Aldi Haul + $400 Monthly Food Budget

>> Monday, July 24, 2017

I am in super productive mode now that we’re home from vacation. I have tons of freelance work this week. Our house needs a good tidying and deep cleaning. And -- honestly -- our budget needs an overhaul. Whenever we find ourselves needing a reset, I look to what we’ve been eating. So much money goes to food. We got especially lazy despite meal planning while on vacation and ended up spending mega-bucks keeping our tummies full.

I’ve started going through our pantry to take stock of what we have. You know what? We’re eating entirely too much packaged and convenience food. This habit started slowly when I had morning sickness and didn’t feel as much like cooking. Then with the newborn days and Ada’s first year of packed lunches, well, it increased and took a strong hold.


Budget


I’d like to keep our food budget to around $400 a month. Heck, one month I got away with only spending $291! (We have a CSA share that works out to a bit more than $20 a week. Unfortunately, our pickup person fell through while we were on vacation, so this week we didn’t get the share. I had to spend more than I wanted -- but am hoping to stick closer to $80 in the next weeks.)

Game plan:

  • Meal planning
  • Shopping at Aldi exclusively*
  • Making more from scratch
  • Kicking packaged foods to the curb

* We cannot get tofu or Earth Balance butter spread at Aldi, but those -- I think -- are the only exceptions.

I’ll be writing more soon, but I thought I’d just start with our $98 Aldi shopping haul.


The Haul


Here’s what we bought, in no particular order:


Toasted sesame oil
Pierogies
Toaster waffles
Dried mango
Baby food x 5 squeeze packs
Jarred jalapeño peppers
Whole grain bread x 4 loaves
Organic mac and cheese
Organic grape tomatoes
Bananas 
Raisins
Package of kale
4 avocados
Carrots
Baby carrots
Cucumber
Spring mix
24 ounces blueberries
Organic BBQ sauce
Organic peanut butter x 2 
Veggie refried beans x 2
Tomato paste
Sliced gouda cheese
String cheese
Chili lime cashews
Yogurt tubes
Ricotta cheese
Canned beets
Canned carrots
Canned veggie mix
Whole milk
Organic soy milk
Sparkling water case x 2
24 eggs
Medjool dates

You may notice randomly that I bought like four loaves of bread and lots of refried beans, etc. I picked up a few things in bulk that I knew we’d use over time, but not all in the next week. Also: packaged foods. I wanted to get away from buying chips, cookies, granola bars, juices, individual sized anything, and junk food. I did a pretty good job during this shop, but I could definitely improve.

For example:

  • I could just start giving the kids regular yogurt sweetened with honey or jam versus the yogurt tubes. I can make toaster waffles and freeze them in bulk.
  • We could buy a new CO2 canister for our Soda Stream and make sparkling water at home.
  • I could buy some reusable squeeze pouches for Eloise. She doesn’t do a lot of baby food, but it’s nice to have them on the go.
  • As an aside, my favorite reusable grocery bags are these ones that are mesh. They are so compact, yet they stretch to accommodate so much. I am always so pleased when I’m packing up at the store. And my market basket does some massively impressive heavy lifting.
  • I think I may write a post about the swaps I’m going to map for packaged foods. It’s actually something I want to research and write so I have the information to use myself!

There are times when I want to turn this blog into one entirely about shopping for groceries and saving. Tips and tricks on making food cheap. I don’t know. I feel very motivated, so I think I may just blog through my own thought process as it rolls.  A lot of my Aldi posts are from like 2014. I think I need to update them because as I look through the photos, it becomes clear to me just how much the store has changed (for the better!).

Related Posts


In the meantime, I have some good posts up from when I am doing things the optimal way, so if you’re looking for some ready tips -- check ‘em out.

18 Vegetarian Staples at Aldi
What’s Great + NOT About Aldi
What $77 Looks like at Aldi
Monthly Groceries for Less than $300 at Aldi
Grocery Budget -- Dollars and Cents

Monthly Shopping?


What about shopping for groceries monthly? I did it for four months in a row, and it was pretty awesome. It required some advanced planning, though. And the summer hasn’t been working well for that. That said, I may try to revisit this approach again when the school year starts. I found that shopping monthly did contribute to buying more packaged foods, though. Let’s explore this another day.

I’ll be back soon with our meal plan for the week and a recipe for some granola bars I’m making with Ada.

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