Friday, September 22, 2017

Ways to Save at Whole Foods Market

I'm really digging the new Whole Foods Market in Riverdale Park.  Sure, I love all of the incredibly colorful produce and am childishly entertained by fruits that look like they're from outer space (looking at you, Jackfruit), but I also appreciate the increased accessibility to foods that are free from artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, flavors, etc.

That said, I didn't really think it was honestly going to be that accessible to me and my family. Others, sure. But us? Not so much. We're on a budget. Whole Foods Market is not. I cut coupons. Whole Foods Market does not (actually, wrong - they do. More on that below). I get irrationally high thrills that drown out my whimpering kids when I'm at a cash register and see the how much money my mad skillz just saved me. Whole Foods Market couldn't possibly match this adrenal exhausting magic, right? Besides, every time I enter the store to buy just one or two things, I end up walking out with 2 bags full of delectable goods that cost well over my weekly grocery budget. Sneaky, too-good sample stations.

So you can imagine my skepticism when Whole Foods Market approached me to chat about their affordability. Say what? Affordable? Immaletyoutalk but Immanotreallygonnalisten. Until I actually did listen. One of their employees walked me through the store and showed me where you can find the best, non-obvious, deals (end of aisles), what sections to scout out (bulk), what price tag colors to look for (yellow) and what brands to focus on (365 Everyday Value® ). She then challenged me to a duel. JK. She challenged me to see if I could feed my family of four for a week on $125 worth of food from Whole Foods Market. Not one to shy from a challenge, I got down on my knee and when I made my way back up, set forth on my quest. 😁

I'm super pleased to report that I was indeed able to buy a week's worth of groceries from Whole Foods Market for $125. While it did take some elbow grease (like planning meals that used similar ingredients and made use of staples I already had on hand) and a firm commitment to my shopping list, it was indeed doable. I never would have put "Whole Foods Market" and "affordable" in the same category.  After all, it's rare that I walk out of other local grocery stores with a bill that rings in under $150, and that's with coupons, shopping the circular, etc. So to walk out of Whole Foods at a little under $125?  Say word?  Words. Lots of 'em. Read on!

I will note that we eat a largely vegetarian diet. Lots of beans jokes (and smells) in our house πŸ˜‰ along with lots of frozen vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, nuts, etc. So, if you're a carnivore, your grand total may be higher than $125, but I believe that if you consider adopting a few of the tricks I'm about to pull out of my lovely sleeve, you, too, will be surprised with how much more affordable it is than you previously thought.

Ten Shopping Tricks Rollin' Down My Sleeve Just For You!  

1. Check Out the Sales Flyer and Coupon Booklet - As you do at other stores, survey what's on sale. The weekly flyer and coupon booklet are available both at the store and online.

2. Pile on the Savings - Download the Whole Foods Market app to see if there are any additional coupons you can use this week. (For me, I looked but didn't see any coupons that fit for us this particular week. Still made it under $125 though! πŸ‘Š)

3. Make a Shopping List & Stick to it! - Rule #1 of Budget Fight Club - Make a List. When I don't bring a shopping list to the supermarket, things go haywire. I buy produce that I never get around to cooking (life happens), enough fruit to last two weeks (but which naturally goes bad much sooner than that...), and frozen food that gets forgotten in the back of the freezer. When I bring a list based on meals that I plan to cook through the week, however, I'm much better at sticking to my budget. And my kids get to eat more frequently. Win win! ;)

4. Sub Your List With Items From the 365 Everyday Value® Line - Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value® line is the Real. Deal. The ingredients are high-quality and the prices are strikingly less than local competitors' prices. Moreover, the food tastes good, people! Still not convinced? Well, take my little hand and read though a couple of these highlights:
  • Gallon of Whole Milk: $3.39
  • Dozen Cage Free Eggs: $2.99
  • Whole Wheat Bread: $2.99 
  • Canned Beans (Non-BPA Lining, holla!): $0.99
  • Frozen Vegetables: Ranging $1.39 - $1.69
  • Shredded Cheese, 16 oz: $4.69
5. Look for the Yellow Price Tags - These items tend to be on sale and not necessarily advertised as such. That's ok; more for me!  :)

6. Shop on Fridays / Weekends Little sumphin, sumphin I discovered during this quest:  The best days to shop are Fridays - Sundays, as there are in-house, weekend deals to be had! Who knew?!

7. Try Before You Buy - Every Saturday from 12-4 pm, they host a Taste of Whole Foods Market sampling event where you can try different items throughout the store. Nom, nom, nom, nom!

8. Keep Eyes Peeled for Even More Unadvertised Sales! Stumbled upon our usual Almond Milk, on sale for $2.99 (usually $3.50+).  Also saw more recently that Alden's Organic Ice Cream (which is usually off limits at $7.00, was on sale for $5.00).  Delish!

9. Buy Bulk - Sometimes you only need a little bit of shredded coconut or sliced almonds, like we did. So, instead of purchasing whole packages, we headed to the bulk section and bought $0.32 worth of the former and $3.00 of the latter. Nothing to waste!

10. Bring Reusable Bags - Get $0.05 cents off for every reusable bag you use. I did and saved $0.30. Hey, every bit counts!  In the event that you don't want or need the extra $0.05/bag, you donate it to through the Store's Nickels to Nonprofits program (of which ECO City Farm's is the current recipient).

So, there you have it, dear buds. I'm happy to report that we found Whole Foods Market to be just as affordable option, if not actually more affordable, than the other local supermarkets. Now, where's our list? We need to do some food shopping! :)

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.  The observations, opinions and humor, however, are strictly my own! 

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