The Secret to Saving Thousands On Groceries

By | April 15, 2017

“You should really give Aldi another chance”

My friend, Lauren, had told me this for the millionth time as I complained about how much food cost in the city. She was a huge advocate for Aldi and didn’t understand why everyone didn’t grocery shop there. I had tried Aldi before, but after feeling so overwhelmed by my first experience because I didn’t know the ropes of Aldi, I didn’t want to go back.

If you are an Aldi newbie, check out this post by My Joy-Filled Life to make your first experience go a little smoother.

Fast forward a couple years and as many of you probably are, I was making my budget started to scrutinize my spending. Like me, your grocery allotment might seem out of control. That is when I decided it was time to give Aldi another shot, this time knowing what I was in for.

My first trip back I was hooked, I felt like I cut my grocery spending in half! I jumped on Lauren’s train of thought… “why doesn’t everyone shop at Aldi?!?” Then it hit me, maybe people just don’t know or believe how much they can save. Maybe they think their grocery store already has such great discounts.

It sounded like the perfect opportunity to truly find out how much you can save by switching to grocery shopping at Aldi.

The Secret to Saving Thousands on Groceries | Fixing My Finances

The Study

I decided the best way to figure out where I should be grocery was to do a head to head (to head) comparison. I created a grocery list that was representative of a normal weekly shopping list for two people (food for dinners, breakfasts, lunches and snacks for work, and a couple essentials that needed to be restocked) and set off to find out how much you can save on groceries!

Let’s Meet the Competition

In addition to seeing how much the list would cost at Aldi, I wanted to compare it to two other typically grocery selections. This way, if you don’t have an Aldi near you, you can still see how much you can save with just smart choices are your local grocery store.

Name Brand

To find the name brand prices for my research shopping, I went to my good old local grocery chain. We have two main chain stores here in Minneapolis; a higher-end store and one that’s more of your typically grocery store. I went to the latter.

I was really excited to see how the name brands stacked up. Sometimes people opt for the name brands over the store brands even though they are more expensive. I think that subconsciously we believe the name brands taste better. Hopefully this study helps you understanding how much splurging on the name brand affects (or doesn’t affect) your grocery bill.

Store Brand

Like many 20-somethings, I am obsessed with Target. Now that I have moved to the land of Target headquarters, I shop at Target even more, including grocery shopping at the Super Target. Armed with the cartwheel app and my red card, I feel like I get pretty good deals.

Many grocery items are available at a reasonable price from Target’s store brand, Market Pantry. Normally there are 5% off cart wheel coupons for most Market Pantry items and the occasional 30-40% off of an item such as fresh chicken.

I chose Target as the store brand because I figured it was nationwide, their prices were relatively low, and they have readily available discount options.

The Rules

The concept is pretty simple, go to a couple different stores, check out the prices for the items on my list and compare. To make sure I am comparing apples to apples (literally), I wanted to clarify some things

  • I adjusted the price to the same volume using the cost per ounce or unit. For example if Aldi only sells pasta sauce in 20 oz containers, and Target only sells it in 16 oz sizes, I adjusted one of the prices so that I am comparing the cost for a same size, either 16 oz or 20 oz. I will denote adjusted numbers with an asterisk.
  • If no store brand/Aldi brand is available, I will use the cheapest name brand
  • No sales tax, most states do not tax food
  • No sale prices. Since sales and coupons vary week to week, I wanted to use the normal price of each item
  • No coupons/cartwheel. Similar to sale prices

Now, without further ado, here is how my shopping list compares at the different stores.

The Results

Here are the prices I found for the items on the list

Aldi              Target Brand Name Brand
2% Milk (1 gallon) $2.04 $2.50 $2.50
Orange Juice (1/2 gallon) $1.69 $2.74 $3.12
Eggs (1 dozen) $0.74 $0.97 $2.79
Butter (1 lb) $2.69 $4.39 $3.69
Loaf of Wheat Bread (20 oz) $0.99 $1.89 $2.49
Gala Apples (3 lbs) $2.99 $4.19 $4.19
Caesar Salad Kit (10 oz) $1.99 $3.99 $3.99
Baby Carrots (1 lb) $1.49 $1.79 $1.79
Greek Yogurt (4 individual 8 oz cups) $2.60 $3.29 $4.00
Cream Cheese (12 oz brick) $1.29 $1.99 $2.59
Swiss Cheese Slices (11 slices) $1.99 $2.63* $2.99
Shredded Mozzarella (8 oz) $1.50* $2.49 $2.89
Honey O’s Cereal (12.25 oz) $1.19 $2.03* $3.34
Bagels (6) $1.59 $1.59 $2.99
Bacon (1 lb) $2.79 $4.89 $6.09
Ground Beef (1 lb 80/20) $2.99 $3.59 $3.59
Fresh Chicken Breast (2 lbs) $4.58 $9.99 $7.98
Ham Cold Cuts (9 oz) $2.49 $2.99 $3.49
Potato Chips (10 oz) $1.49 $3.99 $3.99
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (30 cookies) $1.69 $2.09 $3.12
Frozen Veggies (12 oz) $0.85 $0.99 $1.00
Frozen Pizza (22 oz) $2.29 $3.29 $4.19
Frozen French Fries (32 oz) $1.65 $2.52 $2.97
Frozen Chicken Nuggets (29 oz) $3.79 $4.49 $5.22
Creamy Peanut Butter (16 oz) $1.49 $1.69 $2.59
Pasta Sauce (24 oz) $1.19 $1.69 $1.97
Spaghetti (1 lb) $0.73* $1.15 $1.47
Flour (5 lbs) $1.25 $2.27 $2.39
Italian Seasoning (.75 oz) $0.66* $2.79 $3.29
Taco Shells (12) $0.89 $1.77 $1.77
Can of Tomato Soup (10.5 oz) $0.49 $1.29 $1.59
Rice Side Dish (7 oz) $0.69 $1.19 $1.19
Instant Mashed Potatoes (4 oz) $0.75 $0.99 $1.19
Box of Mac and Cheese $0.33 $0.69 $0.99
Zippered Sandwich Bags (100 bags) $1.99 $3.19* $3.71*
Scrubbing Kitchen Sponges (3) $1.29 $1.94* $2.24*
Subtotal $61.13 $95.96 $109.39
Percent Aldi Saves 36.3% 44.1%

I will note that for the name brand, a few of the objects I picked were on sale and would have saved me $3.20, and the store brand would have saved me $4.82. At Aldi, their sales would have saved me about $1.70.

Conclusion

Wow I was truly amazed with how much cheaper you can buy the same exact thing for at Aldi than at the other stores. Overall a 36% savings over the store brand and 44% savings over the name brand.

This means if your current grocery budget is $400/month, just by shopping at Aldi instead of another grocery store, you can save over $140/month or over $1700 per year!!!

Some of the items at Aldi such as the potato and rice sides, and frozen veggies had similar prices to the store and name brands which shouldn’t be too surprising because they tend to already be lower priced. Where Aldi really shines is on meats, seasonings, and dairy products.

Now, does this mean you should never step foot inside another grocery store again? Of course not. Sometimes other stores have great sales, especially ones that you can combine with coupons, that will help you save big too. I use the Krazy Coupon Lady app to help me narrow down deals that I should shop for at other stores. Plus if you don’t have an Aldi near you, you can still save over 10% by choosing store brands over name brands.

I really hope you found this comparison helpful. Leave a comment telling me about your Aldi experience or how you save big on groceries!

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