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In the Land of No Double Coupons: Skip Junk Food & Shop at ALDI (Part 2)

Guest post by Clair Boone

This is part 2 of Clair’s series, In the Land of No Double Coupons. You can find Part 1 here.

2. Skip Junk Food

Research has proven that impulse buying increases your spending by about 20%. For me, that’s $40 per month of waste that could go towards bills or put into the savings account.

A major area where impulse buying occurs is junk food. Run into the grocery store hungry and you’re bound to grab a bag of chips to munch on in the car. While standing in line with fussy kids you cave into the pleas for candy and buy suckers.

Those items are only $1 each but if you impulsively put 10 such items in your cart, your bill just jumped $10.

One thing that’s helped us is to simply avoid junk food. Rarely do we have soda pop in the house and although we always have some snacks on hand, most of them are from ALDI where they’re very cheap.

As a mum, I’d rather give my child water or milk over soda pop any day of the week. Why wouldn’t I treat my body in the same way? Unless it’s a real treat (i.e. Dr. Pepper from a drive thru!) then I skip soda pop altogether.

3. Shop At ALDI

Once an unclean, unkempt place with more MSG and high fructose corn syrup than is healthy for any normal person, ALDI has come a long way! If you haven’t stepped into an ALDI recently, you need to.

  • Planning a diet or just love eating healthy? ALDI has an inexpensive diet range named Fit n Active. With salad dressings galore, rice cakes, and great brown rice, there’s no need to spend more money on good food.
  • I’ve tried ALDI diapers and they work! At only $5.99 a pack, it’s worth experimenting on them.
  • You can’t find cheaper pie crusts, sugar or most other baking products anywhere else.
  • At around $1 for a giant bag of chips or tortilla chips, there’s no need to pay more for snacks.
  • ALDI has roses for $3.99 for six and bunches of flowers for about $2.99. If you’re rolling your eyes and thinking the quality lacks, then you’re just like me…until someone bought me some from a florist and at the same time Hubs came home with some from ALDI. No word of a lie the ALDI flowers outlasted the florist’s by a whole week!

Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow…

She bought diapers for 20 cents a pack prompting her friends to ask her to start www.mummydeals.org to teach others how to save money. She loves to use her couponing powers to buy things and donate them. Originally from England, Clair Boone is wife to an amazing man, Mum to a toddler and lives near Chicago.

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60 Comments

  • Amy says:

    But what if we don’t have stores that double AND don’t have an Aldi’s? LOL We miss out on so much out west.

    • Heather says:

      @Amy,
      Are you where Grocery Outlet is? Do you have access to the Azure Standard bulk co-op? ( http://www.azurestandard.com ) And, of course, there is Trader Joe’s! Lots of savings opportunities are available out west, too!

    • Lisa says:

      Yes we do!

    • Maria says:

      @Amy,

      From what I hear, “The Marketplace” has really cheap prices, if you have one. (But I also hear they’re high crime area’s, and purpose not to shop at mine, since they’ve displayed anti-cop posters.)

    • @Amy, For us, it means we buy in bulk: Sam’s Club, Costco, or Smart n Final.

      Though I have to disagree with Heather’s comment below about Trader Joe’s for low prices; Trader Joe’s prices are way too high for my budget.

      Our snacks are homemade, so I would agree about not buying snacks. When we got married, I pointed out to my husband that there was no room in our budget for chips and soda, and he showed me that there was no room for juice, either. My mom came to visit and remarked that there was nothing that she could “just eat.’ I told her there were apples, but she didn’t like that idea! However, fresh fruit bought on sale in season is a great snack!

      • Anne says:

        @The Prudent Homemaker, Trader Joe’s actually has really good prices for quality food. For example, real OJ is typically $3 on sale at any given grocery store in my area, but it’s always $2 at TJ’s. I could say the same thing for upwards of 15-20 other regular grocery staples I buy (I did a post on my blog recently about my top ten things I almost always buy there. As I was doing that, I realized that there were probably more like 20 things I almost always buy there.). And I have a really tight budget: $200/month. I would say TJ’s is a great option for someone who doesn’t have access to doubled coupons or other grocery deals.

