Author Topic: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!  (Read 5283 times)

samburger

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Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« on: February 17, 2015, 11:07:44 AM »
We plan our meals, we cook from scratch, we eat very little meat, we shop sales, and yet, somehow, we just couldn't get our grocery spend under our $300/mo budget (two adults). It's been driving me CRAZY.

Annnnd then I found Aldi. I scouted our local Aldi probably a year ago and it didn't make an impression on me, so I wasn't quick to go back when I saw folks on here raving about it. Lucky for me, my mom has taken to shaming me for missing out, so I went, just to see what the fuss was about, and holy. crap.

Buying the same things at Aldi that we'd buy elsewhere, our grocery bill is coming out at $65/week instead of $80/week. It's like magic!

fiddlefaddle

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2015, 11:13:55 AM »
Way to go! I switched to Aldi last year and I'm still amazed at how much food I can get there for under $70.

justajane

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2015, 11:23:38 AM »
Way to go!

I was just saying to my husband yesterday that I don't know what our family of five (three sons) would do without Aldi. It is truly a wonderful place for those who want to lower their grocery bill. We also shop at Costco and Sam's but only for the things that are cheaper there than Aldi and that we eat in bulk.

We especially save tons on produce at Aldi. I basically buy whatever is on deep discount that week, and that's what we eat. Here's to the 40 cent avocado!

fiddlefaddle

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2015, 11:31:35 AM »
I also try to buy the produce specials. I've learned a LOT of new ways to cook carrots over the past year!

1967mama

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2015, 11:32:55 AM »
Way to go, samburger!

People on the west coast can find similar benefits at Winco if used to shopping at a fancy-pants grocery store.
We just went last night and SCOOPED on good deals!

Olde Stache

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2015, 12:37:58 PM »
Go to this site and check out the Aldi meal plans she has there.  Very Mustachian!

 http://www.iamthatlady.com/category/meal-planning-tips/aldi-meal-plans/

2ndTimer

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2015, 03:17:39 PM »
Don't have Aldi in our town yet but have had the same experience with Grocery Outlet.  Just shoved 12 lb. of Oscar Meyer Braunschweiger into the freezer.  It was going for 50 cents/lb because approaching sell by date.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 10:39:26 AM »
Aldi is gross. Y'all are crazy.

Retired To Win

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 11:19:15 AM »
No Aldi stores nearby, so it's Wal-Mart plus heavy emphasis on specials and use of the "loyalty card" at the local Food Lion.

I do manage to rack up from 3% to 5% cashback on my groceries ALL the time by the strategic use of cash reward credit cards at the register of either store.  ;)

couponvan

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 11:28:27 AM »
Aldi is gross. Y'all are crazy.

Hey now - you may not like it, just as I dislike Walmart, but I don't think anyone shopping at Aldi is crazy.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 11:39:36 AM »
Hey now - you may not like it, just as I dislike Walmart, but I don't think anyone shopping at Aldi is crazy.

-All animal products are factory farmed, which is damaging to human health (increased antibiotic use/resistance, bad nutrient balance) and the environment (manure produced in concentration where it's very difficult to cycle back into the earth).

-I know selection does vary, but Aldi here doesn't have a scrap of whole grain products anywhere. Can't defend that.

-Snack foods are cheap, sure, but it's even cheaper to make your own. And you can keep the ingredients all pronounceable to boot.

-Produce (again, maybe other areas are better) is sub-par. Rarely cheaper than other sources and almost always inferior in quality, or so full of bruising and rot that any price advantage is thrown into the compost than our stomachs. Also, plastic fantastic packaging.

I'll stop now. But yeah, gross.

justajane

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 11:57:46 AM »
Aldi is gross. Y'all are crazy.

Your opinion is fine by me. Great actually. The more people think this, the less I have to deal with crowds. In fact, could you spread this message far and wide? :)

Mine recently had a remodel and started to carry more organic products and produce, and the store has been packed ever since.

justajane

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2015, 04:02:41 PM »
Here's my meal tonight, 85% Aldi ingredients. Greek green beans, black eyed peas with bacon and spinach, and ciabatta on the side. 

Gross, isn't it?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2015, 05:34:02 PM »
Here's my meal tonight, 85% Aldi ingredients. Greek green beans, black eyed peas with bacon and spinach, and ciabatta on the side. 

Gross, isn't it?

Hey, feed the troll, he'll bite ;) If you really want me to critique your dinner, I can....

On nutrition, ciabatta is a white flour bred and thus mostly devoid of nutritional value outside of basic protein and (high-glycemic) carbs. Whole-grain breads are much more nutritious, and can be made quite easily. It costs me ~$0.70 of ingredients and less than 10 minutes hands-on time to make each loaf of delicious, crusty whole wheat bread we eat, and unlike "whole wheat" boughten breads, the recipe works with 100% whole wheat, instead of the more typical 51/49 mixtures required to brand it as whole grain.

Green beans - never heard of a greek green bean variety, so I'll assume that means they come from Greece. Insanity! Why the eff would you ship green beans halfway across the world? They're one of the easiest things to grow pretty much anywhere with adequate water. Ideally, yourself. Second-best, buy them by the overflowing bag from a local farmer, trim, blanch, freeze in desired portions. Wash/reuse the freezer bags. Not sure if they still do this, but when I used to shop at Aldi, the beans were shrink-wrapped (non-recyclable) around a styrofoam base (barely recyclable, and only in certain places).

