Whole Foods Shopping 101


So I have shopped at Whole Foods in the past, but this was before I became a hard-core couponer. Once I became a couponer, I just assumed that my Whole Foods shopping days were over. I was finding great organic deals at Kroger and Publix, so there was no need to venture to Whole Foods anymore.

After my shopping this week, and receiving some tips from Michelle in an email, I think I may be shopping more often at Whole Foods.

Here’s a quick 101 for shopping at Whole Foods:

1. View the ad online HERE, and be sure to sign-up for the newsletter as well. This will help you plan your deals and be alerted to the best sales each week. Shop the sale prices each week, and stock up on the really good deals.

2. Check with Customer Service about your store’s policy on case discounts. Most stores usually give a 10% discount on your items if you buy a case or more. Case sizes vary by item, so you will need to check on the price sticker for the case size.  It is the number next to the individual serving size number.

3. Use your reusable bags. Whole Foods gives a .10 cent discount per bag that you use. If you use just 5 reusable bags each time, you are saving .50 cents!

4. Grab extras of the Whole Deal newsletter when you go in (keeping it within reason of course-save plenty for the other couponers). I noticed when I was in that there were hundreds of these coupon booklets around the store. It’s amazing that customers don’t even pay attention to these booklets. There is also a Delicious Living Magazine that has coupons in it as well. The Whole Deal newsletter is new every month, but most of the time the coupons don’t expire for two months (so be sure to especially get some extras at the end of the month when the coupon booklets will be changing).

5. The Whole Deal Newsletter is packed with Whole Foods coupons. Combine these with Manufacturer coupons for an even bigger savings.

6. Check for mark downs in the store. In the past I have found spices, meats and dairy items discounted.  Usually if a price is ending in a 7, then that item is being discontinued or discounted for some reason.

7. Do your best to be friendly and earn a repor with your cashiers and managers. Whole Foods is not as savvy in the ways of couponing, because not many people use coupons in there. So do your best to always be respectful and create a good relationship with your store employees while helping them understand how coupons work.

Well, I think this is a good start for Whole Foods shoppers. As I venture onward in my Whole Foods shopping and think of more tips, I will add them to this post. Look forward to a few match-ups from me each week as well.

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  1. I think why there are always lots of coupon books left there is that many of the people who shop there like to think of themselves as too important to use coupons, or that they don’t NEED (or don’t want to look like they need) to use coupons. Or at least that’s the vibe I’ve always gotten. So yay, more for us! :)

  2. Was just talking with my husand last night about the use of coupons at Whole Foods. I just did my second transaction and I couldn’t believe the EASE of the transactions and the friendliness of the cashiers. If they questioned the coupon they read it and then went on scanning it. No problems whatsoever. Not the typical SWEAT episodes before I get up to the cashier wondering if this transaction will be a good or bad one. Thanks Whole Food cashiers!
    .-= SoCal Savin’ Mama´s last blog ..CVS Pharmacy *Expired Products* News Release =-.

  3. I am actually still having issues at the Whole Foods market in Milwaukee. I’ve been in contact with Michael Durr from the store, and he says that we SHOULD only be using one store coupon per item, in respect for other customers. Yet, I agree with the reader who says hardly anyone uses these coupons. People who can afford to do their everyday shopping at Whole Foods don’t really take notice or care too much for sales, and or coupons. I got rejected the right to use multiple coupons and they wouldn’t approve of my transaction. They have actually been going back through my pervious transactions (they can be found because I used a team member discount card) and picking them apart, and pretty much harassing my spouse over it. I’m planning on going back tonight or tomorrow…so I’m praying that it will go smoothly. Also, I love that this may become a popular thing at Whole Foods, as when I was doing it before they said they had never encountered this before.

    • I would contact your Whole Foods regional manager. They don’t have the right to browse your purchasing history or hassle you for previous transactions. The regional manager can work with the store manager to establish a clearly identified coupon policy.
      Good luck!

      • Actually, they do have the right to review your purchase history. I was a retail manager for several years and if I thought someone one switching tags, stealing and/or making fraudulent returns, I would review their purchase history to look for patterns.

