Friday, August 17, 2012

Debunking the Whole Foods Money Myth

I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when I mention going grocery shopping at Whole Foods and the immediate response is either, “I wish I could afford to shop at Whole Foods” or “Yeah, I don’t shop there, it is WAY too expensive.” This breaks my poor little frugal heart. I want to shout it from the rooftops: WHOLE FOODS IS NOT ALWAYS EXPENSIVE! Sure, if you buy the complete organic, 100% grain, gluten-free, microbiotic whatever whatever, then YES, it will be more expensive. But let me just prove something to all those Whole Foods haters - you CAN shop there and not break the bank. I shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods and I haven’t gone over my budget for food since I started keeping a strict food budget.

How do I do this? I keep a food pricing diary. I price compare and see which place has the cheapest food while still maintaining quality. Nine times out of ten, the best option is either Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I don’t even remember the last time I shopped at Safeway or Giant (the equivalent to Dominics, Copps, or Hy-Vee for you Midwesterners).

So here are some entries from my food pricing diary, which will prove my point:
$3 wine
$3.99 salsa
$4.65 ice cream

Frozen Vegetables (i.e. spinach, broccoli) (16 oz):
Safeway: $3.19
Whole Foods: $1.49

Butter (16 oz):
Safeway: Land-o-Lakes Brand: $3.49
Whole Foods: 365 Brand: $2.99

Milk (1/2 gallon):
Giant: Giant Brand: $2.29
Whole Foods: 365 Brand: $1.99

Even shampoo!!
CVS: Herbal Essences (23.7 fl. oz.): $6.99
Whole Foods: 365 Brand (32 oz): $5.99

Now, this is just a small sampling. But hopefully this entry has at least convinced a few readers not to jump to conclusions about someone’s wealth just because they shop at Whole Foods, because it might actually be CHEAPER to do so!

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