Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cutting the grocery bill

I have been inspired by a couple of my friends who are on a mission to cut their grocery bills in half (and NOT by shipping their kids off to boarding school). I am not a coupon clipper so I always just admired people who were able to cut their grocery bill but decided it was too much of a hassle for my taste... But, when Cori said she saved $300 in two weeks just by shopping smarter (and not even using coupons), I decided it was worth a shot. Cori's method has been to change where she shops, what brands she buys, and sticking to her pre-planned menu. She starts at this Wonder Bread Outlet (where nothing is old or expired!), then goes over to Aldi and finishes at WalMart. To avoid being overly ambitious, I decided to try just one of Cori's new finds - Aldi.

I went there yesterday without the kids and took my time. Since I had a few more errands to run after, I browsed through the refrigerator and freezer sections, but only bought things that could stand sitting in the car for a few hours. It looks like most of the products Aldi carries are their brand and that the few name brand things are basically overstocks that they were able to get for a steal and pass the savings on to their customers. So, a regular Aldi shopper has to be willing to go for their store brand (and since we've tried Target, Price Chopper, and Dillons brands - why not try Aldi's?). Here are some of the prices on the Aldi brand products I bought...

Honeycomb - $1.89
Crispix - $2.19
Wheat thins & club crackers - $1.39/each
Taco seasoning - $.33
5.5 oz containers of parsley, paprika and garlic powder - $1.09/each
4 pk fruit cups - $1.59
Jar of applesauce - $.95
Can of diced tomatoes - $.49
Jar of spaghetti sauce $.99
Cans of green beans, corn and new potatoes - $.49/each
Cream of chicken soup and tomato soup - $.49/each
Oat bran bread (comparable to Sara Lee) - $1.19
BBQ chips - $1.29

So far everything has tasted very good. The store by me is very clean and has a little bit of everything. If you are not satisfied with your Aldi brand product, they offer a double guarantee. They will refund your money and replace the product! There's really no risk. I had expected to find a lot of boxed and canned goods, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have dairy, eggs, lunchmeats, cheese, produce, breads and buns, and even some meat and seafood! I would say that Aldi is sort of like a small town grocery store.

Expert Tip: Cash or Debit Cards with a PIN only. Bring your own sacks, and you are the sacker. Also, you need a quarter for the cart, but you get it back when you return it.

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