Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

The Whole Deal™ on Efficient Shopping

I'm one of those people who can wander a grocery store for hours, weaving in and out of the aisles, often times doubling back just because.  However, this means that sometimes wonderful and unintended purchases end up in my grocery basket and raise my total bill beyond what I'd expected to pay.  The best way to combat this?  Have a game plan.  This week's tips are all about efficient shopping - for better health, a faster trip and a smaller checkout total.

Remember, each week, we choose tips to be featured in our weekly The Whole Deal™ blog post. Every chosen tip gets a $25 gift card, so submit you tips and recipes here. And now for this week's tips on speedy shopping. From Hillary M.
I follow a meal time schedule Monday-Friday. I eat Breakfast at 7:30 Lunch at 12:00 and Dinner at 5:30 with a 10:00 fruit and another fruit/pretzel snack around 3:00. The times don't need to be precise everyday and if it can't be followed exactly a granola bar always comes in handy. Doing this allows me to see what I actually eat more clearly and helps me to plan my grocery list. I always prepare dinners at night making sure to leave left overs for my lunch the following day. You'd be surprised at how much you save at the grocery store when you get what you NEED. I also bring a calculator with me (small enough so when people see me they don’t think I am too anal). I set a limit and get the necessities first, if I have money left over I let myself indulge.
From David B.
So others have already mentioned using coupons, bring your own bags, focusing on non-processed purchases. My tip is to shop quickly. Time is money, so organize your shopping list so that you are not having to zig-zag across the store. By the way, this is also helps other shoppers and the store (since it can serve more people per hour). I go counter-clockwise around our store, starting by loading up with produce (organic sweet potatoes are an all-around good value, by the way), then fish, meat, cereals, eggs, milk, cheese, wine (you can’t skimp on those red wine bioflavanoids and reservatol ;)). Usually, by the time I get to the checkout, I have just enough time to grab some glutino frozen pizza. Total time: 10 minutes.
From Grace:
Having just moved to the district, I was ecstatic to learn that there was a WF just blocks away from my apartment. Since there are so few grocery stores in the city to begin with, my boyfriend and I have decided that it will most efficient- time, effort and cost-wise to make a big trip on the weekend and prepare meals (dinner especially) ahead of time for the week ahead. This way, we can buy in bulk and not have to worry as much about food going bad by freezing leftovers. Since we are both fairly health-conscious as well, we are taking advantage of the steaming option that our rice cooker offers.

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Roy says …

If you're lucky enough to have a Whole Foods that is in your work route on a daily basis, what I've found that works best is to make several trips a week. Many like to go for the big shopping trip to stock up, but I've found that I'm more efficient, have the freshest ingredients for dinner that eve, and don't spend as much time per trip -- eliminating many of the unnecessary purchases. I know what I want for lunch/dinner that day and the next, set my ingredient list, and go. Then do it again a few days later. I still love my weekend time when I can stroll through the aisles, but overall I'm more efficient and it saves me money in the long run.

Mara Humphreys says …

My tips for efficient and cost saving shopping are: 1. Plan a menu around what's on sale and turn the leftovers from one meal into the basis for the next nights meal 2. Know the price of frequently bought items - when they go on sales - stock up and even better collect coupons and use them for the sale items and increase your savings 3. And finally - enjoy what you eat - while I might not buy all our groceries at Whole Foods (our dog is very fussy) - I would not even think about buying canned tuna, whole wheat tortillas, spicy refried beans, olive oil, feta cheese & Parm Regi cheese, any kind of fresh fish, and lately apples - anywhere else. The prices are cheaper for these items (than our local grocery store) and this items are either not available or do not taste as good anywhere else. It is definitely worth the trip, plus the people who work at the Jenkintown WF Market are so nice, it makes a this chore (grocery shopping) a pleasure.

Katherine says …

I made up an Excel spreadsheet by category of the healthiest foods and the products I love including brand. I call it the Fifty Fabulous Foods Chart but it has expanded past fifty items. When I prepare to shop all I have to do is print it out and put an X by each food or product I need this trip. It saves a bunch of time and reminds me to buy a variety of foods.

Kelly Erickson says …

We have a family of four and with two growing boys our grocery needs have changed from time to time. To help me keep an eye on our budget and my shopping trips hassle free, I save my grocery receipts and review them once a month. I've created a master grocery list; reviewing the receipts reminds me to add new grocery needs and reviewing the receipts helps keep my budget in check. Also, I tend to watch food network and then run to print the recipe. Instead of just quickly printing the recipe; I store a copy to file on the computer and have added other family recipes to this computer file; this helps with meal planning for the week. We also plan what we are going to eat for breakfast and lunch each week. We like to eat and having a plan and reviewing it helps us stay on budget and eat healthy for all our meals.

Stephanie Quilao says …

I've learned that when I go to a Whole Foods that I must go with a list and AFTER I have eaten a major meal like lunch or dinner. If I go hungry, then it never fails, I end up way over spending and buying more fun foods rather that nutrient packed foods like greens, proteins, and grains. And, the bakery when you're famished starts looking like an all-you-wanna-eat buffet...lol!

Becky E. says …

There are some great tips here. Has anybody found a good mobile app that you can use to load your grocery list and organize per your local store's layout? Whole Foods, I'm telling ya, it's a golden idea!!

Abby Milner-Mann says …

I completely agree w/ the grocery store layout idea! That would save me so much time & I wouldn't end up forgetting items on my list. I would even be encouraged to grab a snack @ Whole Foods while I map out my grocery list w/ a current copy of the store's layout- if provided even at the front door (we can work on fancier mobile apps lateer!). In the meantime, I'm trying to learn/remember where my local WF products are situated so I never miss a yummy ingredient again!

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