In case y'all didn't know, since October I have been an employee of Earth Fare, a health food store originating from Asheville, North Carolina, that has been opening stores throughout the Southeast. For awhile I was a produce clerk and I've spent the last few months as a cashier. I shopped at Earth Fare even before working there (and receiving a nice 20% employee discount), but since working there I've learned some things about how to maximize my grocery budget in this specific store.
This is going to be irrelevant for those of you who don't have an Earth Fare in your town. Sorry about that, better luck next year maybe! Earth Fare is expanding quickly and I wouldn't be surprised if Nashville gets one within the next couple years.
For now, here are some tips for those of you living in Huntsville, Birmingham, Knoxville, or any of the other cities with Earth Fare stores.
This will be a two part series. Stay tuned for general tips to shop organic / natural without breaking your budget!
Earth Fare specializes in deals. Get in on these savings!
1. Sign up for the email coupons.
Earth Fare sends out weekly deals. Sign up for them. It is worth it. Make sure you do this during a week you KNOW you will be able to shop at EF because when you sign up you will receive a coupon that applies to either:
-- Free whole EF Natural chicken
-- Free package of EF veggie burgers
Steal of a deal, but your coupon will only be valid for a week.
Email deals are sent out on Wednesday morning. They are usually for good stuff. Some recent deals have been $2 watermelon, free pint of conventional blueberries, and EF chips and salsa. The value of the coupons is usually $3-$4.
Side note: You do not have to actually print out the coupon. Save paper and just write down the 5 digit PLU number, which usually begins with the number 8. If you happen to forget the coupon, just ask the cashier for the deal -- we get those numbers memorized fast.
2. Sign up for text deals.
Simply text EAT to 71700 or do it here.
Upon signing up, you will receive a text coupon for $5 off your $25 purchase (this is $25 BEFORE tax and not including alcohol). Awesome.
Earth Fare will not inundate you with texts but will send one just about every week. These deals are usually good for that day only. Recent deals have been: free carton of EF ice cream, free can of baked beans.
3. Get the coupon booklets, but don't let them sway you too much.
Sometimes there are awesome deals in the coupon books, which you can find at the front of the store. Mostly, it is padded with overpriced items that will not be worth it even with a coupon. Use the booklet only for items you already buy on a regular basis. Anything else is usually money down the drain.
Good coupons that are in the current booklet:
$1 off tray packs of EF Organic Chicken
$0.75 off tray packs of EF Natural Chicken (both types of chicken are Springer Mountain, which I like because it is Certified Humane by the Animal Welfare Association)
$0.50 off tray packs of Ground Turkey
$0.50 off Organic Valley eggs
$1.00 off Mrs Meyers cleaning products
$1.00 off Toms of Maine products
You can also print off coupons via the Earth Fare website. The only problem with this is that home-printed coupons don't usually scan well at the register and will prolong your checkout time. It is preferable to just grab the booklets in-store if you're going to use multiple coupons.
4. Use discounts.
Earth Fare currently offers the following discounts:
10% off daily with military ID
5% off daily for seniors (60+)
5% off Wednesdays for students and teachers with valid school ID
5. Case discounts.
Earth Fare offers a 10% discount for purchasing items by the case. If there's an item that you use frequently, this is a great deal. You don't always need to special order cases - if there are enough of the item on the shelf, you can just pull it from there (i.e. grabbing 6 cartons of goat milk constitutes a case).
For any grocery item, it must be the exact same type (no flavor mixing). The number of items per case ranges from 4 to 12 or more, so ask a grocery associate before loading up your cart.
There is also a 10% wine discount for ANY 6 bottles of wine. You can mix and match with this. Glug glug glug.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two: General Earth Fare Shopping Tips. Wheeeee!