UK lifestyle and money blog

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Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog.  I'm Victoria Sully, a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker.  I’m passionate about making money online, saving money, self-employment, healthy living and blogging.  I’m on a personal mission to be healthier and wealthier!  Thank you so much for joining me.


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Category: Family, Lifestyle & Opinion

  1. Last minute Valentine's Day gift ideas for all budgets

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    2019 is whizzing by already.  It’s half term next week, yet I feel like the children have only just returned to school after the Christmas holidays!  We’re almost half way through February which means the day of love is almost upon us.  If you’re feeling withdrawal symptoms from Christmas then this is the perfect excuse for another burst of gift shopping and present giving. 

    In this blog post I will share some last minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas to suit all budgets and (hopefully) don’t have long delivery times.  So whether you’re totally broke, on a shoestring or you have cash to splash, here are some ideas for all of you.

    Last minute Valentines Day gift ideas for all budgets (1)

    Zero budget

    So you’re broke as a joke and have precisely zero pounds to spend.  No worries.  Not everything has to cost a pretty penny.  Be inventive and come up with your own unique gift.  It could be your very own at-home spa evening.  Treat your other half to a candle lit bath followed by a massage.

    Create your own set of ‘IOU’ Valentine’s coupons that can be redeemed for special treats or tasks.  These could be naughty, luxurious or even housework or chores they detest doing! 

    If you’re great at baking and you’ve already got the ingredients in your store cupboards, then bake them a cake, some delicious brownies or whatever you are great at whipping up.

    All these things can be prepared in no time at all, well a bit of time for the baking, so no need to panic if you’ve left things until the last minute.

    Some budget

    Money is tight, but you’ve got a bit of disposable cash to buy a gift, so what do you choose?

    If you’re traditional romantics then flowers and chocolates for her are always a winner.  For him, he’ll probably just want the chocolates!

    To make it more personal then skip the generic flowers and choccies and instead buy them a bunch of their favourite snacks and treats.  Buy a gift bag and fill it with their favourite goodies.

    A romantic meal for two at home or their favourite takeaway on the night is easy to organise and surprise them with.

    These things can be purchased from most local shops and supermarkets right up until the day.  It’s a last minute Valentine’s Day gift idea winner!

    A bit more budget

    So you’ve got a reasonable amount of cash to spend, but you’ve got no time left to traipse around the shops to search for the perfect gift.  You’ve left it too late and time is no longer on your side.  Never fear as you can still get something they love either online or from a store near you!

    Whilst gift vouchers may seem like a cop out, they are perfect in this situation and can be found at most major supermarket stores, even your local Co-ops!  Who doesn’t love receiving free money to choose exactly what they want?

    A subscription is also the perfect last minute gift idea, as well as being the gift that keeps on giving.  There are so many subscriptions to choose from such as a flower subscription, snack boxes, beauty boxes or their favourite magazine.

    Plenty of cash to splash

    If cash isn’t an issue and you’re looking to splurge, then the world of gifts really is your oyster.  For the person who has everything then how about a DNA testing kit?  This is a unique gift that could reveal details of their ancestry or more specific tests can be purchased such as DNA health or fitness tests if they’re passionate about keeping fit and healthy and want to maximise their goals.

    A spa day or weekend spa break is always a winner.  Who doesn’t love a guilt-free opportunity to relax, kick back and be pampered for a while, away from the hectic-ness of our busy lives?

    If they get enough relaxing or can’t sit still for more than two minutes, then an experience day could be the one.  From racing supercars around a track to skydiving or a helicopter ride, there’s an experience out there to suit all tastes and levels of adrenaline.

    All these things can be purchased online and given as a voucher.  Some DNA kit websites offer vouchers too so they can pick which test they want to do, or you can choose for them.


    There we have it.  A few last minute Valentine’s­ Day gifts to suit whatever budget you may have that don't require weeks of planning or ordering in advance!


