the Aldi project: the list

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Do yall always make a list before grocery shopping? My shopping trip realllly suffers if I don’t.

I never fail to 1. Buy too many snacks and not enough meals and 2. Forget one tiny but crucial ingredient for the meals I do cook.

So, I’m a list gal all the way. Sometimes they are hand written and sometimes on my phone. When they are paper I even walk around with a pen and check them off as I go! Old school.

One time right out of college a group of friends and I were out on a Saturday night. A friend found a sticky note on the floor with a grocery list including the words “broccoli florets.” She brought it over to our table and said it HAD to belong to Taylor. Ha!

I haven’t changed my ways yet. Add in the two kids who like to distract me and I am even more reliant on my list than that 22 year old me.

As promised, I have created the simple grocery list I will use for my Aldi project. You can read the specifics on my idea here.

This list, for my family, is enough groceries for the kids’ breakfast (hubby and I don’t really eat week day breakfast), Sam’s packed lunches for
5 days, 4 really basic dinner meals for all of us, and some snacks plus one weekend breakfast.

Here is the “meal plan”:

Night one: tailgate sandwiches
Night two: taco Tuesday
Night 3: chili
Night 4: frozen pizza (I’m not trying to convince you guys I’m a chef…just go with this)
Night 5: just kidding. I hate cooking on Fridays, we go to Mexican.

Kids breakfasts: cinnamon pop tarts OR toast with strawberries and/or grapes, milk

Sams lunches: peanut butter sandwiches, cheese quesadillas, OR ham and cheese as main. Goldfish, fruit snacks, strawberries, grapes, yogurt, applesauce (combo of any of these 3) as sides. And a juice box to drink.

Side note: About 6 months ago when Sam started school and I looked into packing lunches you should have seen my lists. Very ambitious. Now it’s usually peanut butter 4 days a week at HIS request.

These handy little things SAVE me each morning though. Just fill in each area. The idea of dealing with multiple baggies and lids, etc sound like too much extra work for mornings.

Moving on…

Weekend breakfast: we usually pick up or go out to eat one weekend breakfast. The other day in we do easy like cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, pancakes or sometimes eggs/bacon/biscuits. I picked blueberry muffins for this list.

Snacks: grapes (go to snack for me and kids), cheese sticks, goldfish, apple sauce and chips and salsa

Throw in an extra frozen pizza for the weekend.

The exactrocery list will look like this:

Goldfish
Fruit snacks
Peanut butter
Salsa
Tortilla chips
Loaf of bread
Sweet rolls
Strawberries
Grapes
Milk x2
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Butter
Moo tube
2 lbs 80% lean ground beef
1 onion
Can black beans
Can kidney beans
Can chili beans
Can tomato sauce
Chili seasoning
Tortillas
Taco seasoning
Ham
Swiss cheese
String cheese
Pop tarts
Juice boxes
Frozen pizza x 2
Muffin mix
Apple sauce squeeze
K cups

I am not good at this part but I think I will estimate the Aldi total at $68 and the Walmart total at $92?

I can’t wait for the results! Stay tuned!

the Aldi project: the proposal

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Next week makes one month since I’ve been back at blogging after my extended summer hiatus. I have found myself wanting to go in a million directions.

Anyone who knows my love of Babywise baby sleep is probably amazed I haven’t blogged about that yet. I am also always ready to post more Dave Ramsey but unsure who wants to read about it. I like posting about Mid Century Modern things but I don’t have the budget to buy more cool furniture to feature. I recently began waking up at 5am to work out and would like to tell you all about it. I haven’t done many DIY things this month outside of Halloween

See, a million directions.

Overall, I want balance between offering really interesting content for you guys while also chronicling the every day so I can go back and see what my family was up to in this stage of our lives.

This blog was started because:

1. I like blogs/blogging

2. I have dreams of my blog growing into a side hustle

In order to achieve point number 2, I need to get out there more! This starts with great content that people feel compelled to read and that people like to share. With that being said, I’d like to invite all of my current readers to share anything of mine that you have enjoyed reading to your Pinterest account!