        • Crystal says:

          I visited a TJ’s in Cali and LOVED it! Wish they would bring them midwest!

        • @Anne, Did I read correctly that you are a family of 3? I think I could buy those things, too, if I had a $200 budget and a family of 3 as well. I have a family of 8. Juice is not normally in the budget, and I don’t have anywhere near $200 a month to spend; sometimes I have nothing for the month. You’re averaging $66 per person for the month; that would be $533 a month for my family. The most I have had any month this year is $125 (our income varies, so some months I have $0).

          I looked at your Trader Joe’s list; it’s interesting; I think you can do it for less, though:

          Whole wheat flour at $2.99. You didn’t saw how much this is. I buy wheat in bulk and grind my own for about .50 a pound. If you don’t want hard wheat, you can buy soft wheat to grind. If you want organic wheat, check out Azure Standard. They have lots of other grains in bulk as well as organic produce. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their prices.
          Organic carrots: .89/lb is not bad; we grow our own. A packet of carrot seeds will go a long way.
          I can get raisins, dried cranberries, and semi-sweet chocolate chips for less by buying them in bulk at Sam’s Club. In the fall and winter months, Sams’ Club and Costco carry bittersweet Ghiradelli chips as well. They are $8.99 for a 5lb bag, which is $1.79 a pound (you’re paying $2.65 a pound, since you’re getting the 12 oz.bag for $1.99).

          I also buy raw honey in bulk. You said you paid $5.99/lb. Right now I have been looking at getting it in a gallon bucket, which is around 12 pounds, for $25 (that is $2.08/lb). I only use raw honey.

          Because you are a family of 3, you may not want to buy in bulk, but if you stock your pantry this way, you could do it for even less, and even have money leftover to buy some orchids from Trader Joe’s (which ARE a GREAT deal!)

          • Crystal says:

            You ladies are both doing great. There’s no need to compare. Each family should do what works best for them. For some that’s eating out of the garden and buying bulk. For others, that’s buying from Trader Joe’s. For others, it’s a totally different thing or a mix of a bunch of things!

            Some people have more money than time, others have more time than money. Do what works for you and don’t feel guilty or inadequate if you have a different grocery budget or priorities than others.

            Let’s encourage and build up one another, okay? 🙂

        • @Anne and Crystal,

          I’m sorry if my comments seemed rude. I just wanted to show Anne that she might be able to lower her prices more if she wanted to look elsewhere. It was meant to be helpful, which is why I gave $ amounts. Trader Joe’s is above my price range, though that may work well for others.

      • Anne says:

        @The Prudent Homemaker, Thanks for your tips! Right now, space is my biggest issue: living in an apartment I don’t have room to stock up or buy in bulk except for a few choice items. And I only have a balcony, so no garden unfortunately. Also, since we live in suburbia, buying from farms ends up being much more expensive than buying from grocery stores and places like TJ’s. One day hopefully all that will change, and I will have a grocery budget more like yours:) You do a fabulous job feeding your family healthy food on a minimal budget!

    • Emily says:

      @Amy, I agree. No double coupons, no Aldi. Boo!

    • shelly says:

      @Amy, Right there with ya in the south!

  • Kristy says:

    Amy – I was just going to ask that question!

    No doubling, no true discount grocer in sight!

  • Sylvia says:

    I’m in the same boat. No doubles. No Aldi.

  • Sarah says:

    Me too. No doubling and no Aldi 🙁

    • Julie says:

      @Sarah,

      Me either. I have a Hannaford (used to be Shop n Save) and Wal-Mart readily available. No doubling here. And a Shaw’s about 45 minutes away that does double but I don’t drive that way often.

