Groceries: Aldi, Publix, Save-A-Lot, Winn-Dixie

It probably seems like the only thing I do is go to the grocery store, lately! I do in fact have other things occupying my time, but it’s really helpful for me to record this information, so it tends to be the thing I manage to post even when I’m a bit too busy to share much else.

Anyway, I went to ALL the stores on Sunday after we returned from our vacation. I really stocked up. I will only need to do a small shop this weekend, mostly just to pick up a few things that are on a good sale at Winn-Dixie and Publix this weekend. Maybe milk and bananas the last weekend of the month. And that will be it for August! You’ll see at the end that I’m about $45 under budget so far this month — should be the perfect amount to wrap it up.

As a reminder, we are a household of two adults, no children. My grocery budget does include toiletries and similar household items, but not pet supplies, which have their own budget. My goal is to stay at or under (preferably under) $300. This is a reduction of 25% from last month’s (and earlier in the year) budget, primarily because of ways our shopping has changed. I think this may be a bit of a challenge, especially factoring in toiletries. But I want to make it happen!

Aldi 081416

Aldi

  1. Grape tomatoes, 3 pints @ $.99/pt
  2. Blueberries, 1 pint @ $1.49
  3. Mini cucumbers, 1 lb @ $.99
  4. Red onions, 2lbs @ $1.69
  5. Green onions, 1 pck @ $.99
  6. Tri-color peppers, 2 pcks @ $2.79/ea
  7. Queso fresco, 1 wheel @ $2.49
  8. Avocados, 2 @ $.89/ea
  9. Bananas, 3.76lb @ $.44/lb
  10. Mushrooms, 2 8oz pks @ $1.29/ea
  11. Cantaloupe @ $.99
  12. Honeydew @ $.2.49
  13. Lemons, 1 bag @ $2.79
  14. Limes, 1 bag @ $.99
  15. Bread, 1 loaf @ $1.29
  16. White vinegar, 1L @ $.79
  17. Quart freezer bags @ $1.99
  18. Sriracha ketchup @ $2.39
  19. Olive oil @ $3.49
  20. Toilet paper, 12 rolls @ $4.49 (not pictured)
  21. Snack size peanuts @ $.59 (not pictured)

TOTAL: $42.17

The Aldi where I shop is in a plaza with a Target, a Michaels and a Home Goods. I usually shop there on a weekday morning or later evening. This week I remembered why I avoid shopping on the weekends if at all possible. The parking lot was NUTS. I had to park really far away, which I don’t mind except it becomes interesting with a grocery cart. But worse than finding a parking spot was navigating all the other drivers and shoppers. Ugh. Anyway, I stocked up on lots of produce at Aldi this week. We were out of onions, so grabbed a couple of bags of those. I had/have specific plans for everything, although some of them have changed given how busy I ended up being and how far I ended up deviating from the meal plan. I should have bought the queso fresco at Save A Lot; they had a greater variety and were a little cheaper, but I couldn’t remember the Aldi price when I was there so I guess I’ll know for next time. This is the first time the grape tomatoes have been on sale at Aldi and also looked really good so I grabbed a few packs. The cantaloupe was pretty dry, but the honeydew was amazing. They were out of protein bars, unfortunately. IĀ  really like those and wanted to grab a few boxes to stock up before school. Next time, I guess. Finally, I’d been out long enough that I was starting to get hungry so grabbed a snack pack of peanuts to tide me over.

Publix 081416

Publix

  1. Spinach, 1lb @ $3.49
  2. Dukes Mayo, 2 30oz jars @ $4.49/ea (BOGO + 2 $.55/1 coupons)
  3. Crystal Light, 4 jars @ $3.79/ea (BOGO)
  4. Ground black pepper @ $1.79
  5. Raspberries, 4 oz @ $2.00

TOTAL: $18.14 (includes tax)

  1. Pringles, 1 can @ $1.50
  2. Italian sub, whole @ $7.79

TOTAL: $9.84 (includes tax)

Publix was my last stop. By which point I was really tired and could not fathom cooking. So I splurged on a sub and some chips; I’ve listed them here but they actually fall into the takeout budget. I love Publix subs. This trip was mostly to take advantage of some BOGO deals. I love Dukes so wanted to grab them as we are running out of the jar the fridge. Crystal Light is a guilty indulgence that helps curb my desire for soda. I needed some already ground pepper for recipes that call for a large quantity. I think the cheapest is maybe going to be the large jar from Save-A-Lot, but this was the cheapest smaller jar (all were a comparable size). Spinach is for salads and smoothies; raspberries because I love them.

