It’s VERY easy to get lost in the aisles of Whole Foods. You go in for a couple staple items and walk out with $300 worth of luxury yogurt and organic grass-fed moon activated almonds. It happens to the best of us. Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your Whole Foods shopping experience!
365 is the Whole Foods “generic” brand and is an excellent way to cut down on costs why shopping at Whole Foods. These items still hold the same quality standards that Whole Foods promises to adhere to, but at a fraction of the cost.
Make a list
An easy way to avoid buying things you don’t need is to plan out what meals you’re going to make ahead of time, writing down all the ingredients you need, and making sure you don’t stray from that list.
It also helps to eat a light meal before you go shopping. Sometimes our hunger decides our past list-maker self was wrong and you definitely need that $30 gourmet fresh pasta. Don’t give in.
Make a list, eat a snack before, and keep your eyes on the prize!
Sample shopping list with generic items:
- Black beans – $1.99
- Jasmine rice – $3.99
- Milk (1/2 gal) – $1.69
- Dozen eggs – $2.99
- Whole wheat bread – $1.99
- Sugar – $3.49
- Flour – $2.99
- Green lentils – $2.49
- Dog Food – $1.39
- Bananas – $0.19
- Avocados (4 ct) – $2.95
- Chocolate chip cookies – $3.69
- Chips – $2.79
- Shampoo – $2.99
Don’t always buy organic
As someone that grows a lot of my own vegetables in my small backyard, I understand feeling icky about the idea of eating something that’s been sprayed down with bug killer. Of course most people would prefer eating food that’s been grown naturally out in the open sun with little human intervention, but unfortunately that comes at a cost that most people simply cannot afford.
If you want to buy organic, but can’t necessarily afford it for every single item, you should prioritize buying organic food items that contain the highest pesticide residue first.
Choose organic for less protected produce
Go conventional on items with a hard outer shell
Amazon credit card
– With the recent Amazon + Whole foods buyout, Amazon is now offering some perks to their credit card holders. They’re giving 5% cash (Amazon points) back for purchases made at Whole Foods with your Amazon credit card. This essentially means your food is an extra 5% off! Doesn’t sound like much, but over time and coupled with these other suggestions it’ll definitely save you some money in the long run.
Another Amazon tip, if you’re a Prime member and shop at Whole Foods fairly often, it’s worth it to download the Whole Foods app. The app will give you access to coupons and sale items for the week.
And if you’re a Prime member, you’ll save an additional 10% on those sale items!
Stack the 5% savings on top if you have the Amazon credit card and you just saved yourself 15%!
It’s easy to get lost in the supplements and body care aisles, but if you want to save money you should honestly just avoid these aisles altogether.
If you do end up there and find something you want to purchase, do a quick online search for the product first and you’ll probably be shocked once you see the price markup.
Avoid the prepared foods area
I know it can be tempting to fill up a box at the beloved hot or salad bar, but this can turn into a huge money suck. The food is usually priced flat between $8.99-10.99 per pound regardless of what you’re piling on your plate. So just to put this in perspective, let’s look at the price difference of a product purchased off the shelf and prepared at home vs purchased off the hot bar:
Purchasing from the hotbar
1 lb of cooked white rice – ~$9.99 per pound
5 lb bag of white rice for $4.99, which is equal to 15 lbs of cooked rice – $0.33 per pound
So ultimately you’ll get 30 TIMES more rice by just purchasing a bag yourself and throwing it in a pot of water for 20 minutes.
Now of course that example is super simplified since most people are buying prepared recipes, not just a single item like rice. But it’s still important to think about the actual cost of each item and try to avoid eating out (yes, Whole Foods hot bar counts as eating out) if you’re trying to save money.
Stick to the plan!
Follow all of these rules and you’ll make it out of Whole Foods without giving up your whole paycheck. Just make sure you don’t get distracted once you’re in there. Stick to the plan!