Once A Month Grocery Shopping at ALDI – $64 Grocery Budget Challenge

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We’ve been excited to try once a month grocery shopping at ALDI. In this post, we share what to buy when grocery shopping for the month.

This post was updated on February 19th, 2024.

ALDI is currently our favorite grocery store, so deciding to once a month grocery shopping at ALDI using our small $64 weekly grocery budget was a no-brainer.

Our first try at using a small grocery budget at ALDI was definitely a learning experience. In the usual 4 Hats and Frugal fashion, we’re sharing what we learned, and how to grocery shop for the month like a pro.

Spoiler alert: we LOVED once a month grocery shopping at ALDI!

Once A Month Grocery Shopping – ALDI

We also shared our master list of everything we purchased with our $256 budget ($64 times 4, to represent the 4 weeks in the month). These tips can work for any grocery store, not just ALDI.

Related: {Our favorite reusable bags for grocery shopping}

Think of Meals Before You Shop

This rule is completely against what I usually do when it comes to grocery shopping and meal planning.

I never think about meals before I shop. I check what’s in the pantry and fridge, shop, then plan from what is in the house.

Why did I change my mind about once a month shopping? There wasn’t much in the house, to begin with!

Since I planned to try once a month shopping, I made sure we used up as much as we could to make space for the items we bought at ALDI.

Creating a meal plan for the month is so simple! This post shares 3 steps to get your monthly meal plan done in 10 minutes.

Instead of waiting until I got home to meal plan, I wrote a list of a few simple meals to make for the month.

I bought the ingredients for those items while at the store. I purchased items that could be used for many different meals, instead of buying items I wasn’t sure I would use.

Add An Extra Week of Groceries

Adding an extra week of groceries will give you a cushion of having more food rather than less.

You are allowing yourself more items to plan your meals around, which will make planning breakfasts and lunches so much easier.

Yes, you do have to add on the extra week without adding more in your budget. But, guess what? You’ll make it happen.

The best part about ALDI is staple items are affordable. As long as you stock up on your staples, you’ll be golden.

Always Grocery Shop Alone

Moms of little ones, this tip is for you. If you can, shop alone to get your mission done. These once a month grocery shopping trips may take you a few hours, even at ALDI, so make sure you have peace of mind.

Bonus tip: you can schedule a babysitter for 2 hours, once a month, because you will know when you’ll need the help. Another fun tip? Go once the kids are in bed.

Plan Your Grocery Prep Work

You will have to prep your groceries. This isn’t something you can get around when shopping for the month.

You’ll have to chop, re-package, pre-cook, or organize a bunch of food all at one time.

Bonus tip: think about what you will have to prep while packing up your groceries at ALDI. Is there something that you’ll have to chop that evening? Put it in a special bag.

Will you have to re-package chicken and beef, but not your ground turkey? Place the chicken and beef in a bag together, away from the turkey (that can be thrown right in the freezer).

Also, if you don’t have to prep an item right away, don’t. Wait until the week you actually need it to prep for it.

Have you ever tried once a month grocery shopping at Aldi? This family of 5 tried it out, and they're sharing the good, bad, and interesting parts.

Have a Game Plan for Produce

Plan weekly meals around the items that will expire first, second, third, and last.

Avocados, fresh spinach, and bagged salad tend to go bad quickly, so we plan the first week’s meals around those items.

Potatoes, carrots, and onions last for a long time, so we center the last week’s meals around those items. Bananas go bad before apples, so bananas get eaten first.

Plan your meals around the expiration of produce, and you won’t have to worry about items going bad.

What We Learned From Once A Month Shopping

There were so many things we learned about our own family from this experience. We also learned what is really important when doing a once a month shopping trip.

I learned we didn’t need as much as I thought.

Apples were great to have on-hand, but I bought too many. We actually had a bag and a half left once the month was done.

While we love eggs, I also bought too many of those. I could have saved some money by not buying as many eggs.

Just Enough Food & Not Enough Food

We eat a lot of cheese and chickpeas (or any other bean). I could have bought more of those and may have needed more.

We don’t need as much milk as I thought. Granted, we don’t drink milk every day, so the 4 half-gallons of lactose-free and almond milk were the perfect amount for our family.

I really thought we were going to be short on milk by mid-month. Surprise, surprise.

We got tired of chicken by week three, so purchasing beef sausage, fish, and chickpeas was a great idea. For some reason, when I shop weekly, we don’t get tired of chicken, but we did during this experience.

Boxed Items Helped And I Didn’t Spend Enough

The boxed items were actually helpful. If you’ve read our $64 Grocery Budget post, you know that we try our hardest to only eat real food, not processed items.

I have to admit, the taco kits and the boxed mashed potatoes saved me a few nights.

