Author Topic: Uberfrugal Month  (Read 4036 times)

GermanStache

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Uberfrugal Month
« on: July 22, 2015, 02:25:05 AM »
Hi everyone!

Uberfrugal month - I think it was Mrs. Frugalwoods who used this phrase first and I hope I can borrow it. I will make August an uberfrugal month. I would love you to join me or at least follow me so I don´t feel too alone ;-). The main reason I want to to it is to save as much money as possible. One part of our income is from a retail business we own and it is rather slow at the moment. The other part of income is from my regular job which pays on time so the monthly bills are taken care of. The other reason is that I am really curious at how low I can take our grocery bill without sacrificing regarding taste and variation. Here are the bascis: It is me and my husband, both work fulltime and eat almost every meal homemade (we eat out maybe twice a month for dinner, that is a different budget). I cook from scratch and do not buy many convenience foods, just things like ice cream or sweets.

I want to try out shopping at a discounter type store only for a month. I will choose Aldi for this month and maybe try another one next month. Here in Germany Aldi is everywhere and there is one that I drive by daily on my commute to work.

I hope to achieve the following by only buying what I truly NEED:

•   Save time: One stop shopping whether it is for household products or grocery. Aldi has almost everything. The time saved I can invest in cooking even more from scratch and/or keep on going through our belongings to put the extra stuff up on ebay.
•   Save money: aldi is so cheap that I am really curious how much I will really spend in a month. The quality of the food is usually good, so I do not think that we will eat inferior.
•   Use up what I have: in the pantry (not much), in the freezer (some items need to be eaten) and especially use up the opened packages on my shelves. I mean the differnet kinds of flour, sauces, dried tomatoes and so on. I need to clear these drawers and shelves and really see what I have and what I can make out of it. This also applies to things like shower gel, cleaning supplies and so on.

I will keep on meal planning and writing a shopping list (I already do this but want to get more accurate with this). I also want to plan lunch and snacks more accurate. I will stay out of bakeries and make cookies and cakes myself.

For me there will be three excemptions from the “everything from aldi” motto:

1.   Berries – it is berry season and the grow right here usually. I do not want to miss out on them since the season is so short. I will reserve max. 10 EUR per week for them so I can enjoy them but do not buy in excess.
2.   Drinks – I do not buy Water in single use bottles. Period. In Germany we have a pretty good deposit scheme where the bottles are refilled over 50x before they get tossed. You can get drink in plastic or glass bottles that will be not recycled but refilled. But they do not sell them at aldi so I have to get them at the beverage store. For the occasional juice or soda I do not mind the single use bottle.
3.   Ground Meat - while I do not mind buying meat or cold cuts at aldiI cannot stand packaged ground meat so I will buy it at the grocery store fresh if I want to make a meal that contains it.

All this will be a big thing for me because I usually buy organic and tend to overthink each item I buy. I feel so overwhelmed by the food choices that I noticed that I pay way to much in total. So I feel that a total “set to zero” approach is the best for us. From there I would like to conside more green choices but with careful consideration of the additional costs.

I hope my thoughts make any sense... I will keep you and myself updated how I am doing!

pbkmaine

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2015, 03:04:44 AM »
What an interesting experiment! I have an Aldi about 4 miles from me, so I will watch this thread closely.

swick

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 07:36:25 AM »
Great goals!

There are a couple of threads you should check out for inspiration/community!

This is the mast list of food threads:http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/

This is our "Eat all the food in your house" thread:http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/eat-all-the-food-in-your-house-take-2/

This is our "Skip this week's grocery shop" thread:http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/fire-drill!-skip-this-week%27s-grocery-shop/

Good luck!

cdttmm

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 08:54:18 AM »
I love the idea of an uberfrugal month. I'll follow along at a minimum and perhaps even join you. Thanks for the inspiration!

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2015, 09:29:32 AM »
I have had 3 Uberfrugal months this year.

Feb - $1244
Mar- $1240
May - $1163

This accounted for every penny spent those months.

