Aldi Harlem “Mini” Haul, Savings Galore!

After watching about a zillion Youtube videos, I’ve FINALLY popped my Aldi cherry (Harlem location)! I’ve been dreaming of this shopping experience for quite some time, but have yet to make my way there. In 2017 alone, I’ve moved from Manhattan to Queens, back to Manhattan, and luckily for me, I am now approximately 15 blocks from this Aldi location (as well as Target – control yourself, Jocelyn!)

It is true when people say that you can easily save 50% on your grocery bill by simply coming to Aldi. You don’t have to wait for sales or use coupons to save a lot of money here. I haven’t tried many of the products yet like other bloggers and YouTubers have, but I can say that the produce is fresh and well-priced. For example, you won’t find wilted salads here! Like many others have mentioned before me, Aldi supplies their own off-brand products, which so far, have been of very good quality, with many low-priced organic and GMO-free varieties to choose from. A few things you should keep in mind: They don’t bag your groceries, and you have to pay for plastic bags if you don’t bring your own. The same can be said for a shopping cart.

Unfortunately, because my husband and I have to lug back everything we purchase, we can’t shop too heavy. And, let’s face it, the bigger the value, the heavier it is! I’m not even kidding – the canned goods, the rice, the bag of sugar, flour, potatoes, etc. – that’s heavy stuff, and we only have 4 arms combined. However, the great thing is, those prices won’t disappear. They’ll still be there next week.

So, I’ll begin by sharing with you all what I’ve purchased along with a list of meals I plan to incorporate with these items. Then, I will share some good finds that I weren’t able to purchase and carry home, but felt it was worth mentioning.

Before I begin, keep in mind that I am meal planning under certain circumstances such as limited refrigerator space and cookware. This haul is meant to last 2-4 days, with a focus on snacks, lunch, and dinners. We are also shopping to stretch our food stamp dollar the absolute furthest possible.

PRODUCE:

Bag of navel oranges — $1.49, probably the best deal from this haul!

Baby carrots — .99

PANTRY:

3lb Long grain rice — $1.39, again, you won’t find this price elsewhere

2 cans of black beans — .69 ea, ^^^

2 cans of vienna sausage — .49 ea, I’m not quite sure why I bought this, I used to eat them straight out of the can as a child and it’s kind of a treat when I’m feeling homesick

Peanut butter wafers — $1.09, my husband’s guilty pleasure

DELI:

Bag of hard-boiled eggs — $1.89, this is a pure convenience purchase; we share a community kitchen with our neighbors and any time I can save in the kitchen goes a long way

Kielbasa sausage — $2.29

2lbs of potato salad — $2.49, I love potato salad, what can I say?

Honey Ham, cold cuts — $2.59, makes about 3-4 sandwiches, depending on how generous you want to be

Smoked Turkey, cold cuts — $2.59, ^^^

Cheddar cheese slices <3 — $1.89

DAIRY:

Strawberry yogurt cups — .49 ea

FROZEN:

Chicken fried rice — $3.09, meal for 2 type of thing

Frozen peas — $1.05

 

Right now, we have a decent amount of cereal, cereal bars, and granola bars, which, by the way, are mostly from Aldi as well! With that in mind, we didn’t shop for any breakfast foods. For lunches, we plan to have sandwiches with a cup of yogurt, an orange or handful of baby carrots. I have some salad dressing and hummus in the fridge to jazz things up. For dinners, we will be enjoying A LOT of rice and beans, and rice and peas (with carrots too)! We plan to throw in some kielbasa, eggs, or even some sliced ham. I will probably divide our kielbasa up between 2-3 meals and have some of it sliced, browned on the stove, then put on some bread with potato salad on the side.

Flavors will depend on what we have on hand from take-out condiments such as soy sauce or hot sauce.

In all honesty, I am a very simple eater. I am very satisfied with a bowl of rice and eggs with a little soy sauce or hot sauce. Chances are, we may go back for more kielbasa because it’s literally $2, and we can’t deny how versatile it is for meal planning – they have all-beef smoked sausage, lean turkey, etc. so there is some variety to choose from. Next time, I also plan to pick up some canned tuna because they’re .50 a can! Another simple meal I enjoy is diced tomatoes tossed in with some tuna (preferably tuna in-oil) with a few tablespoons of fish sauce stirred in over hot rice.