Simply hover over any photo I upload and the upper left corner will have a little red “Pin” option.

Back to what to blog about…I have decided a fun thing for me to do that would also provide meaningful content is a little Aldi experiment. Hence, my blog title, The Aldi Project: the proposition.

Now this isn’t technically a proposition because I’m not pitching it to Aldi or something like that. It’s just a plan. But just for fun let’s pretend I’m a professional blogger and  they are offering me a free Aldi shopping trip in exchange for this review. Ha! A girl can dream.

I am planning to do 3 blog posts over the course of this project that will essentially be a price comparison for Aldi against Walmart.

Blog 1 – the proposition
Blog 2 – the list and the estimated savings
Blog 3 – the results

Here is what I am proposing, exactly. I’ll create a weekly shopping list that includes basic dinner items (think taco night, chili, and the like) along with snack foods, key breakfast items and anything else needed for a small family’s weekly groceries.

I’ll buy one week at Walmart and then carry out the exact same list at Aldi the next week. (Sorry in advance to my family as this may feel like the Groundhog’s Day of dinners).

Then I’ll break it down, item by item, and we’ll see what we get! I will buy mostly Walmart store brand, since Aldi is not “name brand.” Although I do have to tell you I sometimes think name brand is weird or off-tasting compared to my norm of “off brand.”  I grew up on COLA and Fruit Rounds, after all!

There are other grocery stores to compare with, no doubt. But I thought with Walmart being pretty universal, this would carry over well to most readers.

I am an Aldi girl through and through, as I have mentioned before. Some of you may be as well, and some of you may not be and that’s okay. I’m not shaming any one who isn’t on team Aldi with me, I just thought this would be a neat experiment.

Who knows, I may not be saving the money I thought I was! Or maybe I’m saving more! Let the planning begin!

framed shower curtain art

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

When I was pregnant with Tom, we moved into our existing home and his nursery wasn’t high on the list of things that needed sprucing up.

For one, we didn’t find out his gender, so I was a little stuck on nursery decor. And for two, the gorgeous mid century tongue and groove walls in 98% of our house didn’t seem to go with anything “baby.” I think it was just in my head, but the super high ceilings and wood walls always felt too “grown up” to work with children’s room decor.

Now after living with them for a while, they are just our walls. They don’t feel adult or young, they are just what I am used to. They are not, however, the blank canvas that drywall is because I can’t (or don’t want to) paint them and I can’t cover them with wallpaper.

Enter the need for pretty large scale art to punch up the fun factor in Tom’s room!

Since those new house days we not only learned that Tom was a boy but we learned he is a rough and tumble kind of kid who has been drawn to rodeo, horses, and most farm animals for quite a while now. I decided his room spruce-up for his 2nd birthday could go along the lines of a western theme!

Now, I’m not done with said sprucing yet (you know I’ll blog about it when I am!) but I did attempt a project that I am pretty pleased with–a framed shower curtain!

Of course I have a photo bomber, but you get the picture–it’s large! And, it cost me under $30. I’ll show you how I did it below!

First you need to pick out a shower curtain. There are countless options on Amazon and that’s where I found our horse.  Don’t ask me why but I have been eyeing this awesome design as well.

Who knew there was such an array of shower curtains that could double as art!  DO check the reviews because this one was pretty thin. Keep reading to see how I made it work 🙂

Next up, make your frame!  I found a big bundle of long 1.5″ x .5″  wood at Lowes for just under $7. Mine is roughly 5 feet by 5 feet so I needed it cut to:

4 pieces – 60 inches

2 pieces – 61 inches

(They cut it for free!)

The two support pieces and two sides are 60 inch. The two 61 inch pieces go on the two outer sides. Mine was not perfect. See here I had to use a paint stick where I was short…improv!

