Can Whole Foods be budget friendly? Really? The answer is a big, resounding yes! The key is to go with a plan and not be tempted by the budget-busting items along the way.
Get coupon happy
Think that heading to Whole Foods means no coupon savings? Think again. "Health food shoppers often lament the lack of coupons offered for healthy food. However, Whole Foods offers The Whole Deal value guide both in print and online to assist shoppers in saving more on their purchases," says Kendal Perez of HassleFreeSavings.com.
Also be sure to check out the Whole Foods Market Madness specials too, which can save a lot on everything from meats to pastas to cheeses but shopping the specific sale items.
Skip the prepared items
Those handy prechopped veggies and convenient meals are pretty alluring — but they will also add quite a bit to your bill's bottom line. And yes, that includes the ultra tempting hot and cold food bar.
"Don't be seduced by the prepared items. Although convenient, you will pay a premium for someone else to chop your veggies or steam your broccoli. A simple lunch twirl around a Whole Foods salad bar could easily put a dent in your wallet to the tune of 14-20 bucks," says Abra Pappa CHC, AADP, a health and wellness expert who owns Nutritious America.
Don't overlook the generic options available at Whole Foods under their 365 Everyday Value label. "Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value line represents a budget-savvy alternative to the name-brand products they offer.
Switching to store brands can often save consumers up to 30 percent off their grocery bills, but shoppers have to be willing to try them," says Perez.
Buy in bulk
Whole Foods has lots of opportunity for shoppers to purchase in bulk — from the bulk bins of grains to the ability to buy cases of some products like granola bars at once. "The best deals at Whole Foods are on bulk beans and grains. If you buy your brown rice in bulk, you will usually pay around $2 per pound which will make about 6 cups cooked. The frozen packets of brown rice which provide about 4 cups cost at least $3. The same is true of all other grains," says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD of The Veggie Queen. "If you cook your own beans from dried beans, you will be able to buy a pound of beans for about $2, which will make 4-1/2 to 6 cups of beans or the equivalent of 3 to 4 cans. This is a huge money-saver."