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Old 02-20-2012, 05:07 PM   #61
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Here's why my food budget is so low. There is a good buffet style restaurant close to where I live. If you dine in, I believe it's $7 plus the cost of a drink. Takeout trays they weigh and charge a price per pound. Yesterday I piled up one to go tray(serve yourself) and it cost close to $9, no drink. That fed my mom and myself a nice Sunday lunch with leftovers for both of us today. So roughly $2.25 per meal. And this is healthy food. I don't ask what they season it all with.

No way I can go buy stuff to prepare that will taste this good, not to mention the convenience and price. [...]
Same here! We usually spend about the same as you, eating lunch out at any of several different local restaurants. The food is delicious and feeds the soul. The restaurant business in New Orleans is so competitive, and that keeps the prices down in most small neighborhood restaurants.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:33 PM   #62
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Have to scrimp? Um, we always eat what we enjoy (and enjoy what we eat). We spend about $50/week for the two of us on food, but not because we're shopping by price.

We buy almost everything at Aldi because imho the quality is equal to any other grocery store.......
+1
We don't scrimp either. We buy whatever we want, though we do go to different stores for various things. Aldi's is ALWAYS our #1 favorite to shop at! The food products that we buy there are at least as good, and usually better than, 'name-brand'. We spend an average of $50 to $60 a week there for the two of us, and that includes some non-food items like paper towels, etc. All of our dairy, and a majority of our meats and veggies come from Aldi as well. There are a few items that we get at either Kroger or our local IGA. And there's a family owned general store/gas station/restaurant in a little village about 16 miles from here where we by all of our wild game and some of our fish....and we have lunch there at the same time!

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You say chicken thighs/legs are $.40 to $.50 on sale!!! Around here they are $1.29 on sale. I should move to your neck of the woods, wherever that is.
Our local IGA has legs and thighs on sale about every 6 weeks or so for anywhere between 79 and 89 per pound. I stock up on them, put 4 or 6 in individual ziplocs, and toss 'em in the freezer. Use 'em for frying, grilling, soup, chicken parmagiana, or whatever. We both prefer the dark meat over the light.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:10 PM   #63
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Aldi's is the place to go to save, no doubt about it. Their fresh fruits and vegetables cost about half of what they cost at the major supermarkets. I don't know how they are able to sell them for so cheap.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:51 PM   #64
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+2
Aldi's is the place to go to save, no doubt about it. Their fresh fruits and vegetables cost about half of what they cost at the major supermarkets. I don't know how they are able to sell them for so cheap.
One thing I have noticed about some fruits at Aldi's is that the appearance isn't as good as what I normally see at regular grocery stores or walmart. I'm thinking of grapefruits as an example. The last time I bought some at aldi's ($0.30 per pound for a 5 lb bag IIRC), they were downright ugly to the point I thought there might be something wrong with them, but I took the risk since if I got 2 decent grapefruits out of the lot it would be the same as the grocery store prices. Turns out they were delicious and juicy, just ugly on the outside. I have had similar results with oranges at aldi's.

Just in general, lots of fruits aren't pretty on the outside and they are usually graded as such and used in other products besides fresh produce sales (such squeezed for juice/concentrate, or peeled and packaged or sold through institutional channels).

Avocados - I recently bought a bunch of avocados from Aldis to make a big batch of guacamole. $.50 each and they were the best quality avocados we have ever purchased in the USA. This is half the price at cheap groceries and walmart, and 1/5 the price at the high end grocery stores here.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:59 PM   #65
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You say chicken thighs/legs are $.40 to $.50 on sale!!! Around here they are $1.29 on sale. I should move to your neck of the woods, wherever that is.
Yep - $0.49 on sale this week at the local grocery store Food Lion (east coast USA). Same exact product as they have at walmart all the time, but walmart has them at the regular price of $0.59 or $0.65 per lb I believe all the time. It is actually chicken leg quarters so each piece is typically about 1 lb.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:06 PM   #66
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Yep - $0.49 on sale this week at the local grocery store Food Lion (east coast USA). Same exact product as they have at walmart all the time, but walmart has them at the regular price of $0.59 or $0.65 per lb I believe all the time. It is actually chicken leg quarters so each piece is typically about 1 lb.

You are right about the grapefruits and oranges at Aldi.

I buy chicken legs and thighs at Giant Food on sale for $1.29 per pound. They are billed as "all natural", whatever that means.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:07 PM   #67
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just ugly on the outside.
Perhaps they were Ugli?
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:09 PM   #68
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And my frozen Dungeness crab (you would not believe how good the quality is) has gone from $8.98 to $10.98 a pound.

I am looking forward to the local Costco opening. I haven't had a membership before, but I am hoping the lamb is less expensive (as I have heard). Fine with me if the lamb is imported from NZ or AUS.
I recently paid $6.60 a lb for whole frozen Dungeness crabs at Costco. Man were they good!
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:29 PM   #69
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When I RE'd, DW and I agreed that the one thing we would never scrimp on was food or food quality.

For us, the greatest food-price saver has been me learning to cook at 'restaurant quality' level. As a result, you find that you can get 2nd, 3rd and 4th uses of certain items (entirely different meals using leftovers).

Costco is also a big saving opportunity.

We figure that we average about $3-4 per meal each (wine not included) on a plate that would cost about $22 in a restaurant. (If DW liked shellfish more, we'd be in even better shape!)
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #70
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+2
Aldi's is the place to go to save, no doubt about it. Their fresh fruits and vegetables cost about half of what they cost at the major supermarkets. I don't know how they are able to sell them for so cheap.

