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This Week’s Grocery Purchases: ALDI, Whole Foods, & Amazon

This Week's Shopping Trip

We’re still navigating all the new stores and options here in Tennessee. And we’re still finding our groove… but each week it gets better!

We are trying to find a good source for farm-fresh eggs and milk. We were spoiled in Kansas since our grocery store sold glass-bottled, cream top milk from a local farm and my family had chickens.

We tried out Whole Foods for milk and eggs this week to see what we thought. Well, we loved the eggs and milk we bought, but we didn’t necessarily love the prices — in fact, they sort of killed our budget this week. So we’re still looking into other options and hoping maybe we can find a local farm to buy from here (anyone have any recommendations?).

Here’s what we bought:

Whole Foods Shopping Trip

2 bottles of Whole Milk — $3.99 each
3 dozen eggs — $3.79 per dozen

Total with tax: $21.11

ALDI Shopping Trip

Asparagus — $1.99
Bananas ($0.44/lb) — $3.18
Cheddar cheese — $1.99
Bag of Pinto Beans — $1.89
Cream cheese — $1.29
1 bag of chicken breasts — $5.99
Bag of Fuji apples — $3.49
Sour cream — $1.29
Cottage cheese — $2.29
2 cartons of blueberries — $1.69 each
Ground Sirloin ($3.99/lb.) — $9.94
Strawberries — $1.59
Carrots — $0.99
5-lb. potatoes — $2.99
3 packs of sweet corn — $1.29 each
Onions — $1.89

Total with tax — $52.62

And the pasta pictured came from Amazon — thanks to a gift card earned through Swagbucks!

Since we went “over-budget” this week (we budget $50/week in cash to spend on groceries but we take it out on a monthly basis so that we can have stock-up weeks like this, if need be), that means we’ll make this last as long as we can and then I’ll plan our menu next week mostly based on what we already have on hand so that we don’t have to buy much at the store.

Or at least that’s what I’m planning to do. I’ll let you know how it all shakes out. 🙂

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71 Comments

  • Lisa Guyer says:

    I see you bought JD milk. We are personal friends with with family that runs that milk processing plant. You should try their chocolate milk! It’s divine!! I do understand about the cost though. We live just north of you in Auburn, KY. We get our milk from the Amish for $2 a gallon and eggs for $1.50 a dozen. You might check for local Amish around you.

    • Jill says:

      I love their chocolate milk too! Any ideas where I can buy it? I used to buy it at Whole Foods in Lexington, but now I am in the Nashville area, and the Whole Foods here only had their regular milk. My husband and I have told everyone it’s the best we have ever had!

      • Lisa Guyer says:

        I just asked the owners of JD milkand she said they send chocolate milk to the Franklin Whole Foods and also to the Produce Place in Nashville. They are also at the farmers market in Nashville. She said they have the best prices on their stuff at the farmers market (prob bc they eliminate the middle man that way!).

        • Jill says:

          Thanks so much! I was at the Green Hills Whole Foods. I will have to check out the farmers market. My husband will be so excited!

          • Edna says:

            JD Milk is only at the Market Saturday morning. They also have farm fresh eggs. Milk is $3.00 a jar. Eggs are $3.00 a dozen . Please rinse and return your jars 😉

    • Lachelle says:

      Lisa, If you don’t mind telling me where that Amish farm is that’d be great. I live in BG and would love to get eggs & milk for that price. We go to Scottsville and shop the Amish stores for produce and some dry goods.

    • Alex says:

      I’m from near Owensboro, Ky and a store in our area just started carrying JD this week. We got the chocolate, and oh my goodness! It’s so good. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to get it, since it’s a bit expensive and my little guy could drink the whole bottle in a day or two, but it’s really wonderful.

  • Tina says:

    Which Aldi was this? I’m not picturing an Aldi in the area. We’ve been here since August & I’m still trying to get our grocery budget in order. Prices are higher than where we lived before.
    The Franklin Farmer’s Market is really neat. There’s a lot of variety. You might find a farmer you like for milk & eggs. The website is franklinfarmersmarket.com.

