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Old 07-26-2021, 08:48 AM   #201
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I think it really "depends." We have an Aldi here, the original in the area, in a low income area and it is really small, cramped, crowded, and gritty. However, in the last 4 years we've had two new ones built in nearby areas that are gorgeous and rival the best supermarkets: clean, well lit, lots of organic food, large, etc. A real pleasure to shop at!



In Forest Lake and St Louis Park, Aldi's has retrofitted large out of business retail spaces and those stores are top of the line.
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:51 AM   #202
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We find Aldi more economical than Costco (Now) with less waste. There are still a few Costco items that are cheaper but not by much. Unfortunately the Costco is 45 miles way, so even if you do not take into account Gas, a Costco trip is a morning or afternoon jaunt.

Aldi & Super Walmart are less than 5 mins away.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:11 AM   #203
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OMG! That actually happened last month in our closet. The top rack pulled out of the wall and all the boot boxes came crashing down in the middle of the night. She's going through her closet and thinning the herd.

For those that are married or have an SO, would you make a big deal out of this with your spouse? All she has to say "You spent $2,500 on a telescope, and I like nice/new clothes." Just doesn't seem like a battle that needs to be fought if we can afford it. If either of us has a serious issue with spending, we can and do talk about it and make adjustments.
No I wouldn't. My DH has a baseball card collection (a very impressive one, actually). He tells me when he buys more cards, but I keep my mouth shut. He doesn't spend money on clothes or cars or golf or whatever....and he doesn't do anything we can't afford...
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:37 AM   #204
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OMG! That actually happened last month in our closet. The top rack pulled out of the wall and all the boot boxes came crashing down in the middle of the night. She's going through her closet and thinning the herd.

For those that are married or have an SO, would you make a big deal out of this with your spouse? All she has to say "You spent $2,500 on a telescope, and I like nice/new clothes." Just doesn't seem like a battle that needs to be fought if we can afford it. If either of us has a serious issue with spending, we can and do talk about it and make adjustments.
If it were my spouse, I would probably not say anything about the spending if it was within budget, but I would say something if it was a hoarding situation and wonder if that was a sign of a deeper problem. If she is buying a few expensive pieces a month she actually wears, and you can well afford it, that wouldn't bother me. If it was tons of cheaper clothes that just got piled up everywhere, that would concern me more for the mental health than the money aspect.

There is a TV show that helps households with decluttering called Clean House, and besides cleaning up the house, the host usually has a chat with the hoarder(s) to find reasons for the clutter. Usually in the show it is some kind of loss, like a death or other triggering event. I had a friend who started hoarding clothes after a divorce. Her second bathroom was unusable because she used the shower rod as a clothes rack and the whole tub area was filled to the brim with clothes, which was an overflow from her bedroom closet.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:45 AM   #205
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OTOH if you are buying well made , expensive and classic clothing, it should last almost forever as long as it still fits you.


I guess the question is do they buy out of habit, on impulse while shopping, or because they like to find bargains? Also Corn doesn't say if he picked the 400 monthly amount alone or if his spouse agreed to the amount.



The difference between an expensive telescope or camera is that you don't go out and buy another one every month.



As long they don't have friction about it, I don't see a problem in the short term.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:54 AM   #206
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I think it really "depends." We have an Aldi here, the original in the area, in a low income area and it is really small, cramped, crowded, and gritty. However, in the last 4 years we've had two new ones built in nearby areas that are gorgeous and rival the best supermarkets: clean, well lit, lots of organic food, large, etc. A real pleasure to shop at!
Sounds like our nearest Aldi's (~15 minutes away) which opened over a decade ago.

Only went there a few times until it became clear it was going downhill fast.

I was also turned off by the police car parked there 24/7 & the shopping cart deposit (do they still do that?)

Then a few years ago a Lidl opened much closer to us (~5 minutes away)

It has become our "go-to" store for nearly everything.

Still clean & nice, no police car out front, no $0.25 deposit for a shopping cart.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:00 AM   #207
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Serious question to OP:

How can you spend $24,000 a year on food and not gain weight?

