I read with some interest an article here on MNN, Half is Sometimes Better at Whole Foods. Seems Whole Foods is actively trying to teach their shoppers how to spend less money in their stores. Crazy economy.

The author of the article, Lori Johnston, tells of her experience on a "Healthy, Wealthy and Wise" tour at her local Whole Foods. Lori took the tour to learn how to get the most for her money in the store that many people refer to as Whole Paycheck.

I don’t shop at Whole Foods, but I there are several tips in the article that can apply to any grocery store where you’re trying to save money on healthy and organic food. We’re all looking for tips to save a little money on our groceries right now. Here’s what I got from the article.

  • be willing to try new varieties of fruits and vegetables by purchasing the sale items
  • look for weekly specials
  • stick to your list
  • buy items from the bulk dispensers
  • just because something costs so much per pound doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole pound of it
  • shop at more than one store to take advantage of weekly specials
  • use coupons (find sources of coupons for organic and natural foods here)
  • look at private brand organic labels
One other thing that caught my attention was that at Whole Foods, you can ask the produce department to cut your cantaloupe in half or the bakery department to cut a loaf of bread in half if you know you’ll only need that much. The article doesn’t say so, but I assume you only pay half when you do that. I think that’s fabulous.

I was thinking. Some stores will honor the prices in other’s stores circulars so maybe they will honor other stores policies. I wonder if I went to the manager of my grocery store and said, “Whole Foods will cut a cantaloupe in half for a customer and only charge half” if my store would do the same.

One thing is clear. A lot of what it takes to save money on your groceries involves planning. You need to look through the circulars and make careful lists (and stick to those lists). You need to cut coupons and match them up with specials. You need to be deliberate about your choices.

If you take the time to plan, you should be able to continue to buy whole, healthy foods for you and your family, even during this crummy economy. 

Image: quin.anya

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Tips for saving at the store
Some tips on saving money at the grocery store from an unlikely source.