    • Jenna says:

      We just left Nashville, but I frequented the Aldi on Nolensville across from the zoo, as well as the one on Charlotte Pike x American Rd (I think it was!). There is also one just off 65 in Franklin.

    • Kim says:

      If you go to aldi.com. Click on weekly specials, our weekly ad, change your location, & enter your zip code at the bottom of the page. You’ll pull up your closest Aldi stores.

    • Leslie says:

      There is an Aldi on HWY 96 in a shopping center across from the “NEW” Kroger.

  • Ashley says:

    I know a lot of people like Hatcher Dairy in Williamson County. I don’t know what their prices are like, but I’ve heard great things about the quality. http://www.hatcherfamilydairy.com/

  • Leslie says:

    I would recommend the Franklin Farmers Market at the Factory each Saturday for eggs and milk. There is a local dairy, Hatcher, that sells all of their products at the market but you can also find them at Whole Foods. The milk tastes like no other and it’s a bonus that we are supporting our local farmers! If you’re in Nashville for an afternoon, you can shop that farmers market off Rosa Parks Blvd any day from 8am-6pm, but the dairies are only there on Saturday.

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE Aldi!! I actually went to ours today (Birmingham, AL) and milk was $3.09 and eggs were $1.89 or was it $1.79…? Anyway, if you can buy local, go for it!! However, we have been shopping at Aldi for about 8 months now and have not had 1 problem with their foods. We do not buy anything processed (as my 4yo has an intolerance to high fructose corn syrup – odd, I know). That being said, the majority of Aldi’s processed food (snack items and such) do not include that in the ingredients. So, kudos to them! Awesome that you are in TN, now! If you ever head down to AL, I would LOVE to talk with you about saving more 🙂

    • Tracy S. says:

      Ditto on the saving more! We can make it a Birmingham party! I’m at a loss on how to get my family of 5 down to $50 a week. That would be fantastic! And I don’t know where you’re located, Heather, but they’re putting an Aldi in in Hueytown which thrills me since I live in Concord! Maybe this one will be more convenient for you, too. 🙂

      • Tracy, actually I go to the one in Fultondale now that they opened that store. I must say it is cleaner/nicer (perhaps because it is so brand new still) than the Homewood one I used to shop. I’m just glad we finally have it! Yay for getting one is Hueytown! 🙂

    • I’ve known several different people who have an actual allergy to corn syrup of any kind. Kuddos to you for finding what works for your family – it can be hard some times!

      Lea

  • Sheri says:

    Welcome to TN! I’ve been following your site for a while and look forward to you filling the void when our local blogger cut back.
    We walk to the Nashville Farmer’s Market. It’s open daily but Saturday a family farmer from KY sells bottled milk, butter and cheese. I don’t know what type of prices you are seeking but the quality is certainly there. We LOVE the products that the Amish folks bring from West TN. Their cinnamon rolls are worth the walk!
    The Hatcher Farms out your way may be an option.

  • Bianca says:

    I would love to hear about your menu plan. I cant feed our family for that little. I have a dairy allergy which raises our cost a bit. Would love some help with how to save money. We have an aldi here and kroger and publix. Ive tried the coupon thing and felt like I was spending more on things I wouldn’t nornally buy and then didnt save on the things we really needed. HELP!!! Really need to save money for my family of four.

    • Erin says:

      Buying things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy is a hidden pitfall of couponing! Good for you for realizing that. Have you tried reevaluating what you “need”? I know lots of people who “need” frozen waffles, cereal, fabric softener, paper towels, juice, etc. on a regular basis. It’s so much cheaper and healthier to make your own waffles or pancakes for breakfast (you can freeze a big batch and just pop in the toaster as needed). Fabric softener smells nice but it isn’t necessary (and it’s made from petroleum–yuck!). Paper towels are nice for really gross spills but if you stop buying them, you likely won’t miss them. Water and a piece of whole fruit are better for you than a glass of juice. Try to stick to staples and whole foods rather than convenience foods and stock up on good prices when you can. Buy in season as much as possible and on sale always. Look for markdowns, too. Both of my major grocery chains have started to mark down produce, bakery items, dairy, and eggs rather than toss them when they get near their best-by dates. Create meals around deals you find rather than trying to find deals on items on a cast-in-stone menu plan.