I am not saying the OP is doing the following, but here's an easy way.

Eat only Japanese Wagyu beef, which Costco sells at $99/lb. Beluga caviar. White truffle. Louis XIII Cognac. Dom Perignon champagne. Chateau Lafite wine. When you go out to eat, go to the like of the French Laundry, Per Se, and Masa.

You will stay very skinny on $24K/year, and in fact feel hungry all the time.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:27 AM   #208
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I have been closely tracking expenses since 2010. Retired this past Mar and put together a budget for retirement that I thought was reasonable. Areas that I think we overspent on were food and clothes. So I put in an amount that I thought we should spend vs. what we do spend. Ask me how that turned out. So now the "budget" (or should I call it planned expenses) reflect what we have been spending the last 2 years. Nice try, huh? At least I know we don't have to watch what we spend on a daily basis and just need to meter the big spending. Probably happier that way. Still have more money than we needed to retire, so life is good.

Just to put up the dart board:

Food: $1,500 / mo budgeted, $2048 actual over the last 2 years
Clothes: $400 / mo budgeted, $600 actual over the last 2 years (I haven't bought clothes for me in years)

I also had to bump gas up 40% because we are camping a lot and pulling my 12,000 lbs fifth wheel with a gas truck costs a lot. We weren't camping before, so didn't account for that. Truck costs $125 to fill up and I can go about 200 miles on a tank when towing.

Everything else is tracking nicely.
To be fair to your wife what was your income when working?
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:46 AM   #209
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I think I've mentioned DW and I shop at Aldi's when we're on the mainland. First time each summer as we enter Aldi's our eyes go wide as we see milk for (sometimes) less than $2 (cheap at $5.50 at our Costco in Honolulu.) Fresh blueberries (my favorite) are as low as $0.99/box (lb) vs that much per ounce in Hawaii - We buy the frozen "back home."

While it's true that Aldi's would never be considered "up scale" ours is always clean, has wide aisles, no carts left by your car - heh, heh, I wish! We often make $.25 to $.50 finding carts. We never buy their knock-off brands (like chips or salad dressings, etc.) But I'm sure we save 1/3 from what we pay at the local Sams. NOW, if we could just get an Aldi's in Honolulu. YMMV
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:52 AM   #210
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From what I have heard Aldis has great prices, but there aren't any in the Bay Area so they weren't covered in their price comparisons in the article. Here is what else they had to say, "Grocery Outlet, WinCo, Walmart, FoodsCo, Foodmaxx, and Target were the price winners—where many families could save $1,350 to more than $3,000 per year. [Sams's and Costco were covered in a separate article].

Grocery Outlet, which offers a somewhat odd assortment of steeply discounted surplus national-brand products, offered prices that were about 30 percent lower than the average at all other stores we surveyed. WinCo was the other big saver, with prices 29 percent lower than average.

The next-best bets for low grocery prices in the Bay Area: Walmart and FoodsCo, each with prices 20 percent lower than average prices at all surveyed stores; FoodMaxx’s were 15 percent lower; and Target’s 13 percent lower."

I can usually save 70% off Safeway prices when I go to Grocery Outlet if I go alone and 50% if DH comes with me, which is still pretty good.

That’s a very interesting comparison. We have a Costco business center where prices are 10-20% lower than Costco on most items, but no organics. Some items are much less expensive, but you have to buy in huge bulk. It’s been working well for us, but still requires a trip to the regular Costco and a grocery store for odds and ends.

I was surprised to see that target was better than Costco on several items we buy regularly. Walmart is hit and miss—sometimes better priced but quality is lower.

I struggle with paying for more convenience vs running to several stores. But at the same time I’m so annoyed when I find something significantly cheaper!
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:35 AM   #211
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To be fair to your wife what was your income when working?
$750k/year
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:36 AM   #212
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Serious question to OP:

How can you spend $24,000 a year on food and not gain weight? Our overall annual spend is actually greater than yours, but our annual food spend budget currently is $5200 for groceries, and $4800 for restaurant dining. I'm afraid to increase either lest we gain weight.

