How to Shop at Whole Foods on a Budget

Shopping at Whole Foods on a Budget

You guys know I LOVE shopping on a budget, especially when it comes to eating clean. But, one of the biggest complaints I get from new clients is that “eating healthy is so expensive”, and trust me, when I first started eating healthy, I thought the same thing. 

I think that as with anything, there are a lot of things to learn when you try to make a lifestyle change, and learning how to be a savvy shopper is one of them when it comes to eating healthy.

I LOVE shopping at Whole Foods, but people like to joke that it’s also called “Whole Paycheck”…and that can true IF you aren’t careful when you are shopping there. It’s easy to get carried away on all the great food they have to offer and walk out paying over $200 for your groceries…But to be honest, on average I only spend $70 or LESS each week at Whole Foods and that’s for both Nik AND me! And many times things I buy during that trip can last me a few weeks.

I want to help YOU be a better shopper at Whole Foods with these simple budget-friendly tips!

Reasons to ♡ Whole Foods

No antibiotics or hormones in ANY of their meat…Like none of it! – Which makes it much easier to find what your looking for. If I ever shop at other places I always have to check and make sure whatever I am buying is organic and is antibiotic/hormone free (that’s the main reason I stopped eating meat for 10 years!) Wholes Foods doesn’t allow any additives into their meat and work closely with their farmers to ensure the animals well-fare, and to make sure the consumer gets the best quality meat available.

How to Shop at Whole Foods on a Budget

Atmosphere – Going grocery shopping at Whole Foods never actually feels like a chore — except when we lived in Brooklyn, and we were 2 blocks away from the only Whole Foods in Brooklyn…so everyone and their mother made it an entire day adventure to go to Whole Foods…I’m seriously not lying…. But, the people at Whole Foods are genuinely helpful and actually seem like they enjoy their jobs (unlike most grocery store workers, if you know what I mean…) I am always looking for crazy ingredients for my recipes and for freelance work, and every time I ask for assistance finding a product, their employees always walk me straight to the item. 

They Give Back to Their Communities – I almost always bring my own reusable bags for my groceries (except for when I stop there on my way home after a morning run!), and they will credit you .10 cents off of your purchase for each bag you bring in, OR they will donate it to a local charity. Of course, I always donate it. But I just love that they do that. It’s a great way to get people to donate, and .10 cents from every person can REALLY add up for those charities.

Tips for Shopping at Whole Foods on a Budget

Fall in Love with the 365 Every Day Value Brand – Like every store, Whole Foods has their own store brand, 365 Every Day Value. Whole Foods has strict standards on what they allow in all their 365 brand items, even if they’re not wearing the USDA organic seal. For one, all the cans are made without the dreaded BPA, and none of their items contain chemicals or pesticides. This make buying the 365 Brand a no-brainer. You can save tons of money, AND you don’t have to worry about getting an inferior product. I buy EVERYTHING possible in the 365 brand, and the only time I don’t is if they don’t make the product I need.

Always Check for Sales and Coupon Booklets & Flyers – These are like GOLD. Seriously, check out one of the sales going on in the picture below “Four Avocados for $5“…can you say guacamole for dayssssss?! (And yes, I did make the largest bowl of guac known to man!) They always have great deals on products, and it’s best to stock up on things — especially non-perishable items or frozen foods — when they are sale. Currently as I’m writing this they are also have an awesome sale on Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 Protein Powder too that is $10 off the original price…you bet your bottom dollar I am stocking up on about 10 bags of that stuff! 😉

The point is, check out the sales going on at you local Whole Foods and try to meal plan based on the sales. If they are having a great sale on wild-caught salmon that week, make sure to pick some up to get in your omega fatty acids. Or if frozen veggies are on sale, pick up a few bags so that you can make a super quick stir-fry on busy week nights.

How to Shop on a Budget at Whole Foods
Make Friends with the Bulk Bins – Nik and my friends always laugh at me because I have about 800 mason jars in my pantry filled with just about everything available in the bulk section. I LOVE the bulk section because you can get only the amount you actually need for a recipe, and you don’t have to worry about wasting anything. Oats, rice, lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and quinoa are some of the cheapest foods to keep in the house, and are easy to find in the bulk section. Many of these cost the same (and sometimes even LESS!) as other grocery stores, but come with the safety that they’re free from toxic chemicals others stores’ products may have.

Other item such as nuts, specialty flours like almond or coconut flours, and even things like sugar are also much cheaper in the bulk section than they are prepackaged. So make sure you stock while you’re over there! (Again, I recommend using mason jars as a nice way to store everything in your pantry…it’s much prettier and more functional than having a million bags in there!)

Shopping on a Budget at Whole Foods

Avoid the “Prepared Foods” – Stick with the Basics – What I mean is, Whole Foods makes it really easy to buy all you fruit, veggies, and even salads, already cut, already portioned, and “ready to eat”. BUT, they seriously bump up the prices for it…I would rather pay $3 for an entire pineapple, than buy the same amount of pineapple already cut up for over $6…(p.s. if you love pineapple as much as I do, you NEED to invest in this gadget…it makes cutting a pineapple so. much. easier!)

Stick with foods in their most natural state and cut, prepare, and season them yourself…trust me it save a TON of money — I know from first hand experience! Also,

Shop at Whole Foods on a Budget

Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies – Here’s a place where you can take advantage of some pre-washed and pre-cut produce: in the frozen aisle. Whole Foods has a wide variety of frozen fruits and vegetables — many of which are organic — for very reasonable prices. These are great to keep on-hand for things like omelets, DIY smoothie packs, stir-fry, and last minute meals of all kinds. (remember: ALWAYS stock up when these are on sale!)

Buy What’s in Season – Produce that’s in season is likely to be on sale or cost less than those not in season — they’ll taste better, too! So look for fruits & veggies at their peak, and once again keep an eye out for those sale signs. A bonus for this is that Whole Foods usually tries to buy most of their in season veggies from local farmers, which mean that they are even more fresh, and will have more nutrients than exotic or out-of-season produce.

Make a List and STICK to It! – Whole Foods makes it easy to stray from your list with all of their new and specialty items. But stick to your list! Get your coupons, and make a meal plan for the week ahead, being conscious of the sales. If you see an item that your really want to try, incorporate it into your meal plan for the following week. Make a plan, and stick to it!

 

All in all, shopping at Whole Foods is worth it. Not only are you eating fresh and healthy food, but your money also goes towards local farmers and either food/environmental, or human rights charities when you shop.

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How do you shop at Whole Foods on a budget? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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5 Comments

  1. Great tips that are always a good reminders for shopping! I love Whole Foods, bu the closest one is far to make it anything other than a special trip- so a list is essential for me.

    1. Thanks! Somehow we have lucked out and ever place we have moved (5 moves, to 5 different states, in 5 years…) has been only a few blocks from a Whole Foods…It crazy how often I go!

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