By blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!
While some people detest grocery shopping, I actually love it—always have. And so, I consider myself very fortunate to literally have 12 options within a five mile radius of my home. Those options include Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare, and the latter one I frequent during most weeks. But occasionally I’ll make the 20 minute trek to Whole Foods Market. Because I. Love. It.
Okay, okay, I know that sounds a bit hokey, but it’s something about the environment of the store that I’m particularly fond of, as well as all of the organics, bulk bins, and wide variety. I could go on. I’m often asked how in the world one can shop at Whole Foods Market (WFM) without paying an arm and a leg (have you heard the term “whole paycheck?”). So I’m happy to share some of my tips for saving money while shopping the store. Oh, but first I want to tell you that Whole Foods Market played no part in this article; I’m simply just a fan.
8 Ways to Save at Whole Foods Market
1. Don’t buy everything you need. Tempting as it may be, don’t do your entire shopping at WFM. By skipping many packaged products and buying just the basics, you can make sure you don’t leave with the “whole paycheck” feeling. Sure, you can get lost in the aisles and aisles (and aisles!) of fabulously fancy packaged goods, but unless there’s a super sale, skip it.
Plus, much of the packaged products are in fact highly processed and can add up fast. Just because it’s offered at Whole Foods doesn’t mean it’s a real food. You must read the ingredients no matter where you shop. Also, be sure to be selective in the produce department. Again, not everything is organic! Don’t assume that just because you are at WFM that it is.
2. Consider the 365 brand. WFM’s store brand, 365, has some really good products for some really good prices. I personally love their whole wheat pasta. I’ve purchased a 16 ounce package of organic whole wheat pasta for $1.39. Their butter is also really good. 365’s organic quinoa is priced much lower than other brands, as is their chicken broth. Another note: Don’t assume that all 365 products are organic. Be sure to read labels.
3. Shop the bulk bins. Not too long ago, I did a post on buying in bulk from the bins, which ends up not only saving money, but it’s also good for the environment. If you don’t have a family member with food allergies (who might be affected by cross-contamination), this is a great way to go. Don’t forget to make your own nut butter while you’re there! And on that note, if you bring your own jars, they do a tare weight (they weigh your jars first and subtract out the weight) AND give you 10 cents off for every jar/reusable bag that you use. Not a huge savings, but I’ll take it!
4. Bring your bags. Okay, so it’s not going to be a grand savings, but you will get a small discount for doing so, and you’re doing good for the planet. So bring your own bags.
5. Health Starts Here. One day while gazing at the prepared foods, I discovered this deal: 4 for $4 Health Starts Here foods. While I’m not always 100% sold on buying just any prepared foods, I do feel good about theirs because they’re typically made with whole foods, they contain healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados – no oils added), and more.
You can find out more here regarding what their definition is, but in a nutshell, you get to choose 4 varieties for just $4. I’ve gotten everything from quinoa burgers to roasted beets, kale/quinoa salad mixture, an almond butter/kale/cabbage salad, and more. It’s a great way to try out different foods (which may give you inspiration in your own cooking!) for a low price.
6. Stack your coupons. I must say that I have not done this a lot myself, but I know they allow it. Basically you can download coupons from their website then look up the product online, and see if you can find more coupons for the same product. Couple them together and you can get some great deals. Note: Different stores have different policies for this. So be sure to inquire within your local store.
7. Tune into your local store. I was in California last year and happened to be at a WFM on a Wednesday, when they had $2 off per pound at their hot/salad bars. I just assumed that every store did this, which I later found out was not true. Stay in touch with your local store and stay abreast of particular savings by following their social media sites. By doing this, you can also take advantage of some really good local one day and weekend sales. For example, my store in Charlotte had $6.99 buckets of grilled or BBQ chicken for the weekend of July 4th—a savings of $3 each. I’ve also seen bundle sales, specific cheese sales, and a Lent sale (with various fish), etc.
8. And last but not least, don’t forget the Kids Club! My kids love going to WFM almost as much as I do, and they also love the many samples along the way and the offerings at the Kids Club. Sign your kids up for a membership, and that way they get to pick a piece of fruit, an applesauce, box of raisins, or a fruit leather up in the front of the store. They always let me peruse much more while they are happily munching.
How do you save money at Whole Foods Market?