  • Charity says:

    I have double couponing stores but I have always heard so many people raving about Aldi that now I’m jealous that we don’t have one! 😉

  • Jan says:

    I want to like Aldi’s but I can’t find anything in there that resembles whole food. No organics. The produce at my store is often moldy. The milk and meat are questionable (hormones, cow diet, antibiotics?) The only I will buy there are nuts- almonds are cheap there.

    • Crystal says:

      The milk at our Aldi is hormone-free and there are quite a few non-processed whole foods. Not a lot of organic stuff, but still some basic whole foods. It depends upon how particular you are and how squeezed your budget is, but when we were barely scrimping by, we were so grateful for Aldi and their inexpensive prices!

  • nanasewn says:

    I have asked this before but no one responded so will ask if anyone knows whether Aldis produce is genetically engineered in any way? With such reasonable prices, I wonder what the difference is.

    • Beth says:

      @nanasewn, Many times, the brand is the same that I can buy from kroger. For instance, today I bought Chiquita bananas, naturipe farms blueberries, the grape guys red and green grapes, del Monte cherry tomatoes, and driscolls strawberries. However, its true that some of their produce needs to be used within a couple days of purchasing, but that is certainly not the case with all of it. Even though we have groceries that double their coupons, aldi almost always has them beat!

  • Sarah says:

    For those who don’t have Aldi…Trader Joe’s! I LOVE this place. Almost all their products are all natural, and many are organic. You CAN use coupons there (although much of their stuff isn’t brand name, but I’ve used Morningstar Farms coupons there in the past), and you can find some great deals. I highly recommend their prepopped bag of Kettle Corn as a snack (it’s Gluten Free too!). I spend $25 a week there and get 2 big bags of groceries.

    • Jan says:

      Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s have the same parent company in Germany (Aldi). But the quality of Aldi’s is not good where I live (Ohio). The produce is really bad. The store here has a bad smell as soon as you walk in. Trader Joe’s is about an hour away but it’s good to go and stock up. The “Trader Joe’s” brand products are made by name brand manufacturers (like Lays, Pepsi, etc.)

    • shelly says:

      @Sarah, No Aldi or Trader Joes down here in the south 🙁 And no store that double coupons either…. boo!

  • Kris says:

    Great post, but I wonder what we can do here in Cananda?? I have tried to do a lot of shopping for what I can at Walmart, but not always the best…

  • We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have no double couponing or Aldi’s, but I’ve found that you can still do a lot with your budget by shopping loss leaders, finding your local stores that have lower priced produce, etc. and making things from scratch when possible. One good thing about California is that produce tends to be much more affordable and local, so at least I’m thankful that we have that :).

  • Tasha says:

    Our Aldi is pretty new here and is very clean. I do make special stops there for low priced snacks……animal crackers…99 cents(which my boys LOVE)and blue corn chips. I have yet to buy produce.
    Where I have recently found I am saving $40-50 dollars is NOT buying lots of boxed/packaged snack/junk food. Sure it is more work on me because I am now making most things homemade, but it is worth it.

  • Erika says:

    I was skeptical about Aldi diapers at first, but they have been great (though still not as nice or absorbant as Huggies or Pampers Swaddlers/Sensitive). They are very similar to Kroger’s Comforts brand–used to even be the same design!! Unfortunately, our Aldi carries only size 3 and up–so not good until about 16 lbs. But that’s still a lot of diaper savings! Especially when the diaper deals are slim!!

  • Bethany says:

    I just recently moved to WA the state of no doubles. Here there’s no Aldi, but there is a great store called WinCo. They have a great bulk section you can get all your spices for a tiny fraction of the shelf price also you can get your beans, rice, cereals, grains, baking items, even bagels in the bulk.

  • JuliB says:

    I don’t care for the Aldi’s by me – I thought the selection of food was poor and what fresh fruit I did buy went bad very quickly. We have a lot of competition in the area, though.

