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Whole Foods offers so many amazing choices for health-conscious consumers.
That’s why I LOVE going in there.
For someone like me, who enjoys buying, cooking, and eating wholesome food, it’s a food lover’s paradise.
But their exorbitant prices often give me sticker shock—even if I’m in the store for only a few minutes.
Over the years, Whole Foods has gained a reputation for having astronomically high prices.
That’s why there’s some truth in the nickname people have bestowed on it.
Of course, this apt moniker happens to be “Whole Paycheck.”
Many frugal shoppers hear all this and get discouraged.
They end up thinking they can’t afford to enjoy the myriad health benefits that come with eating all the incredibly delicious organic food Whole Foods has.
It’s no wonder many choose to shop elsewhere.
However, they’re making a HUGE mistake.
That’s because by following a few simple tricks, anybody can score fantastic deals and save tons of money while shopping at this wondrous cornucopia of organic delights!
Although Whole Foods is more expensive than other grocery stores, there are some secrets you can learn to make it a whole lot cheaper.
This will make buying a week’s worth of groceries at Whole Foods much cheaper than you might think.
In this article, I’ll let you know what those secrets are!
Some of these tricks are even transferable to shopping at other places.
If you get really good at using these tricks, you might even find that shopping at Whole Foods is cheaper than shopping at regular grocery stores!
1. Buy Discount Gift Cards
Purchase Whole Foods gift cards online at gift card exchanges like Raise.
When I checked out the site, the only deal they had was getting 1% off the purchase price of a gift card.
But I know they often have deals on the cards where you save 2% or more.
You just have to monitor the site continually, so when they have a great gift card deal, you’ll be ready to grab it.
2. Get the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
You might be fervently searching for a credit card that will give you a little cash back on all of your Whole Foods shopping adventures.
If so, consider the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card.
With it, you’ll get 5% back every time you buy something in the store.
3. Use Rebate Apps
While coupons allow you to save money on highly processed foods, rebate apps let you save cash on all the grocery items you regularly buy.
So, use a rebate app every time you shop.
With one, you’ll take a photo of your receipt and get money back on the stuff you buy.
Always check the app before you shop to see what the best offers are.
And then, plan your purchases around these available Whole Food deals.
When you return from your buying adventure, submit the receipt to the app.
Then, your money will magically appear in your iBotta account within two business days.
You can convert your cash into gift cards.
Or, you can have it deposited in your PayPal account.
4. Join Amazon Prime
If you’re a regular Whole Foods shopper, you really should join Amazon Prime.
Now that Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, you’ll get some fantastic deals on Whole Foods products that only Prime members can get.
Plus, you’ll get an extra 10% off all clearance items.
And if it’s too cold to venture out, you can order Whole Foods items through Amazon Fresh and still take advantage of your Amazon Prime benefits.
5. Check Out Location-Specific Sales
You should also be checking the online flyer for your local store’s best sales.
You can find hundreds more in-store.
When I checked my local Whole Foods in Hadley, MA., there were all kinds of killer Prime Deals.
These included organic pears, Rao’s Pasta and Pasta Sauce, and even nonfood items such as Aura Cacia Aromatherapy products.
Every one of these deals was for an astonishing 35% off!
6. Download the Whole Foods App
Every company these days has a killer app to draw in technologically-savvy customers, and Whole Foods is no exception.
You can get some fantastic coupons through the Whole Foods app.
So, download the app and get these coupons direct from the company.
Then, scan your app’s barcode at checkout, and these savings will be automatically deducted.
7. Use Website Coupons
Before setting out for your local Whole Foods, check out their website for coupons.
Here, you’ll find printable coupons for all the latest sales.
8. Be a Coupon Clipper
Every frugal shopper worth her salt clips coupons.
You can either do this using scissors to snip them from a flyer.
Or virtually, on the Internet or an app.
Use both in-store and manufacturers’ coupons and see how many different coupons you can stack to save the maximum amount of cash.
9. Follow Your Store on Social Media
These days, so many companies reveal their best deals on social media before the rest of the universe has a chance to hear about them.
So, stay up to date with the hottest Whole Foods deals by following your local store on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
10. Take Advantage of Whole Foods Sales Days
Saving money at Whole Foods is sometimes a matter of timing.
That’s because of the chain’s Whole Foods Sales Days when they offer deep discounts on many of their wares.
New weekly deals start on Wednesdays, so you’re bound to find super deals on this day.
The chain also runs weekly One-Day sales on select items.
These always happen on Fridays.
They’re advertised a couple of weeks in advance.
Call your local store to see when the next one is.
11. Bring Your Own Bags
Before leaving home, make sure you grab some reusable shopping bags.
That’s because the chain will give you a discount of five to 10 cents off per bag you use.
And, using reusable will significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Saving the environment while also saving wads of cash is a win/win for both yourself and everyone else on the planet.