    • Rebekah Harper says:

      Bianca – I just want to say, don’t stress honey. I’ve been following Crystal and her blog for quite some time, and whilst I think she’s awesome, there really aren’t that many people who could get their families down to $50/week. It’s a lofty goal, but I think even those who can make it now on $50/week would tell you it a) doesn’t happen overnight, b) it takes planning and careful consideration.

      Instead, maybe you should figure out the average amount you spend on groceries per week. Then try to take $10 or even $20 off that amount.

      For instance, I have a family of 4 (with a diabetic and an allergy child), I spend about $450-$500 per month. (AND I’m a crazy couponer/deals hunter-and I STILL spend that much.) So when I decide to get “more serious” – I’ll start by trying to spend $400-$450/month instead. And then continue to whittle down if I can (which may not happen – and that’s okay).

  • Kara says:

    Crystal- check out the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. There should be more egg options there for you to choose from. The going rate for a dozen farm fresh eggs is between $3-$4 a dozen here. Check out Hatcher Family Dairy products for your farm fresh milk with cream at the top! Get on 840 from a Franklin and it is just an exit or two down. They have a store to buy their products at and tours of the farm that the kids will love! You can get their milk at While a Foods too. Good luck! I am very curious to see you stick to your $200/monthly budget here in TN! Tax is high here!

  • Eunice B says:

    Wow! I’m thinking there should be a local farm nearby for you! 🙂 We have a bulk food store here in Southern Maine, and if you go to their main website, you can type in your zip and find a local bulk food store, which often are owned by Mennonite or Amish folks. It might help you link up w/ some local farmers, too! 🙂 http://www.discoverbulk.com/StoreLocator.aspx

  • Diana says:

    Wow! I would love to be able to get prices that low. I pay at least double, and that’s when it’s on sale. And I’m very careful with my spending. That’s Canada for you I guess. 🙁

  • kat. says:

    i have a question about your amazon purchases. i love the idea of using amazon to stockpile things but how do you decide what to buy every week?

  • Rachael says:

    Try Costco. The milk is about $2.50/gallon, whereas in other stores in my area, around $4. Eggs are $2.50 for 2 dozen; about half the price of the regular grocery store.

  • Lachelle says:

    Drive north to KY. Many TN folks do like once a month or so. We have no sales tax here.

  • Jen says:

    I need help with the same information, only in Austin. I’m moving from Phoenix next week and can’t believe how much higher the cost of living is in Austin. I’ll be paying much more for rent (for a place that’s 700 square feet smaller, to boot!), utilities are much higher, and my renter’s insurance is doubling. I’m afraid to call to change the address on my car insurance! It looks like the large grocery store out there is Heb, and they don’t double coupons like the Kroger affiliates do here. Even the newspaper is double the price out there, and I’m not sure it’s worth it for coupons. Not to hijack the post, but any advice on how to save money in the area, groceries or otherwise, would be much appreciated! 🙂

    • In Austin your best bet is HEB and buy the HEB brand. Also, price matching at wal mart. HEB has great brands and a large variety. Not the best as some double coupons but the Kroger stores in Tx don’t double any more. And yes, AUstin can be very expensive–one of the more expensive areas in the state depending on where you love in Austin.

    • Melissa Brown says:

      In Austin there is a Sprouts that I love. Every week they have rock bottom produce. The best prices around. As for HEB they have sales every week and good deals where you buy one item and you get a lot of other things for free. This week HEB had NY strip steak for $4.97 per pound. They also had Barilla pasta buy one get one free. Austin has a ethnic food store called Fiesta and of course Walmart SuperCenter. I hope this helps we live about 45 minutes from Austin and we go there once a month just to shop.

    • Jennifer Brown says:

      Maybe you could move out of the city and find it cheaper once you are there. Also I would look for a blog where some covers TX more.

    • chantay says:

      You should check out Tiffany Ivanofsky over at Mylitter.com. She lives in Texas and blogs about stores in the area, including HEB.

