Sunday, May 8, 2011

How to Shop... at Earth Fare

I thought I would start a new series of posts about how to shop at various places around Athens. I was going to start with Publix and Kroger, but then I figured why not choose something more challenging?

Image from Southern Savers

A lot of people believe that it's very difficult to eat healthy food on a budget. It's true that many organic products are more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but even here, you can use coupons and sales to your advantage. Earth Fare is a grocery store in the Southeast which specializes in organic and healthy food, and for that reason, many people (including me, a while ago) think that it is super expensive and impossible to shop at without using up your entire budget. Prices at Earth Fare can be overwhelming at times, but I have some tips and tricks I have learned from shopping there that makes your grocery list much more affordable.
Here are some tips and tricks for shopping at Earth Fare. Each tip alone can help you save a lot of money there, but combining them really does bring the total down to a cost that will rival (or even be below!) what you are used to paying at a traditional supermarket.

  • Read the Monthly Flyer. Earth Fare's sales ads run for an entire month rather than just a week-long period like at most other grocery stores. Once you're done reading the Flyer, then...
  • Search the Internet for coupons. If you see a good price on something in the Monthly Flyer, or you see something that you would want to buy if only it were a dollar or two cheaper, go to the website of the company that makes that product. For example, Food Should Taste Good chips are on sale in the Flyer for $2 each, but with a $1 coupon from their website, you can get them for just $1! That's a full size bag of chips; the small size bag itself is $1 at Kroger!
  • Use Earth Fare's own coupons. These are coupons for both Earth Fare brand items and for name brand items. There are often coupons for fresh meat on this page; coupons for fresh meat are very difficult to come by in traditional grocery stores. Earth Fare's coupons can really come in handy; for example, I believe that Evol burritos are about $1.69 each at Earth Fare. With a coupon on Earth Fare's website for $1 off any Evol product, you can get that burrito for just 69 cents! These coupons are also available in the form of a booklet in a basket at the front of the store as well as helpfully placed in front of the products on the shelves.
  • Sign up for the Weekly Freebie! I cannot stress this enough!! Each week Earth Fare will email you with a coupon for a free item with a purchase of $5 or more. Yes, $5 or more. Not $50 or more. Just $5. In the past, these coupons have included everything from eggs to apples. It's a GREAT way to save money at Earth Fare on stuff you would probably have bought anyway!
  • Participate in the Boot Challenge. The Boot Challenge is a "challenge" which shows you the ingredients in two versions of the same product: the Earth Fare version and the traditional version. Once you take the challenge, you can print off a coupon for a trade-in; bring in your traditional version of the product and get the Earth Fare version FREE! These challenges update every two weeks and have included everything from toothpaste to Ritz crackers. 
  • Take part in the Pantry Makeover. Bring in your peanut butter, jelly, salad dressing, soda, and cereal (as long as they meet the requirements in the Makeover challenge), and get Earth Fare versions of them FOR FREE!
  • Buy in bulk. Earth Fare has an AMAZING bulk section filled with everything from flour to banana chips. Usually, when you hear "buy in bulk" you probably think of Sam's or Costco. The "bulk" at Earth Fare simply means the scoop-your-own section, so you can buy as much or as little of a product as you need or can afford.
  • Shop on Wednesday! Shop on Wednesday! Shop on Wednesday!!! Wednesday is Earth Fare's student discount day. With your student ID you can get 5% off your purchase. This might not SOUND like a lot but it's $1.50 off a $30 purchase, which is probably at least what you're averaging right now shopping elsewhere. Combine that with all the other sales and coupons and you can easily get your total down to under $20. 
  • Eat at the Cafe. Jake and I went in there for the first time a couple weeks ago. We had to go to Earth Fare anyway to get some stuff that we couldn't find anywhere else, but we were going to just go to Subway for dinner. We decided to try out the cafe instead and it was awesome! They weigh your food by the pound, so I paid $6 for my meal--around what I would have paid at Subway! Best of all, if you have kids, if you're a mentor to kids, if you have siblings, if you have any interaction with kids at all, bring them to the cafe on Thursdays from 4 to 8 pm for Family Dinner Night, where they can eat FREE with the purchase of an adult meal $5 or more. 
Let me know if y'all have any questions! And when you shop, be sure to fill out the survey at the bottom of your receipt for a chance to win a $250 Earth Fare gift card! 


  1. I have a question about the Pantry Makeover and Boot Challenge. This might sound lame but how full do the packages need to be?

  2. Hey Raven I know this is a super late answer but I have turned stuff in for those challenges with barely anything left. I don't think it really matters to them lol.