I think if we had to cut back on anything, it would have to be groceries and restaurants. As a family of 5, we can easily spend anywhere from $400-$600 a month on food. During the summer, we did a little experiment with ALDI, the discounted grocery store in our area. I believe they have locations all over the world, not just in the U.S.A. We came up with a grocery list that I would use every week. Basically, I would get the same boring stuff every single week. It was nearly torture for me, since I love to go to our larger grocery store and take my time browsing through each isle for the best buy and get something new every week. And, it was double torture since I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. Although I was nauseous 24/7, I had cravings for different types of food every week. But, I proceeded with our little experiment to see what we would save by doing this.
If you’ve ever been to an ALDI, you know that they only have one brand to choose from for nearly everything. The pros of this would be that you don’t have to spend a whole lot of time looking for what you need and you know that you’re getting the lowest price on that particular purchase. We ran this experiment through the summer from May through August. Looking back, using Mint.com, I can see how much we saved. We saved an average of $150/month! Now, I have to admit that it was an eye opener. And, the only reason we’ve gone back to our regular grocery store is because we got our new credit card that gives us 6% cash back on groceries! I guess that’s not enough when you’re spending $150 more than you would by going to a store that doesn’t accept credit cards. That’s definitely one of the cons of ALDI. You have to pay with cash, check, or debit card.
Yes, I absolutely love grocery shopping without any restrictions. But, when it comes down to saving money or having the food I love, I’m going to have to go with saving money right now. I know that until we are out of debt, we should be putting any extra money we have toward that debt. So, my New Years resolution will be to make the switch back to ALDI and stay there until we are debt free. We will take what we save and pay off our credit cards that much faster! Just that thought will get me through the torture of having to get the same boring food every week. Maybe it will force me to get creative in the kitchen. I’ll have to, since my husband is gluten intolerant, which means he will get sick if he eats anything with wheat in it. It’s so much easier to cook for a celiac when you have gluten free noodles on hand. ALDI doesn’t have gluten free noodles, so I guess we’ll have to go back to all meat and potatoes.