Extreme Couponing: The Whole Foods Version

memphis whole foods

Memphis Whole Foods

Yesterday, I made one of my periodic visits to the local Whole Foods (WF) grocery store. Regular readers know I don’t usually shop at Whole Foods, because a) two Krogers within 1.5 miles of my house, and b) the higher prices for things I buy on a regular basis. I don’t see the value in paying premium prices for products that may or may not be healthier or better sourced than what I can find on other grocers’ shelves. I do like WF for the bulk bins and a few other items, like pickles without HFCS, but beyond that I generally just gawk. That’s me; your mileage may vary.

Still, when WF offered a Living Social voucher last month, I snapped it up in a hurry! Even with generally higher prices, I was sure I could get some value from spending $10 for $20 worth of groceries, especially since I’d picked up their monthly newsletter when I was touring the Little Rock store earlier this month and found coupons in there for products I use! Plus, Attune Foods had provided some coupons for free products via the local Fitbloggin’ Meetup last summer, and I wanted to see if WF had a better selection than Kroger.

With all that in mind, I set off, shopping list in hand, to see how far my $20 voucher and fistful of coupons would take me:

Whole Foods Haul

Here’s the breakdown:

Oh no! I went over my budget! The extreme couponers from television would be so disappointed in me. Stupid salad dressing! It was the only impulse purchase. Well, it wasn’t an impulse, exactly. I had planned to buy it at Kroger later, but since it was only $0.30 higher at WF, I decided to get it so I could have it with my salad last night.

Overall, not bad. Without the voucher, I probably would have bought the chia seeds and the pumpkin pie spice only and I would have missed out on the good coupons. I need to remember to pick up the booklet when I’m in the area.

Before I end this fascinating peek at my grocery happenings, I’ll share something I overheard while waiting in line. A woman was telling the cashier, “Oh, I only buy organic. That way I’m sure there are no pesticides.” I’ve heard that sentiment over the years, in various forms, and it always makes me grit my teeth. Organic doesn’t mean pesticide-free, especially if it’s from a mass-production operation. In fact, I read a well-written article the other day on the myths surrounding organic foods. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the author’s observations, but there were some good points in it that made it a worthwhile read.

Well, as usual, I’ve gone on forever about nothing remarkable. I may crown myself the Seinfeld of blogging! :)

With that, I’m off to cheer on the Cardinals. Am I the only person in this crowd watching the World Series?

23 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing: The Whole Foods Version

  1. You are a girl after my own heart. Don’t you feel such a sense of accomplishment. Can’t believe you didn’t get a cupcake!

  2. I’ve been seeing coconut oil more and more recently. I’m intrigued because I love all things coconut, but I’ve really no idea what to do with it. What are you planning to do with it?

    • I only started using it a couple years ago, I think. It’s good in baked goods, for sauteing, or almost anywhere you’d use oil or shortening. With it being kind of pricey, I tend to use it in small doses by stirring a smidge into a smoothie or into oatmeal/oat bran. Most immediately, I’ve got a plan to use it with my wild rice/apple/cranberry/pecan dish. Just a tad stirred in at the last minute. Here’s that recipe: http://tippytoediet.com/2010/03/companion-foods-and-a-couple-of-recipes/

  3. Sweet shopping score! We don’t have WF around here. No Trader Joes. Tiny town for sure. I miss TJ’s! My sister and I are going to drive a couple hours to go to the nearest one soon LOL!

    Football here, the only real sport…

    • I’m odd gal out in that I’m not a huge fan of TJ’s either. If I was more of a cook, I might find more there to like. Besides the chocolate truffle-y things. :)

  4. WF is expensive and a longer distance from my house than I need to travel, BUT it does carry some brands that I cannot find other places. Coupons to WF would send me there more often and undoubtedly I would buy stuff that I don’t need.

    I am catching the series online. Torn about who to root for. Grew up an avid Cards fan and lived just across the Mississippi from St. Louis during the ’67 & ’68 world series. Haven’t had much reason to follow them since living in MO in the mid 80’s. Most of my family lives in Dallas. Guess I can’t really lose.

  5. Thanks for the link and info on organic farms. It’s so depressing! Everything really requires more research and understanding. next year we’re planting as big a vegetable garden as we can fit.
    Love your grocery chart…
    I need to pay more attention to coupons.

  6. oops. Actually you paid $13.17 for your groceries, because you paid $10 for the Living Social coupon for the $20 of groceries. Still pretty respectable. I wish they’d offered that deal more often!

    • Oh, I meant $3.17 above the budgeted amount of $20 so that I had to come up with an *additional* 3.17. I should have written that. :)

      I’d buy this deal again if they offered it!

  7. Great job on saving money Cammy. I am a fan of Whole Foods but there are only certain items that I purchase there. Some things I can’t get other places and I have found their own brand of products are priced pretty good compared to the other stores here in CA.

    Not a sports fan here!

  8. That’s quite a nice haul from WF!! There are 2 across town from us and we’ll go there for chia seeds/bulk stuff or specialty items like whole wheat panko and sodium free baking powder. But they’re too rich for my blood. As far as the organic stuff, I just use a good food wash on anything with a peel (especially one I’m going to eat). Not just because of pesticides but people don’t think about how many other people have touched their apples, pears, etc. What looks good to you was someone else’s inspection and put back and I don’t trust those people to not have a cold or do the right thing in the bathroom and wash up.

  9. Only an occasional shopper at WF; it’s a 50 mile drive, and I can find most of what I need locally. They do have these nice dried tart cherries that go very well with my oatmeal though… And, writing this from extreme (college) football country, GO CARDS! We actually went to a playoff game in St. Louis 2 weeks ago- lots of fun. They will need the help of Rally Squirrel for game 6 though.

  10. Cammy, I guess I love Seinfelld blogging cause this was fun!!!! I love WF but can’t afford it either but I could walk around & look at stuff forever. We have one of those huge ones near me. As for TJ’s – love it & I am not a cook either. I buy coffee filters & oatmeal & mustards & salsa & PB & spices & things like that! 😉

  11. We must have had that same WF deal. I can’t remember what we bought, but mostly stuff for hubby when he was trying out the gluten free stuff. I don’t shop there much at all. Same… further and more expensive. I am also too cheap to buy organic but have read we really “should” for certain items.

  12. You “may” have saved another fifty cents if I’m correct. I’ll admit that me and numbers are not friends. With that said, look at the black olive line. Should you have subtracted that fifty cents? If so, you saved more than you thought. I almost never go to WF because of the price. I do love Sprouts and Trader Joe’s though. Their prices are very reasonable. :)

    • Thank you, Caron! Both for the quickie audit that revealed I had added the $0.50 instead of deducting it, AND for proving to me that I’m not the only person who sees a column of numbers and starts calculating. :)

  13. Loved this, especially since there is a new Whole Foods about 45 minutes away that I am dying to visit! I don’t buy much either because its so expensive. I’ll have to keep an eye out for coupons. I usually go and buy one healthy new thing to try, and one cookie…

  14. UNCLE SAM cereal!! Yahoo! My favorite healthy cereal–high fiber, low sugar & tastes good! It’s so hard to find a healthy, low sugar cereal!

  15. Glad Caron picked up on the extra $0.50 – you’re a better bargain hunter than you thought! That’s pronounced “boggin-huntah” here in New England, BTW…

  16. I got that Living Social coupon too – hoping to use it this weekend! I love Whole Foods, mainly because everything looks so gorgeous! I mix it in with the traditional grocery stores, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.

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