12. Have a Shopping List
Always have a shopping list when you shop at Whole Foods.
This is good advice for any grocery outing.
However, Whole Foods has so many more “splurge” items than your typical grocery store.
These include such extravagances as such as saffron at over $3,000 per pound, asparagus water for six bucks for a 16-ounce bottle, and $93 truffles.
So, always have a list in hand before you walk through the door, and you won’t spend your whole paycheck.
You wouldn’t want to be the butt of a painfully obvious joke now, would you?
13. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
Everyone knows that you shouldn’t shop when you’re ravenously hungry, because then, your stomach does the buying and you end up spending way too much.
So, make sure you have a hearty meal before you go shopping!
14. Buy the Whole Foods Store Brand When It’s Cheaper
Walmart has its own in-store brand called Great Value.
Kroger’s has one too, which they call Private Select Brand.
Whole Foods does the same thing, and its store brand is called 365 Everyday Value.
The prices are really reasonable and can sometimes be even cheaper than the selections in other grocery stores.
Check out this brand for cheaper alternatives to all of your favorite grocery staples.
However, always keep uppermost in your mind that not every 365 Everyday Value item is organic.
Read the label to make sure.
15. You Don’t Always Have to Buy Organic
For some foods, there are no discernible health benefits for buying organic instead of non-organic.
Foods in this category include avocados, pineapple, onions, and cantaloupes.
To save money, know when it’s advantageous to eat organic and when it isn’t.
16. Check out Unadvertised Sales
Often, once you’re in the store, you’ll find sales that haven’t been advertised in the flyers.
I’m always ecstatic when I come across these deals.
So, don’t just rely on the flyers.
This requires you to be hyper-vigilant and keep your eyes peeled so you’ll know a good deal when you see one.
17. Look for The Colored Tags
To find clearance items that’ll end up saving you lots of money, look for items with a red or yellow tag on them.
When you find great clearance deals, stock up on them.
18. Try Before Buying
To save money by not purchasing something, you’ll end up hating, sample the item first.
Sometimes, Whole Foods offers things to try at sampling stations.
But even if they don’t, you can always request a taste of something you’re considering buying.
If you try it before you buy it, you’re not going to end up wasting money on something you don’t like.
This means if there’s an item you’re thinking of buying but never had it before, ask for a little taste.
This way, you won’t waste money on something you thought you might like but find out you utterly detest.
There’s nothing worse than getting excited about trying something new, and after paying a pretty penny for it, discovering how disgusting it actually is.
Then, you threw all the money you paid for that item down the drain.
Which isn’t exactly frugal.
Don’t be shy about asking for a sample—Whole Foods is famous for its generous sampling policy.
19. Get A Punch Card
Get a Whole Foods punch card to make your purchases count.
The punch card offers vary depending on location, so ask what they are at your local store.
Some stores have punch cards for sandwiches, coffee, and burritos.
You can also find a punch card for $10 off after you spend $100 on 365 supplements.
20. See if Your Location has a Market Rewards Program
Keep an eye out for the Whole Foods Market Rewards program in your area.
Currently, this program is only available in a few stores.
But, if it’s available in your area, I’d recommend jumping right on it.
21. Buy by the Case
Just like saving money at big box warehouse stores, a great way to save money at Whole Foods is to buy a whole case of an item you use a lot of.
For example, buying a case of water will save you up to 10% of the cost if you didn’t buy it in bulk.
Whole Foods even offers a 10% discount if you buy six or more bottles of wine at a time.
22. Buy in Bulk
At one time, people used the bulk section of their local grocery store only to buy trail mix.
But these days, savvy shoppers buy so much more in bulk.
Most people know by now that buying in bulk is much cheaper than not buying in bulk.
And, Whole Foods has a superb selection of items to choose from in their bulk bins.
These items include oats, candy, coffee, rice, and nuts.
Bulk items are usually priced cheaper than what’s on the shelf and can be stored at home in jars or Rubbermaid containers.
Buying spices in bulk is one of the most cost-effective strategies you can use when shopping at Whole Foods.
If you’re as big a spice user as I am, it makes no sense to buy spice in a teensy jar when you can buy massive quantities of it for a much lower price.
However, if you need only a small amount of a spice for a recipe and you don’t think you’ll need it again for a long time, it still makes sense to buy it from the bulk bin.
You can also buy ingredients to make your own granola.
You can even buy ingredients to make your own nut butter, which is fantastic because some of the commercially prepared ones can be rather pricey.
23. Bring Your Own Containers
When you buy in bulk, the weight of your container is figured in the final cost of your goods.
The in-store containers are pretty light, but you can save even more by bringing superlight canisters from your own house.
If you bring your container to the store, you can weigh them and then deduct this from the total weight of your purchase.
That way, you don’t have to pay for the cost of the packaging.
