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How to Shop at Whole Foods on a Budget

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It’s garnered the nickname “Whole Paycheck”. Whole Foods has an amazing selection of organic, sustainable and gourmet items on its shelves and in its coolers, which are costly to grow and produce. But there are plenty of reasonably-priced and even discounted items to be had at the mega-grocer… if you know where to look for them.

And while some of the same money-saving tips that come in handy at other grocery stores also apply here, there are some very unique ways to save at Whole Foods. So, if shopping organic and sustainable are as important to you as saving money is, read on for tips on how to stay within your budget.

1. Find Out What’s On Sale & Grab Your Coupons

While you’re putting together your shopping list, log on to the Whole Foods site to see what’s on sale this week. Try to incorporate as many sale items as you can into your weekly menu plan. And if there’s something on sale that you know you use a lot of, you might want to stock up. Blowing your budget this month for the long-term savings can be worth it!

2. Buy the Whole Foods Brand

Whole Foods has been carrying it’s own in-store brand, 365, for years, and it’s a good substitute for some of the pricier labels you’ll come across (the 365 hot salsa is a personal favorite). In fact, 365 has been such a hit with customers, the store is launching a smaller-store concept called 365 by Whole Foods Market.The first three store locations are slated to open in 2016, and up to 10 stores are expected to open in 2017.

3. Shop the Bulk Section

You can save about 10% by buying your dried legumes, grains, herbs and other items in bulk. The savings can really add up over time.

4. Stick to Your List

Those adorably packaged bon-bons or that fancy gourmet salt might be irresistible, but seriously, you can avoid the temptation. You’ll see the difference later in your budget, and possibly even your waistline.

5. Don’t Forget Your Bags

You’ll spend 10 cents per bag if you forget yours, which isn’t a lot, but if you buy five bags of groceries once a week, that’s $25 a year that could’ve been spent elsewhere.

6. Steer Clear of the Salad Bar

Unless you’re running in for a quick lunch on the go, the salad bar is an expensive way to get your veggies. They charge by the pound, so look for other alternatives if you’re buying food to take home with you.

7. Buy Dry Goods Elsewhere

Buying your toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products online and having them delivered can make a lot of sense and save a lot of money.

Online retailers typically sell items like toilet paper, paper towels and household cleaners more cheaply than your local grocer. Buying these items online also cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend grocery shopping, and you can even schedule these deliveries so they come at regular intervals — monthly, semi-monthly, etc.

8. Use the Whole Foods App

You can see what’s on sale, download coupons and recipes, and even create a shopping list, all within the app. There’s also a handy store locator if you aren’t sure where the nearest one is.

Of course, if you really want to save money on groceries, it’s good to consider using a cash-back rewards card to make your purchases. Most rewards cards require better than average credit, so before you apply for one of these cards, it’s good to see where your credit stands. You can check your two free credit scores, updated monthly, at Credit.com.

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