Grocery Shopping at Whole Foods? I Can’t Afford It.



woman grocery shopping

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Editor’s note: The following rant is only based on one visit to Whole Foods, so it may seem one-sided and not have enough info. Unless I get a gift card for Whole Foods, I most likely won’t be going back.

The way I see it, the only way I would be able to afford to weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods is if I drastically reduced spending in other areas of my budget.  Although the closest Whole Foods is only a quick drive from where I live, I have managed to avoid going to it for quite some time and have chosen to shop at mostly budget grocery stores (and yes, sometimes at my parents’ house. Hey, if they offer when I visit, I’m not going to say no to free food).

Based on my town being considered as an affluent place to live and the size of the houses (I definitely don’t fall in this category though), I’m not surprised that a Whole Foods Market exists here. Also, known as “Whole Paycheck”, because of its much higher food prices, Whole Foods puts the emphasis on high quality, freshness, responsibly grown/responsibly raised, organic, etc.  Maybe not so much with the lower-end budget grocery stores, but I feel that the mid-range priced grocery stores also put the same emphasis on those aspects of food.

While they do have a variety of products that you may not necessarily find in other stores, I’ve noticed they also sell the same brands of food and get some of their produce from the same grower as other grocery stores, but decided to sell it for several dollars more. They would probably look at me with great disdain if I asked to do a price match. It’s definitely not the best place to get the most bang for your buck in terms of staying on a budget with groceries.

I will grudgingly admit though that food from their salad bar and hot food sections is delicious. It’s like a restaurant with great tasting food. However, with their prices, it seems like a tip is already included in the cost.

As you know there is a high-end and a low-end for pretty much everything we pay for: clothes, cars, houses, restaurants, hotels, etc. So why should it be any different with groceries?  I feel like Whole Foods misleads people to believe that you need to be willing to pay the price for the quality of the food. Initially I thought the grocery store was only meant for wealthy people, but really anyone can shop there.  The  organic trend has been become so big that all major grocery stores have an organic and health foods section of produce and non-perishable foods at more affordable prices.  Some grocery stores even have their own generic brand of organic and health foods.

Healthy food isn’t and shouldn’t be a luxury. It should be affordable and accessible to all people. We personal finance bloggers know that you can easily eat healthy on a budget.  A fantastic example of this is the Grocery Game Challenge created by Canadian Budget Binder.

I know the easiest thing to do would be to just not shop there because I know what prices of most foods should be and how to budget for groceries.  I guess I’m just annoyed with the fact that people are willing to spend a huge amount of money on groceries on a certain store just because they consider it to be “better” or “better for you” when you can clearly get the same stuff elsewhere for cheaper.  Just like that iconic Starbucks coffee cup, or Lululemon yoga pant, perhaps it is also a status thing to shop at Whole Foods.

Do you regularly shop at Whole Foods? Why or why not?


  1. says

    I generally only go to Whole Foods for things I can’t find anywhere else, and I only buy a few things. Trader Joe’s is right across the street and I get mostly everything else there. It is really expensive, and it pays to know prices on the generic stuff. Regular food stores are definitely increasing the variety of organic foods they’re carrying, which is great. Looking on Amazon might be worth it, too.
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    • makinthebacon says

      That’s interesting that Amazon also sells food. I had no idea. I only thought they sold stuff like clothing, books and electronics.

    • makinthebacon says

      I feel like they would be quite beneficial to people with dietary concerns, such as celiac disease. Discount grocery chains are the way to go!

    • makinthebacon says

      Oh wow, that is too convenient and a bit dangerous…lol. Curse their delicious hot food bar! ;)

  2. says

    I think you need to know how much things are at different places and shop accordingly. I go to Whole Foods for the things that are cheaper there than anywhere else – usually bulk foods like TVP, grains like amaranth, split peas, tofu can be cheaper than anywhere else, same with edamame.
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    • makinthebacon says

      In all honesty, I don’t buy a lot of things in bulk. I think one of the reasons may be that there aren’t too many bulk food stores in my area and I find the bulk food selection in some grocery stores is either very limited or even non-existent. With all these great comments, I’m actually now thinking I should go to Whole Foods for a more in-depth review and also check out the bulk food section.

    • makinthebacon says

      It’s sad that for some people that healthy food is actually a luxury. I think my grocery budget would almost double if I did regular grocery shopping over there.

  3. says

    I like Whole Foods because they have clean stores, good products, and a variety I can’t find in the typical Kroger. The staff at WF is always helpful, and it’s a nice place to go. That being said, I don’t shop there. Trader Joe’s is cheaper and has a lot of the same foods. Kroger is more convenient. And with Whole Foods, I would pretty much have to rearrange my entire budget. I might shop there one day, when I’m super loaded and want to make sure people know I’m wealthy (so wealthy I can afford to do my regular grocery shopping at whole foods) but I don’t know if that day will ever come.
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  4. says

    I live close enough to the border that I can just go across and get better food that what is at Whole Foods at Trader Joe’s. I only have gone into Whole Foods once and the prices nearly gave me a heart attack.

    I love organic food and I wouldn’t feel comfortable eating too much non-organic produce, but Whole Foods charges way too much for the same organics as Safeway or Extra Foods.
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    • makinthebacon says

      I guess they don’t feel the need to lower their prices because a lot of people shop at their stores already. It may also have to do with their image of wanting to stay a “high-end/luxury” grocery store??

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