If the title of this post caught your attention, the chances are you're either a regular Whole Foods customer, or love to shop there from time to time. But let's be honest, how many times the price tag made your eyes twitch? Over the years of shopping at Whole Foods I discovered some tricks that will sure help you save some money.
10 Tricks That Will Change The Way You Shop At Whole Foods
Dear Whole Foods! I wish you knew how much I enjoy visiting you on a weekly basis, scouting the aisles for new and untested products, tasting your tangy artichoke and spinach dip and exploring cheese samples that you always carry in those little sample baskets. What I don't like is that after I get carried away with my purchases, I discover that my grocery bill is way beyond of what I expected.
Let me tell you something my friends. Back in the days, when I just got married and didn't have kids, I rarely looked at the price tag. We used to live in downtown Chicago, steps away from Whole Foods. Since I was and still am the main person in the kitchen, I've used to visit Whole Foods every other day. Even if I didn't need anything, I still loved browsing the shelves hoping to find something worthy. Apparently, there were always plenty of things that caught my attention as I almost never left the store with empty hands. And can you blame me? Whole Foods sells so much goodness starting from their huge organic produce section and ending with "drag me out of it" cheese department. You know, I'm just a cheese fanatic:)
Anyways, those times when I didn't care for price tag are pretty much over, at least for now. Once our family got bigger and 2 little mouthes occupied our house, I started to really look into the ways to save on grocery bill. Over the years of shopping at Whole Foods, I've gathered some true tips and tricks on how to reduce your grocery bill. Hopefully you will find them useful too!
1. Buy in bulk
This is one of my favorite and long time ago discovered tricks. We all love purchasing food in pre measured packages. I get it, it's very convenient. But you know that you're gonna pay for this convenience. Fancy labels and pretty packages cost additional bucks. If you don't care for beautiful packaging, I suggest you start buying in bulk.
What exactly can you buy in bulk? The answer is - almost half of your grocery shopping:
- grains: rice, quinoa, barley, millet, oats...
- flour: all-purpose, almond, corn...
- dried fruits
When I'm at Whole Foods, I always spend a significant amount of time in the bulk department.
If you want to save even more when purchasing in bulk, I recommend packing your bulk goods in plastic bags rather than plastic containers.
2. Explore lower shelves
This may seem obvious, but the same quality products on the lower shelves are usually cheeper than the ones on the eye level shelves.
I actually didn't pay attention to this until recently. I was shopping for Arborio Rice and my most often bought Arborio Rice brand is usually located on the eye level shelves. But then, I lowered my eyes and noticed that the rice on the bottom shelf is much cheaper than the one I used to buy. Why didn't I think about this before? It's so obvious, just explore the whole section.
Since then, when shopping for a particular product, I always scout lower shelves and pretty much always find decent alternatives for a much cheaper price.
3. Look for the sale sign on the price tag.
If you're like me and often buy a product without looking at the price tag, you may be surprised to find that brands that are usually more expensive, have a reduced price on a given day.
4. Shop for seasonal products.
If you live in the Northern states, the chances are cherries or other summer specific produce are not common during the winter. Therefore, the price for these items are usually higher than in summer. If you're on a budget, try to stock up on seasonal fruits and veggies. First of all, they taste better because they are picked up on the peak of their growth and second of all - they are cheaper.
5. Check Whole Foods coupons at the entrance.
I think, Whole Foods launched coupons relative recently, but if you regularly check the book, you can find good deals on your most frequently bought items.
I have to say, sometimes I forget to grab that coupon book, but when I do, I can almost always find the product of interest at a reduced price.
6. Install Whole Foods app.
I just love using their app. It does 2 cool things most of the times based on their promotion. First - if you buy fresh produce worth $25 or over, you automatically get $5 off. This comes very handy if you're planning a big weekly grocery shopping. Second - when you scan the app, it automatically searches for the store items that have a reduced price. If you've bought anything from those items, you get a discount.
To use an app, all you have to do is to install it and let cashier scan it upon checkout or scan it yourself at the register at one of their sensors.
7. Look for the sale announcements at Whole Foods entrance.
8. Bring your own bag.
When you bring your own bag and show it at the checkout, Whole Foods will give you 10 cents off of each bag. It comes really handy if you plan a big grocery shopping. More products = more bags = more $ off.
9. Buy in cases.
I didn't know about this one until recently. When you buy products by the case, you get %10 off. So, for example, if you're an avid pasta eater, you can buy the whole case of pasta by one brand and you'll get a discount. This applies to all products sold at Whole Foods. This discount goes on top of the already discounted items. So, if there's a sale on olive oil and you buy a case of it, you get a sale price + $10 off. Isn't that cool?
10. Avoid purchasing pre-sliced and prepackaged produce.
While this is very convenient to buy cauliflower that is already cut into florets, don't forget that you're gonna pay extra for this convenience. Unless you don't care about the price, I recommend you do all the cutting and slicing at home.
These are the tricks I use every time when shopping at Whole Foods and I hope you'll find them useful as well. Did I forget something? Do you know any other tips? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to know them.
Jenn - peas and crayons says
LOVE the low shelf tip - that's such a good idea and totally true! I try to buy in bulk there whenever possible and just overall adore WF. In fact we often drive way out of the way to visit our nearest store - worth it! 🙂
Ha-ha! We also adore WH. When we were searching for new apartment, we made sure it's close to WH:)))
Low Carb with Jennifer says
I didn't know there was a Whole Foods app! I will definitely check that out. I try to only shop at Whole Foods occasionally, but when I do, it is always for stuff that is on sale.
Yes, definitely, app is a great way to save especially when you buy a lot of fresh produce.
Ali from Home & Plate says
What an informative post. I often avoid Whole Foods because of the prices but this is a wonderful set of tips to shop healthy and at lower prices. I had no idea the bulk foods section offered so much. I will definitely give give these ideas a try next time I am at Whole Foods.
I'm obsessed with bulk section. Definitely give it a try! There's so much goodness:)
These are really great tips!! I have to travel a bit to my nearest Whole Foods but sometimes it's so worth it. Thanks for sharing!
You're welcome! Hope you'll find them useful!:)
Shashi at Savory Spin says
These are some AWESOME tips! I shop at Whole Foods for specialty type stuff but hardly ever check the bulk bins - thanks so much for reminding me to do so next time!
Thanks for your comment Shashi! Definitely check the bulk section. It has everything:)