Shop on a Budget at Whole Foods + a Giveaway!

April 20, 2015

It’s been a little over a year now since Mississippi received it’s very first Whole Foods Market!  One of the most common remarks I hear about Whole Foods is that it’s too expensive.  What people don’t understand is that there is a smart way to shop at Whole Foods and even though it may take a little more work, it’s entirely worth it because of the quality you’re bringing to your family.  The quality at Whole Foods does not just lend itself to the ingredients of the food they sell, but also in the quality of their body products, produce & flowers, animal welfare & meat quality standards, plus cleaning product standards.

Click here to view all the quality standards at Whole Foods

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Another reason I choose to support Whole Foods is because of their Core Values.  I personally want to support a company that believes what I believe and whose goal is to better the world and the community around it.

Whole Foods Core Values:

  • Sell the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Products Available
  • Satisfy, Delight and Nourish our Customers
  • Support Team Member Excellence and Happiness
  • Create Wealth Through Profits & Growth
  • Serve and Support our Local Global Communities
  • Practice and Advance Environmental Stewardship
  • Create ongoing win-win partnerships with our Suppliers
  • Promote the Health of our Stakeholders through Healthy Eating

So now that we’ve established why you should be grocery shopping at Whole Foods, let’s talk about how to do that on a budget!

First thing you should know is that Whole Foods offers a Value Tour at the store.  Ask customer service about the next one on their schedule or set up your very own group value tour.  They will happily answer all of your questions!  I had the pleasure of taking a one-on-one value tour with my sweet friend, Mary Lindsey, the Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market Jackson.

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The value tour is all about helping you figure out the most cost effective way to shop at Whole Foods.  Sometimes that may mean not getting everything on your list, but substituting items for a better value.  I was able to take away some specific pointers from the Value Tour to help you shop on a budget at Whole Foods!

  • Don’t shop hungry!

This is one of the most common rules of saving money while grocery shopping.  Obviously, if you go grocery shopping on a hungry stomach, you’re going to buy a lot more food and you’re not going to make excellent choices.  It’s always best to eat beforehand!

  • Have a plan!

It’s always a smart idea to plan your menu for the week and make a grocery shopping list based on that menu.  Remember to plan for any leftovers you may have so you don’t over shop and waste food.  Also be sure that you include snacks in there – you don’t want to find yourself hungry in the middle of the day and swing into the nearest fast food place, instead provide yourself healthy options like apples, bananas, granola, or energy bars that you can stash in your car or at the office.  This will prevent you from making rash decisions when it comes to a quick bite to eat when honestly, you just need something to curb your hunger until lunch or dinner.  While you’re searching for recipes to go on your menu, be sure to check out Whole Foods recipe index and do the ‘Advanced Search’ – there you can find budget friendly recipes!

budget-friendly

 

  • Shop in the Bulk Bins!

This is something unique that they offer.  The bulk bins section contains a wide variety of whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Because you’re not paying for packaging, they are generally cheaper than buying in a bag. Plus, you can try new, exotic grains without having to invest in a large amount. Only buy what you need.

  • Grab the current edition of the Whole Deal and Hot Weekend Deals!

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When you walk into the store, you’ll immediately see a Whole Deal coupon book and Hot Weekend Deal list.  When a new coupon book is released, I get so excited!  They truly have some amazing deals in there and I appreciate how easy it is to get my hands on a Whole Foods coupon.  They’re not stingy with them at all.  The Hot Weekend Deal tells you what is specifically on sale for the weekend and how much you save!  The best time to buy your meat is when it falls under a Hot Weekend Deal.  Inside the Whole Deal coupon book are meal ideas and recipes too, so be sure to take it home with you.  Whole Foods has 3 different sales: Ongoing sales, Hot Weekend Deals, & One Day Sales.  They also tell you when a sale ends so if you use something frequently and see it go on sale then you know if you should stock up now.

Whole Foods also announces their big sales on their Face Book page, so be sure to follow them for up to date sales and information!

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  • Trust your produce & purchase in season

“Trust your produce” refers to quality standards.   Whole Foods conventional produce has to meet quality standards. So even if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, rest assured that you’re still buying good quality produce. There are a lot of farmers who grow food without pesticides and use non-GMO seeds, but maybe they can’t afford the organic labeling. They have a new Good-Better-Best rating system to help recognize farmers for their environmentally-friendly and healthy farming practices.

Also, You want your fruits and vegetables to last as long as possible, but one thing that most people don’t realize is that there are certain produce items that give off ethylene gases that ripen produce faster.  You want to keep your apples, bananas, and avocados away from other fruits and vegetables so they don’t spoil as quickly.  You should also research how to properly store other fruits and vegetables so they last as long as possible.  Here are some resources for you:

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Refrigerate vs Room Temp Produce

  • Buy a case and save 10%

Whole Foods will give you a 10% discount when you buy a case of something.  Cases vary depending on what item you’re looking at, but I recently bought a case of beans.  I use canned beans (especially the no salt added variety, which Whole Foods is well stocked on) very frequently, whether it be in soup or chili or as a side to my dinner.  It was worth it for me to purchase a case of 24 cans to get a 10% discount because they’ll last for a long time.

