Frugal Friday #2 – Supermarket Sweep

It’s been a long time since my last Frugal Friday, but I thought this Friday would be a good a time as any to reinstate the magic that is a regular week-day post featuring alliteration.

As promised on my first Frugal Friday post eons ago, this week Frugal Friday takes a frolic down the supermarket aisle.

As a child I remember rushing home to watch Supermarket Sweep,  hosted by Ian Turpie, where a bunch of crazy contestants rushed around the various supermarket aisles, collecting as many products as they could before the buzzer rang out . The contestant with the largest bill at the end won.

Little did I know then that as an adult, the grocery shopping expedition would be much like an episode of Supermarket Sweep. You end up madly battling other stressed out shoppers to grab all your required products and while you might get a large bill at the end, in real life you actually have to pay for it.

When I was working full time, it was one of my least favourite of life’s necessary chores but now I’m home with the boy, the grocery shop has become a much more enjoyable (and cheaper) experience, all thanks to the new kid on our supermarket block – Aldi.

My maternity leave coincided with an Aldi moving in next door to our local Woolworths. I had heard the rave reviews from other mothers about the magic of Aldi, but on my first visit to the newly opened store, I was skeptical. It was, in a word … Weird.

There were only three aisles, the brands were odd looking and in the middle of the store was a mish-mash of consumer products from laptops and televisions through to kitchen goods and nanna slippers. WTF?

But after a few visits and sampling the goods behind the unfamiliar packaging I was hooked. Such simplicity! Such savings! I became one of those crazed Aldi devotees that crowed “It’s Aldi!” Followed by the price of said good. I eagerly awaited the arrival of the following week’s catalogue and found myself saying things like “Wow, that’s cool – a USB Turntable!” “Oooh, a personal laminator!” “OMG, a wooden kids tool bench – do you think J is a bit young for that?”.

But this is a post about being frugal, so in true frugal style I had to convince myself to ‘step away from the Aldi catalogue’ and stick to essentials. Along the way I picked up these tips:

  • Avoid Thursday mornings to do your grocery shop. This is when the new week’s specials kick off and the store will be awash with Aldi crazies. However, if you are after a ‘must-have’ item from the catalogue, feel free to release your inner crazy and join them, just be ready for lines and some consumer ugliness.
  • Snack items, tinned goods, pasta sauces are all great quality, as are the cheeses, and alot cheaper than Coles or Woolies.
  • Aldi nappies and wipes are great and almost half the price of more recognised brands.
  • Be patient – the lines at the checkouts can be longer and there may only be one or two open.
  • Flex those packing muscles. Price savings come with no-frills service and you have to pack your own groceries (familiar service to those in UK/Europe). I use this opportunity to ‘race’ the checkout operators, who are almost all fairly speedy. Yes, small things amuse … etc. But I feel mighty proud of myself when I rapidly throw my items in the trolley while simultaneously wearing a baby in an Ergo and swiping my EFTPOS card.

By doing most of my grocery shop at Aldi, buying meat at our local butcher, fruit at the weekly farmers market and picking up a few key specials at Woolworths or Coles, I save on average about $50 a fortnight sometimes more.

But with cost savings comes a time investment that not all families could afford. It’s working for me now while I’m off work, but when I’m back at work, will this ‘hunter/gatherer’ style continue to work for me? Who knows. I’ll let you know in eight weeks or so.

I’d love to hear your grocery saving strategies. Any other Aldi tips to share?

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9 thoughts on “Frugal Friday #2 – Supermarket Sweep

  1. I went to my first Aldi last year when I went back to visit my mum and yes it is an interesting experience….like forgetting to bring a bag and rummaging to look for a decent box to hold the groceries. Interesting and fun at the same time and very different to a Woolies or Coles.

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    • Ah yes, I forgot the bags on my first visit too. Ended up with my groceries rolling around in the back of the hatchback! My other beginners mistake was no gold coin for the trolley. I now have the Aldi trolley token on my keyring … the give away sign of the Aldi devotee.

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  2. Fellow Aldi convert here. Saves and truly is awesome food. Chicken Korma (in a bottle) and the Marinated Chicken in the meat dept best ever!

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  3. Great post. I LOVED Aldi nappies and wipes. Their muffin/fruit bars are fabulous, the chocolate is brilliant – and I’ve learned never to forget my bags (and never, ever to go on Thursday morning with the Fibrotown pensioners to contend with).

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

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  4. Am a deprived individual who has never been to an Aldi – we don’t have one in my town. The ‘race the checkout person’ thing sounds fun though. Would beat standing there twiddling my thumbs and watching the tally mount on the screen.

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  5. I pride myself on how fast and efficiently I can pack my trolley at Aldi and think it should be an olympic sport.
    I forget my bags on a regular basis and have my groceries free ranging in my boot.

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  6. Helped a friend havrset some Frontenac Gris grapes and shipping to a local winery. He was kind enough to give me about 60 pounds so I can make some wine. Frontenac Gris I believe makes a nice pink wine, darker if the skins are left in a bit longer.I’d like a recipe for a simple country wine, like a ‘Dago Red’, but more attentive processing cleanliness than most I’ve read.I’m not a “purist” wine maker…just like a good table red that was aged about a year after racking/bottling…I need to get going soon as the grapes await me on the kitchen counter (and my wife will quickly lose some patience having to cook around them..Bless you all…for any suggestions.George

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