Family Foods


How to save money and feed a family of six with delicious, organic produce.

I’m a very money-conscious person who likes to buy organic, fresh and good-quality foods. Whole Food Market is where I love to shop, but I do so very carefully to feed my family of six. I very quickly devised a strategy for shopping there that I shared with my friends. My shopping strategies have helped them save money, rather than avoiding the store in fear of bouncing a check or breaking a budget. I went shopping at Whole Foods Market with a budget of $100 and tried to purchase as many meals and items as I could.

1. Use Reusable Bags

I always make sure that there are several reusable shopping bags in my car at all times. When I come home with groceries, I unload the bags and immediately return the bags to my car for the next visit. I own a washable set of reusable bags from Blue Avocado. The bag set includes two cold/warm food bags and one hand bag, two lightweight pod bags for the un- usual larger shopping excursions. This saves me 5 cents a bag off my total food bill (with four bags per trip, that’s 20 cents saved).

2. Grab a Whole Foods Market Deal sheet and buy sale items

Every week Whole Foods Market puts out fliers with sales and deals on products in the store. Buying items and products that are on sale is the key to how to saving money and planning what my family will be eating for the week. Making a grocery list of items I need for recipes is a more costly approach. Instead, I plan meals with items that are on sale. When I did my shopping, there were a lot of great sales on chicken thighs, beefs steaks, salmon, fruit and vegetables.

My kids love fruit as much as I do. Having lots of fruit around is essential. But the cost of fruit can also add up fast. Therefore, I always buy fruit that is on sale. I like to buy organic fruit but sometimes I will buy conventional when there is not a good sale on organic fruit. Don’t pay $2.50 a pound on apples when you can find apples or pears for $1.50 to $1.99 a pound. When I was shopping, there was sale on organic pears, so the family will eat pears this week.The fish on sale was a 50 percent savings per pound. I bought two servings and I will put some away in the freezer for future meals.

3. Use Value Cards

Whole Foods Market has several value “punch” cards that will give you money off or a free items depending on the card value. They have a card for bread, supplements, coffee purchases and more. For example, I buy a lot of the branded sliced sandwich bread for the kids lunches. Every time I buy a loaf, the cashier stamps my bread card. I get a free loaf of bread after I have purchased five loafs. This is a saving of around $4.00. The coffee and supplement cards have their own values assigned. Ask your cashier at check out for all the value cards and keep them in your wallet. It adds up. I got a free loaf of bread the day I did my shopping! I love free items.

4. Know What Not to Buy at Whole Foods Market

Buying quality food at Whole Foods Market is something I count on. But I also know when not to buy a product there. For example, I don’t expect them to have the best price on dish detergents, sandwich bags, house cleaners and other household items. I save some items for other shopping trips to places where I know they’re cheaper.

5. Specialty items

Buying specialty products can be costly. Cheese is one of those items. It’s a luxury in my house to have nice cheese, especially when it is just for adult consumption and not for the children. Whole Foods Market has a great way to treat myself to specialty cheese that will not break the budget. At the cheese counter, there are three metal bins that are labeled “Cheese for Under $3.” Small chunks of nice cheeses reside in this bin.

With my hundred bucks, I did get 30 items. Christopher Carbone managed to buy 39 items and his dietary restrictions were different (Know, page 62). However, I put a large percent of my budget into buying the fish on sale. I purchased some basic items such as eggs, orange juice, cereal and snacks, which are consumed daily by the children. I know my family and I eat good quality foods that are healthy. As a mom, this is important for me. I want my children to know how to eat right and make good choices in their eating habits, too.