    Related blog posts:
    Veg -Table For Two! Planning A Meat-Free Valentine's Day Menu
    It Must Have Been Love? It certainly Will Be With These Gift Ideas
    The secrets to a long term relationship
    How to keep a relationship strong after having kids

    Last minute Valentines Day gift ideas for all budgets

    Collaborative post

  2. Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

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    It’s almost half term and to celebrate I've teamed up with Kids Pass, the UK’s No.1 Family Discounts App for your chance to win a FREE Kids Pass annual membership.

    The Kids Pass App gives you instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out, up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays!

    Want to try Kids Pass for yourself? Start a £1 trial for 30 days

    How to save money on days out this February half term with Kids Pass

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership - half term save mon

    Are you struggling for ideas for days out this February half term that will keep the whole family happy as well as your bank balance? For just £1 you can sign up for a trial Kids Pass membership and gain instant access to 1000’s of family friendly offers on the Kids Pass app!

    This really is the best £1 you’ll spend this half term, as you could potentially save over £90* in just a week…

    • Planning a trip to the cinema? You’d save on average £10.34 on your cinema tickets
    • Fancy a meal out? You can cut £15.90 off your food bill
    • Taking your tot for a sensory day at the aquarium? Average savings of £24.00 on aquarium tickets for the whole family
    • Off to see furry friends at the zoo? You can save your family £40.00 on zoo tickets

    *based on family of four (2 adults, 2 children)

    How does it work?
    You pay £1 for a 30 day trial membership, after this you can cancel or continue your subscription for £3.99 per month. For these 30 days you have full access to all the offers on the Kids Pass app and website.

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

    What does it get me? 
    Instant access to 1,000’s of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (7 days a week, adult and child), kids eat free at 1000’s of restaurants, up to 65% off family days out including leading theme parks, and up to 10% off UK family breaks and up to 50% off Eurocamp holidays.

    Does one membership cover the whole family?
    Yes! Your Kids Pass covers the entire household, that’s Mum, Dad, the kids (whether you have one or ten!), Granny and Grandad too!

    How do I use it?
    You can download the free Kids Pass app from all major app stores, which is easy to navigate, or you can use the Kids Pass website to search for offers.

    How do I redeem offers?
    Most of the offers are completely digital meaning that tickets or promo codes can be sent straight to your phone, however some tickets are still paper and will be posted to you via Royal Mail.

    What’s the catch?
    There isn’t one! You can cancel your monthly subscription at any time.

    Claim your trial
    Join over 2 million members and click here to start a £1 trial today!

    Win a free annual Kids Pass membership


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway terms:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is a free annual Kids Pass membership
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • Prizes will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winners email address
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only 

    Prize terms:

    There are no other alternatives to the prize offered and the prize is not transferable (no cash alternative). Entry is open to residents of the UK only.

    Blog giveaway – Win a free annual Kids Pass membership

  3. January 2019 mont­­hly family roundup

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    Welcome to my UK family lifestyle roundup.  It's a monthly roundup where you get an insight into the person behind this blog and what my little family and I have been up to for a whole month.  It's also a place for me to document our lives each month and save them in this category so we can look back through them and remember what we've done!

    If you follow me on Instagram then you’re probably up to date!  But here is a more in-depth blog post of things we’ve been up to and family happenings.

    We're a family of four - Victoria 33, Ben 35, Bella 6 and Reuben 3 in Gloucestershire, south west England, UK.

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here: 
    January 2018
    February 2018
    March 2018
    April 2018
    May and June 2018
    July 2018
    August 2018
    September 2018
    October 2018
    November 2018
    December 2018

    January 2019 mont­­hly family roundup

    January has been half calm and half busy.  It’s my mum’s birthday in January so there’s always something to celebrate at the start of the year.  We’ve been cracking on with business plans and discussions as well as focusing on our savings.  My goal for 2019 is to save an emergency fund of £10,000.  I was half way there by the end of 2018.  I’d hoped to complete in 2018, but we lost a lot of money on selling Ben’s old car which typically got an engine problem as we came to sell (around £3000 lost) and then we had two big car repair bills for the new car within five months of owning it (£2400 for a new turbo and to replace the head gasket/top of the engine).  Very frustrating!  So I’m one year behind on my savings already thanks to annoying cars and also my dental work that was a LOT more than we expected.   But I am thankful we had been saving already and so had the funds available to pay for such extensive car repairs, towards a new car and for my pricey dental work.

