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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Housewife--Stretch a Buck

Saving pennies were never more important than they are today. Don't get me started on the economy (thank you very much W for giving us this parting gift from your reign) I like to shop at Aldi for some (not all) of my groceries. Staples are staples and the brand name does not matter to me. They have a ton of organic products and many healthy alternatives. You just have to look past some of the convenience foods (which I ignore at the grocery store too) and some of the inconveniences (like bringing your own bags, which I do anyway, and possibly long lines because they keep only a small number of employees on at a given time).

Some of my favorite products there:
  • Bacon wrapped turkey tenderloins. Very Weight Watchers friendly and inexpensive. Delicious grilled, broiled, or pan-fried. I like to glaze with a little Aldi BBQ sauce before serving. They come individually wrapped and can be cooked from frozen if you forget to defrost them. They also have a pop up timer thing to insure that they're cooked to the right temperature.

  • Speaking of BBQ sauce. Their brand is fat free and comes in a number of flavors. We like the honey flavor.

  • Their cereals are great and most are under $2 a box.

  • Aldi has a version of Fiber One bars that taste just like the original at half the price. A really great yummy treat.

  • Their fish and shrimp cannot be beat for taste and price. Now, I'm going to put a disclaimer here, I do not know how they are caught. I haven't looked into how it's fished or any of that, so perhaps if I do so I won't feel so good about it. But, right now, I have to sacrifice some of that in the interest of cost saving. A pound of salmon fillets is only $4. Almost 2 pounds of Tilapia for under $3. Prices do vary, but I've found their frozen seafood to be an exceptional value.

  • Flour, sugar, brown sugar, canola oil, cocoa, REAL vanilla (not imitation), real semi-sweet chocolate chips, sea salt, roasted minced garlic, mustard (all kinds), ketchup, vinegars, salad dressings, spreadable fruit, tortillas, rice, organic soy milk, 100% grape juice (both white and purple), spaetzel and other specialty noodles and other German gourmet products, Aldi brand "Eggbeaters", turkey bacon, huge whole roasting hens ($0.79 per pound!), Cornish game hens, tender frozen baby green beans, whole frozen asparagus (better than fresh!), canned fruit and veggies (the canned baby peas rival any premium canned peas at the grocery store!), canned mushrooms, and Aldi brand "Skinny Cow" ice cream sandwiches (which are so much better than the original, but with the same calorie count), Imitation lobster and crab sticks (great for lunches and snacks), premium lunch meats, super lean ground beef-- these are just some of the things I find there that I LOVE.

An overflowing cart of Aldi products usually is under $100. I like to see if I can stay under $25 a bag at any grocery store--and I'm always way under this at Aldi. Try to beat that at a regular grocery store. I have a son who can eat a box of cereal in two days. He will eat a pound of lunch meat in about the same time. They offer many Weight Watchers friendly products and specialty items vary. In the past, I've purchased real Grade A maple syrup for a quarter of what I've paid in the grocery store. I purchased some delicious spaetzel there last year (and I noticed it's on sale this week again) and added it to homemade chicken soup. It was wonderful!

I think it's hard to change brands for a lot of people. I understand that, but right now, we all have to be really conscious of where our money is going. A box of macaroni is a box of macaroni, why spend more? Most of the time it's packaged in the same factory as a name brand product. I had a friend in college who used to work in a name brand vegetable canning plant. She said that the only thing that was different about the products was the label. Dirty little secret of the industry, huh?

I don't like to spend money if I don't have to and this really works for my family. Yes, you are going to find products that you don't like, but don't give up on Aldi or any generic products if one or two don't work for you. Keep at it and enjoy the fruits of your labors!!!$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!

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