A few goodies I spotted but wasn’t able to purchase:

$1.99 box of fruit bars that I really wanted, but would melt before I got home :/

MILK – it’s $1 less than anywhere else I’ve been!

Spices, sauces, dressings, and condiments.

Basically all baking and staple pantry items such as flour and sugar.

What are your favorite Aldi products? What would you recommend to new Aldi shoppers?

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Reminder: Check A-L-L Grocery Catalogs!

 

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When I load up my Flipp app, there are literally hundreds of catalogs that pop up. On a regular day (or week), I usually don’t bother looking at any of the catalogs for stores that I don’t frequent. To be honest, I am probably missing out on deals I’m not even aware of. In truth, it is kind of a pain to skim through tons of catalogs, but in the long run, you do save money. Effort always pays off.

 

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Frugal Tips – Shop Your Pantry!

Today was a great example as to why it is important to shop your pantry before going out to buy something else.  Let me explain.

This morning my husband woke me with news that there was an error alert on my desktop screen. Of course Luna (my cat) decided to sleep on my keyboard last night. She somehow  managed to manually reset my computer! (LOL) I was not surprised; this is definitely a Luna thing. She has turned off our Xbox One with her tail, as well as reset the internet – quite the trouble maker! Unfortunately, I spent the remainder of the day getting my laptop back in working order!

Anyhow, all of this had me completely forgetting that I had the Peapod delivery set for this afternoon! I missed 3 calls from Peapod while focusing on my laptop fiasco – one that they were in the neighborhood, another when they arrived, and a last one that notified me of out-of-stock items that did not make it in my delivery. It is one of my favorite features about Peapod, yet the alert only works if you pay attention to your phone…

So, as you can imagine, I was completely thrown off from my meal plan I had put together for the next few weeks. Instead of going out to the store to pick up those missing items, we decided it would make more sense money-wise to first see what we had in our pantry.

A lot of the time we think there is nothing to eat in our homes, but in reality, we have food – we just don’t really want to eat it – or don’t know what to eat it with, how to prepare it, ect.

This is a great time to get creative and/or to check out some recipes online. Tomorrow we plan to do just that! I’ll keep you folks posted on how well we improvise with what we already have at home!

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Easter 2016 Sales: Where To Get The Best Deals This Weekend

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How are you spending this holiday weekend? Hunting for eggs, morning church service, or shopping for a much needed spring wardrobe?

If you plan to relax at home, and perhaps do a little online shopping – you’re in luck!

Courtesy of International Business Times, I’ve got a list of some of the best deals running all weekend. Check it out!

American Eagle is offering 50 percent off men’s, women’s and Aerie clearance items on its website through next week.

Pier 1 Imports is offering 20 percent off customers’ purchases with the code SPRING20. Indoor dining room furniture and cabinets have their own sales running, as well.

Macy’s will give shoppers 20 percent off with the promo code EASTER. On top of that, home goods are 15 percent off — some of the best deals include a $29.99 Black & Decker blender and $600 Vitamix. If you spend more than $50, you can get free shipping through Saturday.

Through Saturday, Michael’s is giving $2.95 shipping with the promo code 295MARCHW. The store is closed Sunday, so be sure to take advantage of the buy one, get one half off Easter basket stuffers before then.

Urban Outfitters is taking 20 percent off all dresses both in store and online.

At Williams-Sonoma, you can get free shipping on big orders with the promo code SHIP4FREE. Also score 20 percent off soaps, roasters and spring bakeware, or nab a Wüsthof steak knife for 60 percent off.

Your order at Old Navy will be 30 percent off even without a promo code. Their spring styles sale features T-shirts as low as $5 and dresses starting at $15. Get free shipping by entering FREEDOM at checkout.

This weekend, H&M is giving customers free shipping if they use the code 3371 at checkout. The brand also has deals that make prices as low as $4.99.

