Groceries: Aldi, Walmart

I know I just posted about groceries, but…this is kind of my real first stock up trip for the month of September. And with all that I bought and all that I have on hand, I should be good for about two weeks. I may have to stop in for some more milk, but otherwise this should tide us over. Do you keep a general idea of how much of your monthly budget you want to spend each week or do you just look at that lump sum and work with that number primarily? I do a little of both, I think, but am more influenced by the larger number than worrying over whether or not I meet my weekly target. If I worried about my weekly target, I’d be sitting here sweating, as it’s only the 5th day of the month and I’ve already spent almost half of my budget. But. As I said, we have a lot of food on hand and…it’s just a lot easier for me to shop somewhat unevenly, either because I’m stocking up due to sales or just because I prefer to shop large one week and then only pop out for a small amount of items the next. Anyway, on to the items purchased. I went to Aldi and Walmart this week.

As a reminder, we are a household of two adults, no children. I aim for mostly whole foods, although not usually organic. I have a weakness for salty things and sparkling drinks. 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.

Aldi 90316 2

Aldi, 9/3/16

  1. Tajin seasoning, 1 jar @ $2.39
  2. Natural creamy peanut butter, 16oz jar @ $1.49
  3. Onion powder, 1 jar @ $.99
  4. Protein bars, 2 boxes @ $1.99/ea
  5. Linguine, 2 1lb boxes @ $.99/ea (these should have been $.69/ea…I need to correct that on my next visit)
  6. Crispy rice cereal, 1 box @ $1.39
  7. Chunk light tuna (sustainably caught) 5 cans @ $.99/ea
  8. Brown sugar, 2 2lb bags @ $1.29/ea
  9. Half and half, 1 qt @ $1.89
  10. Eggs, 3 doz @ $.69/ea
  11. Pineapple greek yogurt cups, 4 @ $.65/ea
  12. Plain yogurt, 32oz @ $1.49

Aldi 90316

Aldi, 9/3/16

  1. Tri-color bell peppers, 2 pks @ $2.79/ea
  2. Mini cucumbers, 1lb @ $1.99
  3. Navel oranges, 3lbs @ $2.89
  4. Seedless watermelon, 1 @ $2.89
  5. Yellow onions, 3lbs @ $1.89
  6. Paper bags, 4 @ $.24

TOTAL: $43.00

This trip to Aldi was a combo of restocking some staples and also getting some fresh foods we needed/wanted. Michael really liked the pineapple Greek yogurt so I was happy to pick up some of those. Next time I will pick up more — I just need to double check the expiration date on them (I am willing to eat yogurt a few days after the expiration date, Michael not so much). No kefir so I picked up some plain yogurt for me; I will get more kefir elsewhere but I want this for my granola anyway. I didn’t get the Greek variety as I think I like a runnier yogurt, actually. I add the rice cereal to my granola and homemade granola bars and it adds a really great texture. The protein bars are just a good snack and great for me to take on the go. I got natural peanut butter this time; I go back and forth on this issue quite a bit but today I was feeling like natural was the way to go. I didn’t realize that I had been overcharged for the linguine and I’m wondering, actually, if their sign is incorrectly marked. I would not have bought it at $.99 since I can pick it up at Publix or Winn-Dixie for less than that when it goes on BOGO. Not a huge deal, but kind of annoying.

I have made my peace with liking to have peppers and cucumbers (and mushrooms, but I had them still from my last trip) pretty much always on hand. So even though this isn’t the best price I’ve seen for them at Aldi, this is still significantly cheaper for these items than anywhere else. Oranges and watermelon for snacking (the oranges are good!) and onions because I always need onions. I feel like I used to be able to find onions on sale for 3lbs for $.99 but I rarely see that sale anymore so I guess that is one item that has seen a more permanent price increase. Onions, carrots and celery are three produce items that I keep on hand always and it’s been interesting to me that they all seem to have reached a higher price point recently.

I went after work on Saturday and drove through the worst rain I have ever experienced. Cars were slowed to less than 40mph on I95 and visibility was terrible. I hydroplaned at one point and that was SCARY. By the time I got off the interstate and pulled into the Aldi parking lot my nerves were shot. I had to sit in the car hoping for a break in the rain before running inside. Of course I left my bags in the car and I did not feel like trying to bag at the car in the rain. Why I chose paper bags on a rainy night is a mystery but they held up.

