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How To Shop at Whole Foods without Breaking The Bank

The other day I mentioned how I’m cutting even more food out of my already limited diet. For those of you keeping track, that means that I am now not eating gluten, dairy, corn, soy, red meat, and eggs. The problem isn’t necessarily cutting out those foods individually – it’s when those foods sneak into other foods that problems arise. Do you have any idea how many processed foods have soy or corn randomly in them? It’s a lot.

This means that I eat a lot of whole foods and foods from brands who commit to less processing. Which means that Whole Foods is my happy place. I did this when I lived in Nashville on my own and was paying for everything myself (remember how I live with my parents now?), so I know the argument that it’s too expensive or what not. But today I’m addressing this head on. That’s right: I’m sharing my secrets for shopping at Whole Foods without breaking the bank.

How to shop at whole foods without breaking the bank - Kate the (Almost) Great
My weekly grocery bill used to be around $90 at Publix, but if I went to Whole Foods, it was less than $70. If I shopped at Whole Foods just once a month every year, I would save $240 a year. If I shopped at Whole Foods every week and never shopped at Publix, I would save $1,040 a year. Here’s how I did it.

1. Plan ahead

Two parts to this. One: grocery list. It sounds simple, but it makes a huge difference. If you know exactly what you need to buy, you’re less likely to browse and buy a whole bunch of food that you didn’t need and/or won’t eat. Two: plan at least three meals ahead of time so you know exactly what you need to get for them. If you’re not eating a whole bunch of ingredients like I am, then it takes a bit of time to adjust and get used to buying the other ingredients you need to replace those that aren’t in your diet any more.

2. Food prep

Either the day you go to Whole Foods or the day after, take some time to prepare some snacks. How many times do you want to just graze on food but you don’t want to take the time to cut up some carrots or what not? If you already have these foods ready to go, you’re less likely to waste food by not eating something before it goes bad, and you’re also more likely to eat healthy. This also saves you money because you won’t need to buy as much extra food like potato chips to snack on. Or, if you still buy those chips, you will go through them slower and won’t need to buy a bag a week.

3. Get food in bulk to stock up when you can

Whole Foods has their own brand – 365 – to provide you with good food at a low price. The Whole Foods in the South End of Boston also has a bulk aisle! What I suggest you do in general is stock up when you can and get foods in bulk, which will save you money in the long run and lower your weekly grocery bill. Some foods you may want to do this with is chips and snacks in general, but also buy meat, shellfish, frozen berries, etc. and freeze them. If you buy more than 3 pounds of meat at Whole Foods, you get $0.50 off every extra pound!

4. If you get nothing else there, get their organic produce.

So many stores now have organic food. But many of them have high prices for their organic produce, and (in my experience) Whole Foods has lower prices and more available. That’s why my weekly grocery bill at Publix was so high for just one person!


If you live in Boston or the Boston area, you absolutely have to check out the new Whole Foods in the South End. I had the opportunity to visit it before it opened and I was in awe of it. It is gorgeous and has some crazy cool extra stuff there – like a spa, a coffee bar, and a fish shack.

Whole Foods South End Boston
Whole Foods South End Boston
I also want to introduce Olya of The Siberian American!
I named my blog The Siberian American because being born in Siberia is such a huge part of my identity. Although I now live in Texas, my parents kept many Russian traditions (and crazy superstitions!) alive for my brother and me growing up.  I am passionate about travel and believe a girl can never have too many dresses. On my blog, I write about my travel adventures, my adorable Corgi mix, our journey through my hubby’s medical school and upcoming residency, and all the things that make me happy.

The only compensation I received from this post was the opportunity to visit the Whole Foods in the South End before it opened and some free products to try after visiting. I received no monetary compensation for this post. However, if Whole Foods is interested in compensating me, I won’t protest. I love you. You’re my favorite.

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  • I can honestly say I've never even been in a whole foods. I know where they are but they intimidate me (lame I know lol). Maybe I'll give it a try one of these days

  • I'm in the same boat with cutting out corn and soy, and you're right–it's in EVERYTHING.

  • This is great advice! I'm on Day 21 of Whole30 and Whole Foods has been a godsend! Great post!

    Anna | richaskings.com

  • I love seeing others who firmly believe in the power of shopping at Whole Foods and the ability to do it on a budget!! We just had our first Whole Foods store in Mississippi and I was able to tour the store before opening also, I was ecstatic about getting a Whole Foods. My store opening post is here: http://nobologna-blog.com/finally/ Ever since they arrived, I've gotten very plugged into their Healthy eating challenges and I do the majority of my grocery shopping there now – it did take some time to adjust how I shopped and to prepare ahead of time, but I feel like I"m finally getting the hang of it and feel comfortable shopping there on a regular basis.