Whole Foods on a Budget: Expert Tips on How to Save Money (and a giveaway!)

by Erika Torres

wholefoods giveawayEric and I were lucky to have Whole Foods come to our home and prepare a fantastic three-course-meal on a budget.

But the real purpose of our trip was to see how to actually save money and shop at Whole Foods on a budget.

Straight from the Whole Foods experts, here is what we learned on how to save money at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods on a Budget

Meal Plan Based on That Week’s Specials: So many times, I come up with my menu plan (menu planning, btw, is the best way to save money on groceries!) based on what I saw on Pinterest that week. This is the backwards way to do it.

The right way to save the most money is to actually base your menu around that week’s specials. For example, if salmon is on sale, you can make these awesome Honey-Lime Salmon Kebabs! If you don’t know what to cook, ask the employees…which brings me to…

Whole Value: Whole Foods is committed to providing the best value. When you shop at Whole Foods, feel free to talk to the employees and ask for help! Everybody is so nice and so very cool!

On our tour, we met the Whole Foods finalist for fishmonger in the world–yes, that’s an actual competition where they have to fillet a fish the fastest and cleanest. These people love to talk about food and they’d love to help you prepare a fabulous meal on a budget.

Cut the Cheese: Do you ever become overwhelmed by that large cheese selection? I know I do.

Eric and I discovered the $4 cheese bin a while ago, where you can get great pieces of cheese for under four bucks. But did you know, you can ask the cheese monger to cut any piece of cheese for you to fit into your budget? I have a feeling this will definitely be the most dangerous tip since everyone knows Eric and I fight over cheese. Seriously, you can create a really great cheese plate with about three different $4 selections of cheese. Heck, tell the cheese monger to select some cheeses for you!

whole foods cheese

One Size Does Not Fit All: As with the cheese, you can get a specific amount of anything, including fish, beef and chicken, just ask! If you only need a half pound, no need to pay for the whole pound, right?

Be a Wino: To go with that cheese plate, you can pick up some bottles of wine. And did you know that if you buy six bottles of wine, you get 20% off? That’s like having a $10 bottle of wine for $8!

Meal Plan with the Whole Deal: If you don’t know how to get started meal planning, check out The Whole Deal–your store’s local value guide, which comes filled with coupons, recipes, and an actual one-week meal plan based on specials that will be going on in your store!

whole foods tomatoesBuy what’s in season: Lucky for you, the store specials are often based on what’s in season. Chef Nick says that you’ll always find deals based on what’s in season, like tomatoes for $4.99 a pound, when they’re normally $5.99 or more. The day we went shopping, we got deals on corn, figs, and peaches, which all made in appearance on our menu.

Be adventurous: Of course, what’s on sale may not be something you’re comfortable trying.

Here’s a secret–I had never tried a fresh fig before in my life. It’s just not something I grew up with and had no idea how to actually prep it. Now that Chef Nick showed me how, I can actually prep them myself! If you don’t know how to cook something, ask the employees! Again, they love to help.

Chicken is Chicken: One of the favorite tips I learned was that the chicken at the butcher counter is $7.99, but the pre-packaged chicken right below the butcher counter is only $5.99, and guess what? It’s the same chicken!!

The only difference is that it is pre-packaged, which helps Whole Foods save time and money because they are not personally preparing an order for you. I had no idea it was the same.

whole foods chicken

Buy Frozen: If it’s not in season, buying it fresh will probably be expensive. So turn to the freezer for deals on out-of-season produce. Here’s a big tip about cooking from frozen–it’s best if you steam the food, not boil it. Boiling causes the extra water to affect the texture, whereas steaming actually helps bring out the flavor. That’s an expert tip right there.

Buy in Bulk: Buying in the bulk section saves you money because you’re not paying for the packaging. Whole Foods has a TON of bulk foods. Our local store has bulk honey in several different flavors, bulk soy sauce, a make-your-own-granola station… do you ever hate when a recipe calls for something obscure like pastry flour or some weird spice you will only use once? This is perfect to buy in bulk.

