Starting your first year of university this term? Don’t be surprised if you move into your new halls and see stacks of veggie nuggets in the fridge. According to new research, students today are six times more likely to avoid eating animals than their parents are.

Increased awareness of animal suffering in the food industry as well as a deeper understanding of the devastating environmental impact of meat-eating is prompting students to make the easy, compassionate switch to vegan living. The best bit? Not only is being vegan a life-saver, it’s a big-time money-saver, too.

You don’t have to sacrifice taste or quality to ace the plant-based lifestyle, whatever your budget. Here are some of our favourite tips and tricks for mastering vegan eating on the cheap :

Kitchen Staples

Meet your new best friends: rice, lentils, pasta, spices, tinned beans, and grains. Not only are these staples cheap and versatile, they’re also long-lasting – meaning you won’t have to worry about your bank balance when you’re nearing the end of your student loan.

You can get really creative with all these cupboard essentials and make yourself anything from a rich and creamy mac ‘n’ “cheese” to a protein-packed lentil and chickpea curry.

Pro tip: Always buy supermarket own-brand products when possible in order to avoid inflated brand prices. Tesco’s Everyday Value UHT soya milk, for example, is only 59p per litre!

Freezer Food: Vegan Meat

Thanks to the increasing popularity of vegan food, supermarkets have upped their game in the last couple of years, and most now offer a great selection of low-cost plant-based options – which is excellent news for anyone on a budget.

Iceland, for instance, has 13 different vegan meat options available at affordable prices. You can stock up on its No Chicks Chunks, No Bull Mince, and much more without breaking the bank.

To discover more of the most delectable options, check out our vegan meat guide:

Pro tip: Morrisons’ Fudco Soya Chunks are only £1, and you can use them in a variety of meals.

On the Go

Available at some uni eateries, URBAN Eat has many options that say “vegan” loud and proud. Try its Dirty Jack Wrap or Hot Mozza Bella Panini between lectures to keep your spirits up – the price point and flavours will get you through even the toughest of days.

Waitrose has loads of ready meals labelled “vegan”, and it’s the first UK supermarket to have a dedicated vegan section. Look out for plenty of meal deals and offers in store.

Many other brands that you already know and love are offering vegan options, so check the ingredients and look out for “vegan” labels.

Pro tip: Sandwiches and ready meals are often marked down at the end of the day, so you might be able to grab a bargain.

Vegan Boxes

Being a student can sometimes mean all-nighters and stressing about deadlines, so finding time to prepare a healthy meal may occasionally take a back seat. But don’t worry about going hungry: vegan boxes are here to save the day (or night)!

The Vegan Recipe Box Company  has a special offer for students – and it makes life a whole lot easier for anyone with too little time and too much to do. All you have to do is order one of the boxes and you’ll get two recipes and all the ingredients – enough to batch-cook your next eight meals. Pretty easy, right?

Another great one for students is TheVeganKind Lifestyle Box, which contains a variety of items – such as candles, books, hand wash, and snacks – to help you decompress and indulge in some well-deserved TLC after a long day in the library. This fun box gives you a chance to try new products and learn more about why being vegan is the way to go.

Pro tip: Keep any recipes that you enjoy from your vegan boxes so that you can use them over and over again.

Being vegan is better for animals, the planet, your health, and your wallet! If you need any more help to make the switch or continue on your compassionate journey, download one of our free vegan starter kits or take our 30-day vegan pledge: