Whole Foods not Whole Paycheck

In my neighborhood, we’re blessed with an abundance of grocery shopping

veggie haul

veggie haul

options: Whole Foods, Harvest Co-op, Shaws, Trader Joes, a handful of ethnic groceries (Portuguese, Korean, Indian, Brazilian) and in the warmer months, multiple farmers markers.

As a cost-conscious shopper, I devote a lot of time and effort to meal-planning, grocery list making, and food shopping.  I’ll openly admit that I LOVE it all: the planning, the shopping, the prep and the cooking.  In fact, food shopping is probably the only type of shopping I could do for any length of time without getting crabby.  The only thing I don’t like  is spending a lot of money on food.  As a healthy eater, I want the biggest nutritional bang for my buck and I don’t want to get price-gouged for being healthy.

Far and away my two favorite grocery stores are Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  The quality is excellent and the prices are right.  I feel like I can spend my money where it’s most important and not waste it on packaging or marketing. (Hat tip here to Michael Pollan’s section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma on the “supermarket pastoral” for enlightening me to this ploy.)

Because I believe and live the idea that you can shop nutrituously, organically, and healthfully at Whole Foods/Trader Joes for under $25.00 a week (for one person), it makes my heart sing when I find others online who have done the same.

Take His Better Half and her brilliant way of shopping Whole Foods  for a family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) and how she navigates other foodstores for the best value.  I love Better Half’s argument that the shopper needs to decide what’s the most important thing for them to spend their money on.  Prioritizing your shopping list is a great idea way to help bring your weekly bill down.

The Kitchn also had a blog post not too long ago on how to save money at Whole Foods.  I think I forwarded this post to just about everyone I know.

While the blog posts themselves are great resources, I return again and again to the comments section on both posts.  It’s in the community response where I’ve found the most helpful tips.

With the cost of food on a constant rise, I’ve had to rework my own food budget and how I shop.  Gone are the days when I would purchase pre-packaged soups or pre-made entrees.  It is much, much cheaper (and healthier) to do it myself.

I’ve also rediscovered my freezer and am constantly looking for recipes and food that can be frozen.  Coupons are also getting second look because sometimes they are really helpful.  Most of the time I find they encourage overspending (buy two, get one free = not cost efficient!) but there are a few which have proven worthwhile.

The other thing we’re trying out this summer is a CSA. Starting in just a few weeks, I’ll be receiving a box a week of fresh, locally grown produce from Parker Farm.
Where do you like to shop?  Have you done anything to pare down your grocery list or change what you eat/the way you eat?  What have you found most helpful in saving money on your weekly food bill?


4 responses to “Whole Foods not Whole Paycheck

  1. We make a crock pot of beans each week and a pot of brown rice every couple of days, then we find whatever’s cheap at Haymarket, and badabing-badaboom, there’s our meal plan for the week.

  2. I too marvel at those who can pinch pennies and still make healthy meals. I make healthy meals, however, I’m rarely finding deals that I feel HIP-HIP-HOORAY-ISH about. Although, I do think that my most recent visits to Fiddleheads Market in Somerworth NH is well worth the trip! I always find a bunch of fresh items at rock bottom prices!

    We have an Organic Farm Share starting in a few weeks. CAN’T WAIT for that to start! Plus, I’m hoping to connect with your Mama over the summer. I miss her and I haven’t talked to her in a while. I need a good dose of MT. *WINK*

  3. I heart Whole Foods- it makes me smile seeing the abundance of greens and oranges when I first walk in.

  4. Mmm, Sparkle J, that sounds great! I’m just rediscovering beans now that I’ve learned dried beans are SO much easier to use … and I can prep them so there will “be-no” side effects 😉

    Mama H – YAY for CSAs! I can’t wait for ours to start up, too. It would be fun to do some joint blog-posting and compare what we do with our shares.

    K – the produce section all set up to look like a green market is awesome, but it’s the cheese section that makes my little heart sing. It makes me miss Wegmans tho — in my mind, they were the first grocery store to do the market-style set up.

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