Rad.com is offering 40 percent off spring essentials, which include T-shirts and sweatshirts with a variety of prints.

There are several promo codes you can use on Snapfish to get cool photo prints at low prices. Try 50SPR16 for half off your order, or 29FS0316 through the end of the weekend to score free shipping. Plug in 3BKSM16 for a buy one photo book, get two free deal.

Xbox is running a spring sale where you can buy an Xbox One for $299. Games are up to $20 percent off.

 

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Hollar.com Haul – Unboxing & Review

Hey gang!

So, after waiting in line for an hour at the post office, I finally got my Hollar package in hand!

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Everything looks great except these earrings, which are chipped in the skull and crossbones:

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All the pens have smooth ink, and nothing is damaged or opened. The only other thing to note is the the kitten stickers are raised (puffy). The red crochet scarf with a rose is missing from the photo. It is very thick and warm and the detail is impressive. I’ll get a picture of it up on the blog soon! Click here to get $2 off your order!

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Thrifty Tips: Top 30 Foods To Buy When You’re Broke

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Here is a list of pantry items, fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that are generally always affordable (even when not on sale)! I cook with most of these foods on a weekly basis because their prices are generally stable, as well as low everywhere. Without these particular foods, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick to my grocery budget every single week!

  1. Rice
  2. Pasta noodles
  3. Dry beans
  4. Lentils
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Variety of canned tomatoes (tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes)
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Pasta sauce
  9. Frozen vegetables
  10. Bananas
  11. Apples
  12. Oranges
  13. Onions
  14. Garlic
  15. Carrots
  16. Cabbage
  17. Potatoes
  18. Lettuce
  19. Tomatoes
  20. Eggs
  21. Canned tuna
  22. Chicken thighs
  23. Chicken quartered legs
  24. Whole chicken
  25. Pack of 100 generic black tea
  26. Sugar
  27. Flour
  28. Bread
  29. Crackers
  30. Powdered Milk

 

 

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Thrifty Tips: Honey Browser Extension

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Honey (app) is no more of a savvy shopper’s dream than it is a couponer’s dream! Me? I’m both – I love online shopping and I love coupons.

Honey is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that searches for the best coupons to apply to your shopping cart. Instead of digging on every single coupon website, this app does all that work for you and applies the coupons directly to your online order! How cool is that?!

Download the Honey app to your browser now by clicking right here.

When it comes to striking up an awesome deal, you can sometimes do a better job at home. For starters, you can take your time. There is no hectic, crowded, and anxiety-filled trip to the mall.

Secondly, you can really think about how much you want a product before you buy it and only buy what you REALLY love (which is a huge minimalist motto, by the way).

You don’t need to get in that long line – you don’t even need to buy it right now, or even today! You can leave your items in the cart and sleep on it. In fact, some suggest doing just that – did you know that leaving items in your shopping cart often results in receiving another coupon? According to this LifeHacker article, that is indeed true!

Wondering which online retailers support the Honey app? Here’s a list right here!

