Disclosure: I am participating in a sponsored brand ambassadorship with ALDI I’m a regular & satisfied customer, all opinions stated are 100% my own.
When fiancé and I started planning our life together, he was still learning my frugal ways (some of which like using libraries and thrift stores) he hadn’t really explored. One great frugal place that he introduced me to was ALDI. For the first few shopping trips, he’d go shopping solo and come back with a big grin on his face- he got some good deals and some splurges too and couldn’t wait to share them with me. Eventually, I wanted to see what he meant that he “always got a good deal at ALDI” and had to tag along for his ALDI trips- needless to say, it didn’t take long to get it.
Most of you, my awesome readers, have told me time and time again that you want to learn to save money on food but the idea of extreme couponing doesn’t appeal to you- in fact, coupons at all (beyond quick ones you can find for a one-time purchase on a phone app or on a deal site) just doesn’t appeal to you.
I totally feel you, coupons frustrate me, especially because the discounted items aren’t items I would buy without a coupon (such as high-fragrance cleaners,processed foods and snacks that I probably don’t need!) I skip the coupons to buy groceries most of the time and opt instead for discount grocers like ALDI.
I’m not the only one who loves to shop ALDI for discounts- one of my fave bloggers, Andrea from SavingsLifestyle vlogged about it too!
We got a decent size of fresh parmesan cheese (I hate the fake kind..blech) for $1.99, A giant bag of kale for our juicer or stir fry and one of my faves- avocados for 69 cents a piece.
Here’s the thing- I love avocados, but getting ahold of good ones is problematic for me. I grew up in California where you could get a giant bag for $5 off the side of the road, or heck, we had a tree out back that would produce sporadically. When I moved to the midwest, seeing avocados for $1 or more per avocado, well, I cried inside. Years of being spoiled with plentiful homegrown produce were gone.
This though, is why I love ALDI- I can splurge on things like avocados, canned soup and fresh ingredients for less than traditional grocers. I get my staples at a competitive price, and then I can supplement with some goodies that I LOVE, like a variety of cheeses, avocados, berries and fiancés fave- bacon wrapped filets.
There is one thing I will say about ALDI- it’s not “glam.” Many of the brands are ALDI store brands, and the display cases are bare bones, with a limited variety of processed products. They have a growing number of natural and organic brands to choose from- still with competitive prices.
While most of us know that when it comes to fashion and beauty, if you skip the name brand or fancy packaging, you can get a better deal, but I would argue that the same applies to food. Many typical grocers play up the “experience” of shopping so you’ll stick around and overspend, additionally, the more expensive products are usually the ones with the nicest packaging, not necessarily the best food. I can still find the variety of produce and supplementals I need, (they had like five kinds of lettuce and even more salad mixes) but with prices that make you realize you’re not simply paying for the brand name.
For us, that’s over 2 weeks of groceries- breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We eat lots of salads, fresh juice, roast chicken with rice and beans and make soups that really stretch the dollar…and if all else fails, grilled cheesies or a quick pasta dish with a side of frozen veggies is a quick and frugal meal. We are on a tight budget to save for our wedding and food was one of our biggest spending categories previously. Now when I leave the grocer, I smile knowing that even with a few extras (ice cream and caramel rice cakes…and olives…don’t ask me why those three things are my faves) I’m not going to weep at the register!
While I was in graduate school, I struggled to find a way to afford fresh produce and thought that the only places were my local bodega and Target. I wish I had tried ALDI sooner- it’s a good supplement for staples you don’t really care about the brand label but still want to have on hand. I’ve found for things like rice, beans, sugar, flour, crackers, cereal and condiments you can find some competitive pricing.
If you have picky eaters in the house (like kiddos who insist that they have name brand Fruity Pebbles), moving the “bargain brand” to a pretty resealable container means nobody’s the wiser and you’ll still save money. I store all of my baking supplies in pretty gasket containers to show them off- it’s a win-win!