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food for thought: discount grocery chains

i mentioned yesterday in my 6 confessions that wade and i are REALLY trying to be smart w/ our money. we joined a new young married small group through our church and during the first meeting the conversation turned to dave ramsey's "total money makeover". well, we haven't completely committed (it costs money to take the course! ha.) but we did decide to get serious about all the budgeting "talk" and put in a plan for some budgeting "action".

we've decided to cut our weekly food budget. the challenge: spend no more than $40 a week on groceries + optional 1 meal out.

i have an old friend from college that has a weekly budget of $40 ... and she has 2 kids to feed. she's a coupon maniac, a meal planner - and my mom reminds me - "a full-time stay-at-home mom". either way, if she can feed 4 on 40 bucks a week ... that budget is completely doable for the 2 of us. ($40 x 52 weeks = $2,080 ... approx $173 a month!)

step 1) meal plan

wade and i sat down on sunday afternoon w/ our schedules for the week ahead and a few of my favorite recipe books. it's really easy for food to spoil before the two of us get to them (especially fresh veggies). so w/ a game plan, we know exactly what we need to pick up.

we decided we needed some basics for breakfast + 4 meals (we tend to eat leftovers for lunch). and based on our schedule - we decided to try out 2 new recipes and have 2 quick easy meals.

step 2) shop!

i saw a feature on the early show earlier this month about the rapid growth of discount grocery chains due to tough financial times. i had this misconception about them that they only sold hamburger helper and other prepackaged meals (no offense, hamburger helper) ... but w/ discounts on fresh fruits and veggies ... i decided to start at ALDI.

a bit about ALDI: almost 95% of their products are sold under exclusive ALDI select brands. on occasion, you will find a national brand at ALDI. these are usually “special buys” --- limited-time offers of products that score you huge savings, but are only available while supplies last.

the outcome:

i spent a total of $43.80 (yes - $3.80 over my budget). but i included deodorant and we haven't really decided if items for the house are included in our $40.

we also haven't decided what to do about wine purchases. yes - slightly a wino. come on tennessee and the legislation to sell wine in grocery stores ... momma needs some 2 buck chuck. (okay not an attempt to be political. i leave that to my husband over at his blog mundification.)

okay i have to admit - this was a very basic attempt to cut grocery spending. baby steps, people.

doing research on coupon clipping (ie. how to coupon shop w/out having to buy in bulk + how to coupon shop w/out making it your day job) + meal swaps (exciting!) + more. stay tuned.


a couple notes for shopping at ALDI:
* bring a quarter. the carts are a quarter for usage - though you get it back when you return the cart. an effort to keep spare carts out of the parking lot.

* an "excuse" to remember your recyclable bags ... plastic bags are 10cents each and paper bags are 6cents each. :)


Emily said...

Go to http://www.Hip2save.com. she is amazing about freebies and high value coupons!

Kendahl said...

So fun to read through your blogs because we are doing a LOT of the same stuff! We have been budgeting all along (Ramsey-ites here!) but we recently have revamped our grocery budget and are trying out E-Mealz. Our biggest issue is that we get it ruts and cook the same things over and over and we are about sick of some meals! So, though we don't love all of the recipes on the plan we chose, at least we are getting new things and can sub in for things we don't like. Also, they match up with the weekly sales at the store you choose, so they help you find those good deals! I, too, wish I could be a couponaholic, but have just found that it really is a full times job, and, well, I already have one of those! ha! Keep us updated on how it works for ya!

Mike said...

I love Aldi. They don't always have what you want, but if you're flexible it's great.

Ellen said...

It is a CRIME what Nekos & I spend on groceries. Good for you guys! My quandary is ... how to shop organically for less? UGH! I always say we can't go out to eat to save money but then I think we literally spend $200 week at the grocery store.

Leigh said...

Have to be honest (since you're my sisiter)....I think $40 a week is impossible. :) We live on a budget of 550 a month, shop at a military commissary, and still struggle to eat under our budget. I have no idea how your friend with 2 kids is doing it....especially if she is a stay at home mom. (Because she and the kids eat every meal at home.) But, sounds like a great goal. :) You'll have to let me know how you are doing.

Leigh said...

Whoops spelled sister wrong :)

a case of the mundays said...

i agree ... it's a very slim budget. luckily it's just wade and i right now. and we usually can make leftovers last a meal or 2 extra. i've started following some coupon chicks - and they kill me. they walk away w/ carts of food for 19 bucks. but that's a full-time job. so i'm getting creative. did you see my latest post on meal swaps? wish you were closer!!! someday!

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