Aldi Challenge

Aldi Challenge Week 4

**This month I am challenging myself to shop primarily at Aldi, in order to see if it can help reign in my ever-expanding monthly grocery budget.  The rules are that I can only spend $300 at Aldi for the month of July and $50 at other stores (Aldi does not carry everything I need, so allowances have to be made!)

aldi week 4

Low carb bars $4.99

Popcorn $1.69

Broccoli $1.19

Sugar $1.39

Cheese $1.69

Cherries $1.49/lb

Celery $1.29

Bananas $.30

3lb of sweet potatoes $1.69

Carrots $.99

Mushrooms $1.29

Ice cream $1.95

Pasta sauce $.99

Grape juice $2.39

Spinach $1.19

Romaine lettuce $1.99

Peaches $2.58

Bread $1.79

String Cheese $2.49

Mozzarella $2.49

Ham $2.39

Cooking spray $1.49

Avocado $.69

Totals this week:  $62 at Aldi and $45 at Kroger/Publix/Walmart (not pictured above) 

Totals for the month: $359 ($141 less than I normally spend)

Weekly average for July: $89 

Aldi Challenge Recap:  

While I did spend $9 more than I challenged myself to this month, I still averaged only $89 spent per week on groceries, which is $36 less per week than I usually spend.  Taking all of this into consideration, I feel that shopping at Aldi did help to reign in my monthly grocery budget substantially.

That being said, it was a little challenging to limit my shopping at other stores to $50 for the month. I have decided that next month, I will lift this limit and simply shop Aldi first before I go to any other stores.  Hopefully this will keep my spending low and relieve the headache of balancing what items I can buy from other stores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 30

1. Walk at least 500 miles (287 miles down and 213 to go)

We had low humidity for a few days this week, so my daily walks were not as sweaty as usual:)

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs a day

I did this for 5 out of 7 days

3. Read two nonfiction books each month Accomplished

4. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished

5. Have two date nights each month

We only had one date night this month:(

6. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers account this year (4 out of 12)

Still working on a study guide….

7. Have one no spend week each month  Accomplished

8. Buy nothing new this year

I actually did buy something new this week for myself. I broke down and bought two pairs of walking shorts because mine are falling apart and the thrift store only has super short.

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

charityjuly

Here is my grocery haul for the food bank this month.

 

 

Aldi Challenge

Aldi Challenge Week 3

**This month I am challenging myself to shop primarily at Aldi, in order to see if it can help reign in my ever-expanding monthly grocery budget.  The rules are that I can only spend $300 at Aldi for the month of July and $50 at other stores (Aldi does not carry everything I need, so allowances have to be made!)
aldi week 3
Mysterious girl hiding under the table not included…

Baby carrots $.99

Hot sauce $.85

Bag of plums $1.98 (great price)

Cabbage $1.29

Shredded cheese $1.99

Grape juice $2.39

Crystal lite $1.65

Celery $1.29

Chicken breasts $1.79/lb

Cilantro $.79

Smoked sausage $2.29

Sour cream $.99

Sandwich meat $2.49

Tortilla chips $.89 (good price)

Whipping cream $1.69

Block cheese $1.69

Low carb bread $1.79

Almond milk $1.89 (good price)

Milk $1.18 (good price)

Romaine lettuce $1.99

Chocolate chips $1.69 (good price)

Meat Tenderizer $.99

Total spent at Aldi:  $62  (so that’s $193 spent this month and $107 left)

**I forgot to take pictures but I bought 2 bags of Gluten-free chicken nuggets at Walmart for $10.  Earlier in the week, I bought smoked sausage, diet cokes, and a block of cheese at the Dollar General for $10 also.

Total spent at other stores:  $20 ($59 for the month…yikes I am already over by $9!!)

 

Here are some meals that we had this week:

Mozzarella meatloaf, broccoli and cheese, and buttered steamed carrots

Burritos

Hamburgers and zucchini fries

Fathead pizza

Grilled chicken salads

Grilled smoked sausage, grilled chicken tenders, and riced cauliflower

**Thoughts on the challenge:

So far, I think that shopping primarily at Aldi is a low fuss means to lower my monthly grocery budget.  I am still averaging around $80 per week for the month on groceries, so that is still $40 less per week than I have been spending in previous months.  **It is a little annoying to limit my spending at other grocery stores to $50 for the month, because apparently we are pickier than I thought:)

 

 

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 29

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (277 down and 223 to go)

We lucked out and had a few cloudy days this week, so our walks were at least a little cooler than normal, but the humidity is still awful….but another 10 miles down so yay!

