Better Half

Family, Life, and Politics from Wifey

Saving Money at WholeFoods October 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — raitking @ 12:26 pm
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Shaun and I really hold healthy eating as a core value for our family.  Sometime soon we’ll write another post on all of the amazing health turnarounds our family has seen since eating (and drinking) healthy has become a major part of who we are.  Listen, eating healthy, whole and organic foods is not like eating off of the $1.00 menu @ McDonald’s, but YOU CAN eat well, very well in fact, on a budget.

We do about 60% of our grocery shopping @ Whole Foods and split the other shopping up between Costco, our local farmer’s market, and a conventional grocery store.  I know it’s hard to imagine, but you really can get a bargain by shopping at Whole Foods.  Here’s how:

First, you have to decide what’s important to you.  We try to buy organic everything as much possible.  But for price sake, there are some things we can do without.  Here are a few must haves for our family though:

-Organic milk…hands down cheaper at whole foods by the gallon than anywhere else. Also, our kids pack organic milk boxes in their lunches…We DON’T get these at Whole Foods…will kill the budget.  Instead go to costco or get them from the really good grocery delivery (free shipping) section on amazon.com.  If you subscribe to an item you like there you can get an even greater discount AND not have to pay taxes.  Something you conservatives should really love (Shaun wrote that).

-Organic cereal…costs a whole dollar more at Target and Kroger than Whole Foods…$3.49 a box versus the $2.49 we pay for a variety of cereals @ Whole Foods.

-Organic snacks…my kids eat them so much (in their lunch boxes and after school) that we refuse to feed them the crap that comes in other snacks.  Here are some BIG no, no’sHigh Fructose corn syrup (bump what you hear on the industry driven commercials…this stuff will kill you), Artificial flavorings and colors (known to cause ADD and ADHD especially in boys), and absolutely no Partially Hydrogenated anything (will cause cancer…for sure!).

Some good brands are: Back to Nature (not always organic, but genuinely natural as verified by the fact that I know and can read all of the ingredients).  Cliff Kids Organic Snacks (our children absolutely LOVE their snack bars and twizzler like fruit sticks).  The key is to buy them on sale at Whole Foods (right now all back to nature cookies and crackers are on sale 2 for $4.  This stuff is normally $3.49 a box).  Amazon.com also offers good deals on both of these brands and other organic kid snacks.

-Organic/Natural Meat- It’s tough to find organic meat.  So we researched farms we know that give their animals whole, vegetarian feed, and have good farming practices (don’t mistreat their animals, and don’t keep them caged and overly restricted).  Whole Foods buys exclusively from these types of farms. Here’s another secret: You can ask the butcher to make you a family pack of any cut of meat for a HUGE savings.  We save 60 cents a pound on chicken breasts, wings, and drumsticks this way.  Regular, mainstream chicken at Kroger or Target will cost you over $3 a pound.  Buying it this way at Whole Foods costs less than $2 a pound…for the good stuff!

-Coupons & Sales – WholeFoods.com now has links to great coupons for in-store deals.  You can also find a coupon book at the front of the store as well.  Here’s a caution though – try to use a coupons on items that are already on sale, relatively affordable, or are must-have items or you won’t be saving much money.  Also, as soon as you walk in to Whole Foods they will have a flyer that lists the truly great sales going on in the store.  Sometimes they really do offer 50% of deals, BOGO, and more.

Other items we get from the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  Items like organic produce (which, when on sale @ Whole Foods can be @ the price you can find anywhere – we just bought a ton of organic apples, oranges, and strawberries there), butter, jelly, and pricier cuts of meat (steak, bacon, etc.) are much cheaper at our farmer’s market than Whole Foods.  If you don’t live in Atlanta, your city may have a similar farmer’s market that will allow you to save some money and share the load with Whole Foods.  It takes a while to get it down.  But it’s worth the effort to raise a healthy family.  The proof is in the pudding…last year our kids had perfect attendance…never missed one day of school for being sick…amazing!

Oh yeah - one last thing.  If your school or church or civic group calls to schedule a tour (particularly with kids) Whole Foods gives you a TON of free groceries, food, and coupons.  Our kids have gone twice and loved it both times!  Once a month each store also offers cost-savings tours for adults.  Take it!

 

26 Responses to “Saving Money at WholeFoods”

  1. Rasheeda Says:

    FYI, Costco also sells Back to Nature products. I like their whole grain & flaxseed crackers, and can get a case (4 boxes) for like $5 or $6 at Costco. Great tips, thank you!

  2. Randy Says:

    Thanks for the blog…great stuff! Wholefoods just came to Bham and we always assumed it was too expensive. We home-schooled for a season and were involved in a co-op where several families got together and ordered foods and then divided it up among us…we saved a ton and ate well!
    Blessings to the King family,
    Randy Pardue

  3. Jewells Says:

    I will be sure to use these tips next time I head to Whole Foods. Thanks!

  4. Kristy Says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m always going back and forth on eating healthy and saving money, but I’m convicted now that I can do both. You’re right that it is worth the extra effort to make my family healthy. I’ve never heard of the link between artificial flavor and coloring to ADD/ADHD-that’s a huge motivator. Ricky’s taken to those gummy “fruit” snacks lately but I will definitly be cutting that out. Is there a healthy equivalent to that? Also, what kinds of meat exactly are you getting for less than $2/lb? That’s a really great price.

