If I’m honest, I have a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. On the one hand, I am SO grateful to have access to a convenient, healthy grocery store with an abundance of non-GMO, organic, gluten free, and paleo options… with a smoothie bar! On the other hand, there’s no denying that it’s expensive. So, how do you shop at Whole Foods without breaking the bank?
- Download the app. They introduced a new rewards program this year and it’s been a game-changer for us. Just yesterday I had almost $7 in savings at checkout! That’s a pretty big deal once you add it all up. The more you shop there (and use the app), the more rewards and discounts they’ll give you.
- Use the paper coupons. The paper coupons offered in store are actually different than the ones in the app. So be sure to always check both! Our favorite gluten free bread periodically shows up in the coupons at around $1 off per loaf! You can also see the sales in your store and coupons available in advance online here.
- When possible (and when ingredients line up) use the 365 brand. This is Whole Food’s generic brand and it is generally quite a bit cheaper than the leading competitor. And, bonus! The app has periodically given me rewards for frequent shopping including 10% off the 365 brand so, again, be sure to use the app!
- If you’re buying basic organic spices, consider refilling in the bulk bin. I hate to think of how many $’s I’ve wasted by tossing an empty spice jar only to buy another rather than simply buying a refill packet in the bulk spice area.
- Ask for a taste. I think this might be Whole Food’s best kept secret. Are you trying a new (and likely expensive) product? Pull an employee aside and ask them about it. Tell them you’re interested in it and want to try it but you hate to waste money on it if you don’t like it. They’ll usually mark it free for you and let you take it at no cost. Alternatively, they have a great return policy. If you paid for it and don’t love it, you can usually return it (as long as you didn’t eat it all). I’ve returned open vitamins (that made me itch), paleo cookie dough that was too crumbly, and a slew of other things. You can’t argue that Whole Foods doesn’t have great customer service!
- Shop at Aldi. Wait, what?! Yes, Aldi! They have a handful of great organic and natural items that are indeed quite a bit cheaper than what’s offered at Whole Foods. But, unfortunately, they don’t have everything. So you’ll likely need both to get by. (Stay tuned for an Aldi shopping list coming soon!)
*Photo credit: Whole Foods Market