Save A Lot 081416

Save-A-Lot

  1. 1% milk, half gal @ $2.19
  2. Russet potatoes, 8lbs @ $2.99
  3. Italian parsley, 1 bunch @ $.50
  4. Yellow onions, 3lbs @ $1.99
  5. Fideos, 2 6.4oz bags @ $.25/ea

TOTAL: $8.17

It’s been a while since I’ve shopped at Save-A-Lot. For a long time there wasn’t a store close to our home and I’d stop by whichever location I happened to be near on a day I worked. But I got tired of that because, unfortunately, many of those stores were not well maintained and in general the food didn’t seem to be of great quality. About six months ago a Save-A-Lot opened close to our home. I was over it by that time and just never made it a priority to get there, until this week. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The store is quite nice and tidy and I don’t have the same dubious feeling about the fresh foods that I did in the other locations. I’m also a little depressed; the other stores were in less nice neighborhoods with a larger population of low-income folks. Sometimes the Save-A-Lot was the only store in that area. It’s depressing to think that the stores were so poorly maintained on a regular basis and this was the only option. A number of factors go into this, but still, depressing…

Anyway, reflections on economic disparities aside, I spent quite a while checking out what they had available, despite only buying a few things. I knew that I could probably get potatoes in a larger bag for a slightly better price at Aldi, but 8lbs is about the limit of what we can eat before the potatoes go bad. The fideos pasta was cheaper here than at Aldi; I haven’t made fideos in a while, but we really like it. It’s kind of pasta with Spanish rice flavorings. I was happy to see that they had 1% milk in half gallons. It irks me that non-organic half gallons aren’t available at Aldi and they never have 1% in the organic versions. Great price on the parsley and I use it in lots of dishes. Again, needed onions and these were a good (but not great — I miss 3lbs for 99 cents) price. I had hoped to pick up some peaches and plums here since they were on sale for $.95/lb, but they were pretty picked through by the time I was there.

Winn Dixie 081416

Winn-Dixie

  1. Jiffy corn bread mix, 3 box @ 3/$1.00
  2. Peaches, 2.05lbs @ $1.25/lb
  3. Black plums, 1.42lbs @ $1.25/lb
  4. Red cabbage, 2.1lbs @ $1.00/lb
  5. Green beans, 1.06lbs @ $1.25/lb
  6. Zucchini, 1.38lbs @ $1.25/lb
  7. Sweet corn, 3 ears @ 3/$.90
  8. Baby carrots, 2lbs @ $2.00

TOTAL: $8.28

Since I wasn’t able to find good peaches and plums at Save-A-Lot I picked some up at Winn-Dixie, which was also having a good sale on them. The red cabbage was for a specific dish. The other vegetables were all good prices for veggies we eat regularly. The Jiffy mix was a splurge but it will come in handy. I need to get cornmeal anyway, so I’ve put that off for a bit. Winn-Dixie is back to having some decent weekend sales, so I may start shopping on Sunday, even though it is a pain.

Weekly Total: $76.76

Monthly Total: $253.64

Remainder: $46.36

 

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6 thoughts on “Groceries: Aldi, Publix, Save-A-Lot, Winn-Dixie

  1. I used to shop on Sundays all the time so i could get the “freebies” from CVS and Walgreens before they all ran out and ugh, it was horrible. It seems that everyone shops on Sundays! Nowadays I try avoiding going anywhere a store on the weekends, unless Greg and I decide we want sushi/fried chicken from Publix because I don’t feel like cooking. Not the best days to get sushi but we always crave it on a weekend! Maybe you can go early on Sunday morning, before the crowds are out and about?

