Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Whole Foods or WalMart

I'm sort of frustrated these days by my grocery experience.

Tonight, I found myself at 4pm strolling through Whole Foods to grab spinach, artichoke, cashews, goat cheese and basil.  I was making a cashew encrusted chicken breast salad with crostini for my family.

My bill after adding a gallon of whole milk for the baby, some additional veggies and a baguette was $53.  I can't put a price tag on the serenity of my experience or the good feeling I had putting my baby in the grocery cart or feeding her a sample pineapple chunk and orange slice.

Because we subsist largely on one income, it's really hard to spend hundreds of dollars a month for a family of 5 on groceries.  And yet, I can think of no better use of my money than to feed my family with good food and to maintain my sanity while doing so. 

There is a WalMart a hop, skip, and a jump from my home.  If I'd have gone there, my grocery bill would have been half the amount.  I would not have put Claire in the cart even with the sanitizer wipes and I'd have probably been pissed with the lack of customer service.

So, where's my middle of the road?  I'm certain that it's growing a larger garden in the summer and freezing produce for the winter.  It's probably cooking more meals that can be morphed into different variations throughout the week, instead of purchasing ingredients for 7 meals.  It's also probably sucking it up and paying more for fresh produce and an environment that I feel clean and calm after I leave.


  1. My middle road is Hy-Vee. A decent organic section if I want it, but I also try to shop only in season and try not to buy produce grown outside of the US. That cuts down on cost, big time. If it's in season and hasn't had to travel from another continent, it doesn't cost as much.

    I also find it to be a mostly pleasant experience (after all, there is a Starbucks inside), they usually have the strange things that I sometimes look for, and I know the store well enough after shopping there for 7+ years that I can find anything pretty quickly. I also know their prices so well that I can tell when to stock up on things.

    It doesn't have to be either/or. It could be both/and. Maybe you can buy weekly fresh things at Whole Foods and bulk or shelf-stable things at Walmart. (Or another grocery store. I don't enjoy the atmosphere of Walmart either. For things like flour, the .50 or so I'd save isn't worth it to me.)

    Try a larger garden next year if you can handle it, or freeze/can produce from the farmers market if you don't want to expand the garden. The farmers market is always in season and therefore often cheaper, so I like to do things like buy lots and lots of peppers and freeze them. Maybe you look into getting a CSA in the summer, or purchase meat direct from the farmer. Lots and lots of options.

    Sorry this is so long, but I'm a firm believer that Whole Foods is not the only healthy way to provide for a family. I agree that it's a nice place, but financial security is also calming. :)

  2. Walmart is evil and has crap food. (Don't ever but meat there!) I haven't been in wallys for more than seven years.
    Whole foods supports planned parenthood so I don't step foot in there anymore.
    I pick sunflower market and Safeway. .. if we had hyvee here... I'd shop there.
    If I had a house with a yard I'd start a garden. We all should!

  3. I am a Whole Foods girl all the way, twice a week shopper, and my grocery bill shows it. Eek!! We do Whole Foods for the veggies and fruits as well as baby yogurt and milk (the 365 brand is the same price as Roberts or lower), occasionally meat/chicken, and my one coffee beans roasted on site (LOVE!!!). We do HyVee for the staples (eggs, cheese, etc.), then Target for paper products and such (diapers, shampoo, qtips, etc.). We pay more, but I feel like it's worth it. I absolutely understand the cost difference though...with two kids we are able to do that, with three? Maybe not. I REFUSE to shop at Walmart though. REFUSE.
    Good luck in finding your middle of the road!
    Oh - and something else I do - I go to the bakery/bread outlets and buy all of my bread/bagels for the month at one time and stash them in the freezer. It saves a decent amount of money! I got 7 loafs of bread, 3 packages of bagels, and some whole wheat buns last week for $8.75 total. $8.75!!!! That would have been at least $20-$25 at the normal grocery store! Save where you can, right? =)

  4. Really, really fantastic commentary, ladies. I'm so glad that I'm not alone when it comes to making sound food choices for my family on a budget. I feel like I find myself in this spot almost every winter. I need to grow more, frequent the Farmer's Market and freeze, freeze, freeze. Until then, I'll heed your thoughts.


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