  • Heather says:

    I second the idea of saving money by not buying junk! Saves you money and saves your health! It makes me sad to go to our local non-coupon-accepting discount store, Sharp Shopper, and see people in obvious poor physical and economic health filling their carts full of the worst junk ever – soda, cheese puffs, TV dinners, snack cakes, etc. Yet this same store has great deals on 100% juice, plain meat, produce, cheese, and even organics sometimes.

    And I’m not really hard-core into getting organic food or anything – I just have found that cutting out (most!) junk food saves a lot of money. I used to not buy certain fresh fruit, having this mentality that it was too pricey. But then I started thinking how it didn’t make sense that I was willing to buy a package of Oreos, but not spend the same money on a pineapple. It’s helped me make better food choices.

  • I have no ALDI either, and glad our Publix is doubling coupons up tp 50 cents. That’s why I like $0.50/1 coupons over $1/2 ones : )

  • meggan says:

    Alaska-the land of no double coupons, no Aldi, no Trader Joes etc…
    But we do have excellent salmon 🙂
    The no junk, and I would go as far as to say no processed foods to the extent you are able, are excellent reminders.

    • Jenny says:

      I hear you, Meggan. Another Alaskan here. And only one major grocer in my town (Safeway) so not even any competition to lower prices.

  • I am a HUGE Aldi fan! If you look at all my recipes I posted on Women Living Well – you would see the ingredient pictures show at least 75% Aldi stuff! I love it and rarely do we taste the difference but for SURE we see a huge difference in price!!! Go Aldi – I could so make a commercial for them and be sincere lol!!!
    Courtney
    http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/search/label/Tasty%20Tuesdays

  • Amanda says:

    Oh! how i wish I had and aldi’s or a trader joe’s. Nothing like that in my neighborhood. I’m limited to walmart, food city, ingles, kroger and savealot and they are all 45 minutes to an hour away!

  • Carrie p says:

    We have no such thing as Trader Joe’s, Wjole Foods, Aldi-none of the stores ever mentioned except Meijer and of course WalMart. Our local stores are very micro-reginal: Tom’s, Glen’s, Oleson’s and IGA’s. We have a wonderful local Natural food co-op grocery store, though-so thankful for them and it is pretty huge. No such thing as doubling here, either. I just only print coupons that are not junk-which is not so many, but they help! What we are very thankful to have is LOTS of local farms and produce; namely cherries…and apples and so much more. We buy a lot from these places, including free range poultry and organic berries. It it pricey at times, but this is what we got so we work with it! I just think it is a blessig in diguise…how tempting would nearly free junkfood be for me?!…very!!!! I can only imagine! ;o) Gotta look at the silver lining!

  • Joy says:

    I agree Aldi’s has come along way. I hardly shop there. But today I bought a bunch of Dole bananas for $.89 for 2 lbs. – less than grocery store and they were fresh (partly green). Grapes were cheaper too (and from USA) at $.99 a pound. Plus, my boys tried the animal safari chicken nuggets and loved them! Also, the apples they sell are local (NY state) and just as fresh and cheaper than grocery store. And I bought bag of frozen broccoli florets for $.95.

    I also discovered last week that they have a generic veggie potato chips exactly like the Snyder Eat Smart ones for $1.69!

    Usually they don’t have much brand name stuff, but some of their stuff is actually pretty good.

  • Holly Allen says:

    Great post! I agree I love Aldi too.

  • Joy says:

    One other tip about Aldi’s. You have to go early in day to get the freshest produce. When they first put it out.

  • Alleybkc says:

    Aldi’s is the best for saving on things like… flour, sugar, milk, freezer bags, cereal, butter, cheese- I found its much better than Angel food, so we buy our basics at Aldi, and coupon at Dillons for the rest.
    If you want to go beyond basic food, – google aldi food reviews before you buy… or try this site http://aldireview.niesens.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=05e06ba7fa38771b6d90b8901a209a4a

    This is a good site to check – I must say, some of the things they have are very good, esp German food. Mexican food has also been good. LOVE the frozen cream fruit bars- they also have tiny ones that are great for diets/toddlers!
    Some things are terrible.. (mayo for me.. yuck) produce is cheap but quality is ehhh… it all depends on when you get there.

