One of my goals for 2017 is to lower my grocery bill. Because my kids and I have multiple food intolerances, namely to gluten, dairy, and beans, and because we try to eat organic as much as possible as well as grass-fed or pasture raised meat, our grocery bill can be very expensive.
However, I know our monthly grocery expense can be a lot cheaper than it is now.
The last few weeks I’ve been reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos about lowering the grocery bill. One strategy that intrigued me was visiting a discount grocery store.
We happen to have a discount grocery store about 30 minutes from us, so when I was running an errand nearby, I stopped in. Here’s what I discovered:
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There Is A Lot Of Processed Food At Discount Grocery Stores
Almost the entire store was filled with processed foods. I did not see any fresh vegetables or fruit. There was a small freezer case with processed frozen foods and some frozen meat.
While a discount grocery store may be able to round out some of your grocery needs, it definitely shouldn’t fill all of your grocery needs, especially if you want a healthy, well-rounded diet.
Many Of The Items Are Older Than The Recommended Sell By Date
My kids love Enjoy Life cookies, but at $3.50 or more per box, we don’t get them often. My son was excited to see that Enjoy Life cookies were just 50 cents a box at the discount grocery store. However, they were two months passed the best by date. We still got them, but I quickly learned to check the expiration date before considering any purchases.
My husband likes coffee and milk drinks. I found some for him priced at 3 for $1. However, one of them had a use by date of one year prior. No thanks.
You Can Find Items That Haven’t Expired Yet
Having said that, I did find some items that hadn’t expired yet. A gallon of milk was just $1.99, and it was 12 days until it reached the use by date. I also found some salad dressing for .50 that would not reach the use by date for another three months.
Take Your Time
If you visit a discount grocery store, take your time so you can check out the expiration dates. I don’t mind buying some items a month or two passed their best by date, but for most items, I would prefer to buy within the best by date. Shopping at the discount grocery store takes extra time to check all of the dates.
Look For A Specialty Section
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the discount grocery store I went to had a small gluten free section. Gluten free pasta, which normally sells for $3 or more per pound was available for .99 a pound. They had the Enjoy Life cookies that I mentioned as well as a large selection of other cookies, crackers, and snacks.
The Store May Not Be In The Best Neighborhood
The discount grocery store I visited was not located in a terrible location, but I have heard that many discount stores are in less than desirable neighborhoods. Use care depending on the location.
My experience at a discount store was eye opening. If we didn’t have so many food intolerances, I would probably have been able to buy more. However, when I’m in the area, I will stop by. The inventory changes frequently, and you never know what bargains you’ll find!
Having said that, if I had an Aldi near me, I think I'd just go there so I could have a more well-rounded grocery experience.
Have you shopped at a discount grocery store? If so, what was your experience?