How I Cut Our Grocery Budget in Half

How I Cut Our Grocery Budget in Half

. 6 min read

I'm sure you've all noticed – groceries are insanely expensive right now. So I decided to cut our grocery budget in half.

The first thing I did was look on TikTok (follow me over there) to see what advice people had.

They were all saying the same thing – just one thing. I didn't believe them.

And then I tried it.

And guess what – it's working!

Read on...

That Moment I Committed to Cutting Our Grocery Budget in Half

My husband asked me if I could find a way to cut down our grocery budget. I said yes.

He said, "We're spending $1,000 a month on groceries right now."

"I can cut that in half," I said.

Needless to say, he did not believe me.

But, guys, it's really happening!

How I'm Saving Almost 70% on Groceries

We're almost halfway through the month and we have spent $160 on groceries so far.

We spent $81 the first week, and $79 this week.

If we stick to our budget, which we've now set at $80 per week, we'll spend $320 this month on groceries.

Which is a savings of almost 70%!

How Did We Do It?

Everyone on TikTok was talking about how they saved so much money just switching to Aldi.

I was a little skeptical, because I've tried shopping at Costco to save money, and we don't really save that much. One reason is most everything at Costco is in such big quantities and it doesn't store well – and we have food waste.

I had never been to Aldi in my life.  So I decided to give it a try.

I rallied the kids and we drove over to the closest Aldi.

It was nice. Pleasant, clean, quiet, subdued.

Kind of like a German version of Trader Joe's.

I say German because they started out in Essen, Germany.

It's funny because I visited Essen one, when I was 24, and had a friend who lived there. We went shopping with her mom, and I bet you anything it was an Aldi store.

I remember having to put the coin in the cart.  You put a quarter into the slot in the cart and you can rent it while you shop – you get the quarter back after you bring the cart back. (My 7-year-old son loves to be the one who gets to do this.)

You also have to bring your own shopping bags, which I don't mind; I'm used to it.

If I can save money, I'm happy to put my shopping cart back and bring my own bags. And it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Why pay someone to bring all the carts back when you can train the customers to do it just by making them insert a quarter?

How Much Did We Save at Aldi?

I've tracked it for 2 weeks now. So I can tell you how it's going...

It's one thing to say we only spent $80 per week. In order to really know how much we are saving, I need to look at what we normally spend.

So I took my Aldi receipts for 2 weeks and punched them into a spreadsheet. And then I compared the Aldi prices for comparable products at HEB, which is where we usually shop.

Don't get me wrong, I love HEB. It's a great store! But right now groceries are insanely expensive, so we need to make some changes.

According to my spreadsheet, over the past 2 weeks (make sure you look at both tabs on my spreadsheet), our savings have averaged 25%.

The prices, on average, are about 25% cheaper at Aldi than at HEB.

That's astounding! Why pay 25% more for the exact same foods?

Now, keep in mind, it's not everything. And there were a few items that were actually cheaper at HEB.

But overall, the savings is about 25%.

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How Did I Come Up With "Almost 70%"?

OK, so you're probably thinking right now... hey, wait a minute, you said you are saving almost 70%... 25% is a lot less than that.

It's true, we will spend about 70% less this month if we stick to our $80/week budget.

So actually, we are saving only 25% just switching to Aldi. But we are making  a conscious decision to spend less than $500 a month on groceries this month – and it is working.

And I think Aldi is such a big part of this, if you just do this one thing – switch to Aldi – it will save you a lot!

This Belt Tightening is Temporary

The fact is, we are spending less because we have a whole lot of groceries in the freezer and in the pantry that we have stored up.

I bought a lot of meat and bread and milk months ago, when the prices were cheaper. So yay me.

So these savings won't go on forever. But I don't think we will need to save this much forever.

I think prices will go back down when things get less crazy in the geopolitical world. And I do think that's coming this fall... and I have a whole lot of reasons for that, which I won't get into here. Follow me on TikTok and Telegram where I talk about all that stuff.

Bottom line, we just need to tighten our belts for a while and then things will ease up. So if you can find a way to cut down on things you spend more on for a while – and just follow a budget, you can lessen the financial pain a little.

My kids and I actually really enjoy walking through the store and keeping a tab of everything we put in the cart. There's something really satisfying about it.

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Things We Saved the Most on at Aldi

If you look at my spreadsheet, we saved the most on the following items (remember to look at both tabs – you'll see the tabs at the bottom):

  • Wine - Almost 70%
  • Blueberries - Almost 70%
  • Carrots - 50%
  • Ketchup - 50%
  • Chips and cheese puffs - 50%
  • Strawberries - 50%
  • Parmesan cheese - 45%
  • Cheddar cheese - 40%

I broke down and bought some $3/bottle pink wine at Aldi and it was surprisingly drinkable! That's a lot cheaper than the $8 rose wine I get at HEB with my 10% off on 6 discount.

I'm happy I don't have to completely give up wine. That would make me sad. As my friend Lana said Facebook – if she didn't have cheap Aldi wine, "I would be dead by now!"

Things We Can Save More On

There are some things I noticed that we can totally save money on. Here are some things I'm going to start doing:

  • Not buying canned water (LaCroix) and soda. They cost like $0.50 per can (or more) – even at Aldi! We can make our own sparkling water with a SodaStream at home -- for pennies. Or make herbal tea from herbs we grow in the backyard.
  • Buying dried beans instead of canned.
  • Not buying organic/grass-fed meat -- with one exception... I still buy organic chickens with bones for broth. Because fluoride is what the pesticides are made of and it gets stored in the bones.
  • Sticking to basics like apples and bananas instead of pricey items like kiwi fruit.
  • Avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
  • Making our own bread -- it costs only about $2/loaf instead of $4/loaf
  • Making cookies at home instead of buying storebought

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How Are You Saving Money on Groceries?

Please share your tips in the comments!

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