    • lyss says:

      Welcome to Austin! Yes, rent has greatly increased in the last several years. I’ve heard that Austin apartments are at 98-99% full, so of course they can hike up the prices, since demand is so great!
      Overall, HEB does have the best prices. Randalls may double coupons, but, wow, they’re expensive! I stick with HEB and Sprouts. Not sure where you live…HEB is everywhere…Sprouts only has a few locations. Sprouts is a smaller “health food” store. They’re weekly sales are often very good. Check sprouts.com to see locations and their weekly ads.
      With HEB, their HEB and Hill Country Fare store brands are usually good. Some things come in both brands, like milk. Hill Country Fare is cheaper, and it’s the SAME thing! Also, look for yellow coupons, and use them! They can be $1 off, or B1G1, or Buy X get Y. As far as their sale ads, there’s a different one for every area. So be sure to look at the one that is for your store. And check the clearance rack. I often find dented cans and boxes, or discontinued stuff that’s still good.
      Oh, and one more thing…Austin has a bag ban, so bring your own bags! Or you can buy reusable bags at the checkout…or you can carry everything to your car. ; ) That goes for every retail store, though some stores offer paper for free and some charge a few cents for paper.

  • blire says:

    Crystal–

    Not sure if they mentioned this to you at Whole Foods, but we buy local glass-bottled cream top milk at Whole Foods and we get $2 back when we return the rinsed out bottles. That helps the price not to be so bad. 🙂 We also buy eggs locally or even at Trader Joe’s (if you have one in your area) has cage free (not organic though…Can’t remember the price for those…$4-something) for $2.99 a dozen. I believe Trader Joe’s prices are pretty much the same all across the board from what I’ve seen. Target also has an organic line of milk and eggs and will offer printable/mobile coupons and cartwheel deals on that for savings.

    Good luck on finding what works. 🙂 We still are finding that eating quality food is definitely a bit harder on the budget, but to use it’s worth it.:)

    • Amy says:

      You are paying a $2 deposit when you buy it (at least that’s how it works here in Indiana). They’re just giving that back to you. It doesn’t change the price of the milk.

  • Jessica says:

    We drink the WF brand organic milk (5.99) and use their cage free eggs. I found the best price I get for their eggs is buying the 18 pack, but they only come in medium size. They also have a huge block of cheese, twin lakes maybe, that I love in the cheddar $10 for 32 oz. In general I like their 365 brand and in NYC find it cheaper than many other options.

  • Carla says:

    I’ll be curious to know if you find better prices for farm fresh milk and eggs. I’m in the Nashville area too and so far I’ve just been able to find the prices every one else is listing- $6.50 or so for a gallon of milk and $3-$4 for eggs. This definitely a budget buster.

  • Kemi Quinn says:

    Love all the tips you guys are sharing. Unfortunately I can only read and admire. I’m all the way on the West Coast. No Amish, no Aldi’s. Oh well we have Gold..I mean Whole Foods, Chucks (only 2 in our town), New Seasons, and several farms to pick from. Waving at you all from the PacNW!

  • Nicole says:

    Crystal,
    In my area grocery store (Kroger, not Whole Foods) the milk is the same price but we get $2 cash back for every glass bottle we bring back. Maybe they offer some kind of program like that also? It’s worth asking and could bring down your costs! 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Hi Nicole,
      I just commented on someone else’s comment about the $2 return for the empty bottle, but in case you don’t see it wanted to tell you too. Here in Indiana when I buy milk in a glass bottle they charge me for the milk + a $2 deposit for the bottle. When I return the bottle they are just giving me my deposit back. You might want t

    • Amy says:

      Hmm…I’m not sure what happened but I had posted a reply, but it’s not showing up (I hit submit too early too). So please forgive me if there are two replies. In short, check your receipt or ask the store where you buy the glass bottles of milk. Here in Indiana we pay for the milk + a $2 deposit for the bottle. When is return my bottle they are just giving me my $2 deposit back, so it doesn’t really make the actual milk any cheaper. It may be different in TN.

