DISCLAIMER: A huge "thank you" to the nice folks at Aldi for sponsoring today's post.
Providing good, healthy food for your family should not cost a small fortune, but unfortunately, for many families, it does. I saw a meme on Facebook a few days ago; it was a picture of a fast food burger, a soda, a bottle of water and a salad. Below each picture was the average price to purchase each item and of course, the soda and burger were about half as expensive as the salad and water. Making healthy food choices should not be this hard.
Since children model what they see, we have been making more of a concerted effort to eat more healthy foods and keep healthy snacks on hand and I have to admit, it can be rather costly, if you don't know a few tricks.
Most bloggers will tell you to get out your scissors and weekly paper and start clipping, not me. I am not a fan of coupons, because most of them are for foods we will never eat. Give me a coupon for fresh veggies and fruit, now, that, I can use! Since coupons are not an option, I had to get creative and think outside the box... store that is.
Let me introduce you to my real life bff, Aldi. What was once my little secret, is now becoming the "go-to" place to shop, for affordable, healthy groceries, but before you just go in there all willy nilly, let me hip you to a few things you need to know.
First, before you even leave the house, make sure you have a quarter, you will need it. Remember when you were in school and you had to borrow a pencil from the teacher and she made you give her a quarter and upon returning the pencil, you got your quarter back? Aldi has the same policy, you will need a quarter to acquire your shopping cart and when you return it, you will get your quarter back. It seems like a simple idea, but when you return your own cart, it saves manpower hours and Aldi passes the savings to you, the customer.
Second, remember to bring your own shopping bags or be prepared to buy them when you get there for a few cents a piece. They have paper, plastic or insulated as well as reusable bags for sale, right at the register, in case you forget them or if your husband forgot to bring them back to the car... whatever, I'm not bitter.
When you walk in to an Aldi store, you will notice the food is not shelved as it would be in a typical grocery store and that is for good reason. When the boxes are stocked, all the stock person has to do is remove the front of the box, making stocking the shelves an easy and quick job. Also, you can snag an empty box to carry your groceries, if you need it.
Most grocery stores carry tons of different brands of each product, making it necessary to have huge stores, which means huge rent on a building and a huge light bill. Aldi only carries about 1,400 of the most purchased items, meaning less need for store space and less electricity bills which means they pass the savings on to you. Many people don't know that a good portion of the price you pay for groceries is actually overhead costs.
Lower prices means sub-par products, right? WRONG! In the last seven or so years I have been shopping at Aldi, I have never found a product that I didn't like, as much as the name brand equivalent. Actually, most products, I like more than the national brand. (rumor has it, a lot of their food is name brand, just packaged differently, for Aldi) What if you find a product you don't care for? No worries, Aldi will replace the product and refund your money. It's their double guarantee promise.
If you have dietary restrictions, no worries, Aldi carries a really good selection of gluten free and all natural products, at a price you can actually afford.
Another thing you will notice about Aldi, is their lack of baggers or sackers. No, they didn't forget to hire some, you are responsible for bagging your own groceries. Again, it saves on overhead costs, which in turn are passed to the customer.
You should also note, they don't accept checks or credit cards, only cash, debit or EBT, so plan accordingly.
Here are a few general tips to save money on your grocery bill...
Aldi has really been a life saver for us. I have managed to feed our family of five for around a hundred bucks a week and we don't eat rice and beans for every single meal. We eat things like fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast, yummy chicken and veggies for dinner and of course the family favorite: pub burgers on the weekends.
I have a one week meal plan coming up next week that will break down each meal and will include a full shopping list, as well as the recipes for each meal. It's full of healthy, kid-friendly meals your family is sure to love. If you have never shopped at Aldi, you owe it to yourself to at least check it out, just once. Here's a handy dandy store locator to help you out.
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