When I take a look at my budget at the end of the month, I'm usually pretty happy about all the choices I've made in the grocery department. That may be surprising to you, considering I almost always make a trip or two to Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck).
After meal planning, I figure out what stores I need to hit for all my items. Inevitably, Whole Foods makes the list (usually for protein and specialty items), but before I even head to the store I now do one thing — and it's helped me save money. So much money that it's made me wish I'd been doing it all along.
Check the Whole Foods App Before You Head to the Store
Most stores have apps that put all their services, information, and — you guessed it — coupons in one place, and Whole Foods is no different. I recently got into the habit of always checking the app to see what's on sale. It's how I scored wild Coho salmon for 12 bucks a pound a few week ago. I had them cut it into quarter-pound pieces and individually wrap it so I could stick the pieces in the freezer when I got home. Not a bad deal at all, given their pricey reputation.
Beyond just being able to see what's on sale, the Whole Foods app has coupons that are exclusive to that particular platform. They aren't advertised in store or on their flyer, which makes downloading (and deleting the app after if need be) worthwhile. Sometimes it's a killer sale like the one on the salmon, and sometimes it's a free yogurt with a total over $20. At a time, you'll find 10 or so coupons that will last about a week.
That said, you'll rarely find me purchasing more than produce and proteins at Whole Foods because it's the packaged foods that really cause the dollar signs to rack up. It's the cumulative effect of these practices that make shopping at Whole Foods reasonable for me, and one facet in a larger grocery shopping strategy that truly begins with having a well-thought-out meal plan in place.
More on Whole Foods and Your Budget
What do you buy at Whole Foods? How do you keep your total down?