Is it cheaper to shop at Aldi or Kroger? If you’ve ever wondered, read this post for the full scoop on which store is actually cheaper.
Guest post from Heather of The Debt-Free Mama
I grew up with a mama who LOVED our local Aldi store — it’s how she stretched those dollars to feed our family of eight kids.
When my husband and I started our marriage in 2009 with $75,000 of student loans, payday loans, AND credit card debt, we were determined to pay it all off as fast as possible.
With an Aldi store right down the road from our home, it became my go-to grocery stop over the years. My husband tried to convince me to use coupons for other stores but I refused to try anything different.
Trying Out Kroger for One Month
We started 2019 with a renewed energy and focus to pay off our mortgage of $99,000 over the next five years.
However, by early February I realized I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching — I wasn’t trying new strategies to save money.
Thanks to MoneySavingMom.com’s Instagram account, I had been watching her savings at Kroger for months. So I gave in and decided to try an experiment. I told my family and friends, “Okay, I’m going shop at Kroger for one month and see if I can save money.”
The day came. I had saved digital coupons and knew I should scan the perimeter of the store for the markdowns. But I had no menu list, no shopping list. What I DID have were sweaty pits and cold hands just thinking about something different — something completely outside of my shopping comfort zone!
I Felt So Awkward!
I took a deep breath, walked into Kroger, and shopped through my Kroger coupon app.
You guys, I felt so awkward. Not to mention, it took me over an hour to shop. Plus I still spent more than I expected I would!
I went home, looked at my purchases and then scanned my pantry and freezer to see what meals I could put together for a few dinners.
I continued visiting a couple local Kroger stores 3-4 times a week for about a month. I got faster each time and more creative with our dinners.
My Best Finds at Kroger:
- $0.29 per packet of Simple Truth organic baby food (normally $1.25)
- $0.19 half gallon of milk (normally $1.79)
- $0.25 pint of cottage cheese (normally $1.25)
- $8.47 for 3.15lbs of pork chops (normally $17.29)
- $9.34 for 2.84 lbs of beef stew (normally $17.01)
- $.79 for a package of smoked polish sausage (normally $1.99)
- $0.99 for dozen Simple Truth organic eggs (normally $2.79)
In my normal Aldi routine of picking meals for the week, making the list, and then buying what I needed, I kept myself to $100-$120 weekly. However I often spent extra fun money by stopping in at the Walmart next door. Browsing equaled spending more than I needed to and buying things that weren’t essential for our home.
Because I was now ONLY shopping with coupons at Kroger, I saved on our grocery budget, AND in the fun money category.
I saved $46.66 just using the digital coupons. This DOES NOT include all of the money I saved buying clearance items. We also saved in our gas category by using our Kroger points at their gas station.
I saved a total of $100 in February by trying this new technique.
I know I could save even more over time because I’d get smarter and learn how to layer coupon deals.
What I Enjoyed About This Method:
- Finding killer deals on dairy and meat.
- Getting creative with our meals.
- Dinner seemed quicker to prepare because they weren’t complex recipes.
- We got to try different items or brands because they were on sale.
What Was Challenging For Me:
- I have a baby and a toddler with me so nothing is quick in-and-out.
- I had to make sure I always knew what was already in my pantry and fridge.
- I needed to make sure we ate up the produce (clearance) more quickly so it didn’t spoil.
- I am a unit-cost shopper and often I felt like the coupon deals still weren’t a better price than the Kroger brand of the same item.
My Plan Going Forward:
Since quick in-and-out isn’t part of my life right now, I still plan to utilize my Aldi store on a regular basis. However, I have decided to adjust my meal planning routine that continues to save me money.
Instead of picking recipes for a week’s worth of dinners, I use what we already have, piece together dinners, and fill in the holes. I did this process just last night and was surprised to find that I already had the majority of four dinners on hand — I just needed an item here or there to supplement. Then I added a chunk of items for when we have guests over next Sunday.
I still plan on stopping by Kroger a couple mornings a week to snatch up the clearance meat. I will also keep an eye on their Friday/Saturday ONLY sales and buy only the items that will really benefit our family.
Lessons Learned From This Kroger Experiment:
- It’s okay to try new things. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s necessary for growing as an adult. You might discover you like the new thing.
- When you’re new at something, you aren’t going to do it perfectly. That’s okay, too.
- When you try a new thing in one area of your life, you become more open to trying new things in other areas of your life.
This experiment started out as a challenge to save money for our family. While I did do that, the real value came when I opened up to other new things in my life. I hope that reading about my experience encourages you to try a new method in saving money for you and your family.
You never know. You might just LOVE it!
Heather Burgette inspires and educates women to boss their dollars, everything from budgeting to saving and investing. Heather shares her own journey of paying off debt at The Debt-Free Mama.