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for 6 out of 7 days

3. Read two non-fiction books each month Accomplished

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by [Beer, Edith H., Dworkin, Susan]The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

I knocked this goal out early this month. I found two really great books about WWII to read this week. The first one (my favorite of the two) was called The Nazi Officer’s Wife.  The title really says it all, this book is about a Jewish woman who pretends to be a German and actually ends up marrying a Nazi officer!  I have read a lot of true accounts of WWII and I always learn something new from each book I read. I learned in this book that Jews who pretended to be non-Jews were called U-boats and that the amount of rations they received from the Germans were based on if you were a German, non-German, or a Jew. **No surprise the Jews were allotted the least. I think the book said that the Germans were allotted 2,000 calories a day, Poles were allotted 1,400 calories a day, and the Jews were allotted 600 calories a day.  This book was really well-written and reads almost as a fiction novel, instead of the non-fiction account it is.

The second book I read was called The Zookeeper’s Wife.  This story is about a family that hides Jews and fugitives from the Nazis in their family-owned zoo.  In this book, I learned that the Russians could have pushed the Germans out of Poland earlier during the war, but they wanted more Polish resistance fighters to die first, so that Russia could occupy Poland after the war. I also learned that the Germans tied women and children to their tanks to keep sharpshooters from trying to blowup the tanks.  This book read more like a history book that was interspersed with stories the family shared about their lives during the war, but still it was really an enjoyable read.

4.  Have two family game nights each month

One down and one to go

5. Have two date nights each month

We went out for sushi and browsed through a local bookstore for our date night this week.

6. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 8 to go)

I am working on a reading guide for Snow Treasure still and hopefully will finish it this week.

7. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

8. Buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week…except for the multitudes of socks and underwear that we bought during our Back to School Tax-Free weekend.  **Luckily, I include underwear as one of the exceptions to my “buy nothing new challenge”, so its all good:)

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

This week I bought beans and rice to donate to the local foodbank.

How are you doing on your goals??

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Blueberries

Aldi had a great deal on blueberries, $1.79 per pint, so I picked up five to add to my freezer stash. **These low carb blueberry pancakes are delicious!

2. Thrift Store Finds

This week everything I found was for Ben. He picked out a new pair of swim trunks for $3 and four new, collared shirts for $2 each.

3. Group Swim Class

Our local community pool offers swim classes year round, so I decided to sign up my six year old because he is resistant to me teaching him (surprise, surprise).  They have the option of private classes ($20 each) or group classes ($7 each)…..I chose the group class:)

4. Beef

beef
Dividing 100 lbs of meat into totes, makes it so much easier to find things in a chest freezer.

My father recently had a cow butchered (which he so nicely shares with his daughters), my quarter weighed in at 100 pounds.  At just $2.50/lb (steaks, roasts, and hamburger meat included) I should be good on beef for awhile.

5. Quick Fix

The bottom tray of my gas grill has started to develop holes, but instead of tracking down a replacement part, I simply lined it with aluminum foil and it is as good as new.

What did you do to save money this week?

Aldi Challenge

Aldi Challenge Week 2

**This month I am challenging myself to shop primarily at Aldi, in order to see if it can help reign in my ever-expanding monthly grocery budget.  The rules are that I can only spend $300 at Aldi for the month of July and $50 at other stores (Aldi does not carry everything I need, so allowances have to be made!)

aldi week 2

3lbs of pears $3.49 (great price)

Celery $1.29

Meatballs $4.39

Carrots $.99

(5)Blueberries $1.79 (great price)

Tuna $.79

Chicken thighs $4.32

Chicken tenderloins $4.38

3lbs of Sweet potatoes $1.69 (great price)

Pork Shoulder Steak $5.25

Mushrooms $.99 (great price)

Pepitas $2.19 (great on salads)

(2)Oats $2.39

Smoked Sausage $2.29

Low Carb Bread $1.79 (Cheaper than the name brand version)

Ham $2.39

(3)Shredded cheese $1.99

Block cheese $1.69

Bananas $.39

Babybels $2.68

Cream cheese $.79

Cottage cheese $1.79

Low Carb bars $4.99 (splurge)

Black pepper $2.59

Chia seeds $3.49

(2)Avocado $.39

String cheese $2.79

Aldi total: $87.13 ($131 spent so far and $169 left….so far, so good)

kroger week 2

(2)Frozen Apple Juices $.99

Wheat hotdog buns $2.29 (Ben uses these as miniature hoagie buns)

Pepperoni $2.09

Apples $2 (Kroger always has the best apples!)

