Skip to main content

How I do ONE Aldi trip every other week

Right around the time a more expensive chain bought out our favorite affordable grocery store nearby, an Aldi opened 20 minutes away. I gradually transitioned to shopping only at Aldi, and doing it every other week. With the driving distance, it doesn't make sense to me to take a chunk out of every weekend.

This means some sacrifices. Aldi doesn't have everything. They don't have the name-brand of pasta sauce we love. I can't pin any recipe and buy the ingredients for it. I have to bag our own groceries.

I go shopping at Aldi every other weekend with the goal of spending under $200 for everything except pet supplies and a small handful of personal care items and and cleaning supplies we get through Grove Collaborative (that order is about $15 every month or every other month). In between Aldi trips we often have to stop to stock up on bread, milk, eggs and the occasional item Aldi doesn't have. We buy diapers, wipes, trash bags, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper, and our food of course.

Here's how I do it:

1. First of all, I use a three whiteboard system. There's the current meal rotation's whiteboard that lists all the meals we have available. Once I make it, I wipe it off. Throughout the meal rotation if we run out of any pantry staples, I'll write those down in the corner of the same whiteboard.

2. A few days before my shopping trip, I take inventory of what we have on hand. What meals did I plan for the last two-week meal rotation that we didn't use? I write those meals down on whiteboard #2 and then pick away over the next few days at adding other meals to the list. I have a master meal list of all the dinners I make that I pull from. I have my husband choose a few. I pick a good mix of really easy frozen-food based meals and quick homemade meals and I look at our schedule to influence the ease of the meals I plan. I admit, we aren't the healthiest eaters, but feeding a toddler has made me more conscious of it. I always try to include a veggie in our dinners and most meals, our one-year-old eats what we eat. I try to include meals that I'm okay feeding our baby. Some meals, like frozen pizza, require some improvising to have a dinner he can eat. I always keep some veggie burgers, beans, rice, cheese and other things he can eat on hand.

Most of the dinners we have turn into leftovers for lunches, but I also add some lunch things to the list to fill in the gaps, like lunchmeat. I also plan more meals than what we need just in case I forgot an ingredient for one meal, the meat is freezer burned, or some other mishap.

I also try and throw some new meals in every once in a while. I'll browse blogs and Pinterest but I won't consider the meal unless I can adapt it to make it an all-Aldi meal. One notable exception is my white chicken chili, which calls for mild green chiles. I'll stock up and buy several jars every few months.

3. As I make the meal list on a small magnetic whiteboard, I use another magnetic whiteboard and write out the ingredients I need for each meal. Right before I leave for the store, I take the needed items from #1 and put them on whiteboard #3.

Here's what whiteboard #3 looked like when I took it to the store last time:

4. At the store with my shopping bags in tow, I fill up a cart to the top more often than not. Bagging up the groceries and putting them in the car seems to take forever, but that's the price I pay for saving at least $75 a week by not shopping at our standard grocery stores.

5. I pick what we are eating for dinner the night before from the list on the whiteboard because I freeze all the meat I buy. The night before, I'll transfer the frozen meat to the fridge and move the ingredients I need from our chest freezer to our upstairs freezer.


Popular posts from this blog

Yes, read to your baby!

Babies are just lumps of cuteness that sleep, eat, cry and poop for months. They don't understand your words, but you still talk to them, right? While they don't understand the stories in books, it's still important to read to babies. Research finds that early exposure to language has a “profound influence on children's learning through life,” according to this NPR story from 2014 . There's nothing to lose by reading to a young baby, only something to gain. To read to a baby or child, you are close to them, which is a bonding experience too! The article states: "Just one-third of children in families below the poverty threshold are read to daily. That statistic improves as family income rises. But less than two-thirds of children in families making $95,400 for a family of four are read to daily, according to the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health. As a result, children in poorer families lag behind in language processing as earl

Welcome! There's a place for you here - LAUNCHING MAY 14

"Where are all the mommy blogs?" Said no one, ever. But here I am, starting a "mommy blog." I've wanted to launch this blog for over a year now because I see a void in the online community of moms. There's not much out there for working moms. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling mom, working mom or whatever kind of mom you are, being a mother always has its challenges. As a working mother, I found myself needing different content than what's already out there. I searched high and low for it. I needed more hardcore meal planning on a budget with no time. I needed advice on how to manage my evenings, how to deal with the transition back to work, and if "me time" would ever exist again. When I launch May 14, the site will be ready for you with my unique take on meal planning, tips on returning to work after maternity leave and products that help me save what little precious time I have. On May 14, the blog will be live w

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana steel cut oats in 15 minutes

The Instant Pot is a kitchen gadget that seems too good to be true. It claims to be able to replace several other appliances and cook time consuming things like sweet potatoes in only a few minutes. It's not too good to be true. And for a working mom, it's a necessity. When I do the bulk of my cooking on the weekends, It's not unusual for me to use my Instant Pot four times each weekend day! If you're not an Instant Pot owner already, at the very basic level, it's an electric pressure cooker that also has a saute mode and a slow cooking mode. You can cook rice, hard-boiled eggs, pasta dishes, soup, a whole chicken in it and more. If that's not enough to convince you, maybe this recipe for chocolate peanut butter banana steel cut oats will. This recipe is my version I've perfected over a few months, using bits and pieces of other recipes. And of course, all of the ingredients can be found at Aldi. I add a little bit of sugar to it when the bananas are