Over the weekend I made a quick Whole Foods stop. I had just a handful of items I like to buy there because–believe it or not–the price on those items is better than it is at my local grocery store. (More on that later.) While at the check out, I had a conversation with the cashier who proceeded to tell me that it had been a hectic day there. I took inventory for a second. Why would it have been so busy at Whole Foods on a Friday night? “Oh, because everyone's going back to school and work on Monday?” I asked. No, he said that a lot of people bought juicers and items like that. He informed me that these were New Year's Resolutions shoppers. “If you're going to be healthy, you're going to shop at Whole Foods,” he remarked sarcastically. I had to laugh…and shake my head at the same time.
Too often when we make our resolution or simply decide to get healthy, we think it has to cost a chunk of money. I have friends to call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck” because it tends to be pricey. In reality, most of the things that Whole Foods sells can be purchased at other local stores for a better price. Because I comparison shop, I know the prices of our staple items at the few stores we shop at. So, I actually do save money at Whole Foods.
Here are just a few tips to help you make healthy choices and save money at the same time.
1. Substitute fresh fruit or vegetables for your packaged snacks
This one can be a tough change to make at first because our bodies have gotten used to the sugar or salt and carbs in whatever that snack is. A candy bar, a bag of chips, even a granola bar. Instead purchase fruit that is in season and on sale. I'm always looking for sales on apples because they travel well and are easy to have on the go. And, there always seems to be a decent deal on apples. We like to buy organic apples. So, for us the best deal on a regular basis is on a 2lb bag of organic gala apples for $3.48. I've gotten to the point that I'll eat at least two apples a day. They are a great, filling, healthy snack and great if you are looking to shed a pound or two this year.
Carrots are also a great snack. And, you can usually get them for a great price in bulk (I like getting 5lb bags). I started eating them in the afternoons when I needed something to crunch on. Now, my children who weren't big fans of carrots eat them with me and we all say, “What's up, Doc?” to each other. (They have never watched Bugs Bunny 😉 )
2. Buy In Bulk
You see that even when I talked about fruit and vegetables, I mentioned buying in bulk. Do the math. Buying in bulk is not always cheaper. However, if you do the breakdown per pound or per ounce or even per item, you'll know whether in bulk works for you. We buy coffee in bulk and pay less than $.50 per ounce on the best organic coffee we have ever had. I buy organic rolled oats, flax seeds, brown rice and shredded coconut in bulk. And, I don't have to go to Whole Foods to do it. It's right there at my local grocery store.
3. Buy Generic Or Store Brands When Available
I mentioned that there are just a few things that we buy that are actually a better price at Whole Foods. Well, most of those things happen to be the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand. I trust the brand because they don't use any GM (genetically modified) ingredients even if it's not an organic product. I also buy the generic/store brand organic items from other stores, like Trader Joe's and even our local grocery store, HEB. Doing that helps our family be able to afford organic, whole, unprocessed foods at more reasonable prices.
There are so many easy and inexpensive ways to get healthy. How are you keeping costs down while getting/being healthy this year?
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