Other grocery store totals: $9 ($39 spent so far and $11 left…this might be a challenge!)

 

Here are some of the meals we had this week, just in case they might inspire you to beat a cooking slump (we have all been there):

1. Grilled chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and broccoli w/cheese

2. Spicy BBQ Hamburgers (Basically you add chopped pickled jalapenos and barbecue sauce to hamburger meat before they are cooked…delicious!), cucumbers, and carrots

3. Meatball subs

4. Grilled pork steak, sautéed mushrooms, cauliflower rice

5. Grilled chicken salads

6. Chicken Cordon bleu and buttered carrots

**This was more of a usual grocery week for me, so my totals were a bit higher from last week’s. However, my average for the first two weeks is only $85, which is way less than my usual weekly grocery budget.  So this strategy, might actually work:)

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 28

1. Walk 500 miles this year (267 miles down and 233 to go)

Wow, this was a really hot week in Alabama! I did manage to get 12 miles in, while sweating profusely of course.  My son says he is ready for fall…aren’t we all:)

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for all seven days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

Not yet, but I do have a few written down to pick up from the library.

4. Have two family game nights each month

This week, we made pizza and oatmeal candy for our game night meal and then played Family Trivial Pursuit and Apples to Apples Jr. (Ben won both games)

5. Have two date nights each month

Not yet.

6. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 8 to go)

I am currently working on a reading guide for a WWII children’s book called Snow Treasure, so hopefully I will be adding that to my collection next week.

7. Buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week.

8. Have one no spend week each month

I am currently in one, so only a small amount of groceries will be bought this week.

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

cereal july

This week I bought two large bags of cereal to add to my food bank stash. Apparently the food banks are starting to run low due to school being out for the summer, so if you like to donate food for good causes, now is the time to do it.

 

Blessings

Blessings This Week

1. Swim class

My youngest is a very reluctant swimmer (unless he can use his floaties) so I enrolled him in swim class to help move his progress along.  Much to my surprise, the swim instructor believes in the principle of full immersion as the best way to learn how to swim. So on his very first class they had to swim out to the deep end (using a pool noodle) and jump off of the diving board!  She also expected them to retrieve swim rings off of the floor of the shallow end.  Needless to say, Ben said she was trying to kill him and he almost drowned twice:)  **He is very melodramatic

The blessing in this story is that I do not have to teach him to swim!  My kids know how to push all of my mothering buttons and exactly what to say to get me to cave in, so luckily this swim instructor is immune to his persuasiveness.

Evidence:  His instructor got him to jump off of the side of the pool during his first class (He totally refuses to do it for me)  He also let the swim instructor dunk him underwater THREE times to show him it was ok if his face got wet (it was a total no go when I tried it)

A total blessing and worth every penny:)

2. Surprise Tax return

I know I mentioned this in my Five Frugal Things, but I count this as a huge blessing for my family.

This week, I received a notice from the IRS informing me that I would be receiving a check in the mail due to an error (totally my fault) on my 2017 tax return.  At first I was skeptical and thought no way could I have made such a huge mistake, but upon further inspection, I realized that I somehow came up with an outrageously high number for the tax we owed for the year.  (I still cannot think of how I came up with that number because it is not even on any of the tax tables…believe me I checked!)  But thankfully the wonderful accountants at the IRS caught a huge mistake and I received back the money I paid the government plus the amount they owed me AND $20 of interest since they kept my money for a few months (which I feel bad for accepting because it was totally my fault!)

