deserts and even sweet vegan morsels for sale in stores nearby if you are lucky. However, being a poor college student (and, might I add, unskilled chef), living in an area that is not quite vegan friendly, it can be hard to find the time, money, or opportunity to prepare of buy a vegan treat. After being a vegetarian/vegan for the past three years and checking practically every label in existence, I have discovered many wonderful vegan-friendly alternatives in the most unexpected treats. Unlike most things you can find online, these options are cheap and require no cooking or baking! I wanted to formally share my findings with my fellow vegans. In can be hard to resist temptation when craving something sweet and sugary to munch on. I hope these vegan delights can help you out!

The following sweet treats are all 100% vegan friendly:

  1. Star Kiss Pops at DairyQueen
    Starkiss Bar
  2. Fruit Pop Tarts without icing (Not entirely sure about all flavors, but all are worth a check) 51SikHaodFL._SY300_
  3. Great Value (Walmart) brand knock-off Tagalongs Girl Scout Cookies  0007874208616_500X500
  4. Great Value knock-off Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies 0007874208636_500X500
  5. Homemade Peanut Butter Rice Krispie treats (The store bought ones contain animal products.) Recipe.del-fleur-cinema-cafe-rice-krispie-treat-lg
  6. Kroger Private Selection Fruit sorbets (This can be a good alternative to ice cream that is cheaper than the vegan versions. However, I am not sure if all brands are vegan.) private-selection-sorbetto-pomegranate-163471
  7. Stauffers Iced Animal Cookies (Beware: Frosted Animal Cookies contain milk products.) PI72320041S
  8. Certain brands of semi-sweet chocolate chips Enjoy-Life-Semi-sweet-Chocolate-Mini-Chips-853522000306
  9. Pilsbury Icing (Not positive on all flavors, but I have yet to find one that isn’t vegan.) Eats_15_PillsburySupremeChocolateFudgeIcing
  10. Gushers 6176F5KKVPL
  11. Oreos SONY DSC
  12. Orange and Stawberry Wafer Cookies 467_StrawberrySugarWafers_IMG6949_770x520
  13. Certain off-brand fudge striped shortbread cookies 0007874237254_500X500
  14. Sour Patch Kids 08-sour-patch-kids-lgn
  15. Nerds Nerds-SurfnTurf-im-131158

I hope that these vegan friendly treats will help you to satisfy those sugar cravings. They have done wonders to keep me on the wagon in the past. However, I wouldn’t recommend you make any of these items a staple part of your diet. One of the best benefits of a vegan lifestyle is not having to feel shitty after you eat. Even though these foods are technically vegan they are still not healthy in any way, shape, or form. That being said, happy munching! ^_^

Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Hey there, darlings!

Today I am going to teach you how to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie. This recipe is quick, simple, and 100% vegan friendly. It is better than any non-vegan smoothie I have ever had and basically kept me alive after my wisdom teeth were removed. It is a great treat to have for breakfast or any other time you choose. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Vegan, Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  1. Frozen banana slices
  2. Non-dairy milk (soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc.)
  3. Agave nectar (or honey if you aren’t strict)
  4. Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Place roughly one and a half frozen banana slices into a blender.
  2. Add enough non-dairy milk to cover a little more than half of the bananas. (1 cup)
  3. Cover the bananas with agave nectar (or honey).
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon generously on top.
  5. Blend
  6. Enjoy!