Jan 29 2011

aldi vs. walmart: a shopping comparison [day 248]

You asked for it.  Here it is.  The price shopping comparison between Aldi and Walmart.  After my post on day 241, many people asked for a price comparison with Walmart, some because they love shopping there, others because they believe Walmart to have the lowest prices.  So what’s your guess on the savings?

Aldi is still a lot cheaper in comparison t0 both of the other stores.  On similar size off brand and generic items, Kroger was 52% more and Walmart was 47% more.  The savings at Walmart for these brands is not much less than a regular grocery store, neither coming close to the savings at Aldi.  On the name brands, Kroger was 113% more and Walmart was 67% more.  Here’s where the Walmart savings come in.  Name brands you’re familiar with, for much less than other places.  This whole process has made me think about my previous grocery shopping habits and has encouraged me to make some changes.  I’m going to label these a little differently.  Let’s call these stores by type.

conventional grocery storediscount grocery storesuperstore – convenience store

All of the store types have pros and cons, however making educated shopping choices for your money and well being isn’t the easiest thing to do sometimes.  Here are a few of my observations and answers to questions I had before doing this comparison: Continue reading


Jan 22 2011

a 25¢ lesson cost me hundreds [day 241]

Yes, I made a judgement call based on 25¢, a quarter I thought I would loose.  Listening to some bad advice, I decided not to try a new grocery store in my area, a store that opened over a year ago.  Some person (I don’t remember who) told me that the new Aldi grocery store charges 25¢ for the use of their carts.  What this yo-yo neglected to tell me is that you get your quarter back when you return the cart.  So instead of checking this out, like I normally would, I decided not to.  My 25¢ lesson?  Make my decisions based on my own research, not something someone says. Of course I will always take advice and opinions into consideration, but I should always see things for myself.  I do this with people, I should do it with everything.  Lesson learned, but not just one.  There were many great lessons from this experience that I would love to share.

What is Aldi? “ALDI is a discount grocery chain that operates over 1,000 stores in 31 states. Through a select assortment and convenient grocery shopping approach, we’re able to offer our customers the highest quality everyday items at the lowest possible prices—honest to goodness savings.” Read more about them and why they’re different at aldi.us.

So why the quarter for the cart? “At ALDI, we cut costs every way we can to keep prices low. Our shopping cart deposit system is a good example. You insert a quarter to release a cart. When you return the cart, you get your quarter back. This system cuts down on the labor of collecting carts left in the parking lot, damage to cars, and we pass the savings on to you.” I like this.  In addition, it keeps the carts from hitting the cars in the parking lot and the carts seem to be in better condition.

I decided to shop there a few days ago.  It was the closest store and I just needed 2 items.  After the great experience, I decided to go back.  This time was to shop in efforts to try some of the different brands, buying one or two of each thing we normally purchase.  After seeing first hand, the incredible savings, I decided to do a cost analysis.

Last night, my kids and I went to our local grocery store to compare prices.  It was nice to get out of the house and I forgot my phone, which was nice, as my kids and I had fun doing this.  Who would have thought?  Here’s the results.

Aldi price: $65.40

This is pre-tax.  There was only one thing that was a name brand I usually buy, Amy’s vegetarian meals.  All of the other things were Aldi or generic brands.

Name brand price: $139.51

I priced the name brand items that were comparable in size and type to get this number.  The name brands cost 113% more than the Aldi brands.  Whoa!  that got my attention!

Off brand price: $99.33

To get this number, I used the same criteria as above, but with generic  or off brand items.  There were a few things that didn’t have generic brands, so the brand name item price was inserted.  Shopping at the major grocery store for off brands cost 52% more than Aldi.  Again, wow!

I’m sure you have some of the same questions I did before going in here, so I will address them now.  I had some very unexpected shopping results, that were much more than just saving money.  I also got me thinking about my shopping habits and how I have some room for growth.  Continue reading


Dec 11 2010

AWESOME dumpster diving video! [day 199]

This video was created for a school project by a student at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania for a Physics of Energy and the Environment class.  It’s a wonderful video on the how-to’s of dumpster diving with some alarming statistics.  Check it out.  It’s well worth 8 minutes of your time.


Jul 25 2010

do you grow your own food? [day 59]

I have a small contain spice garden in my very small backyard.  I had every intention of making a garden this year, but I ran out of time, money and space.  Time, I could make time if I really wanted to.  Money?  Probably would have paid for itself many times over.  The space issue would require some really creative backyard reworking and possibly having to get rid of our trampoline.  It would be a small garden, and more container gardens, but I could make it work.  Next year…

In the mean time, here’s a family that did a garden in their (also small) backyard.  The Jacobs family has so much fresh produce, they’re having to get creative in the kitchen.  They’ve been in the area for over two years now.  When they bought their house, they put in a $16 peach tree, purchased at WalMart.  After a short amount of time, the tree is producing so much fruit, they can’t eat it all.  They are using jars and also making lots of chutney.  They also have lots of cucumbers and have made many jars of pickles.

I asked them, “Why?  What made you decide to have a garden?”  Warren said he and Sonya both grew up in homes that had gardens, and at one point, they said they would not have one, but changed their mind.  I remember Sonya trying to decide what to do with the “big empty square” in the back when they first moved into their house.  The new areas of Frisco have no trees, or tiny Charlie Brown trees, and I’m thinking she put the space to good use.

Sonya said she wanted to show her kids more about where food comes from and how much work it is to make it.  She said the kids have been ‘Walmartized’ and she doesn’t want them to think the food just shows up in cans at the store.  My kids are definitely Walmartized and I will have a garden next year.  For now, I’ll have to teach my kids with the rosemary and oregano plants.

The Jacobs family is setting a good example of what we should all be doing.  Even a small garden will help save money on groceries and make the world a greener place.  Here’s some more photos from their garden:

Here’s a few tips I found on the internet to help in your garden planning:

  • Find out what grows best in your area.
  • If you’re limited on space, research some container gardening.
  • Plant only stuff you like and will eat.
  • If you have neighbors doing the same thing, plant different stuff and do a veggie trade.
  • Start from seeds, low cost way to start a garden.

Happy gardening!!!