How To Shop At Whole Foods
I’m always amazed at how many people say Whole Foods is too expensive for their family. I come from a frugal, coupon cutting family and enjoy finding bargains at Whole Foods. (We didn’t cut coupons for fun or to save for vacations or for my parent’s retirement, we did it out of necessity, like so many other families!)
You don’t have to avoid Whole Foods to stay within your budget. You just have to plan and shop carefully.
But let me clarify: Whole Foods is not a bargain grocery store where you can take your entire list and leave spending $50. Quality food does come at a higher price . . . and if you want quality food at decent prices you have to understand that you can’t just make a list and expect to come home with everything on it. You can only purchase certain items at certain times.
I view my purchases at Whole Foods the way I do at Publix, Kroger, and Target: I try to only buy what’s on sale. (Publix is outrageous unless you take advantage of their BOGO’s.) I also keep track of my “staple” items. Over time, I have learned what to buy where on a regular basis.
Here are some tips:
1. Sign up for the email mailing list at your local store. They will email you about every awesome weekend special. (Like, the time they had 1/4lb beef patties for $1.00. Yeah, there was a line and we all stocked up!)
2. Follow your local store on Twitter or Facebook.
3. Get their coupon book (usually kept at the front of the store) and keep it for the entire month. When they put any of those items on sale (yogurt, crackers, boxes of awesome fancy rice without the MSG), you will have more than doubled your savings. I have walked out of the store paying 1.00 for items that usually cost $3 or $4.
4. Use your other coupons! Yes, they take all manufacturers coupons!
5. Their hot bar is pricey . . . 8.99lb. But did you know that you can now fill up a bowl for a flat fee of $12? (Smart people fill it up with several pounds of amazingly prepared, high quality MEAT.)
6. If you have a family, look into their family meal specials. WAY cheaper than eating out . . . sometimes $20. to feed a family of 4-6! Again, these are local store deals and you have to follow their newsletter to hear about them.
7. Buy in bulk. You will save 10%. Do you enjoy that ridiculously expensive Synergy Kombucha? Wait until it goes on sale and then buy a case. You’ll save more than $1.00 per bottle!
8. ASK. Want to try something you aren’t sure about? ASK and they might just give you the whole bottle to sample. Yes, I’m serious.
9. Keep an open mind. If it’s outrageous the first time you visit, please give it another chance. That item you really want might be 3.00 cheaper on your next visit. Those organic blueberries might go on sale for 1.99 a quart. That 6.99 bag of organic apples might be 4.99 (what they are right now in Atlanta). Their grass fed beef might be 3.99lb. Organic chicken, 2.99lb.
10. Check out their 365 brand. Their tortilla chips, crackers, etc.. are comparable in price to Kroger and Publix brands.
I am thankful there is finally a large grocery store that is dedicated to providing high quality food to families. So, frugal friends, let’s not slam them so much! Remember, because they exist, Publix, Kroger, Aldi, and other grocery stores are starting to offer better food for better prices.
Also, Whole Foods customer service is amazing.