Whole Foods has long had a bad rap for its high prices (hence its nickname "Whole Paycheck"). But between the expansion of its house brand, 365 Everyday Value, and the sheer buying power of its new owner, Amazon, prices on many items across the store have come down, out of the stratosphere, a bit.
That's not to say it's the cheapest place to shop — it's just that there are definitely a few things at Whole Foods that hit the sweet spot of really high quality and a really affordable price.
Here are the five things I always buy at Whole Foods that don't bust my budget.
1. 365 Organic Whole-Wheat Bread, $4 for 20-ounce loaf
I did a taste test of whole-wheat sandwich breads and this one came out on top for its rich, wheat-y flavor and really soft, tender texture. And best of all, because it's organic, I don't have to worry that is has a bunch of questionable chemical dough conditioners and additives.
2. 365 Everyday Value Large Pasture Raised Eggs, $5 per dozen
Pasture-raised eggs come from chickens that really do get to run around on grass and eat bugs, whereas free-range just means they're not in cages. I love pasture-raised eggs because the bright-yellow yolks are far richer and more flavorful than conventional eggs, but they're usually about $7 or $8 a dozen. So, at $4.99, these are a comparable bargain. But even if you don't want to spring for them (and sometimes I don't), the 365 Cage Free Large Grade A White Eggs are also a great deal at $2.99 for a dozen.
More on Eggs
3. Whole Foods Market Original Hummus, $2.40 for eight ounces
Yes, I know, it's way cheaper to make your own hummus with dried garbanzos, but I often don't have the time, or the foresight, to do it. When I need to grab a tub, the Whole Foods brand is my go-to because it's the lightest, creamiest and tangiest of all the store-bought brands I've tried.
4. 365 Organic Coconut Milk, $2 for 13.5 ounces
Several of my go-to weeknight dinners require a can of coconut milk, so I always keep a few cans on hand. The 365 brand is not only organic, but it's also half the price of name brands, even at supermarkets known for their cheap prices.
5. Bits of fancy cheese, prices vary
Check the cheese fridge next to the fancy cheese counter and you'll likely find a tub or basket with dozens of small cellophane-wrapped bundles. This treasure chest is where the cheesemonger puts all the leftover chunks of fancy cheese that are too small to showcase at the cheese counter. That means I can sample a wide variety of really delicious and interesting cheeses with very little upfront investment, usually about $2. And because the chunks are less than four ounces, my family is much more likely to eat it all in one go and not waste any.
What are the budget-friendly items you score at Whole Foods?