Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Estimated Aldi budget

I've wanted for a long time to post one of my Aldi receipts to show how much I spend shopping there, and what I spend it on.  The trouble is that every time I go, there's something unusual going on and I don't buy all my usual stuff.  This time around, I skipped buying meat because we have a freezer full of pork from my in-laws, so I found another receipt with meat prices and marked down my usual amounts.  I also left a few purchases off -- because I buy things like kiwis or little yogurt cups or fancy cheese sometimes, but not every time.

This is the amount I normally buy for two weeks, feeding a family of five.  Like I said, it's typical and not the record of any specific grocery shop, but I know I spend around $160-180 pretty regularly.  I visit my other grocery store, Martins, only in emergencies (i.e. I forgot something important at Aldi) or to get things I can't get at Aldi, like unusual vegetables or seasonings.  I also only buy diapers at Martins -- Aldi carries plastic diapers, but only certain sizes, and they're also not the world's best diapers.  So in an average month I'll end up visiting Aldi twice and Martins twice, spending $230 at Aldi and maybe $30 at Martins.  A lot more than that at Martins if I am undisciplined ... it's much easier to blow $50 and not know where it went at Martins than it is at Aldi.  I mean .... they have scones!

So, my Aldi list.  I'm embarrassed because I've gotten very extravagant in the past year or two, but I want to share the prices I'm getting because I think they're great.

First aisle: luxury items, snack food, condiments, cereal -- $28.29

Multigrain cereal x2 @ 2.29
Wine x3 @ 3.99
Natural peanut butter 1.49
Pickles 1.49
Jam 1.49
Fair trade coffee 3.99
Kettle style potato chips 1.79
Animal crackers 1.49

The cereal is a new addition because I love cereal and I'm spoiled.  It's not frugal.  Frugal breakfasts are oatmeal, eggs, toast, or homemade goodies.  But cereal is easy and I can eat it when I'm a zombie.   Two boxes is the amount I eat in the week -- the kids eat other stuff for breakfast.  The wine and coffee are for John.  I buy coffee every three or four store trips -- he only drinks coffee at home on the weekends.

Refrigerated section $43.13

Sour cream 1.29
1 qt Greek yogurt 3.69
1 lb butter x3 @2.69
Sliced turkey 3.49
Regular bologna x 2 @ .95
Cheese (half pound) x 8 @ 1.89
Eggs x3 @ 1.45
Whole milk x2 @2.61

We eat a lot of cheese, as you can see.  Bologna is awful, I know, but it's cheap and the kids love it.  I buy yogurt these days because making yogurt is just too much for me still ... it seems like it should be easy, but it's not, right now.  (See also: the more you can do yourself, the less you spend!)  We are buying eggs right now because my parakeets are on vacation with a friend while John builds me a town-code compliant home for them.  Can't remember if I told you, but they are now (with quite a few caveats and red tape) legal!  That's $4.35 I'll be happy to stop spending, when I get them back.

Produce $32.58

Bananas 2lbs @ .29/lb = .58
Apples (3lbs) x 3 @ 3.99 = 11.97
10 lb russet potatoes x 2 @ 3.99
Roma tomatoes 1 lb 1.49
Iceberg lettuce 1.49
Yellow onions 1.99
Bagged fresh spinach 1.49
1 lb. carrots 1.29
Cucumbers x3 @ .44
Cabbage 1.49
Green peppers 1.49

Sometimes they also have avocados at a good price, or I get a squash or an eggplant or something.  John loves tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce, so I really have to buy those every time.  I can't cook dinner without at least half an onion.  And of course you can see we eat a massive quantity of potatoes.

Dry goods $46.56

Dog food 8.49
Cat food 7.99
Beef Stew x 4 @ 1.75
Gluten-free chicken soup 1.69
Canned chicken 1.69
Wheat bread x4 @ .99
Gluten free bread 3.99
Canned salmon 2.29
4 lb sugar 1.19
5 lb flour 1.49
Refried beans .79
Flour tortillas 1.19
Dry beans 1.99
Tomato sauce x4 @ .25
Diced tomatoes x4 @ .59
Macaroni noodles 1.45
3 lbs rice 1.49

I put both dog and cat food on here because I wanted to show the price.  These are huge bags, though, so it's more of a monthly expense.  I don't buy sugar or flour every time either.  Some weeks I buy olive oil, which goes for 2.99.  Unfortunately I didn't get the price down for tuna, because I am really stocked up on it and haven't bought it in ages, but it's like fifty cents.  Tuna and sardines are staples when you're trying to squeeze your pennies.

Frozen food $38.00

Broccoli 1.09
Veg blend x3 .95
Corn/peas x3 .95
3-lb ground beef roll 6.99
3-lb bag boneless chicken thighs x3 6.49
Whole chicken 5 lbs. @.95/lb

Meat is a bit tough to measure.  I used to budget one pound per dinner for the whole family, but they're eating more these days as they grow.  And of course a pound of beef is not the same as a pound of whole chicken, because the chicken has bones.  A whole chicken is good for two dinners, plus two or three quarts of stock for soup.  Each week we tend to have five meat dinners, one fish dinner (tuna or salmon), and one night of soup. 

Total: $188.56

As I said, that's high because I tried to include every purchase that I generally make - I want this to be informative about the prices you can get at Aldi.  But the amounts are roughly what we eat in two weeks except where I've mentioned.

I hope this is helpful.  People ask me a lot how I manage to feed my family on as little as I do (though, alas, it goes up and up) and I wanted to provide as much detail as I can.  If there's interest, I can also put up a meal plan (or rather, meal record, because I don't plan) showing what we eat with these ingredients.


Anonymous said...

Yes, would love some recipes & ideas on how to use grocery staples creatively and efficiently. I feel like I'm constantly at the store, and I'm constantly buying the same items over and over.
For instance, what are you doing with the canned salmon? Salmon patties? Chowder? Sandwiches?

Sheila said...

Usually salmon patties, but I also make a stovetop casserole with salmon, rice, onions, peas, sour cream, and cheese that's pretty good. Or sometimes I'll put salmon in a wrap for lunch along with some spinach.

The Sojourner said...

I have been meaning to do a grocery budget series but have been procrastinating because a) holidays and b) I am embarrassed that at least 50% of our veggie intake comes from tomato sauce. But I should anyway.

entropy said...

This makes me feel better! I have been feeling guilty that our grocery bill has gone up to 200 a week consistently for our family of 9, plus my dad, which makes ten.

we buy many of the same things as you and like, Sojourner, we use a lot of tomato sauce. :)

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