  • Purchase Value Meals

You can purchase Value Meals in their Prep Foods department that feed a family of four for $15.99 – things like lasagna, meatloaf, and burritos that you can reheat. And you get a free salad with it!  So when you’re looking for a quick dinner one night because Suzie Q has ballet and Little Jack has a soccer game, you know something is waiting on you at home that just needs a little pre-heating and was prepared by the wonderful Chef’s at Whole Foods with quality ingredients.

  • Purchase the 365 value brand

I have noticed that majority of items under the Whole Foods brand (365, generic) are just as much or cheaper than other popular brands.  I love my 365 peanut butter.  It’s completely healthy with no added oil, literally just peanuts and salt.  It’s cheaper than JIF.  I’m in love with it!  I have found a lot of other generic Whole Foods items that I love just as much if not more than a previous brand I’ve used.

  • If you’re not satisfied with a product, return it and get assistance finding a product you do like

One of my favorite things about Whole Foods – I could purchase a brand of pasta sauce, open that pasta sauce, taste that pasta sauce, decide that I do not like that brand of pasta sauce, get my money back and have someone assist me in choosing another alternative pasta sauce to try next.  Be careful not to take advantage of this benefit, but know that it’s available and it’s a beautiful privilege that Whole Foods offers to it’s customers.

I could literally go on and on about why I choose to do my grocery shopping at Whole Foods these days – I trust the company, I believe they’re looking out for my best interest, they support the local community, and they have a wealth of resources within the store for any and all of your questions.  If you have a healthy eating question, Mary Lindsey is quick to respond to e-mails and so willing and happy to help those who need advice regarding their health.  I constantly see an employee in the health & body section, readily available to answer any product questions you may have.  They’re present, they’re available, they’re friendly & welcoming, they don’t get annoyed when you’re looking for an item.  If I’m trying to find something unique, I go to the customer service counter and they don’t just tell me what aisle or point in a certain direction, they lead me there personally.

Now 2 readers have the chance of winning a $25 gift card to Whole Foods!

Enter the giveaway (Each item gets 1 entry):

  • {Required} Leave a comment telling us what you love best about Whole Foods – be sure to include your contact e-mail address
  • Share this post on Facebook or Twitter
  • Visit the Budget Friendly Recipe page and tweet @WFMJackson which recipe you look forward to trying with the $25 giftcard!

** Giveaway ends Sunday, April 26th @ 11:59pm.  Winner will be selected on Monday, April 27th.

** The giftcard must be picked up at Whole Foods Market Jackson.  If you’re from outside Jackson, we can work with Whole Foods to hold the card for you until your next visit!

Good luck!

Jenn April 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

I love the soap! Switching to a natural soap takes a couple weeks to get used to. But after that your skin feels so much better you’ll never go back. We love the Dirty Hippy Brand (I think that’s the name). It’s made in Mississippi. The orange perks you up in the morning better than coffee.

Kelly D April 20, 2015 at 10:48 am

I love the baked goods section at Whole Foods. Everything is always so fresh.
kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

Kelly D April 20, 2015 at 10:49 am
Whitney April 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I love their produce, cheeses, dinner deals and I love shopping their sales. Their turkey meatloaf is amazing!! It’s always nice to shop at Whole Foods for a different variety 🙂

Carolsue April 21, 2015 at 2:30 am

I like everything about Whole Foods! But their salad bar is awesome! I also like the bread and meat.

Carolsue April 21, 2015 at 2:31 am

I tweeted you about the recipe I want to make
https://twitter.com/Sillysiamese/status/590416893669822464

shaunie April 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I would like to say that it has the best natural food selection of stores available

shaunie April 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm
shaunie April 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Visited -http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/%20?f%5B0%5D=field_recipe_category%3A788

tweeted – https://twitter.com/sandyhills25/status/590604332590043137

nicole dziedzic April 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm

What I like best about Whole Foods it the Deli and the Bakery!

nicole dziedzic April 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm
nicole dziedzic April 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm
Natalie April 21, 2015 at 8:11 pm
Natalie April 21, 2015 at 8:13 pm

I love the amazing fresh produce that Whole Foods has to offer. I also love their bakery items.

lorraine M (@laneycath) April 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm
lorraine M (@laneycath) April 21, 2015 at 8:25 pm

I like the fact the butcher department quality is predictable. and they are always expanding the offerings of LOCAL poultry

lorraine M (@laneycath) April 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

This is a compelling recipe to try and seems timely and easy to accomplish.
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/seafood-cucumber-stacks-lemon-cream-and-chives
SEAFOOD CUCUMBER STACKS WITH LEMON CREAM AND CHIVES

Samantha April 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

I love all of their chocolate covered pretzels with toffee in the fresh baked goods section!!

Denise April 22, 2015 at 12:01 am

I love their cupcakes in the bakery!

HS April 22, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I love the bulk bins grains and 365 products.

HS April 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm
Linda April 26, 2015 at 11:17 am

I love the bulk section at Whole Foods and I love to make fresh peanut butter.

Linda April 26, 2015 at 11:18 am
Susan Christy April 26, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Love the Hot Bar!!!

Susan Christy April 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm

my email address is myfoxypup(at)gmail(dot)com

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