  4. Lori, can you get in touch with someone with the WholeFoods headquarters or main customer service? I mean, how can WF be competitive with other stores if they don’t honor typical couponing policies?

  5. I had checked with Whole Foods corporate about 6 months ago and was told that they only accept 1 coupon per item that their “store” coupons were considered manufacturer coupons. Has any one been actually using a store and a manufacturer coupon together per item and not have a problem?


    The Thrifty Mama here: So far I have been able to use both a manufacturer coupons and a whole foods coupon together for one item. It seems we are all getting mixed answers from Whole Foods regarding the coupon policy. I will be checking into this more to see if I can get some concrete answers from Whole Foods corporate. As it stands now, you should be able to combine a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon just like at any other store.
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Back to College 09 =-.

  6. Whole Foods is one of my favorite stores to shop at! I recommend it to everyone. I am not a huge couponer, but I have successfully matched some of the Mambo Sprouts coupons with in-store deals to get good prices. However, I was told I can only use one coupon per item, so I can’t stack deals at my Whole Foods.

    I used to never shop at Whole Foods, but then I discovered they had better prices on some items than my Acme, especially on fresh produce, even the organic stuff!

    I would definitely recommend bringing your own bags. My Whole Foods only pays 5 cents per bag, but it is still better than nothing.

    All the employees at my store are extremely helpful and friendly. They really seem to care that people get the best deal possible and are happy with their shopping experience.

  7. Great tips! I’ve been shopping regularly at Whole Foods for several months now (we changed our diet to focus more on organics and whole foods). Surprisingly, using coupons at Whole Foods has been less stressful than couponing at conventional grocery stores. In July our store put out great coupons for a free rotisserie chicken, free organic ketchup and buns wyb 8 pk hamburgers and a free quart of ice cream!
    .-= The Working Home Keeper´s last blog ..From the Market =-.

  8. I just returned to Whole Foods in Milwaukee Wisconsin- and they still wouldn’t let me use my coupons. They said the Whole Deal coupons are one per person. To reinforce this they copy and pasted part of an email Michael Durr sent me, explaining why the system beeps when you use more than one store coupon, and put it on all the check out counters. It is a complete suggestion saying use one Whole Deal book, it is not part of policy at all. But the store manager Jen seems to think it is written in stone. Obviously they think their store deserves special treatment regarding coupons?

  9. That’s frustrating Lori. The only suggestion I can make is that you point out that the coupon states one coupon per item purchased. It says nothing about one per transaction, and the store can’t make up rules. They need to follow what coupons say. I would also suggest contacting corporate regarding the coupon “unfriendliness” of your store.

  10. I’ve encountered the same situation as Lori. The store in Durham NC only allows one Whole Deal coupon per person.

  11. When I was in Whole Foods recently, the front end manager told me I could use their coupons, as well as manufacturer coupons, as long as it doesn’t discount more than the cost of the item. So, if I had one Whole Foods .50 off coupon, and one manufacturer .50 off coupon, the item would have to cost 1.00 of more. I haven’t tested this yet, so we’ll see.

  12. I am in NJ and my nearest Whole Foods is in Edgewater. I have had very good couponing experience there in general. I have been able to stack MF and ST coupons, the latest great purchase was on some organic canned soup which, after stacking, I paid .25cents a can. I had enough coupons for 21 cans, total purchase price $5.25. So far there was only one occassion where my coupons were not accepted (the usual one coupon per purchase, i.e. to them, transaction) mixup happened so I just did my purchasing another day. I think your best bet is to get an answer from corporate and in writing.

  13. Thanks for tip #2 about buying by the case. I live two blocks from a Whole Foods, so it’s my closest grocery store. At my store (and I would guess all stores), if they overcharge you on an item and it’s under $10, you get it for free. We “bought” a simple shopping cart seat cover for my son there and when we pointed out that it was labeled as being on clearance for $3 less than what we were being charged at the register, we were told about the policy and given the cart cover for free because it was under $10 (of course, they verified our claim first).

  14. the sale items in your menu. I ALWAYS make a weekly menu and a shopping list from that menu. Keeping similiar ingredients for that week saves money. Buy Whole Foods products. If you are a non-processed food person only shop the exterior of the store. Thats my tip.

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