by Vicky Monroe
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the price of eggs is out of control! The USDA reported that the average price of a dozen eggs has tripled to $3.13 this month. Honestly, I’d be delighted if I could find them for that price! In my area, a dozen eggs cost nearly $5. My sister who still lives on the East Coast told me that eggs in her area are nearly $8 a dozen, which is shocking.
As a vegetarian (formerly a vegan, but I found the diet too restrictive), eggs used to be one of my main sources of protein. However, they’ve just gotten too expensive to justify adding them to my grocery list. So lately I’ve been relying on other sources of protein such as legumes and tofu, and making some of the old faux egg recipes I used to enjoy when I was vegan, such as tofu scramble.
Tofu Scramble Will Turn You Into a Tofu Lover
Tofu scramble is just crumbled-up tofu sauteed in a pan with a variety of spices that make it taste eggy, such as onions, garlic, turmeric, paprika, and nutritional yeast (a seasoning that’s popular with vegans because it has a cheesy flavor).
You can even add a special rock salt called kala namak to tofu scramble to replicate that slightly sulfuric taste that real eggs have, but I usually skip it because it’s delicious without it. Here’s my recipe of choice if you’re missing scrambled eggs and are daring enough to experiment with tofu to save money! Trust me, you’ll love it.
I’ve also been skipping eggs in baking and relying on vegan egg substitutes instead. You can usually replace one egg in baked goods with a quarter cup of applesauce, or make a faux egg out of flax seeds or chia seeds.
How to Make Flax and Chia Seed “Eggs”
Flax and chia seeds take on a gelatinous texture when you add water to them, which makes them an ideal replacement for eggs in quick breads, cakes, muffins, and cookies. They bind baked goods beautifully and you can’t even taste them or see them in the finished product!
I usually put one tablespoon of chia or flax seeds in a dish and mix it with three tablespoons of water to create one faux egg. Then I let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the seeds to absorb all the water and add the resulting mixture to my recipe.
Even though flax and chia seeds are specialty health foods, they’re cheaper than eggs right now, which I honestly can’t believe. I can get a 12 oz package of chia seeds for $5, about the same cost as a dozen eggs. But I can get 24 chia eggs out of that package, so it ends up being half the cost of using real eggs.
If you don’t want to make your own chia or flax seed eggs, you can also get readymade egg replacers from brands like Bob’s Red Mill. This option is also cheaper than using real eggs in baked goods right now, at least in my area.
Speaking of Eggs…
Speaking of eggs, my sister is undergoing egg retrieval as part of her fertility journey. Seeing her navigate the IVF process has made me start thinking about my own fertility and how to plan for those eventual medical costs when I want to start having kids.
Unfortunately, I’m probably going to have fertility problems as a result of a tumor I had as a child. I had a grapefruit-sized tumor removed when I was 3 ½ that had been growing internally in my abdomen since birth. I’ve had major stomach issues ever since the surgery, so I likely have a lot of internal scarring, and my doctor believes I’ll have fertility problems as a result.
My spouse and I probably want to start our family within the next decade. Hearing about my sister’s medical costs has opened our eyes to how expensive having kids could be if I need IVF as well. We’re open to other methods of expanding our family such as adoption, but that too comes with costs.
Right now I’m in the research phase of figuring out how much it may cost us to have kids so I can start to plan. Because we’re debt-averse, we definitely want to have enough saved up to start our family without taking out any loans. If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear more about your experiences and how much it cost you to adopt or have biological children.
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Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.
10 years ago, IVF cost us about $15K, though the number and cost of meds will influence that. This was for all the work up, meds to increase the number of eggs produced ahead of retrieval, blood tests and monitoring ultrasounds, retrieval, fertilization in the lab, meds to prepare for reimplantation, the reimplantation procedure, and then 10 weeks of progesterone to support the pregnancy. We froze unused embryos, which was about $500/year.
We implanted a frozen embryo 2 years later and it was about $5000 since the process basically started with meds to prepare for reimplantation.