Saturday, November 12, 2011

My new love

I've mentioned a few times about getting into deal hunting and couponing, especially in the past few years. When I started, I clipped TONS of coupons and played the drug store game and got lots of stuff for pennies on the dollar. But two things have changed:

1. I can't find the time to clip that many coupons and plan out scenarios anymore. I only clip the ones that I KNOW I will use.

2. The deals just aren't as good as they were two years ago. The economy has affected the manufacturers and they aren't as generous with deals.

So I've still been comparing prices and using some coupons and buying Manager's Specials (discounted food because it's about to expire), but now I'm excited about a new strategy.


I have been to Aldi a few times in the past, but I had the wrong idea about it. I thought it was crappy food for low prices in rough neighborhoods. But then I read this article and this one written by a frugal blogger who makes things from scratch and tries to buy local produce. This changed my mind about Aldi!

I realized that the reasons for their low prices weren't yucky food (lots of people LOVE their food), but cheaper real estate and fewer employees (you bring your cart back to the store, bag your own groceries in your own bags, things are packaged to be scanned quickly, items are displayed in their shipping cartons). And they treat their employees well.

So I went today and holy cow! I'm excited! Large canister of coffee? $5.49 ($8.99 at Kroger). Bag of mini bagels? 69 CENT (regular $1.99, $3.50 at Kroger). Shredded cheese? $1.99 ($2.99 at Kroger). I could go on.

The only downfall is that you probably can't find everything on your list there (no organic milk or Diet Coke - boo), so I had to go to Kroger to grab the leftovers.  But it was worth it. And no coupons! (Used some at Kroger so I'm not totally free from them, but still)

I'm curious since we're all living on tighter budgets these days - what's your favorite money saving strategy? Any thoughts on saving money for Christmas gifts this year?


Jen said...

Sounds like my shopping plan! I get everything I can from Aldi and then finish off my list at Wal-mart/Kroger. I've done this for several years and know it has saved us lots of money. We go through a ton of fruits and veggies each week, so I'd hate to see our grocery bill if I had to buy that stuff at full price someplace else.

Erin said...

Oh Emily! I am in love with Aldi too! Seriously. LOVE. With great enthusiasm.

Weed said...

Similar to you, I buy my meat at Kroger on managers special (or when they do BOGO), and then plan my meals around that. I buy staples at Aldi and the rest of stuff at Meijer (unless it's on sale at Kroger for less, but I find better prices at Meijer, generally, and they're all within a mile of my house). I don't like going to three stores, but I usually only do Aldi once a month or so to stock up on the staples, and I try to do Kroger quickly without the kids when my husband's home, so I really only have to take Rebecca to Meijer while Rachel's at school.

Pam said...

We love Aldi too - just avoid bananas, cat litter and margarine (don't ask - ha ha ha!)

I made really awesome calendars of the kids pictures for grandparents & family and used codes and coupons to get about 75% off at Shutterfly. I also intend to make cards, videos and crafts from the kids because I think that's what family loves most. For long distance - instead of buying local, wrapping and mailing we have started buying from the their local stores online and direct sipping with wrapping. That's all I can think of right now....