I could have made mashed potatoes from the bagged potatoes, but that would have used up some of the milk. You have to pick your battles.

Have you ever tried once a month grocery shopping at Aldi? This family of 5 tried it out, and they're sharing the good, bad, and interesting parts.

Below is everything we bought, which ends up being a cheap grocery list for the month. If you save this list, you can easily use it when you do your once a month grocery shopping at ALDI.

Cheap Grocery List For The Month

  • 2-pack zucchini squash – 1.69
  • 2-pack cucumbers – .99
  • 2 bags spring mix salad – 1.99 each
  • 6 bags flat-leaf spinach – 1.79 each
  • 4lbs green grapes – .99 a pound – 3.96
  • 12lbs Granny Smith apples – .49 a pound – 5.97
  • 3.4lbs bananas – .44 a pound – 1.50
  • 3 2-packs green peppers – 1.19 each
  • 3lbs yellow onions – 1.99
  • 2 2lb bags carrots – 1.49 each
  • Celery – 1.39
  • 3 avocados – .99 each
  • 2lbs broccoli crowns – 2.58
  • 5lbs baking potatoes – 2.49
  • 2 bags frozen peas – .95 each
  • 6 dozen large eggs – 2.75 each
  • 3 packages feta crumbles – 1.79 each
  • 2 half-gallons lactose-free milk – 2.79 each
  • 2 half-gallons unsweetened almond milk – 2.29 each
  • 3 containers plain 32oz yogurt – 1.89 each
  • 2 blocks Monterey jack cheese – 1.89 each
  • 4 blocks New York Sharp Cheddar – 1.89 each
  • 2 Packets ground turkey – 3.29 each
  • 2 Packets frozen tilapia filets – 5.39 each
  • 5 pounds 73% ground beef – 14.40
  • 4lb packet of chicken thighs – 4.62
  • 4lb packet of chicken thighs – 4.63
  • A packet of chicken breasts – 7.39
  • A packet of chicken breasts – 6.67
  • 6lbs whole chicken – 6.39
  • 5 loaves 100% whole wheat bread – 1.39 each
  • 2 packages beef smoked sausage – 2.19 each
  • 3 2lb boxes of elbow macaroni – 1.45 each
  • 3 bags egg noodles – 1.29 each
  • 2 boxes linguine – .66 each
  • 2 boxes mashed potatoes – 1.19 each
  • 3 Taco Bell hard taco dinner kits – .99 each
  • 2 bottles unsweetened applesauce – 1.89 each
  • 4 28oz cans organic diced tomatoes – 1.49 each
  • 4 cans tomato paste – .39 each
  • 4 cans organic chickpeas – .79 each
  • 4 cans condensed milk – 1.39 each
  • 4 cans evaporated milk – .79 each
  • Minced garlic – 1.99
  • Natural creamy peanut butter – 1.49
  • 2 containers old fashioned oats – 2.39
  • Instant corn masa – 1.99
  • 3-pack of yeast – .79
  • Brown sugar – 1.29
  • Iodized table salt – .39
  • Organic ketchup – 1.69
  • 2 bottles organic agave syrup – 2.99 each
  • 1 bottle pure maple syrup – 4.29
  • 2 64oz bottles 100% apple juice – 1.49 each
  • 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix – .47 each
  • 6-count microwave popcorn – 1.69
  • Multigrain oats cereal – 1.79
  • 2 boxes crispy oats cereal – 1.69
  • 4 cans whole kernel corn – .49 each
  • Guacamole tortilla chips – 1.69
  • Sweet potato chips – 1.99
  • Dishwasher detergent – 2.49

Total: 252.19

Looking for recipes to make that will use up these items? Here are a few I made:

This simple hamburger steak recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal. Just six ingredients!

Yogurt Chicken

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Hamburger Steaks

Garlic Butter Fish

Kielbasa and Noodles

“Creamy” Spinach Pesto Pasta (with no cream)

Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Spinach Frittata

Need more ideas? Check out these 20 Cheap & Easy Weeknight Meals!

Will you try once a month grocery shopping at ALDI? Have you done once a month grocery shopping before? Share your tips in the comments below.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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65 Comments

  1. 2.25.16
    brenda said:

    It surprises me that you purchase the bagged salads. Where I live they are much more expensive than buying the lettuce and fixings separately, plus there have been so many recalls re: disease with those products that I wouldn’t buy them even if they were cheaper.
    Also surprises me that you would purchase boxed pizza and taco kits. I make my own pizza crusts and also make my own taco seasoning mix and purchase soft tortillas. Much cheaper and less preservatives/colourings, etc..
    I buy no name brands usually as they are cheaper.
    Soup would never go over here for a dinner meal as that is our main meal and lunch is our smaller meal. My husband also is not a big soup eater while I love it ๐Ÿ™
    Interesting reading your ideas about shopping though.

