trader joe’s cute, new step-brother…

I’ve always stuck to a strict schedule on Sunday. Whether I’ve been traveling, am hungover, insanely sick, or just tired, I almost ALWAYS make it to the grocery store on Sunday… between the hours of 12-4. I have no idea how that obsession started. If I can’t make it between 12-4, I just won’t go.

I’ve also always been a bargain shopper. It stems from a very strong discount gene pool. Groceries are no exception. While there are some things that I’m picky about, like deli meat and seafood, I get everything else at Aldi.

Aldi is by no means a glamorous shopping experience. It starts with you having to bring your own quarter to even get a cart (people take this seriously and will not just “hand off” their cart), and your own bags to carry away all your delicious new stuff. Upon entering, it’s a smaller store than you’re probably used to, with florescent lights and mostly generic packaging. It looks like a fake grocery store that you’d see in a low budget movie. BUT- it is SUCH a hidden gem. I PROMISE.

They have a FABULOUS organic fruit, vegetable and meat selection. A huge gluten free variety, and many “Fresh & Fit” options. Aldi carries knock-offs of most common goods you would need and every now and then there’s a name brand item or two (I scored Jake some kit-kats and poptarts).

I can always count on them having my fair trade K-cups at $3.99, my almond milk for $2 and some change, and great hummus choices for under $2. However, there are also a good amount of surprise products, which are typically some of my favorites.

Since I’m on only on day 4 of my challenge, i’m still craving sweets quite a bit. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see this surprise item: Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.

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The fruit and vegetable section is what I love most about Aldi. I’m able to stock up on great quality produce for SUPER cheap. Some the of deals today were $.49 avocados, $.29 cucumbers, and $1.29 organic grape tomatoes. There’s also a really nice dairy section with soy, almond, and coconut milk; goat, feta, and brie cheese, as well as a handful of Greek yogurt options.

I always seem to head to the checkout with a full cart. Aldi only allows customers to pay with debit or cash, so make sure that you come prepared. My first trip ended in disaster, when I had to leave my delicious cart, with only a credit card in my purse. (Damn you, little bar clutch with no room!)

The cashiers are typically pretty mellow and place (lightly throw) all your objects in the cart for you to bag yourself (hey, remember how I mentioned unglamourous?)  It’s not the greatest picture, but I was able to get a week of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for Jake and I, all for under $90.

image4So bring a quarter, a few reusable bags, some cash and a translator (because about 90% of the people there are not speaking English), and get ready the grocery trip of a lifetime.

Cheers,

S.L.

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