1800contacts.com
1800flowers.com
1800petmeds.com
6pm.com
abebooks.com
accorhotels.com
acehardware.com
ae.com
aeropostale.com
alibris.com
alloy.com
alloyapparel.com
alssports.com
amazon.com
amazon.ca
amazon.co.uk
americanapparel.com
americangirl.com
amyadele.com
angieslist.com
anntaylor.com
apple.com
armaniexchange.com
ashford.com
asianfoodgrocer.com
asos.com
athleta.com
avenue.com
avon.com
backyardocean.com
ballarddesigns.com
bambeco.com
bananarepublic.com
barnesandnoble.com
baronbob.com
bathandbodyworks.com
bcbg.com
beauty.com
bensherman.com
bestbuy.com
bestwestern.com
beyondblossoms.com
bloomingdales.com
bluenile.com
bodenusa.com
bodybuilding.com
bonton.com
bookit.com
bookrenter.com
brookstone.com
buildabear.com
butterflyphoto.com
buydig.com
cabelas.com
cache.com
cafepress.com
calvinklein.com
campusbookrentals.com
campusspecial.com
carsons.com
carters.com
casa.com
champssports.com
charlotterusse.com
cheaptickets.com
chegg.com
childrensplace.com
claires.com
clinique.com
coastal.com
coldwatercreek.com
compuvest.com
cookieskids.com
cosabella.com
costco.com
cowboom.com
crateandbarrel.com
crocs.com
cubavera.com
cvs.com
delias.com
dell.com
designsbystephene.com
destinationmaternity.com
diapers.com
dickssportinggoods.com
dockers.com
dominos.com
dormify.com
drugstore.com
dsw.com
eat24.com
ebags.com
ecampus.com
ediblearrangements.com
efurnituremart.com
eharmony.com
ems.com
espow.com
etoys.com
expedia.com
express.com
eyeslipsface.com
fandango.com
fao.com
finejewelers.com
fingerhut.com
finishline.com
forever21.com
fossil.com
frenchconnection.com
frontgate.com
ftd.com
funslurp.com
gamestop.com
gap.com
garden.com
giggle.com
glassesusa.com
gnc.com
godaddy.com
godiva.com
gohastings.com
gojane.com
groupon.com
grubhub.com
guitarcenter.com
gymboree.com
gypsywarrior.com
hayneedle.com
hm.com
homedepot.com
hostgator.com
hotels.com
hottopic.com
hp.com
hsn.com
ice.com
isabellaoliver.com
istockphoto.com
jcpenney.com
jcrew.com
jewelry.com
jjill.com
joann.com
jomadeals.com
juicycouture.com
justdeals.com
karmaloop.com
kennethcole.com
kikkerland.com
kirklands.com
kmart.com
kohls.com
konasports.com
lanebryant.com
lastcall.com
lego.com
lenovo.com
livingsocial.com
llbean.com
loehmanns.com
loft.com
logitech.com
lowes.com
lulus.com
macconnection.com
maccosmetics.com
macys.com
magazines.com
makari.com
mattel.com
maurices.com
menswearhouse.com
metrostyle.com
michaels.com
monoprice.com
musiciansfriend.com
myhosting.com
namecheap.com
nashbar.com
nastygal.com
naturalskinshop.com
nautica.com
neimanmarcus.com
newegg.com
nike.com
nordstrom.com
obaz.com
officedepot.com
officemax.com
oldnavy.com
onestopplus.com
orbitz.com
orientaltrading.com
origin.com
osh.com
otterbox.com
ouidad.com
overstock.com
pacsun.com
panasonic.com
papajohns.com
partycity.com
paulayoung.com
perfumania.com
perryellis.com
petsmart.com
pier1.com
piperlime.com
pizzahut.com
potterybarn.com
potterybarnkids.com
priceline.com
puma.com
puritan.com
radioshack.com
ralphlauren.com
reebok.com
restaurant.com
restorationhardware.com
rosettastone.com
saksfifthavenue.com
sallybeauty.com
scarves.com
seamless.com
sears.com
sears.ca
searsoutlet.com
sephora.com
sharkstores.com
shoemall.com
shoes.com
shopbop.com
shopcasio.com
shopjustice.com
shutterfly.com
skullcandy.com
snapfish.com
soap.com
spafinder.com
sperrytopsider.com
sportsauthority.com
squarespace.com
stamps.com
stauer.com
stevemadden.com
superdry.com
supershuttle.com
tanga.com
target.com
teleflora.com
thelimited.com
thenorthface.com
thinkgeek.com
threadless.com
threadsence.com
ties.com
tigerdirect.com
tillys.com
tobi.com
tommy.com
toms.com
toshibadirect.com
toysrus.com
travelocity.com
ulta.com
urbanoutfitters.com
vans.com
venus.com
victoriassecret.com
virgin-atlantic.com
visiondirect.com
vistaprint.com
vitacost.com
vitaminshoppe.com
wag.com
walgreens.com
wayfair.com
westelm.com
wetseal.com
whitehouseblackmarket.com
wilsonsleather.com
windsorstore.com
wolfcamera.com
womanwithin.com
woot.com
yoox.com
younkers.com
zales.com
zappos.com
zazzle.com
zulily.com

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2.17-2.24 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Right now I’m slow roasting 3 massive chicken breasts in green chili verde sauce. It’s going to go into our burrito bowls tonight, on top of fully-loaded nachos tomorrow night, and it’s going to make the gawd-dang best enchiladas everrr on Friday night!

