Grocery Budget: $60 Average Continues

>> Tuesday, March 11, 2014

As I wrote in my last grocery budget post, we've started shopping at Aldi to save some major money on our grocery bill each week. By now, we've decided this isn't some short-term experiment or novelty that we'll grow out of when the next fad hits. We're pretty much sure we're switching stores for good.

Here's our latest receipt.

If you look closely, you'll notice that we have DOUBLE a lot of items. That's because this $70 total is a good portion of groceries for two, yes, TWO weeks combined with what we still have left at home. We'll have to go back to get some items like bananas, fresh fruits + veggies, and bread next week, but I don't see that being over $25-$30.

You'll also notice we have a bag charge. I have no idea how we forgot to bring our bags. Live and learn, I guess. Also, you guys have helped me settle on the classic canvas bags versus the mesh totes. You're right that the durability and washability trump pretty colors!


Basically, we've been averaging out around $60 a week if you count the added canned goods + few items (tofu, Earth Balance, whole wheat flour) we use otherwise. This is at least $30 less than we had been averaging per week when we were shopping at Wegmans. And if I'm being totally honest, we were seeing $100-$110/week for a while.

. . . so, for us, we're talking a monthly savings of up to $200!

I owe our saving $$$ to:
  • Less selection, but all the necessities are covered.
  • Lower cost in general of all the foods b/c they are store brand.
  • Less temptation, so I can stay on task.
  • Fewer aisles, so shopping is fast and efficient.
  • Less expensive toddler convenience foods -- big help in our house.
  • Motivation from seeing a lower price tag = invaluable.
  • Fewer ingredients mean simpler meal planning (see meals below).
  • Continuing to make most meals at home, from scratch.
I guess I've been most surprised and impressed by the quality of the food. Traditionally, I thought of Aldi as a store with expired foods or ones that were discarded. I think there's some perception that discount equals this sort of thing, but all our food from Aldi has been fresh, tasty, and all well within date limits.

This past week, we had to stock up on quite a few items. Our cart was so full, I was absolutely convinced our total was going to be outrageous. We had even snuck into the cart some "extras," like steel-cut oats, a frozen stir-fry mix, and several 85% dark chocolate bars.

As always, I feel it's important to mention a.) That this post isn't sponsored in any way -- I have no affiliation with Aldi, b.) Our toiletries and house items go in a different "household" budget and c.) Our weekend fund is around $50, which we mostly use to go to a movie ($20) and then out to eat or buy special foods to make some weekend meals.


Another concern of mine was that we'd be eating boring, bland dinners. That just hasn't been the case. My produce selection, yes, is a bit leaner than I'm used to, but we just sent in our paperwork for our CSA share (which is around $24/week, if I remember correctly). So, that should soon be covered, though with some local offerings popping up in our store -- I wonder how produce selection changes seasonally at Aldi.

Otherwise, I'm finding some great staples to cook with and learning to love others. Combined with a solid spice collection (which, I have discovered I'll be able to stock up again on a lot of them at Aldi), we've made anything from basic pizzas to more complicated Indian dishes.

Cheese + Bean Quesadillas

Tortilla Shells, Shredded Cheese, Canned Black Beans, Organic Salsa, Greek Yogurt, Avocado

Slow Cooker Soup -- following these handy tips!

Vegetable Broth, Zucchini, Onion, Canned Tomatoes, Canned Beans

Veggie Pizza

Tomato Sauce, Shredded Cheese, Roasted Onion, Green Pepper + Mushrooms, Homemade Crust

Spinach, Garlic, Parmesan, Avocado, Pasta Shells (from this post) -- Salsa and Egg, too.

Chana Masala w/ Roasted Cauliflower

We had spices, but Cauliflower, Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, Bell Pepper

Basic Veggie Burgers

Whatever veggies are on hand, Beans, Oats, Seasonings, Toast


Shopping at Aldi: Our New Secret Weapon
Shop For TWO Weeks, Save Money
Ongoing Grocery Saga + YOUR Tips
10 Favorite (Cheap!) Grocery Staples
How Low can we Go?
$60 Sweet Spot
Eating Well Need Not Cost a Fortune
Grocery Bills: Progress
Grocery Bills: Even More Progress
Grocery Bills: What's Up Now?
Slashing Grocery Bills: We're Going Strong
Grocery Bills: Major Fail!
How to Store Bulk Foods
Cooking and Baking on a Budget: How To
How to Bake It Vegan: Common Substitutions


Some of you said you'd been meaning to try Aldi.

Did you check it out this weekend? I'd love to hear your experiences!

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