24. Skip the Premade Meals…
One thing you can do is to skip premade items.
Instead, buy their constituent ingredients and make the item yourself from scratch.
One of the things you can make yourself is zoodles.
Zoodles are those strands of zucchini cut, so they look like noodles (hence the portmanteau).
They’ll set you back six bucks if you buy a package of them at Whole Foods.
However, if you buy a spiralizer, you can make them yourself.
And just after a few batches, your purchase will pay for itself.
The zucchini only cost about one dollar each, and one zucchini is a single serving.
You’ll enjoy similar savings if you do this with every veggie that they make faux pasta from, including sweet potato, squash, carrots, and turnips.
25….But If You Buy Them, Be Smart About It
If you’re pressed for time and are in the mood for takeout fare, check out Whole Foods first.
They have many healthier alternatives than what passes for food in drive-thru eateries.
However, as I already mentioned, it can get prohibitively expensive.
Try to buy them on days the store is offering great deals.
The best way to save cash on these delicious takeout alternatives is to keep an eagle eye out for the featured selection of the day at your local Whole Foods.
Lots of locations have them.
For example, you might get a certain percentage off when you buy your Carne Asada tacos on Tuesdays from the store.
Or, they might have a salad bar deal on another day of the week.
26. Buy Your Produce from the Salad Bar
If you only need a teensy number of veggies for a recipe, picking them up at the salad bar.
This might be more cost-effective than buying more than you could use from the produce section.
27. Buy Frozen Veggies Instead of Fresh
Buying frozen veggies instead of fresh ones is another terrific way to save money.
Besides, veggies lose nutrients as they age.
So, if you let them sit too long, they won’t be as healthy for you as they would be if you consumed them immediately.
But when you buy frozen veggies, their nutrients are locked in.
And, they’re so much cheaper than fresh.
There’s also zero risks of spoilage.
28. Buy Non-Processed Meat Substitutes
Even if you’re not vegan, by adding non-processed meat substitutes to your diet, you can save a lot of money.
These include tofu, seitan, nuts, and beans of all kinds.
Beans are an exceedingly cheap meat substitute.
However, don’t splurge for highly processed meat substitutes like the Impossible Burger.
Not only are these not healthy, but they tend to be wickedly expensive.
29. WholeFoods Kids’ Club
Nowadays, many grocery stores offer free healthy treats for tykes.
For example, I know a grocery store in my area named Stop & Shop gives kids under the age of 10 free fruit when the kids are shopping with a parent.
Bananas were first offered, and then later down the line, they added mandarin oranges.
Whole Foods’ version of this is called the Kids’ Club, and children who sign up for it get free snacks.
To take advantage of the freebies, go to customer service before you start your shopping adventure.
Here, you’ll be able to get a Kids’ Club Coupon for a free delicious and a nutritious snack such as organic fruit leather or an apple.
Then, your kids will have something to snack on while you do your shopping.
The cost of these treats isn’t much.
But if you get your tyke one every time you shop, the money you save will add up over time.
And when you’re a frugal shopper, every little bit helps.
30. Shop Online
If you make your Whole Foods purchases online, you can go through a cashback site and earn money back on everything you buy.
Cashback sites give you a little money back if you make a purchase through them.
You’d be buying this stuff anyway, so in my humble opinion, it’s a no-brainer to use these sites.
Use Cashbackholic to help you figure out which sites have the best deals.
You can also use the Cashback Comparison Chrome Extension to help you make your decision.
This helpful tool will help you figure out which site will give you the most cash back for the purchase you’re about to make.
Simply click the top right corner of your Chrome Browser, and available cashback offers will be displayed for you.
Then, make your purchase, pick up your food in-store, and soon, you’ll get your cashback.
31. Grab A Flyer
Planning out your visit to Whole Foods by reading the sales flyers before heading out to the store can save you boatloads of cash.
Start with the local flyer (which is available online) to see what’s on sale.
A lot of planning and a little research can go a long way in reducing grocery costs wherever you shop!
On your way inside the store, grab a copy of “The Whole Deal,” the store’s weekly sales flyer.
It’s full of advertised deals and coupons from manufacturers and Whole Foods’ own 365 brand.
You can also print out the flyer every week by downloading it to your computer.
This is the better option because you can plan out your purchases better than if you grabbed a flyer when you’re already at the store.
In this article, I gave you some terrific strategies to save on your groceries every time you buy from Whole Foods.
Shopping at Whole Foods is probably going to be more expensive than buying in regular grocery stores.
However, with the tips and tricks in this article, you can make it a little less so.
Just arm yourself with this knowledge, and you won’t unwittingly perpetuate the running joke by surrendering to them everything you made at work that week.
Then, shopping for groceries at Whole Foods can be part of a frugal routine that doesn’t bust your budget.
The key is a little bit of planning to make sure you’re finding the best deals on quality food for your family.