Saturday, August 13, 2011

My $30 Challenge

With only me to grocery shop for, my grocery budget is pretty low every month. I try to aim for around $30 at the store every week. I recently discovered that one of the best places to get the most bang for your buck is Aldi.

If you've never heard of Aldi, it's a no-frills store straight out of Germany. Aldi is actually the parent company of Trader Joe's. These are some of the highlights of what sets Aldi apart from other stores:

  • To "rent" a shopping cart, you deposit a quarter, then retrieve your quarter when you've returned the cart to the cart corral. This cuts back on hiring employees to wrangle the shopping carts, thus saving YOU money.
  • Items are not stocked on shelves like in most grocery stores. They are placed in boxes in bulk in stacks on the floor. This cuts down on shelving units, saving YOU money.
  • Most items you see are Aldi brand, limiting the amount of product they place in their stores. This keeps the stores smaller, saving YOU money (are you seeing a trend here?). 
  • Aldi doesn't accept coupons or personal checks, nor do they provide you with plastic or paper bags (unless you'd like to pay a small price in case you forgot yours).
  • There are never any more than a handful of employees at any given time there, thus keeping operating costs low. 
I know you're probably thinking, if the prices are so low, the food can't be that great! Au contraire, blog readers! I would rank Aldi's produce miles ahead of most of the grocery stores I frequent. There is something about their bananas that make them supremely delicious, and somehow they take much longer to brown than those I get from anywhere else. 

Check out what I got for $33 today:
A bag of onions, a dozen eggs, 3 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato paste, cream of chicken soup, swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, crescent rolls, ground turkey, cubed ham, diced potatoes, and a bag of chicken breasts. 

Indeed, the lactose intolerant portion of me is cringing inside, but check out what I'm doing with all that food this week:

Supposing I don't set the kitchen on fire, these recipes could find their way back to my little corner of the internet later this week. Fingers crossed!


KJ said...

I looked into Aldi - I don't pay the grocery bill @ home, but I do the shopping.

The closest one to me is 30 min away...I don't think I would save that much if I had to

Emily said...

I may or may not drive super far away to get to Aldi, too! I don't go there every week because of that.

Reena the Diva said...

we don't have those, but wow.... i don't think i could shop somewhere that doesn't have shelves. to me that seems like a huge headache.

we have Food for Less which is less money because you bag your own groceries...and trader joes of course is always generally low...then there are mexican markets such as El Super or Superior which always has produce and meat for LOW prices, but the american groceries like coke or kellogs are really high. its certainly a game to save money!!

i like your blog Emily!

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