Today I wanted to share how I save money while shopping at Whole Foods. Yes, I save money. It’s possible.
First, let me point out that I was spending about $50.00 every week at Kroger/Ralph’s for my food before I went zero waste. So when I say I’m saving money at Whole Foods, I’m saying I’m spending less than $50.00 per trip.
Now that everything is out on the table, let’s get down to it.
• Stay on the outside of the grocery store. Buying package free foods (at Whole Foods or any “normal” market) will save you a lot of money.
• Only buy what you need. Whenever I have a recipe, I bring measuring cups and my own containers and shop in the bulk section. I save so much because, for example, if I need one cup of chocolate chips, I only buy that one cup. Instead of spending $5 or more on a bag of packaged chocolate chips, I spend under a dollar on the one cup of bulk chocolate chips.
• Shop oragnic. Whole Foods is all organic, so there are no markups. Whenever I am at a normal market there is always an organic and non-organic option. Obviously, the organic option is more expensive. But since Whole Foods is all organic, there are no markups. If you want to buy organic, I highly suggest Whole Foods or a farmer’s market.
• Bulk is beautiful. For example, salad mix. My boyfriend used to buy a packaged salad mix of kale and spinach. It was a plastic box for $4.00. When he went zero waste, he bought a bundle of organic spinach and a bundle of organic kale – each $1.00. When we got home, he spent about 10 minutes washing and cutting up the bundles. He ended up with twice the amount of salad mix, and cut his cost in half. He was basically paying $2.00 extra for saving 10 minutes of prep time and for half the product. I repeat, bulk is beautiful.
To really drive the point home, here is my most recent shopping list:
• $2.99 Head of romaine lettuce
• $2.19 Bundle of bananas
• $0.67 Three carrots (big, with the tops still attached)
• $4.15 1lb of freshly ground peanut butter
• $1.60 About a cup a kalamata olives
• $2.00 An avocado
• $0.86 Half a pound of bulk black beans
• $0.69 A tomato
• $6.00 4 Fresh mozarella balls in water
Like I said at the top of the post, I’m used to spending $50.00. This trip I spent about $20.00 – TWENTY. Everything was organic, everything was in my own containers. Zero waste, plastic free and cheap! I wish I would have known about zero waste in college. I would have had so much more money for Forever 21 dresses and jaeger bombs. (embarrassing)
**Disclaimers: Since I am now making the majority of my meals, my kitchen is stocked with a lot of kitchen staples to go with my grocery items. I plan on making a giant salad with the romaine lettuce and kalamata olives. I already have feta cheese and the salad dressing. I am going to make a caprese salad with the tomato and mozarella, I already have the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So I will say, my first couple of trips were closer to the $50.00 I was used to as I stocked up on those kitchen staples.
I am also vegetarian (for the most part), so my shopping is always cheaper because meat is more expensive than beans.
If you do have a craving for lunch meat, the deli is super accomidating to zero waste. You buy the amount you want and have it wrapped in paper. Cheap and waste free!