Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cheap Vegan Grocery Shopping

When I think vegan grocery shopping, my mind goes directly towards Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  That is great in a world where money is no object, but in my household and on our budget, I have to be realistic.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had to figure out a way to provide my family with whole foods in the cheapest way possible.   
Yes, couponing does work, but many of the foods we eat rarely have coupons.  So many of the coupons out there are for processed food which we try to avoid.  But, I do take advantage of the double coupon days  at our local grocery stores and am very thankful for local blogs that provide match-up's (thank you Dannelle at Operation $40K).  They basically do all the work for me, I just go shopping with my coupons and save!

I could easily spend $600-$800 or more a month if I shopped at Whole Foods for a family of 4, but realistically I am trying to whittle our monthly food budget down to $200 a month.  Can I do it, well, I am close.  So far, I am getting to about $300 - $350 and that includes our paper products and diapers.

So how in the heck am I only spending $300 a month on food for a vegan, almost vegan husband and two whole food healthy kids?  My secret is Aldi's!  Yep, I shop at Aldi's and am proud of it.  We are fortunate to have three Aldi grocery stores in our city, but I go to the store on the opposite side of town.  It is newer, quieter and the clientele is a far cry from the other store closest to me.  No, they don't have very many organic items, but their produce has been top notch at amazing prices.  I really wish I could get all my produce organic, but I would rather get any type of fresh produce over a processed snack any day for my family.  We buy the dried beans, tortillas, cereal, produce, condiments, etc...  There are actually many options for vegans in Aldi's, but I am careful to not get their buns or bread items as they contain high fructose corn syrup among others.  Also, from doing some research I am finding that any item in Aldi's that has a "compare to....brand" sentence on their packaging really is from the name brand company.  For example they have a knock-off Kashi cereal that is vegan and on the box it says "compare to Kashi', it really is Kashi.  Why pay for the expensive Kashi in the grocery store when you can get the same thing for half the price or cheaper at Aldi's.  No brainier for me and our budget.
We still order our monthly organic produce from Share and also shop at Costco, the local grocery store Copps/Pick n' Save, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but it is just for items I can get cheaper with coupons or refuse to buy as a knock-off at Aldi's.
So, where do you grocery shop and how much do you spend a month?  Are you a crazy saving shopper or spend whatever you would like?  I am proud to be a savvy shopper and proud to call myself an avid vegan Aldi shopper!
Aldi Grocery Store Shopping Tips:

  • Bring a quarter. You need a quarter to get a cart, but you get it back when you return the cart.
  • Bring your own bags. Bags are not free at Aldi’s, but you can purchase them for $0.10 a piece.
  • You have to bag your own groceries at the counter after you pay at the registers.
  • Aldi’s owns Trader Joe’s so if you are a frequent TJ’s shopper you will notice some similar products.
  • Everything is in the boxes it was shipped in and a lot of boxes are on pallets. This is how they save money and pass along the savings. Very little time ($$) is spent putting products out on the floor.
  • Just because it is sold at Aldi’s doesn’t mean it is cheaper than regular grocery stores. It usually is, but pay attention to the price and have an idea of what that price would be at your usual store.

1 comment:

  1. I coupon and check out loacal blogs for deals too. I love that they map all the deals out for you. We don't have a Whole Foods where I live, which is probably a good thing since we are on a budget. The nearest one is a little over an hour away. I do most of my grocery shopping at Kroger. I try to buy what they have on special and match coupons to their sale prices if I can. Of course some blogs help me out there. Sounds like we are on the same page with our food budget. :o)