    • 2.25.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Thank you for your input, Brenda! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • 9.22.17
      Stacey said:

      Wow. Aren’t you a Judgy Jessica, Brenda? Did you ever stop to think that not everyone is you? Not everyone does things the exact same way as you and that is not a bad thing? In fact, maybe you should consider trying some of her awesome tips that I’m sure are time-saving, still economical, and less stressful on particularly challenging and stressful days? Maybe if you gave it a try you wouldn’t be so unhappy and feel the need to make judgmental, assuming comments to people that are trying to help others and promote economical, healthy, and actually DOABLE by the average family? Sometimes it’s difficult to make your own pizza crust when your kids have baseball practice one evening. Sometimes it’s a great idea to use a taco kit when you have worked all day or spent the day taking care of kids so that you can spend that extra time with your family or have some much needed self care. My point is that it’s not cool to rip apart someone that seems so incredibly kind that she will share such tips and the plan that works for her in the case that it might help others, too. Notice how her response was respectful and not at all dripping with the unbalanced self-satisfaction that you came at her with.
      I truly apologize if this response is hard to read, Brenda. I jus had a hard time reading your response to an article that was humbly written to help, inspire, and teach others.
      Amiyrah, well done. Much respect and appreciation. I will definitely be trying this for my family of 4. Sometimes we need to have a frozen pizza for dinner or don’t have the time to fashion our own tortillas out of scratch. You rock, lady.

      • 6.25.18
        Debra said:

        Amen!

        • 7.26.18
          Marcia Martin said:

          Those were my thoughts to Brenda exactly! I thought the article and shopping list was outstanding and super helpful. It was exactly what I was looking for.

          • 11.5.19
            Erica said:

            YESSSSSS โค๏ธ

  2. 3.4.16
    Jeanne said:

    Is there a way to see your menu list to go with this?

    • 3.4.16
      Amiyrah said:

      That would be a WHOLE other blog post. Ha! I’ll see what I can do.

  3. 3.5.16
    Sarah said:

    I was going to ask for a menu list too!

  4. 3.8.16
    Bebe said:

    I love all your posts about grocery shopping because that is where I always have an issue. Do you have a credit card? I’m sure you shop with cash but do you have one just for emergencies?

  5. 3.23.16
    Judy Ammons said:

    It was very interesting reading your post. One of the main things I noticed was the good prices you were able to get on get on all natural/organic products. Stores in my area don’t offer those types of deals. Also I noticed thatyou only pay half of rhe regular price I pay for pre-packed salad and spinach. I live in Columbus, Ga.

    • 3.28.16
      Amiyrah said:

      That’s interesting, Judy!

  6. 3.26.16
    Lynn said:

    Aldi’s accepts credit cards and debit now too in my area as of 3/1/16. I’ve been afraid to try their meat, but I do buy their thick cut bacon. My H would go nuts if our fridge was that full bc then we have no room to put leftovers and he’s not patient enough to look for things either if he would have to take out a bunch of things to find one thing. And I have a deep freezer in my basement so I do use that space to stock up on meat and store leftovers I can freeze.

    • 3.28.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Thank you for commenting, Lynn!

  7. 3.28.16

    I would love to do this once a month and get a small freezer to fit everything. Our fridge is too small ๐Ÿ™

    • 3.28.16
      Amiyrah said:

      We have a small fridge, too, Joyce. I have to admit, it was a big challenge to figure it all out, since we don’t have a deep freezer in this tiny apartment. But, the second time around, I knew how to “tetris” my freezer to make it all fit. There’s a learning curve, for sure.

  8. 4.1.16
    Jennifer said:

    I love this idea, but I also need a menu. Have you make a blog post with the menu yet? If so can you sent me a link. Thanks

    • 4.5.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Jennifer! Any recipes that I have for meals are already linked in the post. If there isn’t a recipe, it was such an easy meal that it basically didn’t need a recipe, or it’s a meal I’ve made so many times that it doesn’t have an official recipe.

      • 4.13.16
        Mary ann said:

        I don’t see any linked it recipes. Can you post them please

        • 4.14.16
          Amiyrah said:

          Updated!

      • 4.14.16
        Jennifer said:

        Thanks! Awesome. I can’t wait to try this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 4.6.16

    love this idea of once a month shopping and of course I need help, I would love to see the meals that you fixed to go along with the grocery list. kraft foods have a meals in a bag, where you get five meal ides and everything can be bought to fit into one bag

    • 4.11.16
      Amiyrah said:

      I’ll work on that. Thanks, Sherlynn!