Walmart 090516

Walmart, 9/6/16

  1. Ivory body wash, 32oz @ $4.47
  2. Medium trash bags, 24ct @ $3.34
  3. 409 cleaner, 1 bottle @ $2.88
  4. Sparkling water, 2 12 packs @ $2.98/ea

Walmart 090516_2

Walmart, 9/6/16

  1. Cocoa roasted almonds, 1.5lbs @ $11.68
  2. Beef bouillon, small jar @ $1.64
  3. Sazon sin achiote (without annato), 1 jar @ $2.08
  4. Yellow mustard, 20oz @ $.76
  5. Kefir, 2qts @ $2.67/ea
  6. KA unbleached all-purpose flour, 10lbs @ $6.23
  7. Twizzlers, 1 bag @ $1.50
  8. Strawberries, 3lbs @ $5.42

Total: $53.39

I didn’t buy any toiletries last month so really needed to pick up body wash especially. The sparkling water is my concession to my love of bubbles but an attempt to stay away from actual soda (I would be tempted to buy diet dr. pepper and I really do not need caffeine in the afternoon/evening). Theoretically I’m only going to take these to campus but we’ll see how my resolve holds up. I was super excited to see the strawberries; it’s not the best price but they looked a lot better than the ones I’ve seen at Aldi lately. They are really good (have already completed a taste test). I needed the beef bouillon and the Sazon for some recipes and thought Walmart would have them (this particular kind of Sazon hasn’t been anywhere else that I’ve looked). The almonds are another treat for between classes; they are kind of expensive but so good. I’m not sure that buying a large bag really saved me much money over the 100 calorie packs but at least I will have less waste. I prefer unbleached flour and actually thought Walmart would have the Gold Medal brand but apparently I have to order that from the website or something. So I went with the pricier King Arthur, which is a brand I love so I’m not complaining! And I also think that this price is comparable to the price for the same product at BJs, so that’s a win. Aldi didn’t have any plain or vanilla kefir on my last couple of trips so I went ahead and picked up two bottles while I was at Walmart today, which should last me a couple of weeks.

Weekly Total: $96.39

Remaining Budget: $156.33

As I mentioned in the intro — I’m only on the 5th day of the month and already about half way through my budget. I’m not too worried, though, as the bulk of what I bought this weekend will extend beyond the next week and even into next month, probably, in the case of the flour, the brown sugar and the seasonings. Also, I don’t have a formal meal plan for this week, but I’m thinking about making the following things:

  • Pot Roast w/Veggies (crockpot)
  • Pasta with Pesto, Salad
  • Black Beans and Rice, Grilled Vegetables
  • Chicken Burrito Bowls or Oven Fajitas
  • Pasta with Peppers and Sausage
  • Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers
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10 thoughts on “Groceries: Aldi, Walmart

  1. You had a true haul this week! I generally look at the month rathe than the week for my budget, but with this 200 month challenge I am just doing a week to week challenge. It is getting more and more difficult as I run out of and have to replace staples.

    1. Yes, I think $200/month would definitely be a challenge. For me the part that would make me nervous about a budget that low is that I don’t think I’d feel like I was ever ahead. Especially if I was starting out with pretty bare cupboards to begin with — I could probably sustain that budget now and do well because of how much I have on hand. But starting with very little (since that is your exercise, right?) and then trying to both feed people now and maybe stock up a little for the future would be overwhelming. I can see how it very easily becomes a cycle of stress and going right to the line.

  2. Hydroplaning is scary! I’m glad you’re OK! I laughed at your buying paper bags while it was pouring outside. Too funny. Why didn’t you just bag your groceries when you were back at your car? Do you have a sedan? I have an SUV so the trunk door acts as an umbrella, something that’s useful when it’s raining and I need to load up the trunk. I shall miss that when I downsize to a smaller car.

