Whole Foods On A Budget

Posted 07-20-2011 at 03:17 PM by Mel

When we first started on our whole foods journey the local grocers did not carry any organics or if they did it was very limited. We went to the health food store, but definitely could not afford to buy all our groceries there. This is when I decided that I needed to find a way to make this work financially, especially if I wanted my husband to be on board. The following are the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last several years to be able to afford a whole foods diet.

1. Check out Amazon and be prepared to be amazed. I buy Larabars, Bob’s Red Mill grains and mixes, coconut milk, popcorn, tea, tomato paste, and various other household and food items. If you select “Subscribe & Save” you will get an even greater discount. Keep in mind that you can cancel your Subscribe & Save anytime. Also, if you haven’t done so already sign up for Amazon Mom and enjoy even more savings.

2. Look for bulk buying healthy food co-ops. I have a few that I order from and save quite a bit by splitting large quantities with other families. If you can’t find a health food co-op in your area you may want to consider starting one. It’s a great way to make a little extra money and you’ll save money at the same time!

3. Watch the sales ads at your local grocer. For example, I LOVE the al fresco sweet apple chicken sausages, but they are $5.49 a package at my grocer. However, a couple months ago they were on sale for $3.49 a package so I stocked up. I have done the same thing with various other items as well.

4. Watch the discount produce rack. I am always browsing the discount produce rack because many items can be frozen. A few weeks ago I scored almost 20 pounds of organic bananas that were turning brown for $0.25 per pound! I took them home and put them in my freezer for smoothies. Don’t be afraid to ask an employee in the produce section if they will mark down something because it’s starting to go bad.

5. Buy meat in bulk from local farmers. I have saved a lot of money and get a much higher quality meat by buying in bulk. I have several local farmers that I order my meat through and even get to choose my own cuts.

6. Get to know your local farmers. I have met many local farmers who grow organically through the Farmer’s Markets and friends. None of these farmers are certified organic, but because I’ve gotten to know them I know their farming practices and feel confident buying produce from them. I also buy in bulk from them to save as well. If you go to the Farmer’s Market go at the last 15-20 minutes and offer to buy up what the farmer has left at a discounted rate. Many farmers do not want to haul produce home, especially if they don’t have another opportunity to sell it within the next few days, so they are willing to cut a good deal.

7. Grow a garden. Gardening does take some work and a little bit of money to get started, but is generally worth it in the long run. If you have never had a garden before find some friends or family who are willing to help you get started.

8. Learn how to preserve food. Canning, freezing, and dehydrating are all great ways to preserve food for the winter. Buying produce in season and in bulk saves a lot of money, so find some friends and learn together. This year I am making a little extra income by canning for other people. I am either getting paid cash or bartering for 1/3 of the produce they bring me to preserve.

9. Subscribe to The Frugal Girls and watch for some great deals. I have scored some really awesome deals through their site.

10. Look for coupons. I know that when you are shopping for whole foods it is more difficult to find coupons you can use, but it is always worth looking into. I have contacted all the brands that we like to buy and have asked for coupons. Most of the time they send me a whole bunch of coupons in the mail and put me on their mailing list for more in the future. Also, watching different coupon sites can help too. We all need toilet paper and other household products, so the more we save there the more we can spend on other necessities.

11. Find other people who eat whole foods and exchange resources. Many of the money saving resources I have found I learned about through friends.

12. Learn to cook. Eating organic prepackaged foods is expensive, so the more you learn to make from scratch the more you save.

These are just some things I have learned over the years and have helped me save money and be healthy. I would love to hear what you have done.



12 Responses to “Whole Foods On A Budget”

  1. MyFrugalFunLife on July 20th, 2011 5:46 pm

    Great post! We’ve been transitioning to a whole foods diet, and it can be done frugally by doing the things you mentioned. We actually just got a 1/4 share of grass fed beef from a local farmer, and it was much cheaper to buy the meat in bulk instead of at the grocery store!

  2. Mel on July 20th, 2011 9:40 pm

    Good for you! I have a quarter beef coming on Friday. Yum!

  3. ET on July 20th, 2011 9:53 pm

    Enjoyed all the good info. Thank you!

  4. Jal627 on July 20th, 2011 10:44 pm

    Very Helpful. Do you happen to have advice on other ways to save on items other than food? like cleaning supplies or clothes?

  5. wfiles on July 20th, 2011 10:57 pm

    Can you tell us more about amazon mom? What are the actual benefits and are there any fees? Thanks. We also try to eat a whole foods diet and have stayed cheap by buying produce through a weekly produce coop and making most things from scratch including all our breads, tortillas, yogurts and cream cheese etc. It’s even fun for the girls to help!
    Thanks for the post!

  6. Mel on July 21st, 2011 6:07 am

    Yes. I make all my own cleaning supplies. Vinegar and baking soda are amazing. As far as clothing we rely mostly on hand-me-downs, yard sales, and thrift stores. Anything we buy we buy in bulk with other families to save.

  7. Mel on July 21st, 2011 6:10 am

    Amazon Mom is free to join. It gives you free Amazon Prime and additional discounts on baby things like disposable diapers.

  8. Briscoe2002 on July 21st, 2011 6:44 am

    Great article Mel I can’t wait to hear more from you. Thanks for the great tips.

  9. Ebeuchat on July 21st, 2011 12:06 pm

    Great tips! Thanks so much.

  10. shoppingquee23a on July 23rd, 2011 6:29 am

    Thanks for sharing! Wld love to hear more about farmer co-ops and where to find them. Approx how much does it cost for a produce co-op? How much produce do u get at a time? Thanks for the advice.

  11. Mel on July 23rd, 2011 7:58 am

    Produce co-ops are commonly referred to as CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). You typically pay a fee at the beginning of the year and then a certain amount each week for your share of produce. The prices vary depending on your location and the quality of produce. I found my local farmers markets by Googling. Usually you will find atleast one vendor who offers a CSA. If not, don’t be afraid to ask the farmers if they would be willing to work with you.

    I think the best thing to do is get connected with other like-minded individuals who live in your area. You can exchange resources and maybe even start doing some co-ops together. :)

  12. Sally on January 9th, 2012 6:43 am

    The CSAs are a wonderful way to save lots of money and get farm-fresh organic vegetables and more. The time to research is the beginning o the year, sign up is the first 5 months of the year. Distribution is June through October. No storefront, it’s volunteer run. If you’ll use your favorite search engine, put in CSA + (your zip code) and see what’s there. Different CSAs have different costs, farmers, days of distribution, payment arrangements (the one I found is committed to making organics available to everybody so it has a sliding scale and takes EBT as well as cash). Enjoy!

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