I also love Aldi's . Their produce is great . Much fresher and cheaper than the local supermarkets .
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:41 PM   #71
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You are right about the grapefruits and oranges at Aldi.

I buy chicken legs and thighs at Giant Food on sale for $1.29 per pound. They are billed as "all natural", whatever that means.
I haven't seen the all natural label on the chicken leg quarters I buy, but I am assuming they were not synthetically created! All I know is, when you cover them in honey, peach preserves, cracked black pepper, soy sauce, and a few other secret ingredients, and bake it for a while, you have some darn good fall off the bone tender chicken bbq. And you can make 10 pounds of it for the price of a bbq chicken sandwich at a restaurant and it is a really easy dish to make.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:15 PM   #72
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Food

I count myself lucky, frugally speaking, that I really enjoy simple, healthy food. Some people view red beans and rice as pauper's fare, but man I love it! I'm also a creature of habit: I have virtually the same breakfast (egg, low carb wrap, turkey bacon or canadian bacon); lunch (big mixed green salad with some type of protein and olive oil/balsamic); and snacks (Greek yogurt, nuts, string cheese, fruit) every day. Dinner varies but is often crock pot chili or soup, or a stir fry, heavy on the veggies. Besides using very little processed or "white carb" food, my cooking criteria is quick and simple. I don't eat much meat at home but when I go out I often compensate by eating a nice juicy burger. I don't feel deprived on this diet. In fact, it keeps my cravings for sugar at bay and thus is all around good for me.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:54 PM   #73
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We figure that we average about $3-4 per meal each (wine not included) on a plate that would cost about $22 in a restaurant. (If DW liked shellfish more, we'd be in even better shape!)
That's interesting-- I always thought that a home-cooked meal was cheaper than a frozen dinner. At that price you'd have to be cooking for love, not for saving money.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:23 AM   #74
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That's interesting-- I always thought that a home-cooked meal was cheaper than a frozen dinner. At that price you'd have to be cooking for love, not for saving money.
I guess is depends what you're cooking. Hard to buy swordfish, prime rib, chateaubriand, salmon, filet mignon and lobster at frozen dinner prices.

You certainly can eat cheaper (with/without frozen dinners) but as noted on my post, we decided early on that we would not compromise on our food quality.

Also noted was my point that you can get 3 or 4 other meals from them...bringing the price down to about a buck a meal (wine not included).

Or....set the oven to 350 and make yourself a frozen dinner. Hamburg, mashed potatoes and corn is good.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:29 PM   #75
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Because of all the positive comments about Aldi I tried an Aldi store this afternoon. I checked the website so I knew to bring a quarter for the cart, my own bags and I dug out my rarely used debit card. I wasn't sure if I remembered the correct PIN for the debit card so I also had cash if needed.

I took my time and really browsed as I didn't need a lot. I bought coffee, a few cans of soup, fig newton type cookies, orange juice, mushrooms, asparagus, American cheese singles, pasta sauce, semisweet chocolate chips, bananas, napkins, cat litter and a couple cans of cat food.

The prices were definitely lower for most items but for toilet paper and paper towels the price was comparable to what I see at regular grocery stores if I find a sale or have a good coupon. I'm well stocked on these so I didn't need more today. Maybe next time. I wanted apples but they were only sold in 3 lb bags so I didn't get those either. Three pounds of one type of apple is a bit much for us.

The meat looked fine and there were plenty of frozen foods available. The store was small and very simple but had enough of the essentials.

I did have the correct PIN code for the debit card so that went well. Checkout was fine and I can pack bags as well as anyone else. I thought the quarter in the cart lock was clever!

I told DH and our son to try the stuff and let me know if it's awful, or great, or no difference. I'd like to try other things next time, meats and more produce. The store is not as close as other grocery stores but it's not too much out of the way. Now that I know what's available I can plan for the next time.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:33 PM   #76
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I really like Aldi's Fit and Active soups. They contain only about half the amount of sodium as regular soups. I go to Aldi for most of my groceries. I remember the first time I tried Aldi. Then I didn't realize that I was supposed to to my own bagging. Oh, also when there I like to peek at the non-grocery items. Sometimes they carry pretty good in season things at good prices.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:06 AM   #77
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Apparently there are no Aldi stores at all in Louisiana, according to their website. I'm not surprised. Many multi-state chain stores do not seem to make it to this particular state.

There's an Aldi store in Springfield, though, so if/when we ever finally move up there I'll be sure to check it out.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:14 AM   #78
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I thought the quarter in the cart lock was clever!
The supermarkets hereabouts have, (long since) pretty much disconnected this system......customers were finding it to be a PITA I guess.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:24 PM   #79
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I really miss Aldi - we shopped there when we lived in Germany (where they are HQ). I just checked Texas and while there are more than 30 in the DFW area, none down this way.

BTW, the quarter in the cart is a German thing - every grocery store I saw there does it that way. When we lived there it was a 1 DM piece (about $0.50 depending on exchange rates). I guess they had to refit all the carts to take 1 EURO coins after the switch.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:35 PM   #80
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Just made an Aldi run today. Apparently this week is "vegetables on sale". 3 huge green peppers for $1, 8 roma tomatoes for $0.79 (1.5 lb I think), huge cucumbers $0.59, 1/2 lb mushrooms $0.69, baby carrots $1, 3 heads of romaine lettuce $1, Huge celery $1.19. 2 lb red onions $0.69.

Going to be a yummy week of pasta sauces, stir fries, fajitas, pico de gallo salsa, and salads for us. All in I bought about 17 pounds of veggies for $11 or $0.65 per pound.
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