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Back to Aldi

October 13th, 2008 at 02:21 am

Groceries in my city are so much more expensive! I've been shopping at either Harris Teeter or Safeway (each about 1-2 miles from the house), but recently I've made a few trips to an Aldi about 5 miles away. I think the extra mileage and inconvenience is worth it. Milk alone is about $0.95 less at Aldi compared to the other chain stores.

Luckily, we have a few good farmer's markets where I can buy produce at a reasonable price. Other tactics I'm using to keep costs down are to use dry milk wherever possible (basically anything accept for drinking). I've also been making

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granola rather than buying cereal. I'm also trying to shop at the grocery store no more than 2x / month and supplement with produce from the Farmer's Market as needed. Although Aldi is farther drive, both Mr. Bean and I are commuting to work via public transportation, so our monthly gas costs are fairly minimal.

Load up the Pantry!

April 25th, 2008 at 03:33 pm

From the Wall Street Journal:

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.

Read the full article
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Aldi Love, Aldi Hate

February 6th, 2008 at 02:06 am

Remember my excitement over the

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$0.99 boxes of sushi from Aldi? Well, put your jealousy to rest, beacuse that was about all they were worth. The rice was hard, and the fish texture was off. All in all, I was disappointed and glad I hadn't paid the original price of (gasp) $5.99 / box. With that said, I ate all the boxes I purchased and was glad I had them on hand for days when I didn't have leftovers for lunch. I'd say I was as happy with the frozen sushi as I'd be with a microwave meal.

This got me thinking about what Aldi items I do love. Things that came to mind:

Mama Casita Canned tomatoes with chilies, at $0.49 / 14.5 oz can these are a great value, plus the chilies are nice and spicy- unlike my store brand. The plain diced tomatoes are also a great value at $0.44 / 14.5 oz.

Block Cheese, $1.79 / 8 oz

Just Juice (a Juicy juice knock off), $1.89 / 64 oz

Millville Cereal (most are $1.69 / 16 oz. box and taste just like the name brand)

Millville Rolled Oats ($1.49 for a huge canister)

Fresh baby spinach, $1.39 / 9 oz bag. although the last time I was there it was close to expiration and on sale for $0.50!

Butter, $1.89 / pound.

Chicken Broth ($0.39 / 14.5 oz can)

I am disappointed with the Aldi shredded cheese. It has a lot of extra preservatives and it doesn't melt terribly well. Similar issues with Aldi's 100% Whole Wheat. It is 100% whole wheat but also has a laundry list of other ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup.

What Aldi items do you love? What are you disappointed with?

Sushi at $0.11 / piece! Why I love Aldi!

December 12th, 2007 at 02:04 am

I had to drive 30 miles each way to a Doctor's appointment today- ahh, the joys of small town life!

On a positive note, the doctor was in the same town as the Aldi Supermarket, so of course I couldn't help but take a gander ...and drop $60.

About $20 of the bill has spent on nuts to make

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spiced &
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salted nuts as
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gifts for the Holidays. Nuts aren't something I buy regularly, so I'm not certain the Aldi price was necessarily better than the grocery store, but I figured there was a good chance.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

16 oz Walnut meats: $3.99
16 oz Sea Salt Cashews: $3.99
16 oz Shelled walnut pieces: $2.69
6 oz Pecan halves: $2.69
8 oz Raw Almonds: $1.99

My most exciting purchase were 5 of these frozen 9-piece Sushi ensembles:

They caught my eye during my last visit, but were priced at $5.99 / box! However, today they were on sale for $0.99! I guess Sushi isn't popular with the rural clientŤle! If I had room in the freezer, I would have bought more. I figured they would be a great alternative for days when I don't have leftovers for lunch or ever as an appetizer for dinner.

Aldi, revisted

November 12th, 2007 at 01:22 am

Is it bad that I was actually a little happy when Mr. Bean called to say his train would be arriving 30 minutes late because it meant I would have more time to peruse the aisles at Aldi?

I havenít had much time for couponing and as a result my pantry is low. When I last visited Aldi in the

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Spring of 2007, I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over the prices trying to decide if I could do better in my normal store. This time if I saw something I needed (and a few things I just wanted like a potted mum and a few crŤme filled German chocolate bars!) it went into the cart. Even with the 30 minute train delay, I was still a little pressed for time was quicker to purchase this time around.

