How to Shop at Whole Foods and Not Spend Your ‘Whole Paycheck’

By September 19, 2016Blog

By: Rachel Agranove

Our very own Rachel dishes on the do’s and don’ts of Whole Foods, and how to keep (most) of your paycheck in the bank.

A week’s worth of food (for two) for less than $90!

I used to be anti-Whole Foods. I used to think that shopping at Whole Foods was only for the rich-and-famous-eco-friendly people. They’ve put out some questionable items like “Asparagus Water” – literally 4 asparagus spears inside of a water bottle (that cost more than a dozen eggs). But as I get older, I’m slowly learning to spend wisely when it comes to important things like my health and well-being. AKA let’s not throw down $30 at a bar tonight – that can be saved for a week’s worth of high quality produce!

I recently moved to a new apartment and Whole Foods is right in my backyard. Way too convenient. Last weekend my boyfriend and I did an experiment to see if we could spend less than $100 at Whole Foods and buy enough food for the week. Impossible, right?! Especially for two physically active twenty-somethings.

The Verdict

We did it!! We spent $88.88 to be exact ($44.44 per person) and bought a huge selection of beautiful produce, high-quality protein and the essential pantry goods


The key here is to make sure you shop the produce that’s on sale and mostly conventional. I don’t really care if my produce is organic or not – I don’t want to pay the price, and I always make sure to clean and rinse my produce with all natural produce wash (totally worth it!)

We bought: fuji apples, local tomatoes, organic romaine lettuce, hass avocados, baby spinach, vidalia onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, green bell peppers and bananas.

produce-rachel-2   produce-rachel


Protein is important and here is where I like to make sure we can get quality meats and eggs. I used to fall into the trap of BOGO’s, but definitely not worth it. I’ve gotten some pretty bad chicken before and learned my lesson. However, don’t buy fancy, just buy quality (although if I could afford bacon wrapped scallops and filet mignon every night I totally would!)

We bought: a whole cage-free chicken, three pounds of 85% lean ground beef, a dozen cage-free large eggs and three cans of solid white albacore tuna. The chicken was $1.99 a pound and the beef was $4.99 per pound.


BONUS: Stuff your chicken with carrots, onions, garlic, olive oil and seasonings and roast it at 425 degrees for about an hour and you have delicious, melt off the bone chicken for the week.

EXTRA BONUS: Save the chicken carcass, skin and bones to make homemade bone broth.


Dairy/Pantry Goods

Buy in bulk when you can and always buy what’s on sale! Again, think quality here, not fancy. Sure, I love my Siggi’s Dairy and Califia Farms Vanilla Almond Milk, but these things are truly not necessary.

We bought: 2 Blue Diamond Vanilla Almond Milk cartons, organic plain yogurt, frozen broccoli, 2 frozen bags of strawberries, frozen pineapple, Ezekiel flax bread, garlic hummus, and chocolate peanut butter.


Some Crucial Tips

  • Buy in bulk when you can! Nuts, nut butters, grains, trail mixes, granolas, dried fruit…you name it! Generally always cheaper in bulk.
  • Get a WF’s rewards card. Sometimes they have special deals and for each dollar you spend you rack up points, which will save you money!
  • Buy what’s in season and on sale.

Bring your own reusable bags – you’ll save $.20 per bag!

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