    I noticed that my Walmart’s flour department was quite bare as well, aside from the King Arthur flour. I wonder if it has to do with the salmonella recall that Gold flour had recently. It was only for certain varieties, and I can’t recall whether unbleached flour was included or not. But I’m pretty sure I bought unbleached from Walmart before. With the big push to offer groceries pick-up (both Walmarts in my area have started offering this free service where you order your groceries online and then you go wait in your car in a pick-up lane and they bring everything to you, without any additional cost… which just really means that all of us are going to be paying more for groceries at Walmart!), I wonder if that is what is impacting their in-store stock too.

    It’s weird how some people are stickler for “sell by” dates. We don’t pay attention to sell-by dates on yogurt. I tend to buy a lot more than I should. every week. so even though I try to “rotate” the stock, the truth is all the cups are thrown in the meat drawer at the bottom of the fridge and Greg picks whatever he wants. So it’s conceivable that some cups might have been in there for several weeks. I see it as a fermented food that can only be good for your gut, you know? LOL. Now we’re almost out of it because I have been eating it while he was in OH without buying more so I’m ready to stock up again.

    As for my budget, well I don’t want to spend more than $100 per week but if I do, it doesn’t matter all that much as we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. But I typically stay well under that number by trying to actually spend only about $50 per week out of pocket. Yes, we could afford to spend more, but I don’t see why we should. Spending more on food won’t make us any happier and I’d only have to cook more, I guess. We’re happy with the amount of food we get for what I spend and with the meals that I cook. I don’t roam the aisles with a calculator. I do write my shopping list in a Google Sheet that I can access from my phone, in which I’ve already plugged the prices and coupons that I plan on using so if I stick to my list, I’m always under $50. It gets trickier when I have impulse buys (like meat or produce on clearance) or when I’ve forgotten to add something to the list. On that note, thanks for mentioning the Crispy Rice cereal because I had forgotten to add it to my list for this week!

    1. I was really out of it by the time I got to the store on Saturday. I walked out into the rain with my paper bags and just had to roll my eyes at myself. Ha. I do have a sedan, so no coverage for me, unfortunately.
      I am way more relaxed about expiration dates and Michael isn’t as fussy as he was before marrying me (ha), but I’d rather have him asking for more than me throw out leftoever cups, so I think I’m going to err on the side of caution for now.
      You always do fantastic with your budget! I’m pretty good about sticking somewhat to a list — I find that Aldi requires some flexibility. It’s interesting; I find that I actually spend a little more when I am more serious about couponing because I get caught up in deals and so on. And then I want to buy all the produce anyway on top of that so it just didn’t end up working so well for me. I do use a calculator, though! Because it helps me make better decisions about how many of a good deal I really need to purchase and so on.

  3. You probably realize by now that I go by monthly instead of weekly. I stock up for the month at the beginning of the month, buy a gift card for incidentals and use the remainder of the budget for items I have forgotten or for great sales on specific items. As the month goes on, I have less and less to spend, so I make a lot of use of my pantry and freezer and plan my meals accordingly. We very rarely eat out.

    You did great this week Laura. The onions and peppers look wonderful. Some nights I just start frying onions and/or peppers and hope by the time they are translucent, I will have thought of something else to cook. *laugh* Nearly everything I cook starts with sauteed veggies.

    1. Yes, sauteed onions are a pretty big part of most of my meals, too. Sometimes Michael will wander into the kitchen and tell me how good dinner smells, when all I’ve done is started sauteing an onion. I love peppers. In all ways, although probably grilled and raw are my favorites.

      I’ve thought about doing something like bi-monthly shops, but that sort of happens anyway so I guess I have a decent enough situation! I like the idea of buying a gift card for incidentals.

  4. I hate driving in the rain! I guess it’s a good thing it doesn’t rain too much here, in So. Calif. You did well with your grocery shopping. I budget for the month and don’t hold myself to keeping to a weekly amount. Some weeks I buy a lot and stock up. Other weeks, I don’t buy as much. As long as I keep to my monthly budget ($75 for food only for 1 person; $100 if my daughter is visiting for over 1 week), I’m happy.

    1. Yes, that’s me, too. Also I tend to spend more in the beginning but then am able to cut back later in the month because I usually still have things left from earlier trips that I want/need to use up.

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