Bring in Your Bags: Not only are reusable bags great for the environment, but at Whole Foods, you’ll get rewarded between 5 and 10 cents for every bag you bring in. And if you’re one of those people that can never remember to bring them to the store–keep them in your trunk! That way you’ll never be without them 🙂

If you still feel overwhelmed by your local Whole Foods and just don’t see how it will ever fit into your budget, take a Value Tour. Every store offers shoppers a Value Tour, where you go around and learn about how to navigate your local store. I highly recommend it, even if you’ve been shopping at your local Whole Foods for a while, because you will most likely learn something new!

I was so, so impressed with Whole Foods and their staff of knowledgeable and passionate employees. You can really tell that everyone loves working there.

Every time Eric and I shop at Whole Foods, it feels like an experience. And I hope that you can join in and take part in the experience as well!

Whole Foods has graciously given me $25 gift cards to give out to FIVE lucky Newlyweds on a Budget readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will have 72 hours to respond once notified, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

I was not paid by Whole Foods for this post, but I did receive dinner and a week’s worth of groceries for free. However, Eric and I have been regular Whole Foods shoppers for a few years and opinions are entirely our own. We really do love Whole Foods. 




Sarah L July 29, 2014 - 8:22 pm

My favorite tip is to buy in bulk. That way I can only get what I need.
Thanks for the contest.

Trisha McKee July 29, 2014 - 8:04 pm

Match up coupons and sales.

kathy artis July 29, 2014 - 7:47 pm

My tip is to do price matching

Dave K July 29, 2014 - 7:36 pm

Thank You

Tracy Jones July 29, 2014 - 7:11 pm

The tips I like is, Meal Plan Based on That Week’s Specials.

Linda G. July 29, 2014 - 7:10 pm

My tip would be to buy in bulk and use coupons

sue J. July 29, 2014 - 7:03 pm

I like being made aware of the “chicken is chicken” tip!

Allison July 29, 2014 - 6:56 pm

coupon clipping for us!

Sheila Korman July 29, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Look for sales and bring your coupons!

Buddy Garrett July 29, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Bring in Your Bags is my favorite. I would love to get paid for bringing in bags.

AEKZ2 July 29, 2014 - 6:19 pm

I like the tip that chicken is chicken. I love learning new ways to save money.

Donna L July 29, 2014 - 6:14 pm

I take coupons and I look for sales.

msly09@gmail.com July 29, 2014 - 6:09 pm

The cheese bites under $4. We usually just go to stock up on gluten free products but I’ll definitely be checking out these other deals. Thanks for the tips!

Suzanne h July 29, 2014 - 6:02 pm

Never go to the store without a list.

Jennifer R July 29, 2014 - 5:18 pm

My favorite Whole Foods money-saving tip is to watch sales and match coupons.

Jimmy July 29, 2014 - 4:05 pm

I use coupons and buy things when they are sale.

Kate July 29, 2014 - 3:36 pm

My favorite money-saving tip is to bring in your own bags.

Susan Climan July 29, 2014 - 3:34 pm

Clip coupons and see what’s on sale!

Elizabeth July 29, 2014 - 3:07 pm

Stick to your list, and shop around the perimeter of the store (produce and other staples) rather than the less-necessary stuff on the aisles!

Theron Willis July 29, 2014 - 2:47 pm

I save money via bulk buying.

Hope to win!

stephanie rothe July 29, 2014 - 2:36 pm

I always try to find the best deals while shopping, so I go with a few different meal options in mind.

Vicki D. July 29, 2014 - 2:33 pm

I use coupons a lot and I am happy that they take them.

Sarah Hall July 29, 2014 - 2:19 pm

I love the fact that they take coupons.

Michelle S July 29, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Go when there are specials and use coupons to match up with those specials.

Seyma Shabbir July 29, 2014 - 1:59 pm

They take coupons, both manufacurers and whole foods coupons. Also check to see what is on sale.

Janet Woodling July 29, 2014 - 1:30 pm

I plan our weekly menu based on advertised specials and what is in season. I make a list and stick to it. No impulse buying.

Francine Anchondo July 29, 2014 - 12:43 pm

my favorite tip is Buy in Bulk.

