The fact of the matter is, if you can afford to eat in general, you can afford to be vegan.
When most people think of eating vegan, they imagine going to Whole Foods and dropping hundreds of dollars on fancy, alternative vegan ingredients just to be able to eat comfortably for that week. In truth, this is possible, but only if you choose to make it so. As a vegan, your diet consists of solely plant foods. This includes nuts, legumes, veggies, fruits, and seeds. You can choose to purchase trendy, glorious concoctions made with these foods for the dinner table every night, or you can choose to buy whole plant foods for dirt cheap and mix them together however you like. This is the cheapest and typically the safest, healthiest route. Mock meats and faux-cheese are not your only options. The price of your vegan lifestyle is defined by you. Not by Daiya, Trader Joes, or Beyond Meat. Alternatively, if you were to eat like a carnist, you could easily go out and spend the same amount of money as a more privileged vegan might on fancy foods and ingredients. Those who are struggling financially obviously tend not to do this, because it is pointlessly expensive. Neither diet is inherently more expensive, it is simply a matter of what you choose to spend your money on and where. In some cases veganism is more expensive, and in some cases it is dirt cheap. This is all up to you, the consumer.
Another thing to be noted is that as veganism grows in popularity, more companies will be pumping out special vegan items to fill the void of animal products in your life. As this continues, all of those fancy foods I mentioned earlier will begin to become more affordable as well. This is how capitalism works. If the people agree to pay the price listed for any given product, then the companies producing them feel as though they are able to raise those prices slowly and still keep their customer base. If the people refuse to pay a high price for an item, then a struggling business must lower it in hopes that more people will be willing to spend their hard-earned money on their product. The more people go vegan, the bigger the market for vegan food gets. This means more companies seeking out more resources to make these foods, making these resources more readily available and therefore making special vegan foods more affordable. An example of this would be Google attempting to purchase a start-up vegan burger company.
However, if you are not willing to wait around for these foods to get cheaper (I’m certainly not), there is a wonderful, less-expensive, and healthy alternative that I like to call… plants. I have included the links below as resources to help you find easy and cheap vegan meals to try out at home. Considering the average person cycles through about five different dishes that they can make from memory on a regular basis anyway, you will never get bored. I promise.
Also, here are a couple other resources for those wondering if they should make they switch to veganism, but are worried about the cost.