Or: Recovering Our Grocery Budget
"Whatever happened to my budget for groceries?" I wondered recently as I suddenly became aware that my grocery expenditures had skyrocketed...paying at least a third more last month than what was in my grocery budget.
Was it the fact that working part-time, homeschooling a high schooler, and giving moral support to adult kids is taking up a lot of my time? Definitely this has entered in...especially along with being stressed by all the news going on around me. But does running to our neighborhood supermarket every day for an item or two, and instead picking up $30 worth of "stuff", really save me time? Nope. Not really. Does it really relieve my stress? Nope. Not really.
For years now, we've been shopping at three stores each Friday in order to get the best buys. (It's a family outing, with even my macho young men pitching in.) But adding those daily trips to the most expensive store was counter-productive. So I decided this was the first place to cut. One "extra" trip to a store for perishable staples per week should cover it (and help us "recover it").
Enter Aldi's. I began doing my "extra" trip at Aldi's, where I've been getting good prices on milk...and other foods. As I started my periodic evaluation of prices, I found out that I can pay considerably less at Aldi's now on most of the food items I've been able to get at our Wal Mart or Sam's Club stores. I hadn't realized how much food prices had gone up. Now I'm paying yesterday's Wal Mart prices at Aldi's. And the funniest thing is that my 15 year old, worse-for-the-wear minivan looks out of place amid the newer-model luxury cars and SUVs in the Aldi's parking lot.
I've been gradual about adjusting where I buy what items, and yet, already this past week, I was only five dollars over budget on groceries. Hurray! And we haven't even changed our basic eating habits.
I'd like to invite you to join me...not necessarily at Aldi's. Maybe you don't have one in your area. Maybe you don't want to try generic brands (in spite of the double guarantee). But it never hurts to re-evaluate our buying habits and the prices we are paying. If you do, I hope you have as much fun as I've been having.
P.S. You can read Maureen Wittmann's Ten Tips on Saving Money at the Grocery Store.