5 tricks to saving money at Whole Foods

 

I love shopping at Whole Foods, I really do. But, it can be expensive. So here are my five tricks for saving money while grocery shopping at Whole Foods:

  1. Stick to the perimeter
  2. Buy in season and on sale
  3. Look for in-store coupons
  4. Avoid processed foods
  5. Buy in bulk

When I go into my local Whole Foods store, I do a big circle, starting in produce and working my way around the perimeter of the store. In the produce section, I look for what is on sale, what is seasonal and what is local. We don’t eat blueberries in the middle of January anymore, because they come from South America, don’t taste as good, and are super expensive. This week, Organic Gala Apples from Washington and Organic Avocados from California, are on sale, I will probably buy both. 

In the meats department this week, I see that my son’s favorite Wellshire Turkey Ham is on sale, so I will stock up – he eats that almost every day for lunch. In addition, my husband’s favorite Lamb Shoulder chops are on sale, we will have those sometime this week too. Turns out chicken is also on special, so I will roast that one night and make chicken stock to use another night.

How do I know all this sale information? Well, Whole Foods has a great website and they have their sale fliers available online, so you can check out the specials before you shop. Also, for my third recommendation, pick up the in-store circular, usually available at the information desk in the front of the store. I have found great coupons in there for cereals, dairy products and other middle-of-the-store items.

This brings me to my 4th recommendation – when you go into the middle of the store, you will find that items are more expensive. And processed. So, my 4th recommendation is to stay away from as much of the processed foods as you can, unless you can buy them with coupons. Those boxes of crackers and cookies can really add up. 

And finally, check out the bulk aisle. I can buy organic oatmeal for $1.39 a pound, loads of specialty flours in small amounts for whatever recipe I am making, and more whole grains than I can shake a stick at. My kids love the big Israeli couscous, but in the box, it costs about $3.50. If I buy it in bulk, it is $3.99 a pound. Savings of about $.50. Hey, every penny counts!

And before I start sounding holier-than-thou, let me explain that some weeks my shopping receipt gets up there. I have to restock pantry items, like King Arthur flour and baking sugar. Or we are completely out of cereal or snacks for the kids and no coupons are available for the products we like. Or I stupidly go grocery shopping when I am hungry, tired or depressed about something. That can really kill the bill! But most of the time, if I stick to my 5 rules of shopping at Whole Foods, I can buy healthy, organic, local foods for my family and maintain a decent bank balance.

What are your tricks to shopping at Whole Foods? And suggestions, things I should be looking out for?

5 comments

  1. Great post! I have to admit I am not terribly good about paying attention to the prices. I tend to buy on impulse. Then again, we only have two mouths to feed (excepting Reese).

  2. Depending on how you feel about the necessity of purchasing organic milk, WF can be a cheaper place to buy that as well (I am guessing it is because they just sell a whole lot more of it than does a regular chain like Albertson’s or Safeway.)

  3. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    I have also noticed that with other organic dairy products, yogurt and butter. In fact, I was shocked the first time I saw that Stoneyfield yogurt cups were less expensive at Whole Foods than Safeway!

  4. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    thanks for the compliment Sean! Means a lot coming from you 🙂

    And, I agree – except when I meal plan, many of my purchases are things I buy all the time (staples) or something new I want to try. Even then, I am still likely to only buy it on sale. Except for the chocolate bar with bacon. That I would buy even if it wasn’t on sale.

    BTW, did you know that you can pretty much go up to any WF person the store floor and ask for a sample of something? This weekend, the guy who was restocking the crackers was great about letting me try the chocolate bacon bar!

  5. Very smart tips! I had always thought the only way to save money at Whole Foods was to not go! 🙂

    mariss last blog post..When You Care Enough To Send Your Very Best….Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

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