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Chicken breasts in chili verde sauce.

While the chicken is doing it’s thang, I’ve got pre-broiled brown rice on the stove to make a “novice” version of lime and cilantro pilaf. We’re getting fancy up in here. Well – not that fancy. I’m literally just going to mix some chopped cilantro in the rice and squeeze a lime on it. LOL #topchef

I’m super excited about this week’s meal plan. Not only did I come under budget, spending a mere $31 bucks, I also have groceries left over from last week’s haul ($41 spent last week)! Can you believe that? So, we basically didn’t even need to buy any groceries for our lunches – though, I am sure we’ll have more than enough leftovers because we’re making SEVEN whole dinners this week (in comparison to the FIVE last week). We also purchased 2 big boxes of generic cereal from the bodega across the street. We have a quite a bit of eggs, black beans and tortillas to play around with for breakfast.

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Here are the details for this week’s meal plan & grocery haul:

-MEALS-

Breakfasts: Lots of cereal! Egg sandwiches, egg wraps, omelets – basically anything you can do with eggs, we can do for breakfast this week.

Lunches: Leftovers. Mac & cheese (box). Hot dogs.

Dinners:

Burrito Bowls

Enchiladas

Nachos

Shoyu chicken (recipe linked)

Teriyaki meatballs (recipe linked)

Sloppy Joes

Meatloaf

I will definitely update mid-week to let you know how well we’re sticking to our meal plan!

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2.12-2.19 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Hey all,

I really wanted to share with you a real-life example of how I budget, meal plan and grocery shop. I wouldn’t usually consider this grocery trip a “haul”, but since I purchased all our meals for the week ahead, that’s pretty significant! We live in NYC, so we do all our shopping by foot, groceries included. I usually would not purchase this many items in one shopping trip because it would be too heavy. Thankfully today, Thomas tagged along and was able to help me lug everything home 🙂

So, first things first, last night, for…gosh, probably 4+ hours I scanned Pinterest for recipes (I wanted to switch it up this week and try something new, exciting and different!) and came up with 4-5 large meals (dinners) that would give us at least 2-3 leftovers (lunch and dinners). Before I wrote anything down, I also scanned all the brand new grocery catalogs on Flipp (mobile app). What I try to do is work my meal plan around what is on sale for the following week. Pro tip: It is a great idea to hit up the stores on day 1 when the sales drop because you’re less likely to run into a situation where that item you tried to purchase is already sold out. On the downside, it will probably be crowded, BUT at least the shelves will be full.

Before I go further, I’d like to say that I kept to about 90% of my list. Sometimes something on my list isn’t available – therefore, I improvise. I also have some items at home already, and a few that still need to be purchased.

In pantry/fridge: Potatoes, ground beef, peas, oatmeal, bread crumbs, butter/jam.

Still need to purchase: Pasta sauce, cheese, and kielbasa from the dollar store – $5 estimate

My goal was $40 for 7-10 days. I cashed in at $40.40 cents. 

~Meal Plan~

Breakfasts: Oatmeal & banana (have in pantry), Raisin brand w/ banana, french toast & banana, banana pineapple smoothie, toast w/ butter/jam (have in pantry), Pop tarts.

Lunches: Tuna sandwich w/ fruit. Egg salad sandwich w/ fruit. Mac & cheese. Brunch (bacon, eggs, home-fries & toast) x2

Dinners: Meat loaf, mash potatoes, and peas. Cajun red beans and rice (2+ leftovers). Sweet Italian chicken & peppers over pasta or in a sandwich (2+ leftovers). Chicken Parmesan over pasta or in a sandwich. Chinese pepper steak w/ rice.

I did this all at C-Town, a small grocery chain in NYC.

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Here are the links to a few of the recipes mentioned above:

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

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