Going Plant-Based on a Budget with Toni Okamoto – EP 290

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Many people think going plant-based IS expensive, but we’re here to challenge this misconception. A significant portion of our income goes to buying food, and many of you are interested in eating healthy while being conscious of your spending. In this episode, we delve into eating a plant-based diet while on a budget together with Toni Okamoto. 

Doing something before you’re completely comfortable can set you up for failure.


  • Ch-ch-ch-changes. Turning the beat around. Whether you’re deciding you don’t care that much anymore if your house is clean, or you’re trying a new method of wearing the same outfit all week, OR you’re considering a new way of eating – we’re all making changes (hopefully for the better). And if you want to know about the changes some of your fellow listener friends made in order to become debt free then tune into our YouTube Channel to watch some super inspirational debt-free stories!

Toni Okamoto is the founder of Plant-Based on a Budget, the popular website and meal plan that shows you how to save dough by eating veggies. She’s also the author of the Plant-Based on a Budget Cookbook, and the co-host of The Plant-Powered People Podcast. Her new cookbook is Plant-Based on a Budget: Quick and Easy. 

Taking Your Time in Going Plant-Based

Being familiar and comfortable can be a considerable barrier to trying something new. The biggest misconception about going plant-based, which Toni discovered, is that people believe it has to happen overnight and it has to be all or nothing. You need to try new things step by step to learn more about yourself, just like Toni, who took six (6) years to become plant-based. 

Smart Planning When Grocery Shopping

Being thoughtful and smart about planning your trip to the grocery store can significantly help you save money. A grocery store is hard to navigate when you’re on a budget. Look all the way around and find the lowest price by the ounce. You do not need to sacrifice your budget to create a plant-based meal. 

Time vs. Cost With Plant-Based Cooking

When Toni started her cooking journey, she did not know how to mix the different spices and blend other ingredients. She had to read books from the library and get together with friends to try on various ingredients and recipes. Going Plant-based can cost you time, but you can avoid it by thinking simply. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate and expensive meal. Remember to use only the recipes you will find as a guide, then allow yourself to customize it how you would prefer. 

Go Plant-Based With Kindness and Love

If your partner wants meat or cheese, make a simple meal such as pasta. You can make the same base, take it and create your preferences using that base (e.g., cook the same pasta but create the sauce based on each of your preferences). Toni has been vegan for 16 years now, and one thing she’s learned is that you cannot force anyone to do anything. You can only be kind and loving and hope they will support and accommodate you.  

Our favorite inexpensive plant-based meal to make

  • Toni: Loves the comfort soups bring. Right now, she loves a super vegetable-heavy soup with tofu cubes and pasta to make it hearty. 
  • Jen: Kale Salad with plant-based mayonnaise)and Crispy Tofu, which she puts in everything.
  • Jill: Chickpea rice bowl with all sorts of other goodies in it. 

Bill of The Week

Thank you Toni for sharing your bill about Starbucks where someone else bought your coffee!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a private community where we do monthly money challenges and offer accountability groups. We want to congratulate one of our members for a big win.

Gratitude <3

I just wanted to share my gratitude for the Frugal Friends Club. After receiving blank stares, excuses about their own financial life, outright hostility, or a change of subject from the friends I shared my no spend/move toward debt free living with (hey, I understand that finances are a loaded subject, and I’m not taking it personally) I realize that if I’m going to have community around this, it isn’t with people I currently spend time with.

And it may have even been part of the reason it took me so long to make a move in the direction I wanted to go in (not that I’m absolving myself of responsibility. I need to do some work on my boundaries as well as my finances!) I’m so glad you all are here. 🙏

Congrats! If you want to check out our monthly challenge community head to frugalfriendspodcast.com/club to see what challenge we have coming up next.

And keep leaving us reviews on iTunes or Stitcher, and sending the screenshot to reviews@frugalfriendspodcast.com. And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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