Savings: $50/week, 1 hour/week, and health benefits.
You can think of food markets as competing on three basic features: healthiness, price and selection. Each tends to sacrifice one to maximize the other two. Supermarkets sacrifice healthiness. Whole Foods sacrifices price. Trader Joe’s sacrifices selection.
Few Americans are willing to sacrifice selection. They want it all, and assume they will get it. For example, one might pull out a cookbook, choose a recipe, and then buy ingredients, implicitly assuming the market will have everything required for the recipe. If you follow that route, you absolutely must have a wide selection, forcing you to sacrifice either healthiness (supermarket) or price (Whole Foods).
The solution, as Carl Jacobi or Charlie Munger would say, is to “invert, always invert.” Shop only Trader Joe’s (now well represented in major US metro areas). Design your meals around what they have, rather than painting on a blank canvas.
You will save a ton of money versus other natural food stores, yet sacrifice nothing in the quality of organic foods. You won’t waste time hopping among multiple stores. You’ll save time in the store (Joe’s is more compact). And you’ll get more variety in your diet as they rotate their offerings.
This is a classic Pareto (80/20 principle) optimization with huge benefits. Give up just a little control over your dietary selection, and win huge benefits elsewhere.