Where to Shop When You’re Living the Free Life

Here we share ideas about places to shop to help you save money living the free life!

How to Save on Groceries – Shop Aldi Stores

by Allergy Free Kitchens on February 26, 2014

Shop-Aldi-Organic-Allergy-Free-KitchensI saw a study on the JAMA Network  that revealed the additional cost incurred by a family raising a food allergic child averages $4184.00 a year. This includes factors such as medical, out-of-pocket, lost labor productivity, and related opportunity costs.  In recent years, we’ve felt it. Time to reassess our budget.

To start the year off, my husband and I assigned a place for every dollar we have of income (Thank you, Dave Ramsey and the Total Money Makeover).  We were shocked to find we had been living in a dream world when it came to our grocery expenses.  To our dismay, we found we spent double what we had predicted.  To be honest, I was a bit frustrated.  Our weekly menus are nothing extravagant.  There wasn’t anywhere to cut if we wanted to maintain a balanced diet.  What we spent was legit. Ugh.

Then I discovered how to save on groceries – shop Aldi stores!  They recently opened one less than two miles from our home.  Following our grocery budget fiasco, I decided to take a stroll through their aisles.  I’m very happy I did.  In taking the time to do some comparison shopping, I discovered I’d enjoy a savings of 44.7% by shopping Aldi for a number of natural, fresh, and organic food items.

Here is a list of my regulars and the price comparison with the other local grocery store (part of a large grocery store chain that’s popular in this area).  Many of these comparisons are store brand to store brand.  Sizes and quantities are equivalent or very close.

Organic Free Range Chicken Broth    Aldi: $1.79     Other: $3.69

Organic Agave Nectar 11.75 oz     Aldi:  $2.99     Other: $4.49 (Aldi vs. Domino)

Organic Baby Spinach    Aldi:  $2.49     Other:  $3.99

Organic Mixed Greens    Aldi:  $2.49     Other:  $3.99

Organic Soy Milk    Aldi:  $2.29     Other:  $2.99

Organic Salsa    Aldi:  $1.99     Other:  $2.99

Organic Tomato Basil Sauce    Aldi:  $1.99     Other:  $2.99

Nitrate Free Ham Slices    Aldi:  $2.99     Other: $3.59 (Aldi vs. Hormel Natural Choice)

Nitrate Free Bacon    Aldi:  $3.89     Other:  $6.99 (Aldi vs. Coleman)

Organic Apples 3 lb bag    Aldi:  $3.99     Other:  $5.99

2 Green Bell Peppers    Aldi:  $.89     Other: $2.42

Mixed Pepper Pack – 1 Red & 1 Yellow Bell Pepper    Aldi:  $1.99      Other:  $5.98

Fresh Green Beans    Aldi:  $1.49      Other:  $7.99  (Crazy, right?)

Eggplant    Aldi:   $1.49      Other:  $2.48

Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola Cereal (for the hubs)    Aldi:  $2.99     Other:  $4.19 (same brand name comparison)

Comparison Totals    Aldi:  $35.75     Other:  $64.76    Difference:  $29.01  (44.7%)

I will gladly bag my own groceries for a savings like that!

For those wondering if we’re sacrificing quality, we’re not.  So far, the only thing I’ve purchased at Aldi that I was disappointed in was their Greek yogurt (kid-free shopping day splurge).  I also tried their canned diced tomatoes and they just didn’t have the flavor I was accustomed to.  I may try them again on the chance I goofed the recipe I used them in.  Everything else has been spot on or better.

Now if only the folks at Whole Foods and Trader Joes would bring stores this way, my allergy-friendly shopping utopia would be complete!

Do you shop Aldi?  What are your natural, organic, and fresh food faves?

Next step in overhauling our budget, menu planning.  Wish me luck and send me your tips. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Save, Give & Build Hope – All in One Transaction

by Allergy Free Kitchens on October 18, 2013

Save-Give-Build-Hope-Allergy-Free-KitchensWe’ve had to learn to be creative in our spending and our giving to accommodate the increased costs associated with living with food allergies.  Shopping Habitat for Humanity ReStores is just one avenue we’ve found that helps with both.

When we purchase furniture, building supplies, and other items available at a ReStore, we are getting them at a fraction of what they would cost at retail AND we are helping Habitat for Humanity help others. Quoting from http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx: “Restores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.”

Are there really deals to be had?  Yes!  When it came to furnishing our little girl’s room,  what we wanted to do didn’t quite compute with our budget.  So off we went to our local Restore. As my husband and I made our way into the room where they keep headboards and footboards, I saw a four poster bed in need of some TLC.  Making our way through the dressers, we found one that complimented the style of the bed.  Our eyes lit up.  We could see the potential.  The pieces were solid wood, had loads of character, and together cost a reasonable $53.

Sure, it took some elbow grease and an investment in paint and supplies, but when it was all said and done, those pieces transformed into a beautiful all-wood bedroom suit that cost hundreds less than purchasing one brand new.

If you have some home repairs or updates you need to make, it would be worth your time to visit your local ReStore.  I’ve found custom kitchen cabinet doors for a quarter, tiles for pennies, and brand new toilets and pedestal sinks still in their boxes!

Think about it.  You can save, give, and help build hope all in one transaction.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

 

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Whole Foods, Whole Lotta Fun!

by Allergy Free Kitchens on September 26, 2013

Road trip!  Without a Whole Foods within a distance that makes weekly shopping trips practical, we pack up the cooler and make the pilgrimage when we can.  It is always a treat.

Selecting her faves from fresh produce is big fun for our lovey bun.  As we make our way through the aisles, her little eyes are peeled for Enjoy Life chocolate chips, Froose Juice, and her Yummi Bears Vitamins.  Me, on the other hand, I’m shopping for some of our basics, that are just better priced at Whole Foods than elsewhere ‘round these parts.  Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, Vegan Buttery Sticks, Daiya Cheese, Applegate meats, Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (contains soy), Go Veggie! Vegan Parmesan Cheese (contains soy), and the list goes on.

I look forward to the day when we make our turn past the amazing galley of prepared foods and park our cart in front of the bakery case so our little one can choose a delectable delight of her own, but until then she is as pleased as punch with her little finds.  And so am I.

Thanks, Whole Foods!  Oh…and please bring a store to the Akron/Canton, Ohio area.  And all my northeast Ohio friends said? Amen!

What are your favorite allergy-friendly finds and sweet deals at Whole Foods?  Do tell.

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Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods – Need I say more?

by Allergy Free Kitchens on September 14, 2013

I might be the type who would chase after the big blue Marshalls’ semi if I saw it cruising down my street.  I’m a big fan.  Whether I’m on a mission to find something in particular or simply strolling through the store, there’s always something that catches my eye – gorgeous home furnishings, chic clothing, adorable cupcake liners, and allergy-friendly goods at great prices.  Yes, you read that right!  The same can be said for the remaining two of the Maxx family trifecta – T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods.

Next time you have an opportunity to visit a Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, or HomeGoods, be sure to check out their gourmet food sections and the displays near the registers.  You are likely to find Yummy Earth Organic products, Lucy’s cookies, agave nectar, coconut oil, and a number of gluten-free baking mixes at sweet prices.   You might even score a beautiful allergy-friendly cookbook for much less than you’d pay Tom Hanks at F-O-X books superstore 😉

So there, if you needed another reason to be a Maxxinista, you just got it.

Happy shopping!

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