    I’ve always been a spender, especially when younger getting into horrific debt at an early age, but now things have changed and I am focusing on spending less and saving more with specific goals in mind.  We’re even planning a no-spend month in February so we can really top up our savings!  I couldn’t do it in January as I had already booked a few appointments, meals out and have my mum’s birthday.  So it’s postponed to February and I’m actually looking forward to it.

    Before I crack on with the rest of January, here are my best Instagram posts (based on likes I believe) of 2018.  Goodbye 2018!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 6

    Family businesses – a reflection and going forward

    Happy New Year!  2019 is well and truly here and we are all settling in nicely.  2018 was a great year for us overall.  My self-employed business had a successful year and improved greatly on 2017.  I’m hoping for an even better year in 2019 as I have four blogs now, so I hope I can increase my income and have plenty of back up too!  More blogs with more niches opens me up to more opportunities – well, that’s my plan!  I also love blogging so it makes sense to do more of what I love to make an income for myself.

    Related - How I made £35000 from home, blogging and online in 2018

    Ben started his handmade furniture business in 2018 and he hopes to grow it in 2019. Time is just the struggle for both of us, especially with two young children and Ben already having a full-time job.  We may just convert our playroom into an ensuite bedroom for a lodger after all.  It’s something we’ve ummed and arred about for a while and you may remember me mentioning it in previous blog posts.  This will give us an income to cover the mortgage payments and then perhaps Ben can have more freedom to pursue his passion and reconsider his existing career. 

    I know that’s what he wants to do ideally, but we obviously need his stable income at the moment as mine is never guaranteed.  It would definitely be risky for us to both be full-time self-employed at the moment.  Hopefully we can come up with some great ways to make this happen though in 2019 or even 2020!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 2

    January has been a healthier month than December, where I let my usual healthy eating habits slide for a couple of weeks and then felt awful!

    The kids and school

    The kids had a great year.  Bella has completed her first term in year two, that’s the last year of infant school.  I can’t believe she will move up to juniors at the end of 2019!  This means it’s also time for Reuben to start school this year too as he turns four in March!  We have applied for his place and await the confirmation.  It’s the same school as Bella so there should be no issues with him getting a place there.  I’ve already heard that 14/30 of the new school places will be filled with siblings and 10 of those are boys!  Wow!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 8

    Christmas school holidays

    So the first week of January was the school holidays.  Ben was back to work, but he had New Year’s Day off.  We went to Stratford Park in Stroud with the kids for the afternoon.  It’s somewhere I went as a child so it’s great to take my own children now and see them have so much fun there.  We spent a day with my mum and sister playing at our home.  We spent a morning at Jungle Chums soft play in Thornbury with my friend who has four boys, so the kids loved that.  The kids went to holiday club the other two days of that week so I could crack on with some work.  We also saw Ben’s Dad at the end of the week for Christmas and went for a carvery at The Fountain Inn in the Forest of Dean – they did a vegan option for us.

    Back to school, pre-school and nursery

    The second week of January was back to school, work, nursery and so on as normal.  I felt totally in hibernation mode and the weather really seemed to get freezing that week, so I struggled to get back in the swing of things in the day times, which only led to catching up at night staying up late and being tired again the next day… a catch-22 situation I needed to get myself out of sharpish!  The kids settled back into school and nursery well and after a week the holidays seemed an age away already as they always do.

    Vegan meal at The Red Lion, Wainlode Hill

    It’s my mum’s birthday in January so we met up for a meal at The Red Lion pub and restaurant in Norton, Gloucestershire on Wainlode Hill.  It’s a place me and Ben used to go to for a drink after work when we first got together as it was on the way home from work!  It’s set by the river so perfect for sitting outside on a sunny day and then wandering off for a walk along the river and through the meadows.

