Groceries: Aldi, Publix

Ok. This month has been a little chaotic, what with the storm and me feeling barely on top of things at the beginning of the month, having just returned from a trip. I shopped a couple of times early on at Publix just to keep our heads above water and also as a bit of storm prep. They’re listed at the end of the post and not really great deals, but the convenience of only running into one store on my way home from work can beat out a lot of other things sometimes.

For the past couple of months our grocery budget has been about $300/month. Before that it was $400/month. This includes toiletries and paper products, which I think I need to change. I also came back from my week away really reflecting on how I want my food dollars to be spent; beyond just keeping to a mostly whole foods diet, are there ways that I can support a more environmentally friendly and/or humane outlook in what I purchase with the money I have? I don’t know. I’m also not sure how far I’m willing to extend my budget beyond where it already is…but these are things in my head. This is all a very long-winded way of saying that for the rest of the year I don’t have a set budget per se, but plan to track grocery and household spending and think more intentionally about those purchases. It’s a little funny — I thought I’d be all gung ho to make these changes asap, but the price difference is sometimes not a little thing and I get a bit hung up! So for now I’m mostly not buying meat — we have plenty in our freezer and that gives me space to figure out just how I want to handle that component of my shopping. I’m still buying cheap eggs; that may change.

I thought I’d try organizing my food by type, like Nathalie does, and then share totals at the end as a summary.

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Dairy

  • Ice cream, 4 half gallons @ $4.50/ea (but BOGO)
  • Eggs, 2 oz @ $.69/ea
  • Sour cream, 16 oz @ $1.19
  • Sharp cheddar slices, 7oz @ $1.99
  • Greek yogurt, 6 cups @ $.65/ea

The ice cream often goes on sale for 2 for $7, but the BOGO of 2 for $4.50 is a much better price! I’d rather have a small bowl of ice cream every now and then than lots of low fat/low cal treats all the time, so I stocked up. This stuff lives in the garage freezer so requires a bit of effort when we want a bowl. I find those few extra steps help us reconsider how badly we really want a thing.Eggs — like I said, this is one area where my transition may be slower. We do eat kind of a lot of eggs as snacks or for breakfast, not to mention that I use them when baking. Sour cream is for the mushroom stroganoff I planned to make with the mushrooms that I also bought and the cheese is because the sandwich slices are much easier to make grilled cheese with that the block or shredded cheese. And we’re just about finished with the big 2lb block I bought at BJs over the summer.

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Pantry & Misc.

  • Apple cider, 1 gal @ $2.99
  • Organic applesauce, 1 jar @ $1.99
  • Egg noodles, 1lb @ $1.29
  • Cornichons, 2 jars @ $1.49/ea
  • Tomato sauce, 8 cans @ $.25/ea
  • Kidney beans, 4 cans @ $.49/ea
  • Cantina style chips, 2 bags @ $1.19/ea
  • Wheat crackers, 1 box @ $1.69
  • Panko bread crumbs, 1 box @ $1.29
  • Golden raisins, 1 box @ $2.69

Ok. After the storm I realized that much as I like making beans from scratch, some canned beans would be very convenient in the case of a power outage, particularly one that is long term and that would require use to think about fuel use. I’ll be picking up a different variety each week. I also knew I was out of tomato sauce and that is a staple in my kitchen. The cornichons were a bit of an impulse but I really do love them and they are especially nice with the salami and sharp provolone. I also grabbed the applesauce because I want to make some recipes that use it and prefer to not use my homemade in that case. Egg noodles are for the mushroom stroganoff — I couldn’t remember if I had any in the pantry and just decided to buy a bag because I also have been craving cabbage and noodles so I know they’ll get used. Crackers are something I like to have on hand and the other items are seasonal buys at Aldi that I wanted to take advantage of. I was excited especially about the Panko crumbs as there are a few recipes I’ve wanted to try that call for them and I didn’t have any on hand.

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Produce

  • Zucchini, 24oz @ $1.49
  • Acorn squash, 1 @ $1.69
  • Butternut squash, 1 @ $1.69
  • Yellow potatoes, 5lbs @ $1.89
  • Yellow onions, 9lbs @ $2.37
  • Bartlett pears, 10.74lbs @ $.99/lb
  • Mushrooms, 4 80z pks @ $.69/ea
  • Honeycrisp apples, 3.11lbs @ $1.99/lb

I was so excited to see the price on the onions. Isn’t that an odd little hang-up I have? I bought three bags which should last a good while. I also bought some of the squash because I love winter squash and I’m excited that it’s in season. The price on zucchini was really good and I like it for a side with a lot of different things. The mushrooms are a perennial favorite and at $.69/pack I bought plenty. I used the last of the red potatoes in the crockpot curry I made last weekend, so needed more for mashed potatoes to accompany our ham roast. I bought a ton of pears to make pear butter with (I’ll use this for us and also to give as gifts) and the apples are because we snack on fruit like it’s going out of style. πŸ˜‰

Aldi Total: $41.61

Publix Total: $26.68

The Aldi trip ended up being more of a stock up trip than I had originally planned, but I am pretty happy with all that I bought. I’ve already used all the mushrooms and we have only a few apples left from this trip and the ones mentioned below, so I’ll need to stock up on more fruit again soon. Nobody had decent looking bananas when I went out, so hopefully I can find a bunch on my next trip. Otherwise my next trip or two should be pretty minmal.

