how to save money at Whole Foods
All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission.

Whole Foods has long been notorious for its high prices, earning it that well-worn nickname “Whole Paycheck” (do people still call it that?). Looking for deals at Whole Foods may sometimes feel like a fool’s errand, but it is possible to get a week’s worth of groceries for way cheaper than expected. Let’s look at how you can do it, even if you don’t live in one of the top affordable cities to buy groceries.

1. Whole Foods charges way more money for premade items, but the ingredients themselves are cheap.

Zoodles, those slices of zucchini that look like noodles, cost about $6 a box when you buy them pre-made from Whole Foods. If you buy a spiralizer, it pays for itself in just a few uses, and the zucchini only runs about $1 each (one zucchini is about one serving of zoodles). You’ll enjoy similar savings by making your own sweet potato noodles, squash noodles, and more. Plus, this rule, like #2 and many others on this list, also holds true for almost any other store where you shop.

Spiralizer Ultimate 7 Vegetable Slicer, $29.97 on Amazon

Oodles of zoodles await. Squoodles too. And any other veggie noodles you care to make.
Buy Now

2. Visiting the bulk section is a smart move.

You can get more than trail mix in the bulk aisle. If one box of pasta or bag of grains is too much, you can save money by just buying what you need for tonight’s dinner. You can buy tiny amounts of spices so they don’t go stale. You can get ingredients to make your own granola. You can even buy nuts to grind your own nut butters, which is great because almond butter can get pretty pricey (and homemade Nutella is far better for you, not to mention tastier).

Related Reading: How to Make Homemade Nut Butter | How to Make Your Own Granola Bars

3. Buying frozen instead of fresh veggies will save you time and money.

freezer meals perfect for fall

Shutterstock

It would be great if everyone could buy fresh produce all the time, but did you know that vegetables lose their nutrients as they age? Getting a bag of mixed frozen vegetables can cost less than buying them individually, and there’s no risk of spoilage and money wasted.

Related Reading: Products to Help Fight Food Waste

4. Try to always buy 365 brand.

365 is Whole Foods’ generic brand, like Walmart’s Great Value, Kroger’s Private Select, or Target’s Archer Farms (which will be phased out in the coming months to make way for a new line, Good & Gather). These items will be at a lower price than other brands, and I have never eaten something that’s worse because it’s 365. There’s even a store that only stocks 365 products in cities across the country.

Related Reading: We Ranked the Best New Whole Foods 365 Ice Cream Flavors | Target Launching New Flagship Grocery Line

5. If you’re going to buy the premade buffet items, try not to take any of the accompanying sauces.

chicken tikka masala over basmati rice

Chowhound

These items are priced by weight, so you’d essentially be paying more money for some extra tikka masala sauce. Tempting, yes, but pricey too.

6. Download the Whole Foods app.

The Whole Foods app has coupons for specific stores and preferences, so you can benefit from big savings. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you can get an Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card that gives you three percent cash back from all Whole Foods purchases.

7. “Fake” meat like tofu and seitan can cost way less than real meat.

what is seitan

Westend61 / Getty Images

If you like the taste or red meat isn’t your thing, you can save money by buying tofu, seitan, nuts, or beans for plant-based protein. Some faux meat items like the Impossible Burger even “bleed” like a real burger.

Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Tofu and Tempeh? | Our Favorite Fake Meat Products for Every Occasion

8. Ask for samples of items you’ve never tried.

Because there’s truly nothing worse than buying something new and hating it, ask a Whole Foods salesperson if you can try an item before you buy. More than likely, they’ll be happy to let you have a taste, and then you’ll know if it’s worth the money.

nutrition label facts

Shutterstock

9. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Whole Foods has so many splurge items like $5 kombuchas, $10 cold-pressed juices, and crazy expensive chocolate bars. Try to focus on just the items you need. It helps to go in with a shopping list and a meal plan in mind.

10. Join Amazon Prime.

While there’s a bigger up-front cost for the Amazon Prime membership itself, if you can afford it, you’ll get great discounts at Whole Foods (now that they’re owned by Amazon)! And if you don’t want to venture out, you can order Whole Foods through Amazon Fresh.

Related Reading: Which Grocery Delivery Service Is Best for You? | The Best Whole Foods Items on Amazon

Sign Up for Amazon Prime

Grocery store savings are just one more reason to try Amazon Prime.
Sign Up

Related Video: We Tried Whole Foods’ Employee Recommendations to See How They Stacked Up

Header image courtesy of Whole Foods

See more articles