Sticking to a budget template to save more money without totally changing your lifestyle can be tricky, especially when you love that weekly manicure or have an addiction to Whole Foods Market (welcome to the club). Though it has a reputation for being a super expensive grocery store, there are actually a bunch of simple ways you can save money at WFM. Scroll on for 10 hacks that’ll help you score all of your fave healthy eats without completely breaking the bank.
1. Hit up the bulk bins and the salad bar. The bulk goods area can feel overwhelming, but it’s actually the BEST section of the store if you need small amounts of things like flour, nuts, spices and more. Just the same, you can use the salad bar to pick up a few small amounts instead of buying an entire head of lettuce or whole veggies. Especially if you’re usually cooking for one, you can definitely save money and avoid wasting food this way.
2. Combine your coupons. Check local sales flyers and online coupons before you head to the store or grab a printed copy of The Whole Deal as you walk in. Combine your Whole Foods store coupons with anything you find from a non-WFM manufacturer you love too — the store will let you stack savings!
3. Look for colored labels. Whole Foods actually makes it pretty easy to find the sale items — just look for yellow tags (usually with red writing over it). You might find sale items that haven’t been advertised elsewhere, so keep your eyes peeled for unexpected savings.
4. Don’t buy everything at Whole Foods. As easy and tempting as it may be, don’t do all of your shopping at Whole Foods. Snap up that gorgeous in-season produce, meat specials or WFM-only items you love — and head to a different grocery store for the basics, like frozen foods and dried or canned goods.
5. Consider the 365 brand. Whole Foods’ 365 brand can help make your trip more affordable, as it generally costs slightly less than some of the more fancy organic brands the store carries. Look for the logo, but spend a few seconds scanning prices just the same — 365 isn’t actually *always* the best value.
6. Power shop. Buying in bulk sure has its benefits when it comes to saving money. Love Lara Bars? Buy ‘em in cases and note the savings when you break down how much you would have paid for a single bar. If you love wine and live in a state where Whole Foods sells it, buy six bottles at a time to get 10 percent off. Stocking up is a serious way to save (without having to splurge on that Costco membership).
7. Keep up with your local store. You probably already use social media a ton in your daily life, so add your local Whole Foods store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay in the loop about surprise sales and deals. Many stores have regular, unadvertised one-day sales too. While the days vary, in-store customer service will clue you in on when they’re scheduled to happen, so you can plan your shopping trip accordingly. Cha-ching!
8. Ask about deli deals. Fun fact: You can ALWAYS ask your local butcher about specials that might not be shown front and center. Whether you’re after a particular cut of meat or willing to switch it up, you might score a great deal by simply asking if there are any current sales.
9. Be savvy with your containers. Did you know that you can bring your own containers for takeaway items? It’s totally true! Just be sure to have customer service weigh it before you head to the bulk section. Then stock up like usual, but feel great about being greener and avoiding that mac ‘n’ cheese (AKA dinner) spill in your purse. On the flip side, remember to bring back any bottles you take home when you buy milk or cream — the deposit can run up to $3 for each, which can totally add up over time.
10. Splurge wisely. It’s totally fine to loosen up the purse strings when it comes to an exclusive Whole Foods item you’ve been craving all week (kale salad, anyone?), so treat yourself to it without thinking twice. To save money, though, avoid off-season produce, pre-packaged containers of sliced fruit and expensive frozen meals like pizza that you can make just as well (and for much less) yourself.
How do you save money when shopping Whole Foods? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)