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12 Ways to Shop at Whole Foods Like A Pro

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November 20, 2015 · 2.2k Views

If you thought you were the only one experiencing sticker shock at Whole Foods and then leaving empty-handed, think again. However, you might be one of the few lucky ones who have mastered shopping there and now you can work it to your advantage. Regardless, there is still a ton to learn about shopping at Whole Foods – it’s way more than shopping lists and price comparisons. The truth is, you could still be saving a bunch of money on over half the items in your cart.

To maximize the utility of your purchases, whether it be wine, beauty products, or groceries, remember these money-saving tips to give you the best bang for your buck!

See also: 10 Things Grocery Stores Don’t Want You to Know


1. Buy in Bulk…Depending on What You’re Buying

Grains and dried fruits are the way to go. You can stock up on these items for a fraction of what they will cost you in smaller packages. And they’ll keep for years, meaning you’re not likely to be out any cash, even when items can’t be eaten right away. However, nuts or granolas might actually cost more per pound than their lighter counterparts.

Be sure to weigh the prices before you buy and ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

2. Avoid the Meat Section

Not only does meat spoil quickly (meaning you can only purchase so much at a time, even when a larger freezer is involved), it’s often more expensive at Whole Foods.

Local butchers or grocers are able to provide better deals, which you can pair with coupons for bigger discounts. Depending on where you live, this can also be more convenient, rather than having to haul yourself to Whole Foods every time you need meat. Besides, grocery stores are in every neighborhood!

3. Add Cakes to the List

Unless you’re a great baker, Whole Foods is the place to go for purchasing grocery store cakes. They are a little more expensive (just a little, $2-$3 a pop), but are top notch bakery quality and come highly reviewed.

They use real ingredients rather than artificial replacements, and taste delicious. Whole Foods will even custom decorate your cake, sometimes for free! Plus, they have vegan cakes or gluten free for those with specific dietary requirements.

However, pies should be found elsewhere or made at home. They might taste great, but come at a far higher price than their grocery store competitors, despite not being any better.

4. Skip the Dairy, but Stock up on Alternatives

Butter, milk, yogurt, etc. can seriously add up. But when purchasing a filler, such as almond or soy milk, Whole Foods is the place to get it. Their prices are lower, and these alternatives have a longer shelf life so it’s easy to buy in bulk when it’s on sale. So there’s no need to worry about container size and whether or not you can finish it in time.

For dairy-based milk, purchase from a nearby or favorite market. Prices are likely to be lower and dates more manageable.

5. Leave Dry Groceries Off the List

Cereals, pastas, boxed mac and cheese – all of this can be found at ALDI (or a similar alternative) for a fraction of the price. And do you really need organic chips or organic boxed mac and cheese?

6. Get your Spices for Cheap

Whatever types of flavors you want to cook with or need to satisfy even the most obscure of recipes, Whole Foods has you covered. Their spices come at incredibly low prices and in huge containers. No more running out with small bottles, or being forced to overpay for something you’ll rarely use.

7. Plan your Party Cheeses

While plain cheeses (sliced or pre-shredded) might be a better deal at the local store, specialty versions are actually more budget-friendly at Whole Foods. Shop here when hosting a party or wanting to try out new flavors.

8. Avoid Produce Unless It’s On Sale

It’s cheaper at the local store; avoid purchasing it at Whole Foods unless you’re looking for organic vegetables and fruits that are on sale.

9. Stick to Items on Sale & Use Coupons

Of course, all of the above can be adjusted with sales. Be sure to check for deals – whether offered at all Whole Foods locations or just your local branch. When the right sale comes along, even the most expensive of items can be found at a great price.

Check out Whole Foods Weekly Ad to find out what’s on sale this week! Just keep in mind that the best deals sell out pretty quickly, so if you see a good deal, head to the store ASAP and don’t end up adding overpriced goods to your cart. Stick to your game plan.

You can also find this week’s store coupons for even more discounts. Knowing approximate fees will help you decipher without the need for serious number crunching.

10. Avoid Frequent Trips

For most, Whole Foods is a slight drive away. (This might be true for most destinations, depending on where you live.) To avoid wasting time and money on excess gas, make fewer trips and stock up the cabinets instead. Considering long-lasting items come at the best prices, it’s a win-win!

11. Go for Seasonal Goods

Another exception to the above: when items are in season, they’re more likely to be affordably priced. This includes flowers, pumpkins, edibles, themed cakes, and more. They’re also more likely to be even cheaper in days after their respective holiday or event.

12. Put in a Little Work

Items that are already cut or prepped are going to cost extra. No matter where you buy them. So are dips, trays, or platters. Consider spending a little extra time on DIY work to save some cash. You’ll also get more food while still spending less. Over time, it’s a recipe for some serious savings and some delicious-tasting foods.


Don’t forget these easy tips the next time you’re at Whole Foods, and more importantly, don’t forget your DealsPlus Whole Foods coupons!

by Bethaney Wallace
bethaney_wallace profile picture
Bethaney Wallace is a full-time freelance writer and avid deal finder located in the Midwest. When she's not reading or writing, she can be found looking for a new project, including anything knitted or DIY, which she outlines in her humorous personal blog, Earl & Other Greys. (bethaneywallace.com)

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