By now everyone has heard the phrase “Whole Paycheck” in reference to how expensive it is to shop at Whole Foods Market. If you are buying and eating only organic food, this moniker may ring especially true.
However, buying organic – even at Whole Foods – doesn’t have to be drain your bank account. Savvy shoppers can fill their carts with organic goodness without maxing out their credit cards. We asked a few Whole Foods Team Members (store employees) for some of their favorite ways to save on organic food at Whole Foods Market.
Organic tomatoes are cheaper when they are in season, and they taste best then too. That goes for almost all produce. If you have any questions about what’s in season, check out our handy dandy seasonal produce guide.
If you buy salad greens, the biggest container is the best deal–but if you don’t need that much, you get the same price per pound or better in the bulk salad bins (the ones with the plastic tongs in the produce dept, not the salad bar – if money is a concern, step away from the salad bar immediately)
Don’t Buy Bulk
Some bulk items actually can be more expensive than packaged items (like certain nuts). Make sure that you are comparing like to like (non organic items are usually a bit cheaper than organic, though not always). You can check the price per ounce printed on the price tags for each item to make sure you’re getting the best price.
Think items like beets. You can buy beets by the pound, or you can buy a bunch with the greens still attached. The greens are edible, delicious, and ready to toss in salad, soup, or into your juicer. Other edible veggie leaves–radish, carrot, celery, cauliflower. Make the most of what you buy.
Shop the Sales at Whole Foods
The Whole Deal booklet (released every two months) contains coupons you can stack on top of monthly and weekly sales (you can also use manufacturers coupons on top of all that). Case discounts of 10% if you purchase a whole case (on top of sale prices). There are also three day sales (usually on the weekend) and one day sales every Friday.
Buy the Store Brand
365 is the store “everyday value” brand, and many products in the line, from almond milk to butter to cheese and much more, are organic. Save big money by choosing the store brand.
The Meat Counter
Organic plant-based proteins will always be cheaper than organic meats, but again, shop the sales and stock up your freezer when organic chicken or ground beef goes on special. The team members will also cut up anything for you to order, so buy the whole chicken (cheaper by the pound than anything else) and ask them to break it down into pieces. They will season it for you for free too! I recently got a whole organic chicken broken down for about $2.50 a pound, while the organic chicken breasts were closer to $7.50!
Bonus Non-Whole Foods Organic Food Money Saving Tip
Hit up the “ugly apples” bins at your local farmers market. Lots of farmers will charge next to nothing for bruised, asymmetrical, or downright ugly fruits or veggies.
I only talked to a few team members, so if you have any other tips for saving money on Organic Food at Whole Foods, we’d love to hear about them.