So I love Whole Foods, but really, who doesn’t? It’s also the closest grocery store to me right now which definitely has it’s pros and cons. While I feel that paying a little extra for good, wholesome food is important (it’s fuels your body and there’s nothing more important than that), sometimes the prices aren’t very budget friendly. I was at a group meeting the other night and towards the end, we were talking about our love for food when one guy turned to me and was like “but it’s expensive.”
Here are some tips as a college student that I have found to keep the bill down…
1. Look for the Hot Deals for that week. There is a flyer at the entrance of the store and there are yellow signs at those products as well throughout the store. FOLLOW the YELLOW!
2. There’s also a newsletter like publication near the entrance of the store called The Whole Deal. Not only do they have some recipes (including budget-friendly), they also have pages of coupons! From lettuce to dairy products, there are tons of $1 off coupons and while that doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up. Another plus, there’s no limit on how many of these publications you take and the coupons are good for a few months.
3. Use your freezer and pantry. If you have a little extra money in your budget that week and you see something on sale, get it and save it. For example, boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale the other week. Since most nights, I cook for 1, I don’t need 4 chicken breasts at a time (since I don’t eat meat everyday) so what did I do? I bought the package and saved 1 chicken breast thawed for a dinner and individually froze the rest. Three more quick meals!
4. Buy whole foods (no pun intended!). The price of buying pre-cut ingredients includes the time it took people to prepare them. So get that butternut squash whole, get out that peeler and knife and prepare yourself.
5. Buy SEASONALLY!!! After I say this to my friends I usually get the question of “what’s in season now?” Well it depends on where you live obviously. Right now in Washington D.C., winter squash, pumpkins, pomegranates, apples, citrus, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cranberries, leeks, fennel, etc. Basically things on sale often, like how apples are now, are in season. (I got the bag below for $2.99!) Not only are they on sale frequently, but since it’s “their season,” they taste better than those red tomatoes, which were in season this past summer.
6. Buy LOCALLY!!! Yes, I love farmer’s markets, but sometimes they’re hard to find or the times don’t work well for your busy shcedule. Fortunately, Whole Foods makes it very easy to find local ingredients because they are labelled! FOLLOW the YELLOW!
7. Buy in bulk. Dried beans, grains, nuts, dried fruit and granolas are the things that are in bulk at my local Whole Foods. All of these ingredients are healthy and can be put together for delicious meals and snacks. Sure, you have to soak dried beans overnight which is more time consuming than buying the canned ones, but you can control how you season them and it saves you $$$.
Plus, have you ever tried to buy granola and said to yourself, “I’d like this if it didn’t have ______ in it?” I know I have so use the bulk bins to make your own. You can pick the oats and different grains, nuts and fruits you want. Yum!
8. And just an added random fact, buy grapes in the plastic Pandoi boxes. It’s a little bulkier than the bags, but with the price of grapes right now at $3.49-3.99 and the way I eat them (if you personally know me, you know how I eat grapes by the pound), this makes it more affordable. The boxes are each $3.99 and include 2# which equals to about $1.99/pound!
What’s your method to saving money on your grocery bill?