Guest post from Nora of The Dollar Hollering Homemaker
If you normally shop at traditional grocery stores, you might face sticker shock if you visit Whole Foods Market. In general, prices are much more expensive, but I have discovered some tips for saving money at Whole Foods:
1. Check the Ad.
Locate the closest Whole Foods store on WholeFoods.com and see what your store specials are.
2. Pick up the “Whole Deal” coupon book.
Over the summer, they had a coupon where if you bought a rotisserie chicken, you could get a family size side for free. I also found a coupon for a free box of organic tea.
3. Sign up for the e-mail lists and subscribe to the Facebook page.
You will be notified of one-day-only sales and 3-day-only sales where you can really stock up. I’ve been able to get organic, grass-fed beef for $3.99 per lb and organic berries for $2 per lb. You can also sign up in the store deals section of MoneySavingMom.com to get the best deals at Whole Foods emailed to you each week.
4. Buy in bulk.
Whole Foods offers 10% case discounts when you buy in bulk. Case discounts can be combined with coupons for even better savings.
5. Compare prices.
Organic corn tortillas are $0.99 at Whole Foods and typically $0.20-$1.00 more expensive any place else. However, I tend to get bacon, sea salt, whole wheat, and white flour from other stores as the prices for those at Whole Foods aren’t as great.
6. Shop infrequently.
I shop at Whole Food’s every 4-6 weeks, unless there is an excellent one-day sale.
7. Remember that organic isn’t always better.
I always buy grass-fed beef, and if I’m not buying it directly from the farmer, Whole Foods is the next best choice because their beef is local.
That being said, I rarely buy produce at Whole Foods. They may have organic tomatoes, but they traveled here from Mexico and taste like cardboard. In my area, we have a great grocery store chain that carries local produce that is much more flavorful and tends to be lower on pesticides because it isn’t traveling as far.
If you don’t have a great local chain, try farmers’ markets and CSA’s. In addition to saving money, buying local means that I am supporting local farmers and businesses.
8. Stick with the basics.
Don’t spend all your money on the organic boxed/processed stuff. Generally speaking, it isn’t much healthier for you than the stuff you pick up in the regular store. If you are going to splurge on junk food, get what you really want and save your dough.
9. Save time.
To me, time is money. If I buy bread at Whole Foods, they’ll slice it for you for free. Same goes for meat: you can get it cut to order or ground for you. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of something that saves time and is free?
10. Bring your own bag.
Whole Foods gives you a discount for bringing your own reusable bag. You might as well take advantage of this!
How do you save money at Whole Foods?
Nora Duvigneaud is a twenty-something homemaker and D.C. native, residing in the Midwest. When she is not in her kitchen she loves hiking, old school mystery shows and simple living. She blogs at The Dollar Hollering Homemaker.