Buying these convenience items sure is easier, they are easy to throw together and after a long day of travel, I really don't want to cook. However, they are also loaded with things that, although vegan, aren't really good for you in the long run. So by shopping mainly in the produce section, staying out of the convenience foods section, my grocery bill didn't change since I gave up the expensive convenience foods.
I make my own almond milk because it is WAY cheaper! Non-dairy milks are expensive. Homemade almond milk is so easy to make and it tastes great. And I am not a huge almond lover. I don't pick up almonds as a snack, but almond milk (at least my homemade version) doesn't taste heavily almond-y. Yeah, that's a word!
There are things you can do though when it comes to organic vs. non-organic. Follow the dirty dozen/clean fifteen list. In general, leafy greens should be organic, thin skinned items should be organic. Things with thick skins like Bananas it's not as important. Pick your battles!
The Dirty Dozen (Buy these organic where possible):
3. Sweet bell peppers
6. Nectarines and other stone fruits (peaches, apricots, etc)
Plus: Green beans, Kale/Greens – May contain residues of special concern
* I buy all my greens organic, I just don't trust non-organic greens. And really, except for hard shelled squash that I have to peel and bananas I buy all organic.
The Clean 15 (Lowest is pesticides, ok to buy not organic when):1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn - I would buy this organic to avoid GMOs
6. Sweet Peas
12. Sweet Potatoes