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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teenage Boys: Feeding the Endlessly Hungry

As you've all noticed (if you set foot in the market at all)
the cost of food has risen, risen and risen some more.
It is absolutely crazy how expensive things have gotten.

Lucky for me, I've got three "kids" in the house this summer. My 19 year old daughter doesn't eat a whole lot, but I've got 15 year old and 12.5 year old boys and they EAT. CONSTANTLY.

Just as an example, Trey is about to get braces put on. Since his teeth need only a minor adjustment, he was offered either Invisalign or traditional metal braces.
Anyone who has lived through middle school would think this is a no-brainer, right? I mean, middle school is hard enough without sporting metal braces. Who wouldn't choose the invisible option for the same price?

Trey, that's who. Once he found out they had to be worn 20-22 hours per day and that he had to brush his teeth after every time he ate something, he refused them. "Mom, I eat A LOT after school! That would NOT work for me!" And he's right. Smart boy.

While I feed my kids three good solid meals a day, the endless eating does call for some snack type foods to be around the house. Fortunately, I've recently discovered a market called Aldi and it has helped keep the costs down.

Aldi doesn't enjoy a good reputation in the US. People view it as a "poor man's" grocery store. Thing is, those people don't know squat! Aldi is a *different* kind of store, because it is based on a European model. For example, at Aldi you put a quarter in a little slot on your shopping cart to release it from its tether. You will hear people squawking about this: "You even have to pay to use a shopping cart!" Nope, that's incorrect. This (also done in Europe) is done so that the store doesn't have to pay someone to round up all those carts lazy people leave in the parking lot. When you are done shopping, you return your cart and your quarter pops back out for you. Cost to you? None. Savings to you? Yep! Not having to pay someone to get your cart allows them to pass the savings on to you.

Aldi has VERY few store brands. Instead, they have their own store brand. Coincidentally, this is the exact same stuff your local National Brand supermarket is selling, at a higher cost. Literally. You are not paying for the brand name, the store is not paying the advertising, packaging and merchandising costs and the savings? Passed on to you.

No one will bag your groceries at Aldi. They check them out directly into an empty cart. Then, you take your cart and bag your groceries at a long counter just past the checkout line. Again, a European model. Savings? Passed on to you again, of course!

Not open except during prime hours? Savings to you. Hiring fewer checkers but teaching them to check your groceries out really fast? Savings to you. (Cool tip: Aldi products have bar codes on all sides of packaging- checkers can whip things right through without pausing!)

Here's some prices of things I have recently bought:

Milk: 2.89/ gallon (local grocery 3.99/gallon)
French Toast Sticks, double cinnamon: 2.19 (local store: 3.50)
Not from concentrate OJ in carafe 2.49
Good Humor style strawberry shortcake ice cream bars: 1.99 for 6
Double Topping frozen pizza 14"- 2.99
Bacon (16oz): 3.99
Cereal (repackaged General Mills): 1.69
Mac and cheese (blue box): .39
Bag of Gala Apples: 3.59
Peaches .49/ea
Kettle chips: 1.79/bag
Wheat bread: 1.29/loaf
Anjou Pears: 1.39 for 4

They also carry Super Cheap European chocolate and other goodies that are very high quality.

If you've been to Trader Joes, this is the sister store.. the companies are owned by brothers in Europe.

So think about it and if you have one in your area, check it out. The first time you will hate it because you will be confused. That's okay. Give it another try or two before you make up your mind. And rest easy- Aldi has a double guarantee: if you don't like what you try, bring it back. You will get your money back if you don't think it is as good as the name brand, no questions back. And if they can't find something as good as the name brand, then they will also stock the name brand next to theirs.

If you go, let me know! And enjoy your new savings!

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