    Luckily they had some great vegan options.  Ben ordered roasted avocado which was stuffed with sundried tomatoes, garlic oil and pine nuts on a bed of salad leaves and baby potatoes.  Me and the kids had a pumpkin and potato hot pot with vegetables.  The kids weren’t too impressed and barely tried it.  I’m sure if they did then they’d have been fine.  Mine was OK, but I’ll be ordering the avocado if we ever return!  Mine was a tasty but like a bowl of mush.  I’d have preferred the veg to still be chunky and have a bit of firmness!  It’s a lovely place though and has been refurbished since we used to go years ago and now has a rustic cosy feel.

    A day out in Stroud town and a vegan lunch

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 7

    At the start of January I had a day out in Stroud with two of my friends.  We live so close to Stroud and often go to a park there called Stratford Park with the kids, but I’ve never really explored the town centre.  It’s crazy really as they have a very indie vibe and lots of lovely vegan places to eat!  In 2019 I will explore these cafes and eateries more foe sure.  I’m already going back in February for a photo shoot as I need head shots for my business, so I hope to go for lunch again!

    In January I had a peek around the market and saw a few vegan options such as homemade vegan pasties.  We snuck our heads into a few vegan friendly cafes to check out the offerings, but decided to eat at Falafel Mama as soon as I spied someone’s amazing looking pitta they were eating outside!  It looked delicious so I had to try one.  They are vegan friendly and homemade falafels served in pittas or as salads with a huge selection of salads and condiments.  Mine was so good!  We also had a bliss ball each.  I loved the creative energy of the place, the friendly staff and the music.  I’ll definitely go back! 

    I’m starting to think I want to move to Stroud.  I feel it’s more my kind of place and lifestyle.  I’d love to sit and work in the cafes each day with my laptop!

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 4

    Bella in a 5000 year old house near Stroud

    Planning holidays and events

    Perhaps it’s the January and winter blues, especially as I said this is the year of saving and not holidaying, but towards the end of January I booked two holidays for 2019.  We will return to Bluestone Resort in Wales for a short stay in the Christmas holidays.  We went last year and loved it! 

    I’ve also booked to go to Pentewan Sands in Cornwall in the autumn.  A seven night break was only £400!  I’d much prefer to hop on a plane and go and get some guaranteed sunshine, like we did in 2018 to Fuerteventura, but it was so expensive.  We need some cheaper holidays this year so I can reach my savings goals.  £400 is an absolute bargain for a week in Cornwall, on a beach, with indoor pools, parks and a soft play.  Plus Bella is super excited to stay in a ‘caravan’.  I always find it funny people call them caravans – it’s actually more a mobile home. 

    When I was little we stayed in a real caravan – a dinky little thing where the table turned into the bed and you couldn’t swing a cat in it!  We’ve also been looking at a possible summer trip as we’d love to drive the Bongo to Europe, but I think we’ll wait and see how our savings goals go first.

    January 2019 monthly family roundup 3

    The usual

    Most of this month was just the usual. We go to the gym at least three times a week and the kids go to kids club.  Bella has swimming ever Saturday and she’s doing great – I think she’s even starting to enjoy it and so it’s becoming less of a chore to get her there!  It still sometimes takes her a while to get in the pool, but once she’s in she is off.  There’s some sort of fear there still that she’ll hopefully overcome this year.


    Pop back to my Monthly Family Roundups next month to see what we get up to in January!

    January 2019 mont__hly family roundup

  4. Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription

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    Poor eyesight can be a costly nuisance.  Not only do you have to deal with not being able to see things as you should, but there’s the cost of eye appointments, prescription glasses and contact lenses to consider.  I’ve suffered with short-sightedness since I was around 12 years old and it really has been frustrating at times, especially when I forget my glasses, as well as very expensive.  In this blog post I’m going to take a look at how it’s possible to save money on contact lenses with a subscription from Waldo

    You can even try Waldo lenses for free, so read on to find out more.

    Did wearing glasses give me poor eyesight?

    When I was in junior school I always wanted glasses.  In fact glasses and a brace were top of my list!  My mum was of course horrified by these strange things I longed for, but back then I thought people turning up to school in glasses was so cool.  I guess it must have been around this age that people started to notice things wrong with their sight and so more and more of my friends were turning up to school with specs.  I wanted to be part of the glasses gang!

