When I was a teenager, I was trying to figure out where was the cheapest place to shop for groceries. Yes, you usually depend on your parents to buy your food and whatever you wish, but even at a young age I understood that my parents were living on my dad's income.... paycheck to paycheck. When I worked at 7-11 on 55th and Kostner, I had regular customers. They would always hang out at the store. One of the guys, talked ALOT. We got on the subject of food and I mentioned this place I just found out about, Aldi. He ranted and raved about how he would never shop there, the food was cheap because it was bad quality, and how he would rather spend more money at Jewel for "quality" food. I didn't see eye to eye with him because my parents were very hard-working but could only afford so much for food. So when they discovered Aldi it definitely kept more money in their wallets. I didn't see anything wrong with most of the food since my mom works miracles with anything in her kitchen.
Fast forward 13 years later and its the "2nd Great Depression." More and more people are spending much less, on the link card, shopping at dollar stores, going to thrift stores, or just saying I can go without instead of spending more money they cannot afford. We also have this super-couponing "craze" where some people spend hours clipping coupons or printing ones online. Then they spend more hours shopping around to make sure they get all they deals and sometimes making multiple trips to different CVS, Walgreens, or Target in their area.
I depend on 3 things: My local sales papers that come in the mail every Wednesday; maximizing sales by looking online if I can combine with any printable coupons; and ALDI. Even Aldi has their sales paper come every Wednesday! Plus if you have an Android, iPhone, or iPad you can download the Aldi app. This app is helpful especially if you have a young puppy that loves to chew on paper! The Aldi app tells you the sales for the current week and the following week. It also will help you shop by giving you an approximate total on the current products in your virtual shopping cart.
I made up my list for Aldi and went shopping on Wednesday November 2nd. STICKING to your list will help you save money. They call it an "impulse buy" for a reason! Here is what I walked away with for UNDER $15:
White Bread .89
2% Milk 1 gal 1.99
Protein Cereal Bar 1.69
Smoked Ham 3.29
2L Cola .59
Sandwich Sliced Pickles 1.29
BBQ Potato Chips 11oz 1.39
Baby Carrots 1.29
Lynder Sliced Cheese .99
Wonder Bread Classic White 2.99 buy one get one free
2% 1 gal Milk 3.49
Kellogg's Meal Bars 4.99
Oscar Mayer Ham Lunch Meat 4.99
Lays Potato Chips 4.29 buy one get one free
Baby Carrots 2.99
Kraft Singles 3.49
$25.32 (not including tax)
Comparing the two stores, you save $12!! That is $12 extra dollars in my gas tank! Just because its a name brand food doesn't mean its better. Yes there are some things I won't go generic on like Sun-Chips. The Aldi version just doesn't compare. But since I am eating healthier anyway, I shouldn't worry. Talking about 5-10 minutes just to make out a list, checking out what is ALREADY in your fridge or pantry will save you time at the store and also in your wallet!