Frugal shoppers may think they can’t keep food cost low and enjoy the health benefits of organic food.
Whole Food Markets is known for its organic selections and carries some fairly expensive, higher-end products.
It’s no wonder why many choose to shop elsewhere, but they are missing out.
By following a few simple tricks, you can score big deals and save money while shopping at Whole Foods.
1. Bring Your Own Bags
Before leaving home make sure to grab some of your reusable grocery bags. Whole Foods will give you a discount if you use your own bags to carry home groceries. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about carrying dozens of plastic bags back into the house and it will decrease pollution. Helping the environment and saving some cash is definitely a win-win situation for everyone.
Tip: Fill up those bags before heading to the store. Don’t forget to take advantage of Whole Foods bottle deposit vouchers if you purchase milk in glass containers. Return the glass bottles at customer service to receive a voucher for as much as $3.00! There are Whole Foods bottle return machines for bottles and cans. Also, the stores collect a variety of recyclable materials from batteries and cork, to #5 plastics.
2. Read the Local Sales Flyers
Planning out your visit to Whole Foods before heading to the store can help you save money. Start with the local flyer (available online) to see what is on sale. Also, see if you can locate any coupons on their website or other places online. You may even be able to stack a couple of different coupons. A little planning and a bit of research can go a long way in reducing grocery costs, wherever you shop.
3. Download the Whole Foods App
They say that there is an App for everything these days (including budgeting apps), but did you even know there was a special one specifically for Whole Food shoppers? It can be used as a shopping list, but also to score special coupons.
4. Check Out the 365 Brand First
Whole Food Markets features its own generic brand called “365.” The prices are really reasonable and can sometimes be even cheaper than the selections in other grocery stores. Check out things like 365 peanut butter, soup, and vitamins. You should be aware that not all 365 items are organic, but just read the label to know for sure.
5. Go Non-Organic for Some Items
Everyone tends to have unique priorities when it comes to buying organic versus non-organic foods. However, there are many reputable sources that vouch for certain types of food that are safe to eat, even if not organic. A few examples include avocados, pineapple, onions, and cantaloupes.
Tip: make sure to rinse off produce, even if you’re only eating the inside of it. A knife can drag unwanted materials in from the outer covering when you cut it open.
6. Shop From the Bulk Bins
Whole Foods has a great selection of items in their bulk bins. You can pick up everything from oats and rice, to nuts, candy, and coffee. These items are usually priced cheaper than what is on the shelf and can be stored at home in jars or Tupperware containers. Herbs and spices tend to be a bargain, especially if you only need a small amount for a specific recipe. Again, you’re helping out the environment too, by reducing your packaging waste.
Tip: If you bring storage containers with you to the store, they can weigh them first, and subtract that from the total weight of your purchase. This way you don’t have to pay for the cost of the packaging.
7. Buy the Whole Case
Similar to saving money at warehouse clubs, a great way to save at Whole Foods is by buying a whole case of something that is used a lot in your house. For example, you may be able to get 10% off bottled water if you buy the whole case. Just make sure to ask for the case discount when cashing out your purchases. Whole Foods also offers a 10% discount if you buy six or more bottles of wine at a time.
8. Pay Attention to Deal Days for Prepared Foods
Whole Foods offers many healthy options for food on the go (much better for you than drive-thru fare), but it can get pricey. The best way to save money on prepared food is by paying attention to the featured selection of the day for your local store. Many locations offer Taco Tuesday deals and sandwich or salad bar discounts.
9. Score Freebies with the Kids Club
Children who sign up for The Kids Club receive all sorts of free samples when they go shopping with their parents. Stop at the front of the store to pick up a snack like raisins or some fruit. Then, the kids will have something to snack on while you take care of the shopping.
10. Enjoy the Samples Yourself
Whole Foods always seems to have some items ready for you to taste. These selections will usually be on sale or coupons will be available at the sampling station. You can even request to try the foods. If you can try it before buying it, you’re not going to end up wasting money on something you don’t like. Also, we all know that shopping on an empty stomach can be dangerous because you end up buying much more than you actually need.
Shopping for groceries at Whole Foods can be part of a frugal routine; it does not have to put you over budget. The key is a little bit of planning to make sure that you’re finding the best deals on quality food for your family.