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image] (3)

    Unfortunately I got my wish.  I always wonder whether I made my sight bad myself, if that’s possible, as I wore my best friend Hannah’s glasses for whole school day’s at a time when we started senior school.  I soon noticed I couldn’t see the school chalkboards unless I was sat close to the front of the classroom and so my mum took me to get my eyes tested.  Sure enough I was short sighted and needed glasses.  My wish had come true!

    Be careful what you wish for

    If only I had realised what a bother needing glasses would be for the rest of my life.  My eyes aren’t so bad that I need to wear the glasses all the time, but sometimes I think that’s worse as it makes me more likely to forget them when I need them.  I am not allowed to drive without glasses and everything is pretty blurry all day long.  If you’re across the road from me then I wouldn’t be able to tell who you are!  Often my husband has thought I’m ignoring him from the other side of a room as if he smiles at me I can’t tell.  I can’t read signs such as menus behind café counters until I’m really close and even then it can be a struggle.  I forgot my glasses for a theatre show once and it was all a big blur!

    If only I could go back and talk some sense into my younger self who wanted glasses so desperately!

    The benefits of contact lenses

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image]

    Luckily there is a solution to wearing glasses all the time and this is to wear contact lenses.  I’ve been pretty terrible at wearing my glasses as an adult and usually just squint to try and see things far away.  It’s not helping with preventing wrinkles!  My glasses are normally in my car and that’s where they stay as I have to wear them for driving.

    As a young adult I decided to give contact lenses a go and they really have been a lifesaver in so many situations.

    Here are the benefits of contact lenses:

    • No bulky frames – I often found I was put off by my glasses frames.  It’s actually why I first tried contact lenses as I was having driving lessons and found my glasses really off-putting as I wasn’t used to wearing them so much.  I needed to concentrate on driving, but felt distracted by the frames I wasn’t used to seeing.  Once I got contact lenses I was less distracted by the glasses frames and able to tackle the task at hand.
    • No change in appearance – I’m always very self-conscious in my glasses.  As a kid I loved them and thought glasses were the coolest thing ever.  I wanted to wear them all the time.  As an adult, and even when I was an older teenager, I became more self-conscious of my appearance and really disliked having to wear glasses.  I’ve never felt they’ve suited my face.  Contact lenses take this worry away as no one can even tell I’m wearing them.
    • They won’t fog up – Most mornings when I get into my car and put my glasses on, they steam up!  It also happens when I open the oven door – a whoosh of hot air and I can’t see a thing!  Luckily contact lenses don’t have this problem and my sight is never obstructed.
    • They’re great for sports – I love to workout at the gym and had worn my glasses a few times, but they start slipping off and moving around if my workout is intense.   Contact lenses stay put and don’t distract me from my workout.
    • My vision is clearer – I mentioned they don’t fog up, but my vision overall is clearer.  With glasses I can get reflections and lines of light almost bouncing off them from car headlights at night.  With contact lenses it’s like seeing through my own eyes with perfect vision.
    • They’re comfortable – once you get used to them then they are really comfortable.  I even forget they’re in my eyes and often leave out my empty packets on the side to remind me to take them out before bedtime!  My glasses leave indents on my nose when wearing them and get in the way, especially with my young children jumping all over me!

    Save money on contact lenses with Waldo

    _Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription [canva image] (1)

    You might now be thinking, well that’s all well and good, but aren’t contact lenses really expensive?

    They definitely used to be and I remember paying around £30 per month for daily disposable contact lenses, but times have changed.  Contact lenses subscription company Waldo is disrupting this industry by offering affordable contact lenses for just £12 per month that are premium quality.  By cutting out retailers and selling online only, they are able to offer high-quality contact lenses at the most affordable price.  There are no hidden costs either as delivery is free.

    Waldo believes contact lenses should be more affordable and the process simplified.  They’re cutting out the middlemen to keep costs down as well as making life easier for us by sending affordable contact lenses every month, hassle-free.

