Monday, October 13, 2014

Article: How to Stretch Your Dollar at Whole Foods

Image: ilovebutter via Flickr and Creative Commons 2.0
If you're ever suffered from sticker shock at Whole Foods, you're not alone.As much as I try to shop elsewhere, I can't find everything I need at the cheaper stores. Only Whole Foods has items like bulk organic almond butter and organic dates (which I use for my daily chocolate smoothies). But Whole Foods doesn't have to be expensiveif you know how to shop for savings. Read on for some of my time-tested tips.
  • Try frozen produce instead of fresh. Prices on organic fruits and veggies in the frozen food aisle are often comparable or cheaper than the fresh versions. They are also frozen at the peak of the season.
  • Avoid packaged goods. Pre-packaged snacks, frozen dinners, and prepared foods often cost twice as much as similar items at a regular grocery store. Prepare your own versions from scratch to get healthier ingredients without the hefty price tag.
  • Buy only what you need. Organic produce might cost more, but your money is wasted if you can't eat it in time. Buy in smaller quantities when possible if you have a smaller family. The bulk food aisle is particularly useful for a teaspoon of a particular spice or a handful of chocolate chips. A bargain isn't a good value if it ends up in the trash.
  • Make your food last. Whole Foods offers a variety of quality foods, so look for ways to make the most of them. Instead of eating three squares of conventional milk chocolate, savor a small piece of organic dark chocolate each day. Fill your plate with affordable items such as beans and rice, while keeping portions of pricier foods like nuts or vegetarian meats smaller.
  • Look for ingredient substitutions. You may have ventured to Whole Foods in search of organic almond butter or pine nuts. If the prices of these ingredients make you balk, consider substitutions. Try cashews instead of pine nuts, or mix some peanut butter with almond butter purchased from the bulk food aisle. Use broccoli instead of broccoli rabe, or frozen strawberries instead of fresh.
  • Write to companies to request coupons. Many Whole Foods coupons are for packaged foods and other items that have higher costs. Avoid the temptation to buy these items to "save money" and instead write directly to companies for products you know and love. Some will send you free coupons upon request.
Do you have any tips for saving at Whole Foods? If so, share them in the comments!

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