Spinach - out of season, very energy intensive to ship because of the cold-chain necessary. You can freeze it when in season. You can also dry greens and powder them into smoothies and soups to get the complete nutritional value minus the visual appeal and texture.

Black eyed peas - likely from a can, as Aldi by me never carried dry. Yes, steel cans are recyclable, but the lining materials still have to be smelted out. Better to buy dry. Also, the weight of canned goods is almost all metal and water, which means you're paying to ship weight that's not caloric.

I'm not claiming I'm perfect - I'm definitely not - but I try to eat both nutritiously and sustainably as best I can, laid out in books like "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and "Radical Homemakers", among others. Nutrition is possible at Aldi, though I found it difficult even with several months to adapt to their selection. Sustainability? Forget it.

I don't idly say Aldi is gross. I gave it a really good shot before I realized how critical sustainability is.

justajane

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2015, 06:06:03 PM »
Here's my meal tonight, 85% Aldi ingredients. Greek green beans, black eyed peas with bacon and spinach, and ciabatta on the side. 

Gross, isn't it?

Hey, feed the troll, he'll bite ;) If you really want me to critique your dinner, I can....

On nutrition, ciabatta is a white flour bred and thus mostly devoid of nutritional value outside of basic protein and (high-glycemic) carbs. Whole-grain breads are much more nutritious, and can be made quite easily. It costs me ~$0.70 of ingredients and less than 10 minutes hands-on time to make each loaf of delicious, crusty whole wheat bread we eat, and unlike "whole wheat" boughten breads, the recipe works with 100% whole wheat, instead of the more typical 51/49 mixtures required to brand it as whole grain.

Green beans - never heard of a greek green bean variety, so I'll assume that means they come from Greece. Insanity! Why the eff would you ship green beans halfway across the world? They're one of the easiest things to grow pretty much anywhere with adequate water. Ideally, yourself. Second-best, buy them by the overflowing bag from a local farmer, trim, blanch, freeze in desired portions. Wash/reuse the freezer bags. Not sure if they still do this, but when I used to shop at Aldi, the beans were shrink-wrapped (non-recyclable) around a styrofoam base (barely recyclable, and only in certain places).

Spinach - out of season, very energy intensive to ship because of the cold-chain necessary. You can freeze it when in season. You can also dry greens and powder them into smoothies and soups to get the complete nutritional value minus the visual appeal and texture.

Black eyed peas - likely from a can, as Aldi by me never carried dry. Yes, steel cans are recyclable, but the lining materials still have to be smelted out. Better to buy dry. Also, the weight of canned goods is almost all metal and water, which means you're paying to ship weight that's not caloric.

I'm not claiming I'm perfect - I'm definitely not - but I try to eat both nutritiously and sustainably as best I can, laid out in books like "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and "Radical Homemakers", among others. Nutrition is possible at Aldi, though I found it difficult even with several months to adapt to their selection. Sustainability? Forget it.

I don't idly say Aldi is gross. I gave it a really good shot before I realized how critical sustainability is.

Greek green beans refers to the recipe - not the geographical origin of the beans. :) It's green beans (in this case frozen but I make them fresh when they are in season) with tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice.

The spinach was also frozen (from Trader Joe's) Do you have a problem with frozen vegetables from a sustainable perspective? From my perspective, that's the most green way to eat them, aside from growing them in your backyard. Also, this is a meal very low in meat (three slices of Costco bacon), which would fit the bill, no?

I guess you've "got" me on the white flour, but in moderation I see no problem with it. The loaf cost $1.50, and it will last us three meals. Tonight I was listening to NPR, and they were talking about how a group of doctors and nutritionists had discussed an ideal diet. Basically I realized while listening that it was close to what I was cooking - a diet low in meat, with a wide variety of vegetables, and a modest amount of carbs.

I am one of those strange people who regardless of how I cook dried beans ends up with back breaking gastro pain every time I eat them. So canned for me. FWIW, my Aldi sells pinto beans dried all the time, and sometimes other kinds. I picked up some split peas the other day.

I would buy 100% of my groceries at Aldi, but Costco/Sam's happen to be cheaper on meat, cheese, and some other items.

hollyluja

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Re: Tiny victory: I finally tamed my grocery budget!
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2015, 05:33:42 PM »
Way to go, samburger!

People on the west coast can find similar benefits at Winco if used to shopping at a fancy-pants grocery store.
We just went last night and SCOOPED on good deals!

Winco is AMAZING for prices, but it is not as much fun to shop at as Trader Joes or Whole Foods.  I finally made the switch in September (from Grocery Outlet and Trader Joe's), and ended up saving ~$40/week buying exactly the same things that I normally would .  Their produce is very high quality too IMO.  Much better than Safeway or Albertson's.

My problem is just how unpleasant it is to shop there.  It's so crowded, the lighting is awful (gives me a headache every time), it's enormous so there are no quick trips.  I feel totally beat after an hour in there, and it seems impossible to get out any faster.