Shopping at Whole Foods, or “Whole Paycheck” as some have dubbed it, has been one of my staples for years. However, this being said, it has also been a staple IN MODERATION. While I love this place, it can “get real in the Whole Foods parking lot” if you aren’t careful. Anybody who has ever shopped there, knows that I am speaking the truth here. Deciding what to purchase to get the most bang for your buck is the ultimate question.
There is usually a stand outside the front doors, sometimes just inside of them, that has their current coupon books on it. The upside to their coupon books is that they go for a 2 month stretch, so you know what to keep an eye out for. If they happen to be out of those, or you would prefer to prepare ahead of time, which is usually my preference, then you can hit up their website and look for the exact same coupons and print them out.
But wait, there’s more! You can also go onto their website and see the sales that you may not have known about. This way, you can be even more prepared before you walk through those glorious doors to organic, gluten free, dairy free, meat free, low sodium, nut free food options.
There is still one last option to help you beat the inevitable wallet crunch of shopping at Whole Foods. They have a fairly new app called the Whole Foods Market App. I have to say that I just recently learned about it and am loving it so far!
It is pretty darn easy to navigate, especially with regards to finding the sales and coupons. Their in app coupons are extremely easy to use as well because you don’t need to pick and choose because you get them all. They are automatically applied to your order ,as long as you have the cashier scan your barcode on your phone before you pay.
The current in store sales are under the same heading as the coupons, so you can take a look at those and see if you want to add anything else to your grocery list. I am going to be honest and tell you that I have not been able to get their “shopping list” part of the app to work. I am guessing there is a software glitch that they are hopefully planning to fix soon.
What to Purchase
The bigger question, after weeding through all of their sales and coupons, is what should you actually be buying at Whole Foods to keep your spending to a minimum. The following are my suggestions, as to which items are a better deal versus the ones that really just aren’t most of the time.
- Bulk Grains
- Specialty Cheese
- Frozen Fruit and Vegetables
- 365 Brand Canned No Sodium Added Beans (They go for $.99 a can in my area!)
- Beyond Meat Products
- 365 Brand Coffee (the larger 24 oz whole bean bags are usually a pretty good deal, as long as you have a grinder)
- A Few Select Beers and Wines (Don Simon is one of my favorites that goes for $3.99 per bottle around here)
- The 24 count eggs, if they have them in your area
Sometimes Buy (If they are on sale and you have a coupon):
- Juices – such as Suja and Naked (I got Suja, 2 bottles for $4, due to a 2 for $5 sale and a $1 Ibotta rebate that I had = SCORE!)
- Fresh Organic Fruit
- Annie’s Products – such as Mac n’ Cheese, crackers, cookies
- Whole Foods 365 Brand Ice Cream
- Talenti Gelato
- Certain Brands of Vitamins
- Half and Half
- Any of the dozen egg cartons
- Most Olive Oil
- Salad Dressing
- Salad Bar (ridiculously overpriced and their scales have been notoriously off, so they end up charging you more)
- Olive Bar (it is absolutely delicious but only reserved for special occasions because of the cost)
- Prepared Foods
Overall, Whole Foods carries great products, especially if you are looking for specialty products. This is the place where I get most of my gluten free bread (because they have Udi’s, which is my son’s favorite white bread), my vegetarian meat and my no sodium added beans (because those are difficult to find in other stores).
However, when it comes to everything else, it just depends. I do the same thing that I do with every other store. I go through their app and look at all of the sales and coupons. I then correspond it with Ibotta to see if there is any overlap, or if there are items on Ibotta that may be a good deal without a coupon or sale from Whole Foods. After all of that, I check the other regular stores that I shop at to make sure that they aren’t running a better deal.
I am sure this sounds like a lot of work, but it really moves pretty fast. Especially if I get the list together of my family’s needs, and wants, ahead of time. That way, I know what I am looking out for. Every now and then, I will add things to my list that we don’t need right away because it happens to be a really good deal and we’ll use it.
Overall, Whole Foods can be a really great place to shop, if you plan accordingly. And for the love of all that is holy, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER walk in there on an empty stomach and without a plan. You will leave shell shocked wondering what happened to you.
What are some ways that you have found to stretch your dollar at Whole Foods?
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