  • amie says:

    Wow. I cannot imagine paying so much for eggs. Regular whole milk just went up to $4.08 here and I don’t buy organic or farm fresh. My big challenge will be to cut back on my spending after going over budget. I went over budget twice… both times to stock up on great deals, but I struggle to spend less to make up the difference. June is such an expensive month… 2 birthdays, father’s day, swim lessons, a planned vacation with dog boarding, ugh. In hindsight, I probably need to just save more for June.

  • Jessica dodd says:

    I would check out Craigslist.com for local farm fresh eggs, that’s how we sell our extra eggs from our chickens. Usually sell for less than store price and much better taste.

  • Andy Traub says:

    If I remember correctly TN regulates raw milk in such a way that it’s labeled “For animal consumption only.” So you can buy it “for your pets” to drink but not for you to drink. Ridiculous. Yes. We can and are encouraged to eat at McDonalds which is scientifically proven to kill you but we can’t drink milk from a cow.

    As for searching for it on Craigslist, they don’t advertise there b/c they’re afraid of being shut down. There are options out there to find it but it’s more on the down low. And farmer’s markets (especially in Franklin) are going to charge an arm and a leg as Crystal found out when she and her family visited it this week.

    Who knew it could be so complicated to find food that isn’t regulated?

  • shannon says:

    I know I love buying Shatto Milk! Don’t like the prices to the deposit of 2 bucks a bottle. We don’t get the deposit back since I keep the bottles and reuse them for all kinds of things.

  • Erika says:

    My mom buys from a farmer who sells raw dairy products and fresh eggs and has a drop off in Franklin. Plus another near Green Hills, I believe. I believe milk from him is $8/gallon and eggs are $2/dozen. If you want his contact info, let me know! Also, if you are ever out towards Clarksville, there is a Mennonite store (The Country Pantry) that sells milk and eggs.

    • Heather says:

      ditto on what Erika. we live halfway between Nashville and Clarksville and we can get farm fresh eggs and milk right here at a local produce/farmstand. my friend raves about their chocolate milk and gets it every week! (and the Mennonite’s Country Pantry is to DIE FOR!)

  • Holly says:

    We are in middle tn also. I love Aldi. We have chickens that are just starting to lay so thst is where are eggs will be coming from from now on. If I have too many I would be happy to share! We also love the Amish market. There is one in Charlotte in Dickson county.

  • Sarah Robbins says:

    I’m in Chattanooga, and we are in a CSA with a Facebook group. People post their backyard eggs there for about $3 a dozen in the spring and summer. You might look for a CSA to join in Nashville. They might have a good line into milk as well.

    I know Azure Standard comes through there too for other options.

  • katie says:

    Just wanted to thank u for ur imperfectios…we all strive to make life better for ourselves and families…thanks for all your ideas good bad and omg why’d u do that….I’ve been a loyal msm reader since before I have kids…and you’ve thought me a lot….I love your and your sisters grocery week shops….keep them coming!!!

  • Erika says:

    Oh also l use bountiful baskets for produce. We’ve got locations in hermitage and near Clarksville.15 for a basket of produce. There is a 6 dollar handling fee, but you can order with 2 other people then split the fee. It’s always good quality and so worth the money.

  • Jenni says:

    I don’t have any thoughts on cheaper prices for milk and eggs, but honestly, I am surprised you are only budgeting $50/week for your family – that’s $10/person/week, or $1.43/person/day. I know that you are committed to staying frugal even when financially things are good, but to me, spending what you spent this week seems just fine, especially considering that you bought eggs and milk at Whole Foods and ground sirloin.

  • Morgan says:

    Hi Crystal! Have you ever checked out localharvest.org? It’s a national site for farms and CSA’s which you can search for your area and exactly what you want to buy. Not everyone is on it, many are though. Good luck!

  • Laura says:

    I also recommend looking into a CSA. You can always “dip your feet in the soil” by splitting a share with someone else.

    What is a CSA? http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
    When I moved to TN, I noticed a lot of them provide meat as well. Many CSAs pickup locations are at farmers markets.

    Here’s some pages to investigate:
    http://www.nashvillelifestyles.com/restaurants/a-guide-to-nashvilles-csa-programs
    http://www.agriculture.tn.gov/Marketing.asp?QSTRING=CSA

    Hatcher Farms is expensive but it great! I didn’t mind paying a little more when my son started on milk.

