Cold drink section of a grocery store.
Money Time

Optimizing Our Grocery Bill – Round Up

If you’ve been following along, my wife, Gina, and I have been working to optimize our grocery bill. We had originally been spending around $600 per month on food alone!

We say optimizing because we aren’t ONLY looking to decrease our spending on food, but we want a balance between high convenience and low cost.

Before we started working to optimize our grocery bill, we were using Walmart Grocery Pickup as our primary store. We quickly realized that in order to feed our family, we were going to have to do some shopping around and try other stores.

Last time I checked in with you was about three weeks ago and we had just spent a total of $75.41 for the first week of April. We used Instacart to order our groceries from Aldi online and made a Costco trip to fill in the gaps where Aldi didn’t have what we needed.

Since then, we have had three more shopping trips to Aldi, one to Costco, and one to Walmart.

In previous blog posts I’ve listed every item we purchased, but for all of our sanity, let’s just stick to totals and things I think you should know for the last three shopping trips of April.

Keep in mind, these are only the last three weeks of April. If you want to see the first trip to Aldi with all the items and prices, check out Optimizing Our Grocery Bill – Part 3.

April Week 2

Aldi – $101.83 – Notable: 10 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast and 3.5 lbs Ground Turkey. For those who asked, yes, we do eat meat!

Walmart – $67.98

April Week 3

Aldi – $67.98

April Week 4

Aldi – $62.88 – This trip includes some food and drinks that were purchased for our son’s 1st birthday party. I didn’t go back and subtract them, but it’s worth noting that this grocery bill could have been a bit cheaper.

Costco – $82.85

April Summary

We had a goal of spending just $400 throughout all of April, but in the end we spent $458.93.

While we fell short of our goal, we did save more than $140 on our average grocery bill, which is a huge win!

On top of that, we went from picking our groceries up to having them delivered, which has saved us around three hours per month of driving and waiting for our groceries to be loaded up.

Going Forward

With three birthdays and an anniversary in the same month, April is generally one of our worst budgeting months. That gives me some serious hope that we can reach our goal of spending $400 in coming months.

One of the greatest things about this blog series was the amount of things that we learned from those who reached out with advice or simply from conversations that started up while discussing optimizing our grocery bill with friends.

Here’s a few things that Gina and I will be doing in the future to continue optimizing our grocery bill.

Aldi-Instacart

At this point I’m just beating a dead horse… Or Feeding a fed horse. Instacart isn’t perfect. We have received some questionable produce, and some items that we thought were on sale turned out to be full price.

However, those are minor inconveniences in exchange for spending time at home with our son while waiting for our grocery delivery.

Instacart gets my strong recommendation with the caveat that you only use it for stores whose prices aren’t inflated on Instacart. Aldi seems to be a great option here.

No-Spend / Low-Spend Weeks

This is something Gina and I have been doing most months since the start of 2019 and we’ll continue to do so at least every other month.

Some people go one week per month and don’t buy any groceries at all in order to save money and clean out their cabinets.

Rather than doing a no-spend week, we only purchase fruits, vegetables, milk, and eggs. We call this a low-spend week.

This is a great way to slash your grocery bill and use some of the food that you’ve had sitting around for some time.

Free Food – Really!

This is a big one, and we just learned about it around three weeks ago.

As many of you know, Gina and I are in the military. A friend of ours who read this blog series introduced us to a local Facebook page that gives out free food DAILY on our military base.

A group of volunteers goes to stores all over and bring back food that is close to being outdated. They put the coolers in their garages or in front of their house and post the address on the Facebook page, and the food is totally free!

Over the past three weeks we have been able to pick up free milk, fruit, vegetables, and much more. Since the food is nearly outdated, we only pick up what we can use quickly or items that we can freeze for later.

I highly recommend looking in your local area for an organization that does this as I’m certain it’s not limited to military bases.

Conclusion

We didn’t quite make our goal for the month of April, but I am extremely satisfied with the outcome.

While saving money on our groceries was our goal, I learned something that could help us save money all across our budget.

Each week that I posted a new blog, someone different came to me with a suggestion. Each time we took the suggestion and implemented it, saving us a little more money each time.

If there’s one major takeaway from this series, it’s this:

Be open to conversations about saving money. Ask questions, be open minded, and try everything. Keep using what works and discard what doesn’t fit in your life.

Do you feel like you’re overspending on something? Try striking up a conversation with your friends, family members, or co-workers.

I think you’ll be amazed at how many people have some fantastic methods for saving money or simply have the same questions about saving as you do!

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Debbie
    June 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Aldis has made a big impact on my grocery budget. It pains me when I have to go a different grocery store and see how much more I am paying for basics. I easily save at least $50 a paycheck by shopping at Aldis.

    • Reply
      Matthew
      June 29, 2019 at 11:25 pm

      Absolutely agree! Aldi is so inexpensive that we use Instacart to have it delivers and STILL save $200 a month compared to our pre-Aldi year’s!

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