July is going to be another uber frugal month @ ~$1200 in spending.

Rosy

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2015, 09:41:31 AM »
Love Aldi - unfortunately they do not carry the German cold cuts here in the US, but they do have killer deals on organic food, including fresh berries for 99 cents and sometimes they even have different Bratwurst selections during German week. Their cheese selection has dramatically improved since they first opened here and I always keep an eye out for their weekly specials - well worth it!
Just wish they would start carrying good quality coffee beans.

My tip to all would be Aldi shoppers:
1. Fresh meat deals on Wednesdays
2. Fresh bread - found a huge loaf of Italian bread that is super tasty and can be frozen by the (huge) slice.
2. Always check what they reduced from past promotions - big glass jars of red cabbage for 62 cents. Pesto and marinated peppers deli style - reduced to half off from their "special of the week price"... or the best yet a $200 heater for $99.

Beats Walmart all to hell and they pay their people decent wages. Their store is much easier to shop in - no exhausting cavernous super store.

Good luck with the challenge, I bet you'll save a ton!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2015, 10:12:41 AM »
Quote
3.   Ground Meat - while I do not mind buying meat or cold cuts at aldiI cannot stand packaged ground meat so I will buy it at the grocery store fresh if I want to make a meal that contains it.
We've found we get higher quality meat and cheaper by buying normal cuts of meat on sale and grinding it ourselves.

If you have something that can grind (we have a kitchen aid with attachment; it has more than paid for itself over time)- you might consider that buying meat at Aldi is cheaper than ground beef at the grocery store.

OOBER

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2015, 11:13:30 PM »
Good goals GermanStache.

Aldi's does have almost everything but there are always those little things that they don't have like our dog's food (don't like to switch if we don't have to) and occasionally they won't have one or two ingredients needed for a recipe. We have gotten a lot better at substituting lately though.


Beats Walmart all to hell and they pay their people decent wages. Their store is much easier to shop in - no exhausting cavernous super store.


Ever since the Wife and I have been consistently shopping at Aldi, I have noticed that we get very easily frustrated in the normal grocery store. As I walk the aisles I always seem to be thinking, "I don't need 50 different kinds of mustard, there are 3 basic types Yellow, Dijon, and the grainy/fancy in a jar kind. All of these other brands/flavors are uneccesary".

GermanStache

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2015, 01:50:01 PM »
@Swick - wow, thank you for the list. I have read through some of the threads and they are an amazing inspiration!
@Oober - yes, Aldi does lack some items. I know that I cannot not forever shop exclusively there but I think of it as an experiment to get me all the way back to the basic necessities. What they do not have I will have to make do without for one month. I am curious how I feel about that once it starts...
@iowajes - thanks for mentioning that. I have a KitchenAid as well and always wanted the meat grinder attachment. However I am not sure if it is really necessary... we buy about 400g of ground meat once in a while. I will think about it.
@Rosy - funny to hear that Aldi US carries german items sometimes! Here in Germany they do have some organic items. I usually buy organic but for the month of August I will buy the cheaper version of everything and build up from there.
@2birds1stone - very well done!


I'm a red panda

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2015, 04:37:39 PM »
Quote
However I am not sure if it is really necessary... we buy about 400g of ground meat once in a while. I will think about it.
Good call. Don't spend money on something you don't need.

We love hamburgers, meatballs, lasagna, etc.  We grind a lot of meat (not just beef.)

GermanStache

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Re: Uberfrugal Month
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2015, 12:04:53 AM »
Hi!
I just wanted to let you know that my uberfrugal month works well. I have spent 188 EUR so far and there is only one week left in the month. I found out that I do not like most of the cold cuts I buy at Aldi and that I miss the ones from the butchter. But the dairy section is good although I produce way more trash since everything is packed in plastic. But my Experiment served its purpose and I saved a bunch of Money. I will continue for the last week of the month and then I am looking Forward to a different shop for a Change ;-)