Whole Foods on a $40 Budget

whole foods on a budget

“Whole Foods, whole paycheck” has become synonymous with every visit to the popular food center where organically-grown California grapes can cost you about $4 per lb. Why do we keep torturing ourselves with choosing this organic conglomerate over our cost-saving alternatives? It could have something to do with the pristine displays or sense of wellbeing from just being there.

The rustic aesthetic coupled with incense-infused air makes you feel like you’re at a spa – for food. Each aisle contains a selection of your daily staples coupled with some…interesting alternatives. Camel milk? Only at Whole Foods.

After moving to Miami, I realized that there were more Whole Foods in my proximity than my old go-to, Trader Joe’s. Publix was still out of the way and I didn’t have many vegan options at my local discount-mart, so I thought to myself, how can I make shopping here work for my budget?

The Whole Foods we all know and love is a pricey pitstop when shopping without a plan. Shopping with your eyes can net you a total of over $100 and leave you wondering, “damn, I didn’t even grab bananas, but hey, at least I have lychee-flavored ice cream”.

So, as a broke, just out of college grad, I figured out how to shop at Whole Foods for $40 a week. Let’s just preface this with the fact that this is not the cheapest option, but this was a reasonable budget for me at the time.

I have since switched to Publix since moving again, but I figured this would be an informative post for others where Whole Foods is their most convenient food shopping destination.

Items Needed

  • Shopping List (I use my Notes app)
  • Phone Calculator

Before Going to the Store

Google your recipes and figure out what you need. I’ll be honest, with a budget of only $40, your choice of dishes can be limited. Basic items such as tomatoes and cucumbers are no issue, but specialty items such as Beyond Meat or Kimchi might set you over the budget. There’s always room for one of two specialty items, but be sure to grab all of your basics first.

Shopping List

Here’s my list with prices from my local Whole Foods.

  • (2) Extra Firm Tofu $4
  • (1) Pack of Spinach $2
  • (1) Pack of Arugula $2
  • (4) Avocados $5
  • (1lb) Plum Tomatoes $2.50
  • (2) English Cucumbers $2
  • (5) Bananas $1.50
  • (1) Onion $1
  • (1) 365 Chickenless Patties $3
  • (3) Smoked BBQ Kind Bars $5.75
  • (2) RX Bars $5
  • (.5lb) Berry Trail Mix $5
  • (1) Rudi’s Whole Wheat Bread $3

So right now, we’re at $41.75. Your personal preferences on snacks could make the budget go down even further, but I’m partial to my bars.

After your first few times, I’d recommend writing down a list of your food staples and adding them up as you shop. This way, there will be no surprises when you get to the checkout line.



Below are some recipes I can make with these ingredients. Some items like salt pepper and vinegar are usually pantry staples that do not have to be repurchased with every visit.

  • Turmeric tofu scramble
    • Tofu, onion, turmeric, salt, pepper, spinach
  • Garden Salad
    • Spinach, arugula, onion, cucumber, tomato, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar
  • Avocado Toast
    • Avocado, whole wheat bread, salt, pepper, lime, red pepper flakes
  • Chickenless Sandwich
    • Chik’n patty, mayonnaise, bbq sauce, arugula, cucumber, whole wheat bread

Hope this helps for anyone out there ballin’ at Whole Foods on a budget. Talk to you next time! xx

P.S. Sorry for the hiatus, but I’m back!! Stay tuned for more posts soon!

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