We are very physically active, as in regular 10 mile hikes/50 mile bicycle rides active, but as we get older (now 58 & 66 after 10 years in FIRE) we simply can't eat like we used to and not see it on the scale.

Alcohol not included in groceries, as an FYI. That runs a few thousand a year as we find ourselves moving up the cost-per-bottle scale.
Dining out is $800-$900 /month. Rest is stuff from a grocery store which includes cleaning supplies and other household stuff.
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Old 07-26-2021, 01:22 PM   #213
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It is always a good idea to have an honest conversation about overages because it will cost in other areas. We have done that and it did result in some cutbacks.
^^^^This.

OP-If you don't have an honest conversation (from both sides) about this, resentment will build and your relationship will suffer. It doesn't get easier with time; do it now. I'm speaking from experience.
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Old 07-26-2021, 02:40 PM   #214
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That’s a very interesting comparison. We have a Costco business center where prices are 10-20% lower than Costco on most items, but no organics. Some items are much less expensive, but you have to buy in huge bulk. It’s been working well for us, but still requires a trip to the regular Costco and a grocery store for odds and ends.

I was surprised to see that target was better than Costco on several items we buy regularly. Walmart is hit and miss—sometimes better priced but quality is lower.

I struggle with paying for more convenience vs running to several stores. But at the same time I’m so annoyed when I find something significantly cheaper!
I compared our grocery budget to the grocery expenses in the Consumer Expenditure Survey before we retired, and it was a real wake up call for me. I found it helpful to read the Tightwad Gazette books. The author has lots of good tips, especially for grocery shopping.
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Old 07-26-2021, 02:49 PM   #215
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Costco, itself, predates er.org.

Nearest Costco to us is 80 miles. But even when there was one 13 miles away, we went to BJs. Much cheaper entry fee (I've negotiated a $25 fee in the past) and the groceries are just as good (I did a careful comparison some years ago). BJs doesn't carry as many types of meat and fish, nor as many luxury goods, but those aren't why we go there anyway.

Plus their checkout seems easier, somehow.

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I’m curious: what preceded Costco’s status at e-r.org? Sam’s Club?
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Old 07-26-2021, 03:28 PM   #216
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I agree about Grocery Outlet in the bay area. I sometimes went there when I lived there. Some of the prices were crazy good. I heard that they get items from bankrupted stores and also carry discontinued items. so those factors, I'm sure, contributed to their low prices. I saw a lot of obscure brands there that I'd never seen at any other stores. I checked the expirations of every item I was buying though, as they seemed to sell a lot of almost expiring items.
Yup, they clearly sell excess stock that is close to expiration, I always check anything I pick up there. I have definitely had cookies from the one in Berkeley that were expiring in a month, which given the shelf stability of engineered cookies definitely makes you wonder... :P
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Old 07-26-2021, 03:48 PM   #217
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Yup, they clearly sell excess stock that is close to expiration, I always check anything I pick up there. I have definitely had cookies from the one in Berkeley that were expiring in a month, which given the shelf stability of engineered cookies definitely makes you wonder... :P

Cookies? You can ignore the expiration date. They will last 100 years!

Even McDonald hamburgers last forever. Here's how one looks after 20 years.

Read: https://interestingengineering.com/m...-off-the-grill.

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Old 07-26-2021, 04:02 PM   #218
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I wouldn't. Gimme $400 worth of caviar and I'll down it in 2 days. With frozen vodka of course -
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:03 PM   #219
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And I am sure that the 20 year old MacDonalds hamburger tastes about the same as it did on day 1. Awful!
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:15 PM   #220
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I wouldn't. Gimme $400 worth of caviar and I'll down it in 2 days. With frozen vodka of course -
An ounce and a half of beluga over two days? Robbie, I’d be surprised if that lasted an hour, especially after reading all the foods you treat to yourself.
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