3. Totus Tuus

This week my daughter was blessed with attending Totus Tuus at our church.  Basically it is a VBS for Catholic teens and involves testimonies, adoration (sitting in the presence of the Eucharist), Confession, and tons of fun games.  Emma really enjoyed this event because most years our church only offers VBS to elementary-aged kids and overlooks the teens.  This year, she got to listen to two monks, three missionaries, and one seminarian that shared with the group their personal faith stories, which included one particularly moving immigration story that brought her to tears.  We are blessed to live in America.

What blessings did you receive this week?

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Surprise tax return

Ummmm…this is kind of embarrassing, but apparently I messed up on my tax return and instead of paying the government (which I did back in January), they actually owed me money….like $3000!!

When the notice came in the mail from the IRS, I actually thought it was a scam, until I looked back at my tax return I had on file and realized I somehow had entered the wrong amount of tax we owed.  **I have been doing my own taxes for over 20 years and I still cannot believe I wrote down the wrong information.  I think I must have looked at the wrong tax table…which is highly embarrassing…. Thank goodness that the IRS checks these things out!

2. Credit card

I know it is surprising to see a credit card make it onto a frugal things list, but hear me out.  My husband had to get a separate credit card to use for business travel, so we made sure to find one that had: #1. No foreign-usage charges(it is a thing apparently) and #2. No annual fees attached to it.  **We also picked the one that had the best cash back reward points system, because it is free money:)

3. Grocery Deals

Kroger had the large bags of Doritos on sale this week for $1.99 (my kids were happy), butter for $1.99, and large heads of Romaine lettuce for $.99.

4. Free Math curriculum

I have been going back and forth about which math curriculum to use for my son this fall.  He is in between first and second grade levels (Late birthdays make grade levels hard to judge) and I did not want to buy two different sets this year.  Luckily I found a free resource that will work perfectly for us called eduplace.com.  It is basically an online text book, that allows you to access the chapters you need to work on and gives you extra practice problems as well. So I think that we will just use that this year and hope to finish our 1st grade math skills before we move onto 2nd grade officially.

5. Stain remover

I love Google! Apparently rubbing alcohol removes pen ink from clothing (I am sure I am the last person to know this!) So this helped me to salvage a pair of pants that I thought might be a lost cause.

What did you do to save money this week?

 

Aldi Challenge

Aldi Challenge Week 1

**This month I am challenging myself to shop primarily at Aldi, in order to see if it can help reign in my ever-expanding monthly grocery budget.  The rules are that I can only spend $300 at Aldi for the month of July and $50 at other stores (Aldi does not carry everything I need, so allowances have to be made!)

aldi week 1

One of the reasons I love Aldi is that while they do have great sales each week, they also have the best everyday prices on almost every item in their store (even compared to Walmart and Kroger!) **I also love the quality of their meat, especially the chicken. I have never bought a rubbery chicken breast at Aldi (which is saying something)

Hot Italian Links $2.49

Chicken Tenderloin $4.33

Portabella Mushrooms $1.99 (great price)

Mozzarella cheese (16oz) $2.49 (great price)

Colby Jack cheese $1.99

Pasta sauce $.99 (great price)

Parmesan Cheese $2.29

3 pack of Zucchini $.99

bag of onions $1.69

Ice cream cones $1.29

Low carb bars $3.99 (a splurge but these are $2 cheaper than the Atkins equivalent)

salsa $1.19

oats $2.39

Crystal lite $1.89

Deluxe Cheese slices $2.79

Penguin crackers $1.49

Total spent: $43.88 ($256.12 left for the month)

kroger week 1

These are the items that I bought at Kroger this week:

Doritos $1.99

Romaine lettuce $.99 (They sell these by the head, so I choose the largest one and still only pay $.99! They are huge)

Celery $.89

Carrots $.99

Kool-Aid  $.15 (We use these to make popsicles, which are cheaper and taste better than store bought ones. I think one packet makes 18 popsicles.)

Bananas $.60

Butter $1.99 (stock up price)

Almond flour $7.99 (ouch)

Total spent: $30 (I threw away my receipt, but remembered the dollar amount)

**This week is not what a normal shopping trip looks like for me usually.  I am currently cleaning out my chest freezer in expectation of a 1/4 beef coming this week and trying to eat down my over full pantry (which I know is a blessing) so it is a kind of skewed take on an average shopping trip. I am sure my weekly grocery spending will begin to creep up again soon, but for now I will enjoy the savings!