When all was said and done, I spent $90.20 for 64 itemsóby far my largest grocery bill in a long time. I stocked up on things to make sure there was enough food to have thoughtful, tasty meals while Mr. Bean is here for the next 2 weeks. I still cook when Iím alone, but sometimes the meals lack inspiration. I also stocked up items for the Thanksgiving weíre hosting in a few weeks.

Because I bought so much, Iím not going to go through each item and its price, but I noticed that compared with my Spring trip, many items have increased in price. I bought 8 items identical to what I purchased in Spring 2007, 4 of which were increased in price:

Whipped Topping: $0.75 each, SAME PRICE
Ground Turkey (85% lean): $0.79 / lb, INCREASED PRICE, $0.89 / lb
Low Fat Cottage Cheese: $1.79 / 24 oz, INCREASED PRICE, $2.49 / 24 oz
Fresh Flat Leaf Spinach: $1.39 / 9 oz, SAME PRICE
Canola Cooking Spray: $1.29 / can : INCREASED PRICE $1.39 / can
Tomato Paste: $0.33 / 6 oz: SAME PRICE
Golden Raisins:$1.99 / 15 oz: SAME PRICE
Coffee: $4.49 / 39 oz: INCREASED PRICE, 4.69 / 39 oz can

There were a number of items I thought the price was quite good. These included:

Chicken Broth: $0.39 / 14.5 oz can (I stocked up!)
Paper Towels: $0.59 / 57 sq. foot roll
Pineapple chunks in 100% juice: $0.69 / 20 oz
Cheddar Cheese, Chunk: $1.79 / 8 oz
Green Peppers, fresh: $1.69 / 3 count
Grape Tomatoes: $1.69 / pint
100% Whole Wheat bread: $1.69 / 20 oz. loaf
Numerous Aldi Brand cereals, like Honey Bunches of Oats: $1.69 / 16oz
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese: 2.69 / 12 oz
Shredded Mozzarella: 3.49 / 16 oz.
Pecan Halves: 2.69 / 6 oz [1.5 cups]

Tonight we had a great meal, and I couldnít help but do a rough calculation in my head of its cost. Sum total it couldnít have cost more than $10 and will feed our hearty appetites at least 4 times (2 x 4= 8 servings). We had a pre-marinated Teriyaki Pork Roast, (purchased and frozen back in May on sale for $4.44 during triple coupon days, so I only paid $1.44), roasted
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Ginger Sweet Potatoes and a Spinach Salad (Spinach and grape tomatoes from Aldi with carrots and peppers from the Farmersí Market). Even without close proximity to an Aldi, eating well can be cheapÖ but I did have fun today!

I just noticed today is my 1-year Blogaversary. I've learned so much in the past year! Time flies where you're saving money!

Challenge money and an Aldi trip

November 11th, 2007 at 03:06 pm

Old Total: $2615.86
+ $50.00 babysitting
New Total: $2665.86

I babysit from 9pm-2am last night. Luckily I was able to sleep in this AM to recuperate!

Mr Bean is arriving last this afternoon and staying for 2 weeks- this will the longest time we've spent together since he moved in May. I have to pick him up at th e train station 30 miles from our house. The station is near the only Aldi in the area, so I plan on going there beforehand to stock up on stuff for the pantry as well as some things for Thanksgiving. Last

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spring I was less than enthusiastic about Aldi since I found the prices to be comparable to our normal grocery store that doubles coupons. However, I haven't had much time for clipping coupons nor do I go shopping as much now that I'm only cooking for one, so I'm looking forward to this trip.

Milk prices, revisited

September 3rd, 2007 at 11:58 pm

I just thought I'd do a follow-up to this

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previous entry regarding the prices of milk from a local dairy, grocery store, soy and non-fat dry milk (NFDM).

I've been drinking re-constituted NFDM for the past 3 weeks, primarily in my cereal. I don't care of the taste it straight up in a glass, but it works fine in cereal and recipes. My dislike of the reconstituted milk for drinking definitely results in a lower consumption of milk-- probably not a great thing as far as my calcium intake is concerned. It has been wonderfully convenient though-- no extra trips to the dairy, no spoilage, etc.

I was near the Dairy this morning, so I picked up my first 1/2 gallon of fresh milk in quite some time. They've raised the price of a 1/2 gallon of skim from $1.50 to $1.55. Not huge, but worth noting. I think we can anticipate the price of all dairy foods to continue to climb.