  • Monika says:

    Have you looked on localharvest.org for a nearby farm where you can get milk and eggs?

  • Kendrah says:

    We live south of Nashville in Lawrenceburg, TN. We have a large Amish community in Ethridge, TN. They offer all currently ripening fresh veggies, eggs, milk, butter, honey, hand made items, etc. Prices are all very reasonable. We actually drive house to house and pick up different things from different families. It would definitely be a fun family outing for the day. The kids would love it. They have an Amish auction for produce and goods also. I am not sure what the schedule is for this but I could find out and let you know if you are interested.

    • T2Nashville says:

      I second Lawrenceburg, Crystal. It’s about 30-45 min away from you, but a great Saturday trip for the fam to stock up. Great prices, and they are so pleasant to work with, both at the homes and at the stores nearby. I suggest going directly to the Amish homes – they sell right off their porches for better prices. There is a wagon ride that can take you to the homes that are most friendly and available to sell. The ride takes about 2 hours, but again, it’s very informative about the community and they will stop occasionally to allow you to shop.

  • Susan says:

    I’m from Connecticut and $7 a gallon for whole milk is basically the norm across all of the stores and farmers. I buy my eggs from a local farm for $4 a dozen and although I could get them cheaper in some of my stores I don’t because I want my farmers to stay. For me this is a luxury I am willing to pay for and I do a ton of couponing in other areas of our household budget so that I can do this. I typically use about a dozen eggs a week for our family of five.

  • D says:

    Try a farmer’s market. Nashville has a big one. If you are in Williamson County (not Nashville’s Davidson County) try the Saturday Farmer’s market in Franklin behind The Factory at Franklin.

  • Nicole Leposki says:

    Wow, are they gallons of milk for $3.99? that is a great price for whole milk from whole foods. Up here in Philadelphia generic skim milk isn’t even $3.99. I try and get whole milk from Sams club because they pledge not use antibiotics and that run about $4.40 a gallon. I barely go to whole foods, their milk is like $6.

  • Heather says:

    one last thought…crystal, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Franklin is THE most expensive place to live in TN. 😉 I’m sure there are deals to be had, but you are living amongst movie stars and famous singers now.
    when are you hosting a reader meet up? Would love to meet you in person! ive read your blog daily for 7 years now!

    • Truthfully, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it’s not as expensive as some have said and that there are so many options with all the towns in this area! I’ve heard Brentwood is one of the most expensive areas… but I’ve not been there much yet.

      We don’t have a reader meet-up planned, but that would be fun to do sometime! Thanks for being such a faithful reader!

      • Angela says:

        I’ve lived in Brentwood for 16 years. Not as “expensive” as people make it out to be except maybe for some of the McMansion houses (some historical houses in downtown Franklin are crazy expensive, too, but who in their right mind pays that kind of money). I go to Franklin, Nashville and the local area all of the time for deals and find deals right here in B’wood as well. It’s all in the way you live, but you already know that. Hatcher Dairy is local and family owned. They even process their own milk.

  • JoAnn says:

    Eggs and milk are my budget busters also….we have been buying cage free eggs and the cheapest I can find them are 3.19 a dozen and Organic milk is usually 3.99 a half gallon….occasionally I can get it on sale for 2.79 a half gallon. For meats I go to a local owned grocery store first…prices tend to be a little higher but the quality of the meat is really good…I also check our Food Lion for mark down meats….I once found grass fed ground beef with no hormones or antibiotics marked down to 2.79 for a one pound package….I bought 10 and put them in my freezer….a few weeks later they had hormone/antibiotic free ground turkey marked down to 2.69 for a one pound package…I bought all they had which I think was only 4 packs. I plan my weekly meals first by what I have in the freezer and the I fill in with whats on sale. I always budget a little extra in case I stumble on a great meat mark down. I am in Virginia

  • Kristen says:

    Echoing what others have said, the Saturday morning Franklin farmers market is EXCELLENT, and I am a huge Trader Joe’s fan, if you haven’t tried it already! Welcome to Nashville 🙂

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