You have to put this thing together…and it was my least favorite part. I thought I’d use hardware on hand but I kept stripping screws since I didn’t take the time for pilot holes. I cannot advise you on the simple way to do this because I made it harder than needed….but I know it would be easy for many people!

Once you figure that frame out, it’s easy to lay it over the shower curtain and get to stapling! Do be sure that you have steamed or ironed away the wrinkles first.

Now….you may find that your shower curtain was so thin the whole frame is visible…so ideally you would look into this before stapling.

However, you can always go buy a sheet from Goodwill and shimmy it into the frame as a liner. It’s not perfect, but it helped a ton! And, now I know how to approach my next shower curtain art!

Hopefully you’ve been inspired by my little project. It’s not perfect, but it is the same price as most 11×14 options out there….so I call it a win!

 

busting the budgeting myth?

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The other morning my 3 year old told me he liked playing animal doctor at school the day before and hoped he could play it again.

I said “did you know Boo sees an animal doctor, too? They are called Vets…” He scrunched up his face in a way that let me know he basically thought this was the most made up word he’d ever heard.  He asked me to clarify a few times and I elaborated with “Veterinarian.” He thought about that one for a second, then laughed out load and said “mom, you crack me up!”

Meet these subjects:

Sam
Boo

 

I tell you this in case:

1. You don’t care about budgets but still wanted a little something to read…

2. Like my little guy who doesn’t understand the Vet… you feel like budgeting is also pretty hard to understand. Especially if you haven’t learned about it before.

 

I have always considered myself to be decent with money in a sense that I’m able to pay bills and save a little for a rainy day. Once home buying and raising kids entered the equation, I took a good look at budgeting options and was quickly drawn to Dave Ramsey’s books on baby steps and debt snowballing.

First things first—I’m not trying to tell anyone how to spend their money. You do you! And I’m also no expert. I like to think of our family’s plan as Dave Ramsey LITE.  But I do get questions from friends because I openly talk about following Dave Ramsey guidelines. So, if you’ve ever considered taking a second look at your finances or adopting a game plan, here is an overview:

First, the baby steps:

  1. Save $1000
  2. Pay off all debt (other than your mortgage)
  3. Save 3-6 months living expenses
  4. Invest 15% towards retirement
  5. Fund kids college
  6. Pay off home
  7. Give

Many of you may be doing all of these things at once, and that’s fine too! But this plan is very much about the emotional wins along the way. Save $1000—nice! Pay off your car—woo! Finish step 3—check! Taking it step by step and throwing everything you have towards one step at a time can keep people more invested and motivated on their way towards becoming financially set.

Where people spend a lot of focus is step #2 and there is a process called debt snowballing that Dave Ramsey recommends. Start with your loan or credit card that has the lowest balance, and throw every extra cent you have towards that one debt each month (keep paying the minimums on all the others).

Once it has been paid off, take what you had been paying towards it and roll it over to the next lowest debt. Eventually your cash snowball grows larger and larger and the debts are paid off with increasing speed–like a snowball rolling down a hill.

The main question for me was– well how much extra do we even HAVE to throw at our lowest debt?

You don’t really know unless you budget.

The B word!

Some people prefer not to budget because they feel restricted by it or it seems impossible to get it right down to the penny. I like to think of it as more of a direction for my money. Dave Ramsey says to tell your money what to do–and that stuck with me.

What do you spend each month that you have to? Daycare, utilities, bills?That should be easy. What do you spend after that? Entertainment, shopping, groceries? Put pen to paper and find out based on your last month or so. Then, set some guidelines.

When all is said and done, there may be $500 a month after all your costs that isn’t designated to anything, but that seems to disappear before the next paycheck. Who all has wondered WHERE does my money go!?

My best bit of budget advice is, again: tell your money where to go!  Assign that leftover $500/month to a debt, then it won’t just disappear; it will pay off your car in a year instead of six. It will also keep you from spending it. If that $500 goes bye-bye out of your checking account and onto a debt payment, you CAN’T spend it. You may be forced to live a little lean….but at least it won’t have disappeared at WalGreens or Target on things you didn’t need!