    Here are some of the benefits of Waldo lenses:

    • They have a super fine edge design so they’re comfortable to wear and reduce any sensation of something in the eye when blinking.
    • They are made with 58% water to keep the eyes moist all day long.
    • You’ll have UV protection with 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB rays blocked.
    • The lens design mimics the cornea to provide HD vision.
    • It’s a subscription service so they’ll be delivered to your door every month.
    • Delivery on subscriptions is free.
    • The original lenses are only £12 per 30 lenses.
    • They offer a free trial to see if they’re for you.
    • You can modify, pause or cancel at any time.

    Try Waldo contact lenses for free

    Sign up for a free trial of Waldo contact lenses to try them yourself.  You’ll get 10 pairs of contact lenses for free.  You just have to cover a one-off shipping fee of £2.95.


    Sign up here:


    Save money on contact lenses with a Waldo subscription

    In association with Waldo.

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  5. Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources

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    I recently wrote a blog post to answer whether being vegan is expensive in which I said both yes and no!  In reality though, the answer is no, being vegan does not have to be expensive.  Eating traditional plant-based foods instead of meats and cheeses is actually a much cheaper option.  But, like anything in life, you can choose to buy premium, organic and independent brands or you can choose to buy cheaper supermarket-own labels and value labels. 

    But what about protein?  Is it possible to eat cheaply as a vegan and get enough protein? 

    And the question vegans are probably bombarded with the most – where do vegans get their protein from?

    In this blog post I’m going to share with you why choosing to get your protein from plant-based sources is actually a really affordable option.

    The difference between animal protein and plant-based protein

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (1)

    One of my favourite responses when meat-eaters ask vegans where they get their protein from is ‘the same place your protein gets its protein from’!  It’s so true.  Animals get their protein from plants and so can we. 

    Around 20% of the human body is made of protein.  Our body doesn’t store it, so we have to regularly get it from our diet each day.  Protein is needed for almost every metabolic process in our body so it’s vital for the overall health of our body.

    Protein is broken down into amino acids in our body and there are over 20 different types of amino acids.  There are non-essential amino acids that our body can make itself, but there are also essential amino acids that we have to get from our diets.

    The difference is meat protein is often called a ‘complete protein’ as it contains a good balance of all the amino acids we need.   But eating meat also comes with a lot of negative health consequences.

    Most plant proteins only contain some of these amino acids, so to get all the amino acids we need from protein we need to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources.  But that’s fine as we should all be eating a variety of healthy plant-based foods anyway. 

    Going plant-based will probably mean you’ll eat a ton more of the highly nutritious stuff you should have been eating, such as different beans, lentils, and wholegrains, which is fantastic news for your overall health.

    Is vegan protein expensive?

    Can I get protein and build muscle on a plant-based diet_ (4)

    If we’re talking basics then no, plant-based sources of protein are not expensive.  What is expensive is if you start buying meat alternatives, vegan cheeses and readymade plant milks.  These things are readymade or processed foods and they come at a premium.  However, they are not needed as part of a healthy plant-based diet and are merely convenience foods, just like readymade snacks and foods based around meat and dairy.

    Plant-based protein is actually very cheap indeed. Good protein sources include many whole grains, wild rice, chickpeas, beans, lentils, green vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Lentils, beans, rice and grains are some of the cheapest foods in existence.  They can be bulk purchased as they can last for ages in their dried forms.  They are so versatile too and can be used to create so many meals.

    Compare the price of beans, lentils and grains to a pack of meat and you’ll start to realise how much cheaper a vegan diet can be.

    How to keep a vegan diet low cost

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (2)

    There are lots of ways to keep a plant-based diet affordable.  Below are a few suggestions to get you started.

