What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

Last night, it was freezing outside.  It was several degrees below zero and there was no way I wanted to be outside more than I had to.  My trip to the overcrowded Whole Foods on Sunday night paid off because I had enough food in my fridge to make a delicious and filling tomato and lentil stew.

tomato_lentil_curry_stew

Here is the link to the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tomato-curry-lentil-stew/detail.aspx

I had it with some brown sweet rice and it was quite filling.  I also had a little this morning for breakfast.  My house still smells like curry 🙂

 

Whole foods doesn’t have to be “Whole Paycheck!”

A few months ago, I went to Whole Foods to purchase a few vegetables and some cat food.  When I saw that my balance was less than $10, I joked with the cashier about how I should earn a reward for having the smallest balance at their store!

Because I have been getting the Meowmixers cat food from the store every week and it is in such close proximity to me, it is very hard for me to justify making another trip to another grocery store if I get their food and several essentials from Whole Foods on a weekly basis.  So I thought to myself,”Does Whole Foods HAVE to be Whole Paycheck?”  When I went on the tour that I blogged about in my last post, I decided to take this challenge more seriously.  I also want to be a true example of someone who benefits from the power of eating well sourced natural and organic food.  So, I have decided to add a post about saving money and shopping at Whole Foods!

Strategy session:

Phase I – Making the most out of your coupon book and sales.

It takes about 15 – 30 minutes for me to make my shopping list based on my needs and my coupons.  If you choose to coupon at Whole Foods, the coupon book will become your best friend.  I like to pick up one to put in my car and one to keep at home.

1) Take out your Whole Foods coupon book or open up the link on your computer. Also, take out any manufacturer’s coupons you might want to use.  I prefer the book because I am a very tactile person.

2) Go to the Whole Foods website and look for the website of your local store to see what is on sale.

3) Grab your computer or a pen and paper.  I prefer a pen and paper because I like to write my lists down.

4) Make your list and make sure that you write down which coupon you plan to use with it.

5) Enjoy a snack before you go shopping because shopping and couponing when you are hungry is the pits and might give way to impulse buying. I like to blend my Melaleuca GC Control Creme Brulee with water and drink it while I am planning my shopping list and organizing my coupons.

6) Before you run out to the store, organize your coupons in a neat pile so you can access them when it is time to check out.

Here is my pile of coupons and my shopping list ready to put in my purse for shopping:

12614_wholefoods_couponing

Phase II – Shopping

1) Stick to your list.

2) Make sure you have time to shop and check out so that the items in your cart will correspond correctly with the coupon deals and sales deals.

3) Enjoy yourself. Take time to enjoy trying new samples and sniffing their many essential oils and handmade soaps.

Here is my shopping list and the regular prices:

Suja Juice  –  8.99

1 can of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes 2.19

1 can of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chilies 1.99

Whole Paws Grain Free Cat Food .79 per can

Herbal St. John’s Wort 11.99

1 pound of Navel Oranges  .99 cents per lb (SALE!)

1/2 pound sweet brown rice from bulk  (I paid 2.17)

Brown Cow single serving Greek yogurt  1.00

1 Bunch of Red Swiss Chard  $2.00 for a bunch (2 for $4 special!)

1 bottle of Three Wishes wine  $3

Coconut Milk (unsweetened vanilla)  $3.99

2 pints of Coconut Milk Ice Cream 5.99 x 2 = $12.00

1 organic yellow onion     $1.77

1 Wellshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa   $5.99

Organic Valley Munster Cheese $5.99

1 bag of lentil beans – $2.39

Here are the coupons I had:

Organic Valley Cheese  $1.00 Off Whole Foods store coupon

Wellshire Farms Smoked Turkey Kielbasa $.50 off Whole foods store coupon

Muir Glen Canned Tomatoes $1.00 Off Two Cans Whole Foods store coupon

365 Dry Beans $.50 off one can Whole Foods store coupon

1 Voucher for a free single serving Greek yogurt

1 Suja Coupon – $1.00 off a bottle

Here was my subtotal before coupon savings:  $72.48

Here was my final price after coupon savings and the free $5.00 gift card from last week’s tour:  $60.39

Now, I understand that many of you don’t need ice cream, Suja juice or St. John’s Wort, so here is the adjusted cost of everything with coupon discounts included:  $28.61

I would love to hear about what you do to save money while shopping for toxin-free, pesticide-free food and household goods so feel free to comment!  Have a great week!

Whole Foods Tour – How You Can Shop at Whole Foods & Save Money!

This morning, I attended a free event at the local Whole Foods in my area.  When I saw the advertisement for the event on one of their fliers, I was determined to go when I saw that this free event was going to be tour of the store and how to save money while shopping at Whole Foods.  Whole Foods, also known as “Whole Paycheck” for being notoriously expensive hasn’t been more expensive than other grocery stores in my area.

I purchase the Meowmixers’ cat food from Whole Foods because their private label Whole Paws is grain free and fairly inexpensive compared to other brands.  Plus, they offer a 10% discount whenever I purchase an entire case of the 24 cans.  Because I am already at Whole Foods every week buying the Meowmixers’ cat food, I do almost all of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

I decided to go on the tour because I wanted to blog about it, even if I already knew about many of the saving tips our lovely tour guide shared with us.  So, here is what I learned and would like to pass onto you:

1. If something is priced by the pound, ounce or whatever, you can ask a staff member in that department if they can cut it if you want to buy less.  For example, if you see that a watermelon is 4.99, but you only want half, you might be able to get a staff member to cut it in half.

2. Many times, the bulk section is a great place to save money and to buy staples such as grains, flour and nuts.  There is also a little booklet you can get for free that provides helpful hints.

3. You can “stack” the Whole Food store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon.  Stacking is using two or more different kinds of coupons to purchase one or one kind of an item.   The trick to stacking successfully is to organize your coupons and plan ahead when you go shopping.

4. There are “one day” or what I call “flash” sales where the price of a particular item is slashed significantly.  I’m lucky because I live very close to a Whole Foods and go there frequently to buy cat food, so I have been able to benefit from their flash sales.

5. Only buy seasonally and purchase items that are on sale.  Sometimes that can be a little bit difficult when I am tempted to buy something extra, like bottles of Kombucha.  But, delaying gratification has helped me save money a long the way and enjoy the benefits from shopping at Whole Foods.

6. The more labor and packaging involved in preparing the food, the more expensive it is.  It is nice to have pre cut vegetables and fruit at your disposal as well as pre seasoned meat, but it is nicer on your wallet if you commit to taking the time out to do the grunt work of washing and chopping your produce.  If you eat meat, there are many tutorials online on how to handle whole chickens and how to marinate and season steak.

7. I have learned how to delay menu planning until after I finish my grocery shopping for the week.  That way, I buy items at their cheapest prices and then when I come home and put away my groceries, I sit down with my cookbooks or at the computer and find recipes for the week.

Combined with my Melaleuca shopping for hygiene, supplements and cleaning supplies, I think that living a lifestyle with safe, non-toxic products and fresh natural and organic food is feasible on a tight budget.  I definitely owe part of saving money on cleaning products to Melaleuca.  Because their cleaning products are concentrated and used for many different purposes, I can get a lot more mileage out of them.  I eat out infrequently and I avoid the Goodwill to curb impulse recreational shopping in order to make sure that I can still afford to shop at Melaleuca and Whole Foods.

Have a great weekend!