Thursday, October 30, 2008

Money Crunchers

With everything that's been going on in our economy lately, I've actually tried to be more frugal in my everyday habits. Very difficult for a shopaholic like me, believe me! One store I really love once I got used to their quirky rules is Aldi's. Rule number one: they don't take credit cards or checks, just cash and debit cards. This got me the first time I went there because I rarely carry cash and didn't have a debit card, so I had about five dollars to spend. Even at Aldi's five dollars doesn't buy much. The second rule is that if you want a shopping cart you have to put a quarter in this wierd locking device that hangs off of the handle. If you return the cart to the rack, you get your quarter back. Once again, you must be prepared before shopping at this store. The third rule is bring your own bags or buy bags at the cash register. This is easy because I keep bags from Harris Teeter and Trader Joe's in my car. Speaking of Trader Joe's, the same company owns Aldi's and Trader Joe's, although they are nothing alike in their design. Aldi's is a very basic, no frills store. A lot of the merchandise is still in the packing boxes and you will recognize very few major brands. I find the quality of these unknown brands to be exceptional. The fruits and vegetables, although not widely varied, are always fresh and much less expensive than any other grocery store. If you're trying to stretch your grocery dollar, this is a great store to try.
Speaking of groceries, I have stumbled upon a great resource for stretching your monthly budget. Angel Food Ministries. I learned of this a couple of months ago from my former church in Raleigh and did some research online. This organization distributes restaurant quality food bundles at a reduced price through area churches. The purpose of their group is to assist families who need help with their food budgets; however, people from every income bracket are encouraged to participate as this enables them to negotiate a better discount from food suppliers. We bought the primary box, a fruit and veggie box, and a grill meat box, and shared with Nick's parents. Some of the items are fresh, some frozen, and some shelf staples. Everything that we have tried so far has been good. We will probably do this again. Go to their website at to check it out for yourself. I was able to place our order online and then we picked it up at the Church of Christ on Country Club Drive on Saturday morning.
One more plug for saving money: Ed McKay's Used Books. Okay, I've been a snob about books, I admit it. I have liked buying new books the first day they arrived at Sam's. But both Nick and I are idiots about books and my house is overrun with, I have stopped buying new books, okay, so Nick hasn't, but that's another post......I now try to buy all of my books at Ed McKay and.....drumroll, please.... I have even sold some to them!!!! If you are a rabid reader like I am this makes perfect sense. I love to read and in the absence of anything else, I have been known to read the back of a detergent bottle; however, I don't need to keep every book I read. This is where Ed McKay makes perfect sense: buy a book, read the book, take it back and trade it for a new book! You can get cash or trade in dollars. I take the trade ins. They give you half the price in credit of the price they charge for the books. Believe me, coming from someone whose book budget exceeds a typical shoe budget, this is a deal! You'll be happy to know that I did not receive any books in exchange for this endorsement!! ;-)
Happy bargain shopping!


Kelly said...

Okay T, do you go to the Aldi on Raeford Rd, or is there another? Because the time I went, I was not nearly as impressed as you are. I think I need to go back without kids sometime, so I can dig for the stuff I really want, rather than fighting off the kids who want me to buy big bags of off brand potato chips.

Kelly said...

See, now I'm just going to bug you with my serial-commenting.
Have you heard any more news on Moe's? I'm told that pork has been added to the menu, so I'm looking for excuses to go somewhere in the Raleigh area so I can eat Moe's. I must try the pork. But most importantly, they must hurry up and put one here in town!

Theresa said...

I usually go to Raeford Rd although I have been to Ramsey St, too. I definitely think that 3 1/2 kids in tow would affect my attitude! Moe's is supposed to open around Jan or Feb. I have heard the radio ad about the pulled pork....yum....