Candie L July 29, 2014 - 12:42 pm

It is important to buy what is on sale and make your menus based on that. Thank you

carolyn d July 29, 2014 - 12:21 pm

Always buy in season and stay away from prepared foods.

shaunie July 29, 2014 - 12:17 pm

Would have to say to purchase what is in season

susan smoaks July 29, 2014 - 11:12 am

i shop matching coupons up with the sales to maximize savings. i love whole foods.

Alina Moore July 29, 2014 - 11:05 am

Buy Frozen: If it’s not in season, buying it fresh will probably be expensive. So turn to the freezer for deals on out-of-season produce.

Miki Baxter July 29, 2014 - 10:52 am

See what’s on sale and create a menu accordingly!

Janice Crespo July 29, 2014 - 9:59 am

Check out the sale flyer before you go and plan your meals accordingly. That way you can make a complete list and then just stick to the list!

Stephanie Kilbourn July 29, 2014 - 9:58 am

Watch for specials and use store and manufacturer’s coupons

Serena Powell July 29, 2014 - 9:49 am

Look around at the products that are on sale. They generally run specials every week.

CJ Godfrey July 29, 2014 - 9:40 am

My best tip is to use coupons and keep an eye out for sales.

Joy Q July 29, 2014 - 9:28 am

Buy produce that is in season and use coupons as much as possible.

manda July 29, 2014 - 8:43 am

Use coupons.

Mary V July 29, 2014 - 6:14 am

I plan my family meals for the week and cut out my coupons for the meals and make a list Thanks for the chance!

Holly E July 29, 2014 - 6:13 am

I love Whole Foods! I buy on sale and use coupons.

Sue Ahn July 29, 2014 - 4:44 am

I like the BUY FROZEN tip and how to steam food rather than boil. Retaining flavour and nutritional value is so important.

Sonya July 28, 2014 - 9:46 pm

I buy the produce that’s in season, since it’s often on sale.

Jill Myrick July 28, 2014 - 7:13 pm

We always make a list and stick with it, clip coupons and eat before going grocery shopping.


Daniel M July 28, 2014 - 2:25 pm

Meal Plan Based on That Week’s Specials

Katie J July 28, 2014 - 2:19 pm

Clipping coupons always helps me save a few bucks.

Diane Baum July 28, 2014 - 12:18 pm

I love the tip of bringing your own bags, help the planet and your wallet.

tina reynolds July 28, 2014 - 9:13 am

My best tips bring your own bags and make a shopping list

amanda whitley July 28, 2014 - 6:27 am

my favorite tip is to Buy in Bulk.

Eugenia Hall July 27, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Choose wisely, never buy anything there that you can get at a regular grocery store. Stick to the specialty and gourmet offerings.

Shana Elliott July 27, 2014 - 8:02 pm

I love that you get rewarded for bags that you bring in!

Melissa July 27, 2014 - 7:55 pm

i love the cheese tip the best! mmm cheese! 🙂 off to whole foods!

Stephanie Douglas July 27, 2014 - 7:30 pm

At Whole Foods, I usually shop sales and use coupons.

Susan Smith July 27, 2014 - 11:42 am

I like the tip buy in Bulk. I already do that and it really saves me money.

Karen Drake July 27, 2014 - 11:02 am

My favorite tip is the one about chicken, I love being able to buy in bulk too.

Stephanie July 27, 2014 - 7:24 am

I need to start using reusable grocery bags. Thanks for the tips!

Brittney House July 26, 2014 - 11:04 pm

I think you get more for your money when you buy in bulk.

Michelle H. July 26, 2014 - 7:13 pm

I like the “chicken is chicken” tip.

Robin July 26, 2014 - 3:45 pm

My tip is to bring your own bag.

hollyrere@aol.com July 25, 2014 - 7:40 am

Whole foods is a little expensive in my area but when I do buy there I make sure to buy sale items.

justrealhappy@gmail.com July 25, 2014 - 7:28 am

I’ve never really shopped at Whole Foods, but reading this makes me think that maybe I could start.