    • Buy dried ingredients.   Purchasing dried bags of lentils, beans and grains will save the most money compared to buying tins of pulses for example.
    • Buy in season fruit and vegetables.  Buying exotic fruits and vegetables is a luxury, but if they’re not in season then you’ll be paying a premium.
    • Make your own meals from scratch.  This is always the best way to keep costs down as readymade meals are so expensive.
    • Don’t buy faux meat, vegan cheeses or the like.  These are very costly and will really bump your food shopping up.
    • Make your own plant-based milks, cheese and cheese-sauce.  It’s much more affordable than buying readymade.  A delicious creamy cheesy sauce can easily be made with homemade oat milk, a few scoops of nutritional yeast and a squirt of mustard.  Perfect to serve with cauliflower or pasta.
    • Make your own snacks too.  Chocolate bliss balls are super easy to make with cacao, dates, seeds, oats and nuts whizzed together in a food processor and shaped into bite size snacks.  Whilst a pack of raw cacao might seem expensive at first, it’s so rich you only need to use a tiny bit to make plant-based milkshakes, bliss balls and hot chocolate, so a pack will last for ages.
    • Do everything in bulk.  Buy the ingredients you can in bulk to make them as cheap as possible in the long run.  Cook in bulk too and freeze/refrigerate portion sizes for the week ahead.  This will stop you reaching for the convenient foods as you’ll already have readymade homemade snacks and meals instead.

    A list of plant-based sources of protein

    There are lots of delicious plant based foods that provide vegans with protein, as well as everyone else too.  The foods below are good sources of protein and it’s recommended to eat a variety every day.

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (1)

    • Seitan
    • Lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Garden peas
    • Beans – black, kidney, pinto, lima, black-eyed, cannellini
    • Tofu
    • Tempeh
    • Edamame beans
    • Soy milk
    • Seeds – hemp seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower
    • Peanut butter (and other nut butters)
    • Nuts
    • Buckwheat
    • Oats
    • Wild rice
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
    • Barely
    • Spelt
    • Bulgur wheat
    • Wheat berries
    • Lesser known grains such as teff, amaranth, sorghum, freekeh, farro
    • Asparagus
    • Avocado
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Artichokes
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Sweetcorn
    • Cauliflower
    • Potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Nutritional yeast
    • Spirulina
    • Sprouted grain bread

    What about protein for working out and building muscle?

    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources (3)

    Whilst the above plant-based sources of protein will provide enough protein for the majority of us, some people might be looking to up their plant-based protein levels even more if working out, training or trying to build muscle. 

    There has been a rise of plant-based protein supplements as vegan diets have raised in popularity and examples are pea protein powder, hemp protein powder and rice protein powder.  It’s becoming a very competitive market so you’ll be able to find huge tubs or packs of vegan protein powders on offer online, just as you would with animal product protein powders like whey.

    Protein supplement brand Scitec Nutrition has shared six tips with me for those looking to transition to a plant-based diet:

    1.            The number one factor to consider is whether you are getting enough calories. Whether you are bulking up or losing weight, making sure that you are consuming the right amount of calories is key to reaching your goal.

    2.            Because plants usually contain lower calories than animal products it is important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Not only will a good mixture of fruit and veg provide your body with a variety of vitamins, it will also provide antioxidants to help keep your immune system strong.

    3.            Legumes are a great source of protein and eating a range of soy, beans and peas alongside grains such as buckwheat, rice and quinoa help to ensure that you get the essential amino acids your body needs.

    4.            Make your plates colourful. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make your meals as colourful as possible. A mixture of natural greens such as broccoli and kale, reds from tomatoes and peppers and yellows from sweetcorn and beans complement each other perfectly and provide a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for your body to use.

    5.            Nuts are a great source of fat and are proven to provide a long-lasting form of energy just when you need it. Eat a handful of nuts before your workout to boost your calories and provide energy, or sprinkle some onto your breakfast to keep you going till lunch.

    6.            Depending on your goals, your lifestyle and your diet in general you may want to look into supplements to complement your plant-based diet. Tracking what you eat on an app or website will give you a good insight into the vitamins and nutrients that you may be lacking, meaning that you can add more into your diet. Many nutritional supplement manufacturers now offer plant-based proteins, BCAA’s and multi-vitamins to help you reach your nutritional targets.


    Not only can you satisfy your body’s protein requirements through a healthy and varied plant-based diet, but you can also save money by eating this way.


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    Save money by getting your protein from plant-based sources