  • Johanna says:

    Great article! It seems like the link to part 1 is broken, though. Would love to read that, too. 🙂

  • dana says:

    I am loving this post! We live in MT – no doubles, no Aldi.
    But, our fam of 13 full-time RVs and gets to travel all winter – one of my favorite part of traveling is to try out all the different grocery stores! (though I haven’t tried Aldi yet) Makes me spoiled though – I always miss the doubles when we come back home for the summer! 🙂

  • kristi says:

    I love shopping at Aldi! They have such great low prices so I use them as a price guide line. If I can’t beat Aldi’s price with a sale with coupons then I don’t bother and just stick to Aldi. This week I was able to get some gread deals at Meijer using sales and coupons for chocolate chips which came out to be $1.12 a bag where as Aldi’s chocolate chips are $1.69 a bag. Also Meijer had Old Orchard juice on sale for $.99 each so I used a coupons for $1 off 4 and was able to get them for $.74 each while Aldi has them for $1.19 (orange juice) and $.92 for flavored juices.

  • Sue says:

    Yes and no.. you have to be careful and watch your prices at any store.. We shop at ALDI.. alot.. but I have noticed their prices have creeped up a bit in the last year.. I am not a big fan of their snacks.. too greasy.. but I do well enough when snacks are on sale at the regular store.. A BIG one that has creeped up is block cheese.. It used to be about 1.25 a 16oz block.. it is now 1.79!
    I love their bread and baking goods.. and cold cereal is a really good price !
    Sue in NJ

  • Cathy says:

    No Aldi, double coupons, Trader Joe’s or any of that here. And none of the major grocery chains (we have a regional chain called Country Mart but they don’t seem to have good deals at all)…we do have access to an Azure pickup about 110 miles from here, so with that we have to weigh the cost of gas, tolls and our time. We do occasionally order, though, a time or two per year.

  • Ashley P says:

    If we want to go to Aldi, we have to drive for 4 hours. So needless to say, I’ve never heard of them before now.

    Florida doesn’t do double coupons.

    They’ve closed every Albertson’s in the county (which is a real shame because their lunchmeat was cheap and lasted FOREVER!)

    And they’ve closed down most of the Winn-Dixies down here.

    So my only 2 options are Publix or Walmart. All I can say is thank God for Sam’s Club because if it weren’t for them, we’d starve. Publix food is frakin’ expensive and we don’t have a Super Wal-mart (within reasonable driving distance anyway) and regular Wal-mart doesn’t carry produce (either fresh or frozen) so we get fresh produce at Sam’s and frozen at Publix when it’s BOGO.

    Although, word on the street is, there’s a new farmer’s market in town. But they’re only open on Saturdays from 8-12, which is usually when we do outdoor things before it gets too hot (laundry, was car, etc.). Guess I’ll have to get creative.

    • Erin says:

      @Ashley P, I am in Florida too and the Target stores have started adding food sections, including fresh fruits and veggies. Watch your mailbox, they have been sending coupons in my area (Orlando). Publix does dominate but Aldi is here and Costco has great deals too.

  • Brook says:

    Around here it would be Grocery Outlet or Food4Less judging by what I’m reading about Aldi’s on here.
    In the last couple yrs. we gotten a store or two worth going to on our side of Oregon. Trader Joe’s is one of those. Still a drive (about an hour), but I certainly stop in to some of them when I go over to Costco or Walmart. During the school year I’m over there 4 days a week for classes, so if I have time (or energy) I try to do my shopping while I’m there.

  • shelly says:

    Wow, we’re just losing here in the south 🙁 No Aldis and no double coupons!

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