    • lin Says:

      Kristy,

      WF carries fruit juice sweetened candy in the bulk section, jelly beans and similar; there are also several brands of fruit “leather.” Your kids might learn to like these over the gummi stuff.

      –lin

  5. IAD Says:

    Great post…will try implementing some of these suggestions. THANKS

  6. amy Says:

    Following you on twitter and I love your blog. Great info here!!

    Thanks again!

  7. raitking Says:

    Kristy- I don’t know of any fruit snacks, but my kids like these things called fruit twists. They look like twizzlers, but are organically produced by Cliff Kids.
    As to the chicken, I know for sure the family pack of drumsticks is close to $2 a pound, and I’m pretty sure the wings are as well. I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts because I work and it just makes meal prep much quicker. This is always more expensive than bone-in and skin on. Still, I get the family packs of the good stuff from Wholefoods for a little more than $3.
    If you google artificial colors/flavors/additives and ADD, ADHD you will find a number of articles on the subject. I first heard about it on the radio, and vowed to never buy anything with this stuff. Once you know the few key things to look for, you’ll be skimming labels quickly and deciding what to buy and what not to.
    I go back and forth as well b/c I too want to be mindful of the family budget. Buying organic yogurt tubes, etc. is so important to me, though, that it may mean I don’t get my pint of Ben and Jerry’s every time. It really just depends. Let me know what you think about the info you find on the additives.

  8. Rindy Walton Says:

    With an extremely limited church planter budget, I never even gave Wholefoods a thought. I never heard of it before moving and know there’s one very close by—now I HAVE to go check it out!! Thanks!!

  9. Xavier Porter Says:

    Man, I miss the Farmers Market…nothing close to it in Houston! Another great place for organic foods at a good price (well, it was in LA) is Trader Joe’s. But you may need to compare the cost to Whole Foods. I always found it cheaper than most places in LA. I miss Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s now. ;(

  10. Georgette Says:

    Thanks so much for the info! I have been moving toward eating healthier foods. I have recently cut out the hig fructose corn syrup and refined sugar. However, since I am staying in Tuscaloosa for school, the options are minimal at best. I am restricted to the organic section at the one Publix in town.
    For those who haven’t tried it before, at with Thnaksgiving right around the corner, a fresh,free range,grain fed,organic turkey is unbelieveably good!

  11. [...] Family Night #5 Under the Table Organics on a Budget October 18, 2008 Shaun and Rai King wrote a post on their blog this week about eating healthy and staying on budget.  I’ve often [...]

  12. Chan Says:

    Great information. I love whole foods but usually only buy a few items there, this gave me some good info. to dig a little deeper. Also great info on taking a tour. GOOD STUFF!

  13. Trina Says:

    Hi, I found you thru Raggamuffin Soul, he linked to your husband’s blog and after reading his miracle story (and yours too!) I found your blog.

    Anyway, after reading what your wrote about the high fructose corn syrup, I am freaking out a little. I haven’t paid much attention to all the hype, but now you have me nervous.

    Can you point me in the direction of some good reliable info so I can educate myself more on this issue? Thanks!

    • raitking Says:

      Hey Trina. Don’t let the high fructose stuff scare you. Just educate yourself and start small. You will find that it is very difficult to completely eliminate high fructose corn syrup because it’s in just about everything. But you can avoid it in foods where it is a main ingredient like sodas and most fruit juices. You just have to read the labels and before you know it, you’ll be a pro at what to buy and what not to. Google “dangers high fructose corn syrup” and you will find all types of stuff from reputable sources.

  14. katyallgeyer Says:

    Really well thought out post with solid info. Thanks! In summer, I am able to buy almost 100% of our groceries at the local farmers markets…fresh made bread and baked goods, organic free range meats, wonderful fresh eggs and cheese, as well as veggies and honey and other products. In the long run, you’re saving money in healthcare related bills so it works out.
    Katy
    http:fengshuibyfishgirl.com

  15. Elyse Says:

    Thanks so much for the tips!! We rarely make it to Whole Foods because it’s an hour away, but when we get there, it will be nice to have these in mind! ;)

  16. whatsonmyplate Says:

    Agreed – and in some cities Whole Foods is cheaper on regular produce as well. The 365 brand has some great deals, not necessarily organic but good stuff.

  17. Fay Says:

    Thanks for this! I’m always looking for ways to cut costs there. I suppose staying away from the soups and prepared foods would also help too. That’s my WF weak spot. :D

  18. Willis Polk Says:

    This was very informative Rai!! Joy always says that i diss Whole Foods, but really I don’t. I just think we need to tackle whole foods strategically and you have definetly helped open my eyes to the possibilities!

  19. jinean Says:

    thanx rai! great advice…will help as I rework some eating habits…

  20. [...] His Better Half and her brilliant way of shopping Whole Foods  for a family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) and how she [...]

  21. eugenia Says:

    This is a great post for families, but do you have any tips for singletons to save money at WF? I live alone and can’t really do bulk anything unless I can freeze it.

  22. Jodi Says:

    Ok, wait…….you get individual throwaway cartons of organic milk MAILED TO YOUR HOME??? Why not fill a small thermos with milk from the gallon in your fridge???

    And everyone should try, at least one time, to make their own yogurt at home……you will never want to eat overpriced store bought again.

  23. [...] Save money at Whole Foods, sounds great! —  Better Half [...]

  24. [...] it matters and where your budget will allow. Related articles:  How to Save Money at Whole Foods Saving at Whole Foods (I’ve blogged this one [...]


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