7 Easy Ways To Save Money At Whole Foods (Yes, Really)

Photo: Courtesy of Whole Foods.
Yes, we once sent a writer to see how quickly he could spend $1,000 on the fewest number of items. And yes, it only took 17 purchases to hit that goal. But, you can shop at Whole Foods without spending your whole paycheck. The key is to never buy something like $27 infused water. Also, you need to determine which items are actually cheaper at Whole Foods than other stores. And finally, seek out weekly deals and sales at your local store — bingo, big money savers.

We're not recommending you do all your grocery shopping at Whole Foods (hello, triple-digit grocery receipts), but there are ways to shave a few bucks off the bill when you do shop there. Every store has different deals and sales, so be sure to check before you start throwing things in your cart.

Click ahead for seven ways to be budget-conscious at Whole Foods.

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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
The Whole Foods 365 label is the generic selection, and you can get cheap(er) deals on things like peanut butter, soup, vitamins, or sparkling water. Sometimes the prices are even lower than what you would find at regular supermarkets. Just wander the aisles and do some price comparisons to see what works for your budget.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Don’t go to Whole Foods hungry unless you’re okay going over budget. We'd also recommend avoiding the produce section, which rarely has great deals. (Some stores offer samples, so if you have self-control, you can go hungry, snack on samples, and stick strictly to your shopping list.)

Also, don't go in with a vague idea that you want something delicious, but you’re not sure what that is. Instead, get to know your local store’s selection, so you know where the deals are. Make a list before you go and stick to it, this way you aren't tempted by expensive items you might not really need, like acai berries or grass-fed ribeye (unless they’re on sale, of course).
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Go to the Whole Foods Sales Flyer page and select your location and local store for coupons and deals, like 83% off Organic Triple French Milled Soap in Tin Boxes, 40% off frozen entrees, or $4 off a King Salmon Filet. You can also subscribe to the Whole Foods newsletter for your local store, which offers deals and coupons you can access before you shop.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
The bulk section at Whole Foods can be great for things like rice or grains — it’s sometimes cheaper than buying the boxed versions. And if you drink a lot of bottled water, you get a 10% discount for buying a whole case.

The bulk bins can also be good if you just need small amounts of things (like six yogurt-covered pretzels or 10 dried papaya slices), or if you’re single and don’t cook often, and just need enough for one. Need a small amount of a spice for a recipe you'll probably only cook once? Opt for buying the ingredient in the bulk section at Whole Foods rather than a whole bottle. You're saving money and not wasting food at the same time. Genius!
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Most Whole Foods locations have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts that share deals and discounts for that particular store, so it’s worth following or just checking in when you have an urge to shop there. Usually a store will Instagram a photo of whatever goes on sale that week, so if you stay on top of it, you can try to score that grass-fed ribeye on sale.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
If you buy six or more bottles at a time, you get a 10% discount. Whole Foods has a great selection, and most stores have little bars where you can sample some of the wines. The wine shop employees are knowledgeable too, so if you’re looking for a good deal, they’ll steer you in the right direction.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Do you regularly hit up Whole Foods for lunch? Don't spend $20 at the salad bar when there are better deals to be had. Get to know your local store's weekly deals on prepared foods. Many locations offer $1.50 tacos on Taco Tuesday, salad bar deals on Wednesday, and discounted sandwiches on Thursdays.