Some notes on budget grocery shopping

I’m on a crash course in budget grocery shopping, with the help of some generous friends who are good at that sort of thing.

There’s a lot of stuff about menu planning, slow cooker meals, etc. that I could talk about, but today I just wanted to make some notes on grocery stores.


  • Aldi generally beats everyone else on price. Shop here first, then fill in the holes at traditional grocery stores.
  • Aldi sometimes has especially epic weekly sales on produce, meats, etc. The other day I bought half a dozen bags of baby carrots (I use these in my lunches) and chucked them in the deep freezer.
  • Don’t forget your quarter and your reusable grocery bags!


  • “10/$10” means that the sale price is $1/each, not that you have to buy 10 to get the discount. I actually already knew this, but I’m including for completeness.
  • When they have a “buy 4, save 4” deal you do have to buy 4 items; but when they say “mix and match” that means you can mix and match any buy-4-save-$4 items in the whole store. E.g. two bottles of hand soap and two boxes of diapers, so long as they are both marked “Buy 4, save $4” (or whatever).
  • The Kroger app will show you their current weekly Kroger-card discounts. You can add them to an in-app shopping list. I use it to remember which sale items I plan on getting at Kroger instead of at Aldi.
  • The Kroger app can also show you current manufacturer coupons, and you can clip them to your Kroger card(!). This means that when you check out, the coupons will automatically be applied. No physical clipping required.
  • Buying gift cards get you double (or sometimes more) gas points. So if you know you need to get something at another local store (Best Buy, etc.), you can buy a gift card at Kroger and get bonus gas points for your money.


  • Cheaper across the board than Kroger on comparable items. (But still not as cheap as Aldi)
  • The local super center actually has a pretty decent produce section, including plenty of organics.
  • Automatic, after-the-fact price matching! You scan your receipt into their app, and they price-match any current sales from local competitor circulars. The difference gets credited back as a gift card or to your Walmart Pay account.
  • Not actually budget related, but: you can buy a box of passable croissants in their bakery! Until now I’ve had to wait until we made a trip to the Whole Foods in Knoxville to get croissants, and of course they are expensive there. The other local groceries think that “croissant” means “sourdough roll in the shape of a crescent”.

Sam’s Club:

  • I don’t actually have any notes on this yet, because I haven’t joined yet. But based on advice I think that’s going to be my next step.
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One Comment

  1. Word. We have Aldi’s here and I lived off of them in Germany (in the same fashion–by the basics there and then get other stuff at other stores..).

    We don’t have Kroger’s here–but we do have Woodman’s.. which is a huge store with the best selections in town. Some people get squeeged out by the produce not being 100% perfect all the time (it’s usually like 98% solid)–but it’s where all the immigrants shop and work–and I totally love it.

    It’s closer than the aldi’s and has the best prices in town here (same as aldi’s, basically..).

    Quick other food tips.
    1. Ground Turkey meat is WAY cheaper than ground beef–and works just like it. here–it’s $1.39/lb vs $3.00/lb.
    2. Homemade fries made from potatoes still cost 1/4 that of bought fries–but it does take a bit more effort. But kids can learn to peal potatoes–and then shaking them in a bowl with oil, salt and spices and then baking works just fine. (deep frying is a pain and wastes so much oil.)

    3. Soups are awesome.

    But I bet you know all of this already.. but it’s the kind of thing I’ve spent 20 years doing–so I’m happy to say more privately if you want..

    Much love,

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