Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekly grocery update

I didn't go shopping on Tuesday as I usually do. We're shifting money around between accounts to have money ready to buy the house (if it all doesn't fall through) and didn't have any handy to buy groceries with. So I went today, not a good day for shopping (the traffic over the half mile to the store is ridiculous), but surprisingly didn't have any trouble getting it done and getting home again.

In the intervening week, we made two small shopping trips. On Sunday, we were having a party and I realized we needed carrots, cheese, and celery, so John got those at Wal-Mart. (I served shepherds' pie as planned, but twice as much, and then we ate leftovers the next night.) I told John before he left, "Don't get much cheese unless it's under 23 cents an ounce, because I can get it for that much at Shoppers." He came home with two pounds of cheddar that he found for 17 cents an ounce! We've been eating a lot of that this week, especially the baby. He sure does love cheese.

Then I went out again early in the week with the $8.86 I had in my bank account to take advantage of a St. Patrick's Day deal at Giant. They were selling corned beef for $1.50 a pound and cabbage for .29 a pound. So I got one of each, and we had quite a bit of corned beef and cabbage. In fact, we're having more of it tonight, this time as corned beef hash for variety's sake. I spent 8.25 or so and went home with less than fifty cents. I kind of like shopping with very little money on me ... it makes me much more careful not to spend too much.

So, here's what I got today at Aldi:

Whole milk (one gallon) 2.59
Sardines 2 cans @.79 each
Tuna 4 cans @ .52 each
Apricot preserves 1.49
Peanut butter (small jar) 1.49
Macaroni (1 lb) 1.49
Canned apricot halves .99
I am beginning to realize these are just one step up from candy, so I only bought one. The heat processing destroys all the vitamin C, so they don't "count" as fruit very well.
Butter (1 lb.) 1.79
Tomato sauce .25
Dish detergent 1.69
Ground beef (3 lbs) 5.99
Mixed frozen vegetables .99
Frozen corn 2 bags @.65 each
Frozen raspberries 2.89
These were such a huge hit with the baby that I bought them again. Funny that last time I thought they were a mistake. Getting a fruit that he enjoys, doesn't go bad, and can be served in tiny portions is definitely worth $2.89.
Chocolate ice cream 1.99
Frozen peas .89
Swiss cheese (half pound) 1.69
This is the only cheese I bought, because we still have about half a pound of cheddar left.
White bread .79
Green peppers 1.69
Grapefruit .49
Pears (2 lbs) 2.69
Pretzel sticks 1.29
Iceberg lettuce 1.49
Fresh mushrooms 1.69
Roma tomatoes 2.49
Eggs 1.09
Bananas (2 bunches) 1.37

TOTAL $47.45

I've decided I win at groceries if I can keep the cost under $50 a week. So all I need to do to make it a winning week is not to make any "quick trips" to the store for one or two things the way I did the past week.

I had a chance to price-compare a bit at other stores lately, and I'm realizing how incredibly cheap Aldi is. Milk for 2.59? It was 3.99 at Shoppers! And butter, 1.79 for a pound at Aldi, was over $3 at Shoppers too. Beef seems expensive at $2 a pound, but it's almost always more other places too. Other stores are useful if there's a great sale, or for things Aldi doesn't carry, but I am so glad to be able to do the majority of our shopping there. It helps that the baby can ride in the cart and so I don't have to try to hold him and bag groceries at the same time, like I did when he was smaller. I didn't much like it when I was pregnant either. But now it's no extra work.

So, thank you, God, for Aldi.

My only caveat to my praise for Aldi is not to go the day before restock day. For us that's Monday. I've gotten so many wilted, half-rotten vegetables there on Monday, and faced so many empty shelves, that I simply won't go on Mondays. It's also useful to check your produce carefully, because I've occasionally found a bad fruit or potato in a bag. That's easy to avoid, though. And, of course, don't get sucked in by the low prices on the packaged stuff. It is still cheaper to make it all from scratch. Plus, the stuff is even lower quality than usual: MSG is often the second or third ingredient, and very little is actual food. So leave the canned soup, the hot pockets, the alfredo sauce envelopes, and shop the edges.

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