Soooo, that’s what we try to do. It’s not always fun to put extra money towards a car payment when you don’t have to. It can feel way more fun to spend it! Often times we DO just spend it. Dave Ramsey LITE is what I said ☺ But it can be fun to save money and/or pay down debt.

As a type A person, I always feel better following a plan! I may get off track then get back on track repeatedly, but I still recommend the Dave Ramsey approach to anyone who has considered it. And if you’ve ever found the idea of creating a budget to be as far fetched as the word Veterinarian (or not, silly kid!), I hope this post gave you a little inspiration that it can be as simple as telling your money where to go!

And, if you are thinking about it, it’s worth the read:

 

 

five reasons why I love Aldi

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Guys, I love Aldi. What a random blog post, right?

It came to mind because April is almost like a January for me… It’s sort of a fresh start to spring and I find myself wanting to eat right, budget better, work out as summer approaches, and of course, spring clean! I’d say Aldi helps me accomplish three out of four goals, unless you count shopping with my kids as a workout…which is probably why I prefer to go alone!

1. The diapers! Aldi’s Little Journey line of baby products didn’t exist when I had my now 3 year old. Since he was our first-born, and slightly spoiled in the way first-borns tend to be, he wore Pampers Swaddlers. These were towards the top of the line when it came to cost but I couponed when I could and just felt like it wasn’t wise to buy cheap diapers if you wanted things to stay…contained. Then, at 18 months he woke up wet almost every morning and I didn’t know where to turn. We tried Huggies and Luvs but they were worse! Around this time, Aldi was advertising the new baby line so I gave it a shot and he woke up dry morning after morning. It was amazing since they are about half the price. Our second was born a few months later and has been in them from the start!

2. Random non-food aisles. I feel like this has really expanded over the last few years, but the aisles of random items can contain some really great finds! I love that it changes from week to week, but that they keep seasons in mind. Weight sets and organizers in January, garden and lawn care in May, rugs/lamps/dorm room items in August, etc. You really never know what will be rolling out next—how much fun is that?!

3. Plants! This is fairly new for me, but I want so desperately to be a green thumb. I have slowly worked up from plants that can survive without water for a month in a windowless bathroom, up to taking home random house plants from Aldi and not killing them! Over the last few months I have acquired (and kept alive) 3 hydrangeas, two full green leafy things, one taller plant with long purple leaves, and another two with big green leaves. Clearly I could stand to learn their names, but most were $1-$4 and included an actual pot and not just a plastic one. To class up any plant that needs it, I love sticking it in a mid century modern planter and there are never ending choices on Amazon, of course.

4. Fancy cheeses. If I host bunco or any sort of gathering, I am known to provide a cheese assortment. First of all, I love cheese. Second of all, so do a lot of people. Third of all, it involves no actual cooking. To make a cheese assortment more impressive, you can buy all kinds of artisan cheese at Aldi. I’m sure you could get them at most other grocery stores as well, but this
is a budget grocery store and I’m talking about nicer cheese, so I appreciate the selection!

5. The weekly ad. I grab a weekly flyer on my way out the door every time I go in so I can see all about next week’s products. I think it’s interesting how their selection isn’t constant, but changes often. Just a few weeks ago the inside layout of the ad was a Mon-Fri meal prep suggestion. During Lent I noticed they had tons more seafood than usual. They provide recipes, gift and décor ideas, and show anything that will be on sale. It really is the simple things, but I am excited to look through the ad every single time!

In case you were on the fence…check it out! A lot of people I talk to are surprised I shop there exclusively– from baby products to dog food to (most) toiletries to paper plates. I only have to go elsewhere maybe once every 4-6 weeks to get something Aldi doesn’t offer. Aside from the reasons above, the main reason I shop at Aldi is because a cart full of what my family needs for the week is usually around $50-70 at Aldi…or at least $100 at Walmart. That adds up!

If you like what you read, feel free to pin the post!

I linked up at:

Bringing up Georgia