The prices of milk, compared

August 6th, 2007 at 12:35 am

I've never really paid much attention to the price of milk. We're lucky enough to have a dairy about 1.5 miles from our house that sells the most delicious milk in returnable glass bottles. The price has always been comparable to what you'd pay in a grocery store but the taste is far superior. In other words, there was never issue over where we would buy our milk, it was always: THE DAIRY.

However, now that Mr. Bean is gone, I find that the milk from the dairy, which can only be purchased in 1/2 gallon containers, often goes bad before I can finish it. Also, now I'm the only person running household errands, making a special trip to the Dairy for milk is sometimes inconvenient. Add in the recent press on the

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rising price of milk, and I decided it was time to re-visit the milk issue.

I use milk in my cereal, and occasionally will drink a glass or use it in baking or cooking. I always buy skim, but I'm not opposed to drinking soy milk instead of dairy milk. The options that are acceptable to me (with current prices / gallon):

Non-fat milk from the Dairy: ($3.00 / gallon)
Nonfat milk from grocery store : ($3.35 / gallon)
Soy milk ($5.98 / gallon)
Re-constituted non-fat dry milk: ($2.25 / gallon)

So, milk from the Dairy is cheaper and tastier. Unless it's a major obstacle to get to the Dairy, I'll definitely continue to buy liquid cow's milk at the Dairy rather than the grocery store.

But, is milk from the dairy really cheaper than soy milk?

I usually buy 8th Continent soy milk which comes in a 1/2 gallon container. Once it's in the fridge, it has a long refrigerator life. The packaging says to use with 7 days of opening, but I find that it lasts much longer. In addition, I often get 8th Continent save $1 on a 1/2 gallon coupons from the Sunday paper. This, when doubled by the grocery store effectively brings the price to $1.98 / gallon, thus making soy milk the least expensive option. When the soy milk is on sale, it's usually $2.49 / half gallon, so with the coupon I'd pay only $0.49 1/2 gallon or $0.98 / gallon.

Benefits of the non-fat drink milk are that I can mix it up a quart at a time, thus eliminating the risk of spoilage. Also, if I keep NFDM on hand, I can drink soy milk for liquid consumption, but will have cow's milk on hand for recipes.

In actuality, I'll probably end up using a mix of all 4 of the options outlined above. Since I don't really drink much milk, the cost savings of one over the probably doesn't amount to a very big hill of beans. My little analysis underlined the benefit of taking advantage of the $1 of soy milk coupons when they are available.

Great Coupons Deals!

July 30th, 2007 at 02:54 am

I had good luck with toiletry coupons at the grocery store today (the store doubles up to $1).

I got:

2 4-packs for Cottonelle Kids Toilet Paper for $0.62 ($0.31 a pack.. although now I have to use TP with

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little puppies and monkeys on it)

Secret Deodorant: $0.14

Old Spice Deodorant: $0.14

Tampax 20 count: $0.82

Skintimate Shave Gel: FREE

Degree Deodorant: FREE

As far as couponers go, I'd say I'm moderately into it. I stocked up on the deodorant since I happened to have good coupons for it and I'm down to my last roll (Mr. Bean is very brand loyal to Old Spice already has 2 rolls in queue). But now that I have enough deodorant to last us 8 months or so, I won't bother clipping deodorant coupons or going down that aisle until we're nearly out again. At that point, deodorant will go back on my radar.

I used to constantly scan of deals, but found it too time consuming and now only buy what we don't already have a little surplus of. The store does not allow you to use to duplicate coupons. I do have duplicates for the Tampax and the shave gel, so I may swing back into the store this week to pick up another of each (I'm having friend over for dinner on Wednesday so I'll probably need to pick up fresh salad fixings anyway). The shave gel isn't something I insist on using, but I like to have it. The bottle I bought today (for free!) is the only bottle I have at the moment. I find it goes on sale to the point I can get it for free only in the late summer/ early fall.

Celery: Aldi Style

April 15th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

I bought this celery from Aldi exactly one week ago:

Note to self: Aldi's great produce prices probably mean a shorter life once purchased. We were able to eat about half of the $0.99 purchase before it headed south for retirement.

I diced the remaining limp celery to freeze. I can through it in a soup or something.

Results of the Aldi Trip

April 12th, 2007 at 01:47 am

A few weeks ago I posted my planned Aldi shopping list
along with the prices according to a price list compiled by Amy
price list compiled by Amy at MomAdvice. Amyís prices were based off the August 2006 prices at her Indiana Aldi.

Below is a list of what I actually bought (minus the chocolate bars!) and the price I paid. Youíll notice some prices are the same as Amyís, but many are higher:

Whipped Topping: $0.75 each
Ground Turkey (85% lean): $0.79 / lb
Frozen Broccoli Cuts: $0.89 / 16 oz
Frozen Peas / Frozen Corn: $0.79 / 16 oz
Hummus: $1.69 / 8 oz
Low Fat Cottage Cheese: $1.79 / 24 oz
Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt: $1.39 / 32 oz
Not from Concentrate Orange Juice: $2.49 / 64 oz
Sliced Turkey Breast Meat: $2.99 / lb
Bananas: $0.39 / lb
Plums: $0.39 / each (I thought it was 0.39 / lbóso either me or the cashier made a mistake!)
Fresh Flat Leaf Spinach: $1.39 / 9 oz
Celery: $0.99 / bunch
Onions: $1.49 / 3 lb
Baby Carrots: $0.99 / lb
Multi- Color Pepper: $2.99 / 3 pack
Canola Oil: $1.79 / 48 oz
Canola Cooking Spray: $1.29 / can
Diced Tomatoes: $0.45 / 14.5 oz
Tomato Paste: $0.33 / 6 oz
Hazelnut Spread: $1.69/ 14.1 oz
Golden Raisins:$1.99 / 15 oz
Coffee: $4.49 / 39 oz

Things I didnít buy that I had planned to:

Pure Maple Syrup: In addition to the flavored syrup, they did have 100% Pure Maple Syrup for $3.79 / 8.5 oz. I bought some at a better price earlier in the week at the grocery store.

Eggs: I donít remember the price, but I know they were over $0.99, which was the going price at my typical supermarket that week

100% Whole Wheat Bread: There was hardly any bread when I visited the store and ZERO whole grain bread!

All in all, Iím very happy with the quality of the Aldi products. Itís fun to check out the bargains at a new store, but given that my local supermarket chain doubles coupons up to $1, I donít feel that making a special trip to Aldi is worth it aside from when my travels tae me in that direction.

Coupon Deals- Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Walk Away

April 6th, 2007 at 02:46 am

If your grocery store doubles coupons up to a $1.00 (like mine), then using coupons saves moneyóhands down!. The trick is to hold your coupons and wait until the grocery store has the item on sale. Typically this is 2 -4 weeks after the coupon was issued in the Sunday paper. Yes, there are a lot of coupons for processed foods. I donít even bother clipping those. But, there are definitely healthy foods that can be purchased with coupons. Below is a list of what I purchased this week:

Natureís Valley Granola Cereal (14 oz): $0.50
Caprelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil (25.5 oz): $3.99
2 x Newmanís Own Spaghetti Sauce (28 oz): $1.00
4 x Kraft Cheddar Cheese ( 8 oz) $1.00
4 x Juicy Juice (64 oz): $1.00
2 x Bumble Bee Pouch Tuna (3 oz): free
Quaker Oatmeal Breakfast Bars: free
Fruity Cheerios: free
Dreamfieldís High Fiber Pasta: free
Fantastik Spray Cleaner: free
Scott Toilet Tissue 4-Pack: free
Kleenex Anti Viral Tissue: free

The Quaker Breakfast Bars are an item I wouldnít typically pay for, but for free Iím sure theyíll get happily consumed on some hike or as a snack during a car trip. The Fruity Cheerios also arenít something Iíd typically pay for, but also wonít pass up for free! The coupons for both of these items were $1 off / 1 item. Knowing that itís possible these items could go on sale for $2, I clipped the coupons understanding that I would only use it if the item was at this price ($2) since it would be free after doubling. I held on for them for about 1 month, and then, viola! They were offered at the right price!

One of my preferred brands of spaghetti sauce is Francesco Rinaldi. The store often runs 10/ $10 sales on Francesco Rinaldi, so the Newmanís Own at $1 / jar isnít a great find. Still, itís nice to mix up the brands, especially for other high quality brands like Newmanís Own. Newmanís Own also has a Vodka sauce which Francesco Rinaldi doesnít (at least in the 10 / $10 deals).

I had planned to buy the Aldi version of Juicy Juice and cheese since Iíll be near the Aldi again this week, but with a coupon, the grocery store is still cheaper (Aldi Juicy Juice is $1.89 and 8 oz of cheddar is $1.39).

Gearing up for Aldi

April 1st, 2007 at 01:23 pm

Iím taking Mr. Bean to the train station tomorrow and will be passing Aldi on the way back (both are ~ 30 miles from our house).

Iíve used Amyís wonderful Aldi price list
to construct a list of items that we need /(or can store for use in the near future) and are cheaper than what I can purchase locally with a coupon.

I recently started keeping an Excel price book- so although itís still in infancy, it helped me pinpoint which items are significantly less at Aldi.

I should note that Amyís list was compiled in August 2006. I donít know if Aldiís prices vary regional, but these prices may not reflect what Iíll actually find at the store. For example, I already know the last time I bought cottage cheese there it was $2.28 for 24 oz, but Amy has it listed for $1.69 / 24 oz.

Hereís my list:

Pure Maple Syrup (this isnít on Amyís list, but I saw it there during my last trip. I donít remember the exact price, but I remember it was cheaper than the grocery store).

Eggs ($0.69 / dozen)

OJ ($1.69 / 64 oz., Iíll only buy this if itís not from concentrate)

Shredded Cheese (($1.69 / 12 oz)

Fresh Spinach ([if available] $1.29 / 9 oz)

Onions ($0.69 / 3#)

Multicolor Bell Peppers ($2.29 / 20 oz)

Canola Oil ($1.79 / 48 oz)

Dry Milk ($6.99 / 64 oz)

Hazel Nut Spread (1.69 / for a little piece of heaven)

Frozen Veggies ($0.69 / 16 oz)

Whipped Topping ($0.69 / 8 oz)

Ground Turkey ($0.79 / 16 ozóIíll only buy this if itís at least 85% lean)

Coffee *$3.29 / 39 oz)

100% Whole Wheat Bread ($1.29 / 1 loaf)

Lots and lots of tasty German Chocolate! (~ $0.99 / pound)

There are certainly other items that are a great deal at Aldi (ie. the flour is 40.89 / 5#! But I don't need any right now!)

Anything else you love to buy at Aldi? I enjoy poking around a new store and comparing prices. That will be half the fun for me!

Better Than a Whitman Sampler...

February 14th, 2007 at 01:28 am

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently made a trip to Aldi.

In addition to having low-cost food, Aldi is a FABULOUS source for inexpensive German chocolate.

Mr. Bean will be receiving this basket for Valentine's Day. All the chocolate is from Aldi.

There's a little over 1.5 pounds of various types of chocolate. The total cost was $6.75. Once you start eating German (or Swiss, or Austrian...) chocolate, American chocolate really loses its appeal.

Let's hope he'll share some with me!

Triple Coupons

February 10th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Itís Triple Coupon week in my neck of the woods! Youíre allowed to triple 6 coupons (up to $1). They swipe your store bonus card to make sure you donít triple more than 6 over the course of the week. My loot is pictured below. Iím pleased with what I got for $24.53.

The store was a zooóas is to be expected on a Saturday morning. I realized once I got home that I could have had made a few different coupon decisions for a slightly better deals, but cíest la vie. I didnít want to be in the store all day.

I checked out with:

2 pounds cornmeal
2 loaves whole wheat Pepperidge Farm Bread
1 bag Nestle Chocolate Chips
2-1.75 oz packages of M&Ms
2 jars Jif Peanut Butter
1-15oz can Lite Coconut Milk
3-28-oz cans Crushed Tomatoes
2-15.5oz cans black beans
2 -15.5oz cans Chick Peas
2 jars Oretga salsa
Organic Salad Mix
4-Pack Dannon Yogurt
1 pint Fat Free Half and Half
18 eggs
Olivo Butter Spray
Loreal Vive Shampoo (1) and Conditioner (1)
Swiffer Wet Jet Refill

When I clipped coupons this week I clipped everything and sorted them into piles of "Stuff I'd Buy" and "Stuff I Won't Buy" with the intent of sending the "Won't Buy" pile to overseas military families. The pile of coupons I wonít use was certainly larger than the pile I will use, but I have to disagree when people say they never see coupons for healthy stuff. Yes, youíll see some ice cream and M&Mís in this photo (I couldnít resist, I had a BOGO coupon and I thought the M&M's would be a nice treat for when we see movies on campus), but canned tomatoes, salsa, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, yogurt and organic salad? All these items get this nutritionistís stamp of approval and all were purchased with a coupon!