Once upon a time, Whole Foods Market was nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” because it was easy to blow your whole grocery budget in one trip. They earned this nickname for a reason: Whole Foods places an emphasis on organic and natural food products, which are more expensive.
The sad reality is it costs more to eat healthier [source]. But if you shop smart, there is a way to eat healthy without breaking the bank! Use the following 7 Whole Foods hacks to help you leave the store with healthy food and money left over.
1. Go with a List and Stick to It
Whole Foods is a foodie paradise where everything looks and smells delicious, making you want to put it all in your cart. But if you do, you might pass out when the cashier rings up a costly receipt. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to avoid.
With a grocery list, you spend less money. Pick up what you need, and leave. Yes, you will be tempted to get some artisanal cheese, but if it’s not on this week’s list, just say no.
Let Ibotta Help You Create the Perfect Shopping List
Ibotta is a cashback app for groceries and everyday essentials. When you snap a picture of your grocery receipt with the Ibotta app, you instantly earn free money. It also works for grocery delivery and pickup orders.
Ibotta is a must-have app when shopping at Whole Foods. The app allows you to organize your rebates and coupons within the app to create your grocery list according to what is discounted that week.
2. Take Advantage of Weekly Deals
While Whole Foods once had the nickname “Whole Paycheck,” they have shed this identity with the Amazon acquisition in 2017. They now offer significantly more discounts for shoppers, and they make it super easy for shoppers to find these deals.
They offer a variety of weekly deals, which are available in the Whole Foods Market app. The app has every coupon available and it is easy to use! Simply have the cashier scan the app-generated barcode to get credit for all the coupons and deals currently offered. No more coupon clipping for you!
Stretch Your Grocery Budget Further with the $5 Meal Plan
Meal planning is another strategy that pairs perfectly with the Weekly Deals saving strategy.
$5 Meal Plan will make grocery shopping and meal prep easy and affordable. For $5 a month, you will receive an email in your inbox every Friday with five meal plans: a lunch, a breakfast, and a goodie (like a snack or beverage). Your meals will cost about $2/serving.
Not to mention that this will also help with your grocery lists.
3. BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag
Unlike discount grocery stores (think Aldi), you are not required to buy or bring your own bags to Whole Foods. However, in an effort to encourage shoppers to “go green,” Whole Foods will give you 10 cents off your total for every bag you bring.
Another way to save some cash while shopping at Whole Foods is to bring your own containers for weighed produce items. Just make sure to weigh your containers before you shop so you aren’t paying for the produce and the weight of your container, too.
A Penny Saved is a Penny Invested with Acorns
You saved $0.40! What are you gonna do next? Acorns is a simple investment app that helps you invest spare change. When you check out, Acorns rounds up your purchases to the next dollar and then invests that money. Take the money you save on bags and containers, invest them, and watch your money grow.
- Related: 9 Aldi Hacks You Need to Know
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4. Amazon Prime Member Perks
When Amazon acquired Whole Foods, prices dropped immediately. However, to get the most bang for your buck, you need to be an Amazon Prime member. You don’t want to walk through Whole Foods and see those special blue Amazon Prime Member deals and be unable to take advantage of them.
Here are just some of the reasons why it’s a win to shop at Whole Foods as an Amazon Prime Member.
- Prime members get an extra 10% off items with a yellow sale sign.
- Prime members get additional discounts on items with the blue Amazon Prime Member signs.
- Prime members get additional discounts on the Whole Foods Amazon app.
- Prime members get free delivery in select ZIP codes and free pickup on orders.
- Prime members who purchase using their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card get 5% back.
- It’s easy! If you have a Prime membership, download the Whole Foods app, sign in with your Amazon account, and scan the Prime code in your app at checkout to save.
Take Advantage of ‘Prime’ Time Savings
As you can see, an Amazon Prime membership opens up so many savings possibilities at Whole Foods. But, the benefits of a Prime membership go beyond serious savings on your groceries: You get 2-day (or quicker) delivery on Amazon Prime products, access to Amazon’s video and music streaming services.
The money-saving opportunities with Prime are endless. And, if you do not have a Prime account, sign up for a free 30-day Prime Trial here. Or, if you’re a new mom sign up for a Prime Family account (free trial) and get 20% off diapers and other baby products (along with all the other Prime perks)!
5. Shop the 365 Brand
It’s easy to buy the brands we know, but you can save a good bit of money when you shop for generic brands. Many people falsely believe these generic brands are not as good in quality and won’t taste as good. Whole Foods has solved this problem with its Shop 365 brand. Because it is a Whole Foods brand, it follows the same strict quality standards as the big brands.
Whole Foods has the following statement regarding food quality: “We ban 100+ ingredients from all food that we sell, including hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin” [source]. You can rest easy knowing the food will be just as good at a fraction of the cost.
Keep More of Your Cash No Matter What Brand You Buy
Want to save even more money on generic brands? Earn cashback when you buy with a rewards credit card. These credit cards pay you a percentage of what you spend. So, when you shop for groceries (and other things), you can earn 1 to 2% cash back on your purchases.
Credit card offers can be difficult to understand. Fear not, Credit Land can help you easily choose a rewards card to suit your unique needs. If you are ready to start earning free cash back (and save hundreds of dollars a year) head over to Credit Land and read in plain English what your reward card options are.
Please note: If you want to make money with your credit card, you must pay off your statement balance in full every month. Do not spend more than you can afford. If you carry debt, you lose money.
6. Try Before You Buy
The atmosphere of Whole Foods makes it tempting to buy more than you need or even want (which is why you want a list). Their beautiful displays seem to call out to shoppers, saying, “Go ahead, try it.” Guess what? You can try it – even before you buy it!
According to Pop Sugar, “There’s a company-wide Try Before You Buy policy. This includes but is not limited to anything fresh from the produce section or any packaged foods within the center aisles of the store” [source]. This means you can try out products before wasting money on food you won’t ever eat.
As an added bonus, it helps you avoid overspending just because you made the mistake of shopping while hungry.
7. Shop Off-Peak Times
No one wants to deal with grocery cart traffic jams. Avoid this situation by staying away during those busy times, like 5-6 p.m. after work or Sundays. Whenever possible shop in the mornings to avoid the crowds and to get the first fresh picks of the day. Even better – shop Wednesday mornings when store sales refresh.
Save more money! Read these next…
- The Top 9 Essential Dave Ramsey Tips for 2021
- Try These 11 Ways to Save Money on a Low Income
- Lower Your Monthly Bills with These 7 Tips
Save Money At Your Favorite Stores:
- 10 Things You Definitely Want to Buy at Dollar Tree (and Some Things to Skip)
- 6 Tips to Save Money at Walmart (every time)
- 7 Hacks to Save on Those Grocery Trips to Trader Joe’s
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Michelle Salater is a freelance finance writer with a passion for personal finance education. When she’s not in front of her computer, she’s reading biographies and exploring remote areas of the world. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC.