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My $110 Shopping Trip at ALDI (I’m trying something new this week!)

I’ve heard from so many of you over the last few years who have said, “I want to lower my grocery bill, but I can’t shop like you do.”

Maybe you don’t have a Kroger, or you don’t have access to great markdowns, or you don’t want to shop more than once a week, or you find it stressful to think of planning a menu based upon what you have on hand and what is on sale at the store.

How I Usually Grocery Shop

I know that the way I grocery shop can seem weird and confusing. I buy ahead for the weeks to come based upon what’s on sale, what’s marked down, and what we’re running low on.

Much of time, this means that my grocery shopping trips are sort of a random assortment of food that doesn’t look like it would really make many meals. And that’s exactly right — because often, I AM buying a random assortment of items that are marked down or on sale at rockbottom prices.

I aim to never pay full price for pretty much anything, so I base our menu plans almost entirely on what we already have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer — which is usually a big assortment of different items I’ve gotten in previous shopping trips — plus, what’s marked down and what’s on sale.

For me, it’s fun and life-giving to play a sort of version of Chopped every night in how I make our meals. However, I know that not everyone would enjoy shopping this way nor does everyone have access to the stores and deals I do. But just because you don’t want to shop and cook like this and just because you have different stores with different prices and sales, doesn’t mean that you can’t save money on groceries!

Why I Spent $110 on Groceries This Week

This week, I’m going to be showcasing how you could shop on a budget even if you want to just buy all your groceries for the week and not mess with buying ahead or matching coupons with sales at the grocery store.

The shopping trip below is almost everything we need to eat for a week. (Not 100% everything, but most everything, because I did let myself use a few items we already had on hand — which I think most people would do a little bit of each week!)

We usually spend $70 at the grocery store, but I got creative and we only spent $40 last week and then I had a little extra in the budget from the past few months, so I let myself just pretend like I was a “normal shopper” this week — while also being somewhat mindful of being thoughtful about how I spent money.

Simple Ways to Save — When You’re Short on Time

A few simple suggestions for saving money on groceries when you don’t have a lot of grocery options and/or you don’t have a lot of time:

  1. Make a plan. Take 15 minutes to plan your menu for the week. Need a little help? You could try a menu-planning service. I’m using the Eat at Home Slow Cooker/Instant Pot plan for our meals this week — it’s just a few dollars per week to have someone do all the leg work for you! (Use code EASY to save 30% off this week. That’s the best deal that they offer! See some sample menu plans here.)
  2. Stick with the plan. 🙂 Seriously. Use self control. Bring only cash to the store. Get an accountability partner. Whatever you need to do, do it so that you come home with what you planned to buy and not a cart full of impulse purchases!
  3. Choose inexpensive meals. This is one simple way to cut your grocery bill, no matter what stores you have. Choose chicken over other expensive cuts of meat. Choose meals with fewer, frugal ingredients. Focus on making ingredients you can get inexpensively the stars of your cooking show. If you can save a few dollars each meal by doing this, it all adds up!
  4. Buy the produce that’s on sale. Rather than always buying the same variety of produce, buy the few varieties that are on sale that week. I shoot for fruit that is $0.99/lb. or less and stock up on that. It might mean we don’t have as much variety each week, but it means that we have lots of variety over the course of a few months.

What I Bought At ALDI

Now, on to the groceries! Here’s what I bought this week at ALDI:

  • Water — $0.79
  • Ranch dressing — $0.79
  • Bananas — $1.04
  • 3 bags of Gala Apples — $1.99 each
  • Bacon Bits — $1.29
  • Ranch dressing mix — $0.45
  • Mandarin oranges — $2.89
  • Chicken tenderloins — $5.45
  • Chicken Breasts — $5.59
  • Taco Seasoning — $0.39
  • Tortillas — $1.15
  • Pork Chops — $5.51
  • Feta Cheese — $2.19
  • 2 cans Refried Beans — $0.75 each
  • 10 lbs. potatoes — $4.29
  • 4 bags Organic Peas — $1.99 (whoops — I thought these were $0.75 each! I just realized that when I was typing this up — oops!)
  • Mozzarella cheese — $1.69
  • 2 bags shredded cheddar cheese — $2.19 each
  • Honey — $4.99
  • Cane Sugar — $3.49
  • Sweet Potatoes — $2.39
  • Baking Powder — $0.99
  • Chocolate Chips — $1.69
  • Cantaloupe — $1.69
  • Brown Sugar — $1.29
  • Yellow Onions — $1.89
  • 2 cans pumpkin — $0.85 each
  • 2 Chicken Broth — $1.19 each
  • Baking cocoa — $1.79
  • Pineapple — $0.95
  • Lettuce — $1.39
  • Eggs — $0.58
  • Black Beans — $0.58
  • Flour — $1.15
  • Diced Tomatoes — $0.45
  • Mined Garlic — $1.79
  • Cinnamon — $0.95
  • Honey Nut Crispy Oats — $2.69
  • Honey Crunch Oats — $1.29
  • Red Grapes — $1/85
  • Peppers — $2.99
  • Cinnamon Crunch Squares — $1.39
  • Carrots — $1.19
  • Tomato Paste — $0.39
  • Celery — $1.29
  • 2 gallons milk — $2.20 each
  • Total with tax: $110.37

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I’ll share what our menu plan is for this week using these groceries! Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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46 Comments

  • diane says:

    Would you be comfortable sharing pics of your pantry/freezer contents?
    Do you think if you only shopped at Aldi your budget would be closer to $110/week?
    Thank you!

    • 4Bsmommy says:

      I shop at Aldi and Kroger and it really depends on Kroger’s coupons and sales that week. They had Boston butt for $0.99/lb last week with max of 3, we bought 3! They freeze well. That’s better than any other store I have ever seen.

    • I’ve shared them multiple times on IG stories… it always looks different since I buy different stock up items each week! And I’m guessing I could easily shop at Aldi using the buy ahead method (buying extras of whatever was on sale that week) and stick with an $80-$90 budget, but we wouldn’t have the variety that we currently have, especially when it comes to snacks and brand name stuff.

  • Laura says:

    So you basically shop deals and markdowns for the most part and then plan meals from what you have in your pantry and freezer? I also shop deals and stock up to some point, but mostly I plan meals and then make my grocery list. So I am not as deal focused as you are. I can see how your approach could save money, though I may not have as much freedom in my meal planning, since I’d be basing it off of what’s in my house, rather than what’s in the grocery store. Something for me to think about!

  • Nancy S says:

    We shop at our local Aldi, but do not have a Kroger (only Ruler, a Kroger affiliate, which does not always have the same deals), so I really appreciate it when you post the Aldi shopping trips and meals!

    • I can usually match or beat most of the ALDI prices and it’s out of the way, so that’s why I typically stick with Kroger!

    • Need Anap says:

      Do you have a Kroger card that you scan at Ruler? Most of my e-coupons do work at Ruler so when they had the great weekend deals ($.99 for 8 oz shredded cheese, use 5 times) I could still participate.

  • Cassie says:

    Would you consider doing this same thing with Wal-Mart? That is the only grocery store we have within an hour except a VERY expensive local store.

    • The principles I shared in this post can definitely be applied to any store. My advice would be to get to know the prices at Walmart well and then look for deals online that might beat those prices — such as the Amazon deals we post, Imperfect Foods, etc. You could also look into local farms, farmer’s markets, co-ops, and see if there is anything worth regularly buying at those, if your area has them.

  • Leeanna Lunn says:

    Per my busy lifestyle and recent discovery of Kendra Adachi, my Lazy Genius approach has been to shop exclusively at Aldi. If they don’t sell it, I don’t buy it. And I’ve gotten so familiar with what they have to offer, where in store it is, and how much it is, that menu-planning takes 15 minutes, grocery shopping takes 30 at most, and I’m done for the week. I have found it is ultimately cheaper than shopping around (usually squeezing under $100 for a family of 6, including being a dairy free household and getting most of our non-food items there as well within said budget… so diapers for 2, dish soap, laundry soap, etc), and a lot faster. It takes some getting used to, but it is SO worth it!

  • Michelle says:

    Our favorite store is Aldi and especially since we are in smaller town and we only have stores with minimal sales and I don’t eat canned veggies or fruits usually! I have kept our 3-4 person family meals down to under $130 each week for years and often less than $100 by shopping at Aldi. Even when we had 2-3 hockey boys staying with us we were under $200 and those 16-20 year olds can eat!! I live that you did this Aldi trip!

  • Marcy says:

    Aldi is helpful, we only have Harris Teeter which is much more expensive than Kroger despite having the same parent company. Also is there anything you only buy organic? I decided I would only buy EWG’s Dirty Dozen I’d I could get them organic but it definitely raises my bill. Also I only buy organic milk and eggs. I’m interested to hear your take on organic.

    • I’ve done a lot of research and we’ve decided not to prioritize organic because of this. I know it’s a controversial topic, so I always think every family needs to do their own research and decide what works for them and what they feel comfortable with. The only thing I prefer is buying higher quality eggs since I was raised in the country and we had chickens and cheap eggs just don’t compare, even though people always tell me there’s no difference.

      • April says:

        I buy 10 dozen high quality eggs when they are on clearance at Kroger’s. There *is* a difference. 🙂
        I appreciated this post. I’m aiming for under $200 a week, and I’m happy with that. Mostly organic, 5 people. I buy managers specials on every trip.

  • Sarah says:

    We don’t have an Aldi and our king soopers (aka kroger) prices have doubled lately. We are trying local farmers markets, small local stores, and a Save A Lot instead. It has been rough trying to find deals near us that’s for sure.

    • That’s weird that your Kroger prices have doubled recently. Are they not offering any of the deals that other Kroger stores are? I love to follow KrogerKrazy.com for great tips on matching coupons with sales at Kroger!

      • Sarah says:

        They’ll offer some deals each week but it isn’t a lot, so it usually isn’t worth going for two or three things. Nothing like it used to be. Dry goods across the board are way more expensive as are meat and produce (rarely can you find produce for under a dollar a pound, even apples aren’t that cheap). When I’ve tried to look at Kroger krazy, the deals don’t match up. The markdowns are very few and far between for decent food (i.e. not gross produce lol). My mom has noticed this too at her store too. It has definitely changed. 🙁

  • Diane says:

    That’s a lot of items for $110! Can’t wait to see what you cook. Thanks for shopping like this and sharing your ideas!

  • Patricia says:

    I’ve begun to use the grocery pick up at our Walmart. It completely takes away any impulse buys. I then get my produce at Sprouts or King Soopers (depending on sales). My meat is purchased whenever I find it marked down (usually at Super Target or King Soopers). I found 10.4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $9.96. That’s enough for about 8-9 meals. My budget is $50/week for 3 people – including a teenage son.

    Really interesting to hear how others shop.

  • LAURI C EVERLOVE says:

    Hi.. I lived in Southern California my entire life until last November when we moved to North Carolina. I am horrified by the change in price! Groceries are here are MUCH more expensive than Ca. Like three times more expensive plus they charged tax on groceries here and I am used to no tax on food or drinks in CA. So I just wanted to say even though there is an Aldi here and almost none in CA I can’t get even close to paying what you pay so I think it really matters where you live. There is almost no produce here near 99 cents. One main reason is we are moving back to CA is because it lots of things are way less expensive in CA (except for houses)..

    • That’s so fascinating, because so many people are constantly telling me how groceries are so expensive in California! But they times I’ve shopped there, produce was SO inexpensive and the prices seemed pretty reasonable to me! I’ve never shopped in North Carolina, but my sister is in South Carolina and she gets GREAT deals! Also, as far as the $0.99/lb for produce, it’s typically only 2-4 items per week that will be priced at that. For instance, this week, it was grapes, Gala apples, and mandarin oranges (and, of course, bananas!)

    • Oh and tax is 9-10% here! I’ve found that there are pros and cons to everywhere you live. I try to focus on the blessings and the wonderful things of where I am and look for ways to be creative with what options there are!

      • LAURI says:

        Yes the sales tax in Los Angeles county is 9.25% and it is 9.25 % where I live in NC….. so crazy because that’s all I ever hear is that Ca is so expensive. I know my prices in CA and where I used to live there are so many choices to where you shop it tends to bring the prices down. Anyway groceries in CA cost me $500 a month less.. I am happy to be going back.

  • Beth says:

    This is very helpful! Thanks so much for sharing!! It’s stuff I know, but it’s a boost to try harder and be more creative 😊

  • Beth says:

    Do you recommend a post that explains the process that you use. It seems if I plan my meals according to what’s in my pantry then I would run out of pantry items and groceries and then need to stock up again. Or do you just continue to buy deals and then each week you have new items in your pantry to choose your meal plans from?

    • Yes, I am constantly buying ahead. So many of the groceries I buy every week aren’t to use that week — they are for the following weeks to come. This allows me to rarely pay full price for anything, always have a variety of items on hand to work with to make meals from, and significantly lowers our grocery bill. This is also why I say I plan my meals based upon what I have on hand, what is marked down, and what’s on sale at the store… because it’s a mix of all three every week.

  • Emily says:

    I shop exactly the same way you do! We have Randell’s here (Kroger affiliate), which is SO expensive, but most people rarely shop there, (in Texas with HEB) so there are usually quite a few clearance mark-downs on dairy products, meat, etc. Never clearance on produce or any quality bread products. I find the loss-leaders at Randalls each week, combined with the app coupons (Just for U) make for amazing deals – I got 4 boxes of Nature Valley granola bars last week for $3 total, Chobani yogurt cups for free-20 cents each, etc. My grocery shopping each week always looks so unusual, but I can easily get 3-4 bags of groceries for $20 or less; it does feel like a game and I love it. 🙂 Combined with a few staples and sales from Costco and condiments we get at Trader Joes, and I spend about $70 a week for our family of 5 (with 3 teenage boys!) We don’t eat much organic, but we do try to steer clear of all preservatives, chemicals, artificial colorings, etc, don’t eat sugary cereal, and eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. I only buy the fruit/veggies on sale that week and I can get giant bags of snacks at Costco – they almost always have organic or all natural types on sale and that gives the boys snacks between meals and for school lunches.

  • April says:

    I am a huge couponer and use our local kroger store to get majority of the groceries. I am trying to shop more like you by “building up” a pantry stash. Our garden did so wonderful this year that we have been pickling, canning and freezing produce to use in the colder/winter months. I think that this has helped tremendously!
    All your tips and tricks have really helped. Much appreciated!

    • Jordan says:

      Yay! We are so happy we’ve been able to help you succeed with your goals! Keep us updated on the pickling and canning. We love to hear how projects like that work out for our readers! -Jordan, MSM Team

  • Csandst1 says:

    Aldi uses zone pricing for their stores. I accidentally found out that an Aldi five minutes farther from me has prices around 20% lower than what I was paying. It’s worth checking out other Aldi locations to price compare.

    The produce Aldi savers are almost always 10 cents cheaper per pound or more at the Aldi farther from me. This week green grapes were advertised at 99 cents a pound and strawberries $1.69 a pound. However at the Aldi further from me green grapes were 89 cents a pound and strawberries 1.49 a pound. Cheese pizzas are $3.79 as the new normal price eggs are 48 cents a dozen. The Aldi that is more convenient to me does not have these prices.

  • Kathleen Dunton says:

    Thank you for posting this! When we moved south, I was hoping there would be a Kroger near by so I could not only envy you, but do as you do. Lol.Unfortunately, there are only Harris Teeters in this part of NC, and I have found them to be way more expensive then back home. In NH, shopping for 4 adults~3 male carnivores, I would average $140-$160 a week, and that was with playing the drug store game. Teeters, I could not keep it under $180, and only recently started the Drug store game back up, as wearing the mask a lot make me ill. BUT, for the last 2 weeks, I have been doing Aldi’s and it has been under $100. Can’t wait to see your menu plan!! Thanks for all you do!!

  • heather says:

    I love ALDI, my problem with ALDI is they always have such good other ‘stuff’ (i.e. pain au chocolate, etc) that I can never get out of there spending what I should, lol. It’s literally my Target… go in for 1 thing, leave with 15.

    • Jordan says:

      The very first time i went in to Aldi I had the same experience! I was like a little kid in a candy store!! -Jordan, MSM Team

    • Need Anap says:

      Our Aldi now has curbside pickup. I don’t know if all locations do or how it works but you might inquire at your local store. : )

  • Jennifer says:

    I never see mention of Publix when their freezer area, cold cuts, cheese and such are buy one get one free. That makes it far cheaper than Wal-mart for sure.

    Our local Aldi is kinda small, and the bread they do keep in stock isn’t that fresh. But the local wildlife never complains when I shred up a heel slice for them. Squirrels love it, but not sure if they SHOULD be loving it.

    Publix has the thing where you go online and clip virtual coupons that attach to your phone number, then enter your number at the register. They DO STACK with SALES AND MANUFACTURER’S COUPONS! If only they could keep on top of the mixed fried chicken case being stocked on weekends.. *drool*

    Has anyone ever found a copycat recipe for taco seasonings like the McKormik low sodium mild taco seasoning? It’s a family favorite but it’s $1+ a pop, unless by the grace of God the Dollar Tree has some…
    Never underestimate the Dollar Tree with the frozen/cold sections. There is some really delish buy it for a buck brands and some killer sales on things that might be a dinged box (like 25 cents for a charcoal bath soap that someone opened to sniff.. can smell it through the box.. durrr..).
    I do stalk when shopping for busted and dented markdowns on normal things.

    Can you make your own salad dressings and seasoning mixes or is it kinda hard? I’m looking to copy McKormick, Old El Paso, Olive Garden and the like.

    • Meg says:

      Hi Jennifer! Yes, I agree! I live in Florida and love our Publix! I know that Crystal has a Publix in her area, but I think she finds better deals/prices at ALDI and Kroger. I’m always wishing we had Kroger near us, because though I love the Publix BOGO offers, I do still find it’s a lot more expensive than other grocery stores in other regions. Thanks for your insight, though!! -Meg, MSM Team

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