So last week I had you my lovely readers guess how much was in my basket. It was a rude awakening to how good you all thought I was at grocery shopping. I had numbers from mid $30’s to about $50 ish dollars. Now. I gave no clues as to what was in my basket, but I was shocked at the low numbers everyone guessed. It was about 2.5 weeks of groceries and the grand total after Missouri’s ridiculously high food tax was $85. I was so excited as this lowered my grocery bill before tax to about $40 dollars a week!
Now, I have to state that I hate taxes. In Michigan our food was not taxed, and our sales tax was about 4% lower than Missouri’s to add to the disdain.
So my total was $85 dollars. I did not coupon: I splurged, and I mean I really splurged. I bought cheeses, the expensive kind I normally pay $9 dollars for at Walmart or the Commissary (Grocery store on base). I bought that super over price name brand juices I normally pay $6 dollars for, and all sorts of other things as I got lost in the greatness of Aldi’s! I am interested in all those who contacted me and thought $37 dollars grocery shop. SHOW ME YOUR WAYS!
How have I ignored this weekly flier of goodies for so long?
I mean I normally reuse my newspaper of the weekly classifieds to clean mirrors and windows. I always look at Aldi’s insert and awe over the prices, but never went the 20 mile round trip to shop there. I had heard for about a year from people around me saving about an average of $20-$35 dollars on each grocery trip. I then watched a few of my favorite bloggers each post about their trip to the Aldi headquarters(?) and review it. I was shocked how much they raved about the food tasting awesome. I mean when I cut corners and buy cheap versions of stuff I am always 50/50 happy or disappointed.
I saved over $50 dollars in one shopping trip.
I have tried to make a cute picture of my receipt, typing it up in picmonkey, working at making it interesting. It just isn’t. Truth is I will have 2.5 weeks of amazing dinners that made so much we had lunches for a few days as well from leftovers. My meals that are normally “cheap” are never that tasty, but this time around I planned some very labor intensive meals to welcome my hubby home from Afghanistan. I made super fancy meat and cheese plates, I got tons of meat, and boy my refrigerator has not looked this full since pre-deployment when my parents came to visit!
We have frozen fruits, grapes, oranges, banana’s, lunch meat fixings, condiments, meats for entrees, my list can go on for 57 items.
57 items for $85 dollars. 5 tips to a lower grocery bill.
I did it, and I am not preaching Aldi’s as my only reason for success. Here are 5 tricks I learned while my husband was deployed, and putting to use without sacrificing what we love to eat.
- Plan your meals. Seriously planning meals takes me far too long, but I am convinced it is why I have been saving money for the last 5 months. I am prepared for snacks, meals, and even if I do not stick to when I eat the planned meal I still have my options ready to make with ingredients on hand. I also planned meals that used similar ingredients so my bag of peppers, and onions were utilized all week. No waste!
- Look at Sales ads. I knew I wanted to shower my husband in things we usually would not purchase for usual groceries. I scouted out papers to see where the meat was on sale, where some of those pricey items just happened to be on sale, and basically scouted out which store I could get my most for my $. I only will make one trip, no store hopping for me- but it may work for you if happen to live closer to stores than I do!
- Make from scratch. Now, I am the queen of easy cooking, but if it came down to easy or stretching my dollars: I will always choose more money in my pocket. Now, I make bread which may have the start up cost of $10 for a bag of flour, oil, salt, etc. but, they are such huge quantities I can make so many loaves of bread from that ten dollars each loaf of bread ends of being pennies compared to the $3 we pay for at the store. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but most cases for me it has.
- Buy the brand on sale. Sounds simple but with “off brand” and “brand name” products out there its seems people have started to think off brand always means less $$$. It DOESN’T! All items go on sale at some point, and some times that brand name is less expensive on sale. Or if you are lucky has an awesome coupon out. Honestly I can go either way on brand or off brand, they are usually made in the same plants anyways.
- Coupons. For me coupons are not something I commit time to. I utilize a well planned and portioned meal plan that coincides with the sales of the week. I however do use them when I find them, and I need the item. I shop where people leave the coupon for the item on the item in the store. It is so nice! I am always so excited when I find an item I need and it has a $0.50 coupon off! Love it or hate it they do save money!
By following these 5 tips I have been working on the last few months, I have found significant cost cuts in my food bill. Without sacrificing things we “need”/want we spend about $40 dollars a week on groceries. I know some people claim to do much lower, but for this carnivore home $40 is an amazing budget.
With savings like these every week we are able to contribute about $120 dollars a month to our savings goal for the year compared to what we were spending last year.
That’s a $1,440 we can contribute to our goal this year!
Share your favorite grocery saving tip, or money saving meal in the comments