Mission: Possible. You can grocery shop on a budget even at a store like Whole Foods. Don’t believe us? Blogger Meagan McGinnes shows us how.

I have a confession: I’m a food writer who hates grocery shopping.

Besides the fact that I’m apparently a masochist who shops Sunday mornings along with everyone else in Boston, I find the whole process of wandering supermarket aisles tedious and unnecessarily time consuming. Shelves are crowded; people are pushy; the teenage cashier is moody; the freezer section is straight-up frigid. It’s my personal version of hell.

With so much product innovation across grocery categories, it’s also impossible to know where to find what I’m looking for. (Seriously, is drinkable yogurt near beverages or yogurt? Asking for a friend.) Plus, grocery shopping can be especially cumbersome with the added pressures of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a balanced budget. This makes stores like Whole Foods Market appealing because consumers trust their vetting process for high-quality brands—and their high-end, shopper-friendly layout doesn’t hurt, either. It’s the Disney World of natural food grocers.

But just like Disney, Whole Foods is expensive. For 20-somethings like myself, it feels like a luxury vacation from national mainstream chains instead of the default for my weekly shopping. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With the following tips in mind, it’s possible to know how to save money on groceries at Whole Foods:

  • Coupons are king: Scan through The Whole Deal before any trip.
  • But you don’t have to cut them anymore: They have an app. Scan the barcode at the cashier and any relevant coupons will be applied to your bill. Last week, there was a coupon for $5 off all produce. (Produce!)
  • Manufacturers have coupons, too. You have to know which brands they carry to max out on these savings, but you can search your store’s location online to do that research.
  • Don’t forget to check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—Grocers will often announce one-day or flash sales via these outlets.
  • Save on meat! Chicken is 50 cents off per pound if you buy three or more pounds at a time.
  • Don’t shy away from less-expensive generic brands. Even though the retailer’s name is on the package, they’re manufactured by another company (probably a brand you’d pay a few more dollars for).
  • Go in with a gameplan. Making a list helps you meal prep, reduce your food waste, and avoid spending on items you don’t need. For example, four chicken breasts, three sweet potatoes, one head of broccoli, and a box of quinoa or brown rice costs about $13. This covers up to four meals (or one dinner with friends) for the price of about one lunch out.
  • Bring your own reusable bags with you. You get 10 cents off for each bag used.

Still not convinced? I get it. This is a lot of work to save maybe $10 or so, depending on the week. That may not seem like a lot on a micro level, but that’s $40 saved per month and $480 per year. Now that’s worth cutting 15 minutes out of your post-work Netflix binging.

Need more help? Here is your complete grocery list for a week of healthy eating for almost $40 dollars:

  • Milk: $2.29
  • 32 oz. 365 plain yogurt: $3.39
  • Medium brown eggs: $3.99
  • Organic pasta sauce: $2.99
  • Bag of 365 long grain brown rice: $5.99
  • Whole wheat english muffins: $2.79
  • Organic whole wheat pasta: $1.79
  • Organic crunchy peanut butter: $3.99
  • Shredded mozzarella: $4.69
  • 365 Applewood turkey: $4.99
  • Chicken breast: $5.49/lb
  • Tuna: $1.99
  • Baby kale mix: $4
  • 365 Frozen broccoli: $1.69 per pound

Total: $50.07

-$10 Coupons/sales/savings

Final bill: $40.07

So almost $40. You’re welcome.

Meagan McGinnes is a freelance writer with interests in New England culture, locally sourced food, the environment, fitness, and storytelling. She’s a foodie who shares her love of snacks as a senior reporter at Project NOSH—a trade publication by BevNET that covers natural, organic, healthy, or sustainable packaged food companies and products. Follow her @meaganmcginnes.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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