Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Tips: How To Save Money Shopping At Whole Foods!

It is no surprise to any of us these days that with an increase of energy costs, the price of producing and shipping food has dramatically impacted the price of groceries. Every time I walk through the door at the grocery store, I just grab ahold of my cart tightly. I prepare myself to be in awe yet again, even if it had only been a few days since my last visit. In awe of course of the skyrocketing prices. If you could catch me at the right moment, you might even find me with my eyes bulging slightly from my head before it starts shaking back and forth, for I can no longer contain myself when I see the increase in prices.

We choose to do the majority of our grocery shopping at Whole Foods, but I am very keen on our other local markets such as Safeway, King Soopers, Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, or Super Target. I have honed in on the best deals at those markets as well, for I am constantly comparing prices. Constantly. With them being in such a state of flux, I suggest you compare prices as well.

I can not tell you how many people in conversation tell me how expensive Whole Foods is and how they can't afford to shop there. I have to disagree. Obviously, specialty items are going to be priced at a premium, but for the majority of our weekly shopping, we buy the basics. There's a method to my madness and I am going to share some of my money saving tips with you!

1. ALWAYS USE A LIST. Most importantly, no matter where you choose to grocery shop, use a list. Sticking to your list can be quite the challenge, but impulse buys are where they get you everytime. Also, when creating a list, you can have meal ideas built into the list, so you are not running out mid week with the kids in tow, to buy the soy sauce you forgot, oh and this and that, and then $25 bill at check out. For soy sauce. Been there too many times.

2. Buy in BULK-(BULK BIN AISLE). I can't emphasize this enough. The savings are dramatic. Take for example brown rice. A 2lb package of Organic Brown Rice is $3.59, but in bulk brown rice is only .99 cents a pound. Grains, flour, dried fruit, nuts, cereals, maple syrup, honey are all priced dramatically lower in bulk. Plus there is an added benefit, close to no waste in packaging!

3. BULK HERBS/SPICES . The savings here is beyond dramatic, it's astonishing. To refill a regular sized spice jar it costs around a $1.00- $1.50. We typically don't buy an entire jar full of replacement spices, we prefer them to be fresh, so our bag usually costs around .50 cents. I kid you not. AND... they are organic. Don't fret when you see the bulk pricing, it's for a pound, at most you'll buy a few ounces.

4.BULK CLEANERS/SKINCARE PRODUCTS- refill your detergent bottles with environmentally friendly products and save a pretty penny. Most Whole Foods Markets even have bulk personal care products. Refill, reduce, and save money at the same time!

*** RELATED BUYING BULK TIPS. Take any containers you may be reusing to customer service first, so they can do a tare weight of your container. That way you are only charged for the product you buy, not the weight of the bottle as well. I will be the first to admit, of the local 4 Whole Foods markets that I frequent, 2 of the stores have a phenomenal bulk department. Turn over is the key for purchasing bulk, and not overbuying is also important. After a few repeat bulk buying experiences, it's easier to determine a usable quantity. Plus you'll become more familiar with what your store stocks.

5. 365 BRAND. 365 is Whole Foods Store Brand. Beware not all of the 365 products are organic, but there ingredients are top quality. From frozen vegetables, crackers, canned goods, they have it all. One of the girls favorite snacks is the 365 Vegetable Straws (in the chip aisle), they are great! I've never purchased a 365 brand item that I was disappointed in. If you do, bring your unused portion back for a refund, they stand behind their name.

6. EMAIL LIST & COUPONS. Sign up for their emails. Our regional Whole Foods markets have been mailing out phenomenal e-deal coupons. Most of them have been valued at or around $10, when you make a purchase $25. Can't beat that! Also, look for Mambo Sprouts, little coupon books at the check out or on a rack when entering the store. If an item is on sale, you can double your savings.

7. BUY WHAT YOU NEED. The cheese department will happily cut a piece of cheese in half for you, if that's all you need. Pay close attention to how much meat your family consumes at a meal. Their bacon, sausages, and meats are truly a cut above conventional markets. Their meat department offers discounts on family packs, which requires a purchase of 3lbs or more on items like ground beef. After a recent price comparison, Whole Foods Meat Department was actually cheaper than Costco for the same product. Unbelievable.

Whole Foods, The Real Deal, is part of their company blog. Customers write in and share their money saving tips. Take a peek and find ways to keep your family healthy and save a penny as well. Submit a tip, if they use it, they'll send you a $25 gift card, now that's a deal!

My other tips, I'll save for a follow up post, I seriously could go on and on, but these are the big ones. Please feel free to share any grocery store, money saving tips you have!

Couldn't pass up ending with this, for we know all too well, Whole Food's infamous mantra:

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I think it's a good thing I don't have a Super Target near me....a REALLY good thing!

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  2. I wish I lived near a Whole Foods! I live in a small rural town and our only grocery stores (besides Wal-Mart, yuck!) are Kroger and Save-A-Lot. But thanks for the tips!

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  3. I am a total Whole Foods junkie. One of my tips is on their site--hope I get that $25
    I think there is a total difference in taste and quality.
    A thing I would not mention on their website is their generous sampling (you know where they block out the UPC code and you get it for free)--I've gotten a pound of sausage, jar of white truffle oil and a birthday cake--and this is just in the past couple of months. It pays to be friendly with them :)
    Also, they are doing their personal shopping for free again for the summer (it was 15% of the bill). I don't know if you tried this but it is the best ever--you email your list to the conceirge and they get your food. And then they bring out to your car when you get there. it is the best! (And you save money because you don't impulse buy.)

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  4. thanks for the tips, with one being within walking distance of my house it's always great to hear others money saving ideas

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  5. I'm with brightmyer. All we have is Kroger, Walmart and Save A Lot. I would kill for a Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

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  6. I totally agree. This list is really good!

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  7. Hmm, I suppose I'll have to give Whole Foods a shot. There's one within a few miles of me, but I've never been. I usually just run over to Henry's which is about 2 blocks from my apartment, or I stop at Ralphs on the way home for the few things (like milk) that are cheaper to get there.

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  8. Shopping hungry or without a list spells doom!

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  9. I totally agree with you!!! We get most of our bulk items from Costco and it's so nice that they're having more organic products. We shop at Whole Foods for our veggies/fruit (only if the farmers market doesn't have a whole lot) and other miscellaneous items. I LOVE shopping there. Such a cook's paradise!

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  10. These are great tips--I want to keep buying as much organic as I can, even with higher food prices.

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  11. Love the tips, can't wait to go shopping there;o) and the tip on the cheese...oh gosh, that is just heaven without buying too much, now I can 3 or 4 different ones and have them just cut my nice slivers...ahhhh must go tomorrow!!

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  12. Luv your blog-
    I am trying to get into the BULK buying thing-
    We have a Sams club here-in the south-
    We have a Fresh market- Is that the same as Whole Foods? Our Fresh Market does seem quite expensive though-

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  13. I've also noticed that on Sundays stores are trying to clear their shelves for restocking. I find good deals on Sunday.

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  14. totally agree. I just did a post like this with Costco... listing the best deals at costco. I love buying in bulk but sometime I can get tricked into spending more. But I doooo love bulk :)

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  15. We shop the same way. I go to whole foods for only fresh items. Always with a list.

    ;)

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  16. this is a great list. I love buying in bulk

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  17. I LOVE Whole Foods and really needed this list b/c I always come out with more than I go in for! Thanks!

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!