I want to begin by saying I realize that everyone has a different lifestyle and I respect that. Not everyone can afford to buy fresh ingredients everyday/every week or handmade local clothing. This is important to bring up because there are some people who are trying to live a vegan lifestyle, but are criticized when they buy food/products from companies that are low on the vegan friendly list. Some of these companies may offer vegan options but the money is still going to a corporation that does not have animal or human welfare on their mind.
Voting with you dollar is a concept that I often struggle with as a college student. I do not have the money to buy local handmade garments or buy locally grown produce on a weekly basis, but that is ok. I want people to know that it is ok to buy from fast food restaurants that offer vegan options when they are in a position of otherwise not being able to eat for a week. I want people to know that it is ok to buy from a department store that sells cheap clothing that may not be ethically made if you are in dire need of warm clothing. Second hand and thrift shops are better than buying new (recycling clothing within a local economy is great for everyone!) but even those can be expensive or not accessible in some areas.
Sadly, the world we live in is driven by cheap, dangerous labor from both humans and animals. I cannot wait to be able to only eat locally and buy from small individually owned shops. Right now I just simply cannot afford it, and I am a middle class white female. Think about that.
Please do not shame others for their choices of where they shop or eat. Unless you actually know their financial situation, it is not fair to them. The vegan lifestyle can be expensive and it can be affordable. I have learned that it is based on location and resources available to each individual. I would hate to see someone give up being vegan because someone shamed them for eating or shopping at a particular place. I have known vegans that shame others when the person being shamed really had no idea what they were doing wrong. Do not expect someone to know everything.
Here are some sources (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) for eating vegan on a budget. I hope that is a helpful place to start. I have a previous post that talks about the book Eat Vegan On $4 a Day by Ellen Jaffe Jones. Even just Googling “vegan on a few dollars a day” will provide lots of resources. Tumblr also provides great posts when searching “cheap vegan.” Here is a list of fast food restaurants with vegan options (always be sure to check with the restaurant! Sometimes things can change). I am a big advocate for cooking at home. Making your own food will always be one of the cheapest ways to live. However, we are human and sometimes we end up with less money than planned and are not able to buy groceries. Not everyone is able to cook either. That is ok. Be supportive. Do not criticize someone who is at least trying to change their lifestyle for the better.