    I also had a bad experience (again!) with cantaloupe from Aldi, I had to compost mine because the flesh was hard (yet it WAS ripe) and tasted chemical. It wasn’t spoiled at all, which was odd because it’d been sitting on my kitchen table for quite a few days. I think I’ll skip buying it from now on.

    The Save A Lot produce is hit or miss with their quality but sometimes they have better deals than Aldi and their hispanic food section is much better, IMO. Because they do cater to lower economic classes, they carry produce and cuts of meats that you wouldn’t find at Aldi. The state of the stores never bothered me much. Ours is alright. Winn Dixie, in comparison, has been far worse. I haven’t been there in a while. I look at their ads once in a while but it’s never such great deals compared to Aldi or Save A Lot that I absolutely have to go there. I do get Greg’s whiskey at their liquor store, though.

    We’re getting a Bulk Nation in October! I’m unreasonably excited about it, although I’m not sure that it’ll be worth going more than once a year, lol. But I was just lamenting on the lack of bulk stores in my area so that makes me happy. Plus they have coupons on their website and monthly sales, everything to keep me interested.

    Your Aldi was out of protein bars? Mine had them this week but maybe I’ll stock up on a few boxes this coming week that way Greg won’t run out when he comes home.

    You did very well staying under your budget, Laura! Kudos!

    1. I’m a bit jealous that you are getting a bulk store. I wish we had one that was open to the general public.

      Save-A-Lot does have a great hispanic section. And I should amend my statement. It was really one of the two Save-A-Lots that I had previously used that was really awful; the other one was just far away. At any rate, I am happy to have this one close to me! For us, Winn Dixie is hit or miss. The stores around us are pretty nice but I have been into a few that are much less so. They sometimes have weekend sales that are really great deals (I stopped by today, actually) and that is what I really like. I also have to say that their produce section is usually pretty nice and sometimes has a little more variety on some things than Publix.

      I did go early this morning and it wasn’t so bad. Also to only two stores, so that makes everything easier, too. I think I will start shopping on Wednesdays again once my schedule settles down in a couple of weeks.

      I’m pleased that we were able to keep to our budget (although I will have to share the eating out amount…we definitely went into the extra $$$ that I rolled over from groceries this month…). But, thanks! It definitely seems doable going forward!

  2. Wow Laura. I am always so impressed with the amount of fresh veggies and fruit you buy on your shopping trips. You must eat it all because you keep buying large amounts. Good for you. I am extremely lucky to be able to grow a lot of it during the summer. Two cucumber plants and two zucchini plants are just enough for the two of us to get through; but I am happy to be able to freeze beans and tomatoes that are too much for fresh eating. You have done very well with your first month on a reduced budget. Was toilet paper your only non-grocery item this month?

    1. Thanks Susan! We do eat quite a bit of fruit and veggies. Sometimes stuff gets lost, but I really try to not have that happen so much (we went through a bad time when I worked WAY too much and all the groceries I bought just went to waste — I don’t ever want to get to that point again). I occasionally dream of a garden but I have not been too successful here in Florida. I love to see the pictures you post of the beautiful veggies you grow!

      I bought some body wash while on vacation and some plastic freezer bags, but most of my purchases this month were food. I do need to pick up some toiletries and other stuff this coming month, so I’ll be curious to see how that all works out. I don’t love couponing but I did stock up on hair products a year or so ago and haven’t needed to buy anything since then (and still have quite a bit left).

  3. I feel like I spend a lot of time shopping, planning meals and executing them, too. šŸ™‚

    It looks like you have great finds here and did a fabulous job of staying on budget. When you get home do you go ahead and prep your veggies for the week? I don’t always, but I find that when I do prep them I tend to grab them and use them up much faster. It always means less waste for us. My current goal is to get to as little waste as possible.

    1. I prep some things sometimes. šŸ˜‰ The worst is when I prep something and then realize that I don’t need as much as I prepped. Those items tend to get forgotten and since I’ve washed and/or cut them they tend to go bad quickly. I’m always working on that balance. I too would like to achieve as little food waste as possible.

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