Now, on to the trips at the very beginning of the month:

Publix Trip #1

  • Bananas, 2.33lbs @ $.59/lb
  • Trash bags (4gal), 1 box @ $3.29
  • Envy apples, 1,95lbs @ $2.99/lb
  • Spinach, 1lb @ $2.99
  • Gala apples, 1.85lbs @ 1.69/lb
  • Broccoli, 1 bunch @ $2.00
  • Cauliflower, 1 head @ $2.00
  • Bartlett pears, 2.88lbs @ $.99/lb
  • Deli pepperoni, .5lb @ $4.23
  • Deli salami, 1lb @ $5.93
  • Deli sharp provolone, .5lb @ $5.19
  • Bagel thins, 2 pks @ $3.99 (BOGO)

Total: $43.04

This shop included about $15 in deli meat and cheese that I intended to make into stromboli. But with the storm and general busyness, that didn’t happen. We definitely have been enjoying the meat and cheese, so it’s not going to waste. And I have a lot of pepperoni which I will use at some point this weekend to make a pizza or two. The cauliflower went into a very large batch of slow cooker chicken curry (so good). We just ate the broccoli last night with mushroom stroganoff. Michael really loves the envy apples, so those were a bit of a treat for him. As usual lots of fruit for snacking. The pears were delicious!

Publix Trip #2

  • Organic milk, half gal. @ $4.59 (!!!!)
  • Frozen limeade concentrate, 2 cans @ $1.99/ea
  • Tuna pouches, 4 4oz @ $1.43/ea
  • Kitchen sponges, 1 pk @ $2.50
  • Publix cocktail peanuts, 1 can @ $2.49
  • Cat treats, 1 bag @ $2.67
  • Dishwasher cleaner, 1 box @ $3.29
  • Corona, 6 pk @ $8.29
  • Tortilla chips, 1 bag @ $2.00

Total: $36.99

It was maybe dumb to buy milk right before the storm, but the half gallon in our fridge had gone prematurely bad and I wanted milk to go with the chocolate chip cookies I planned to make. I also had a craving for beergaritas and thought it might be fun to have our own little “hurricane party” so picked up beer and limeade for that. We’re not big drinkers, so there is still quite a bit of beer left (I figured out how to make them by the glass as opposed to by pitcher). The tuna was in case we lost power for a long time; Michael let me know that he had finished the cans I had bought from Aldi not long ago. And the peanuts were for chex mix, although I realized I had an unopened container in my very messy pantry when I got home. Otherwise it was stuff I’d needed for a while and either couldn’t find at other stores or just kept forgetting. Although we did lose power in the storm we didn’t lose any food because I was kind of militant about not opening the fridge until the power was restored (if we had gone much longer than 24 hours I would have been salvaging stuff as much as possible, of course).

So, for the month of October I’ve spent $36.99 + $43.04 + $26.68 + $41.61. I also spent $2 on chewing gum at Big Lots when I stopped by to pick up batteries (they were the only location that had D batteries in stock). This brings my total spent thus far to $148.62. I don’t need a ton but I am heading back to Aldi this weekend to pick up more squash, cider (yum) and a few canned goods. We’re running out of most of the staples I stocked up on before my BJs membership expired, so I’m considering whether or not to renew that as well. I’ve been pretty steadily undecided on this decision since the earlier membership expired, but…leaning heavily toward renewal just because of the price savings on a few things that we do buy regularly.

This feels like the longest post ever. Thanks for reading!!

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6 thoughts on “Groceries: Aldi, Publix

  1. Great stock up. My classes have started back and like you I am weighing convenience with time. I’m hoping I can strike a balance.

    I find it so hard to match costs to ideals. In my dream world I’d be able to do all organics, local, etc. Reality for me is that I have to pick and choose. Sigh lol. I’m constantly reminding myself that every little bit is better than none at all.

    I don’t really have a set in stone grocery budget. We vary depending on sales and the number of people eating here. However, I do periodically do “beat what’s on hand” weeks to make sure food doesn’t go to waste.

    1. “every little bit is better than none at all”
      This is good for me to remember too–I tend to be an all or nothing gal. πŸ˜‰ I also need to remember that cooking at home or stocking up on granola bars, etc. is cheaper than picking up food on the go because I forgot.
      I think I do well if my boundaries are kind of blurry more so than set in stone. With me being out of town and some other things, we’ve had a bit more food waste than I would prefer so I’m back to really focusing on that again.

  2. Sounds like you did well with your grocery shopping so far this month. We are almost half way through the month and you’ve spent just under $150 which is half your $300 grocery budget. Right on target, I’d say.

    I like how you and Nathalie organize your groceries by category. Maybe I’ll consider doing that, too. πŸ™‚

    1. It was interesting to put the food in categories! It does help you see where exactly your food $$ go as far as actual nutrition is concerned.

  3. Pear butter, yum, yum, yum! I think I love anything that has pear in it. It’s just such a delicious fruit.

    I agree with Bless, I think you’ve done well since it’s the middle of the month already!

    1. I need to make the pear butter this weekend! Time got away from me. I love pears, too. Ripe ones smell so yummy!

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