  10. 4.19.16
    Jennifer said:

    Hey it’s me again. I am going Friday to try my first monthly grocery shopping challenge. I was wondering what you us the condense mild and evaporated milk for and any other helpful tips you could give me on what you cooked would be great! I copied the resipes you posted. Thanks

    • 4.20.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Evaporated milk is for the mac and cheese. Sweetened condensed milk is for granola bars.

      • 9.5.16
        Amy said:

        I am glad to hear what you used the evap milk and sweetened condensed milk for. I am trying to use up ingredients in my pantry and seem to have an abundance of those two items! As an avid Aldi’s devotee, I really enjoyed your post!

        • 9.7.16
          Amiyrah said:

          Thanks so much, Amy!

    • 1.3.23
      Shannon said:

      How many people was this for?

      • 4.6.23
        Amiyrah said:

        We’re a family of 5.

  11. 7.13.16
    Maria said:

    Awesome post!

  12. 11.5.16
    Jeanna Grabuskie said:

    I enjoyed your post. I liked the mix of DIY meals and some boxed to take the load off the chef! I shop ALDI too and you inspire me to expand my use of all their great prices to reduce our food budget. Thanks!

    • 11.5.16
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re so welcome!

  13. 12.26.16
    tyshera said:

    Hi!

    Are you going to start back up the Grocery Challenges again?

    • 12.30.16
      Amiyrah said:

      I hope to, Tyshera! The big challenge is finding writers who live in the areas of stores that we haven’t covered.

  14. 12.26.16
    Mandie said:

    I always look at these posts with bewilderment. I wish I could cut our grocery budget to 250/month. We barely get by on $250/week! I’m really pushing to get us under $800/month for 2017.

    • 12.30.16
      Amiyrah said:

      You can do it, Mandie! The key is to start doing SOMETHING. $64 dollars a week may not be where you need to be, but reducing your bill by 10 or 20% may be the thing that kicks your budget into high gear. Don’t aim for a number, aim for a percentage :).

  15. 2.17.17
    Ginger said:

    Very impressive. I think I may try more Aldi’s items for our monthly shopping. We are at 75 a week for 3 people (but I am pregnant and my daughter is only 4), but I want to cut it down closer to your number. Thanks for this post.

  16. 3.14.17
    Hannah said:

    How do you keep your bread from spoiling? My husband doesn’t like the taste of bread if I freeze it.
    I was so happy to find this post, as I dislike grocery shopping and our Aldi is inconveniently located. I’m excited to try this!

    • 3.14.17
      Amiyrah said:

      We do freeze it, Hannah. I try to freeze it as soon as I get it from the store, if I know it won’t be used right away. This helps it taste fresh once it thaws out. If that’s not an option, then you may have to do without bread for the last two weeks of the month, which is way more doable than people think ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. 7.23.17
    Shelly said:

    Shop around a little. You could have done better. Walmart has better prices for your hamburger and evaporated milk.

    • 7.31.17
      Amiyrah said:

      The challenge was to do the whole shopping experience at ALDI, but thanks for the tip, Shelly! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. 8.7.17
    Emily Johnson said:

    Are these all of the recipes that you used? If so what were the ratios you used? I.e. How many meals did you make with each recipe?

    • 8.14.17
      Amiyrah said:

      It would take me a while to write all of that down for you, Emily, so I’ll add this to my editorial calendar so I can turn it into a blog post for you.

  19. 12.28.17

    It takes time to establish a meal plan that will work for your family and then to manage the buying of groceries to actually make that meal plan function as it is supposed to. I give you applause for the great effort that you put into this post. It takes work and diligence to put a plan into effect and it definitely appears that you have done very well at this. I give you an A+ for the great post that you have offered to all of us in ciber -land. Don’t pay any attention to the nay-sayers. I don’t see them offering a practical menu / buying plan for the rest of us. Keep up the great work and thank you so much for being willing to share your efforts with the rest of us. I don’t have an Aldi’s store near us as we live in southern Oregon.

    • 12.29.17
      Amiyrah said:

      Thank you for the kind words, Donna!

  20. 1.9.18
    Leigh said:

    This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I love Aldi. I really enjoy all of your tips. ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. 1.14.18
    Mary said:

    I am so glad I found this post on Pinterest! Thank you for sharing. I plan to use some of your meals this week! I do my shopping mostly at Lidl (Aldiโ€™s Cheaper sister store). Do you have a Lidl near you? I can usually get a weekโ€™s worth of groceries for $30-$50 depending on what I fix and what we have in the freezer already (we are gifted with beef, Deer, and sausage throughout the year from our farmer friends). Thank you again for your list and meals!

    • 1.15.18
      Amiyrah said:

      You are so welcome! We don’t have a Lidl here, but I’ve heard that they are amazing! We have ALDI and Trader Joe’s, so a Lidl would take it over the top :D. So glad the post was helpful!

  22. 5.1.18
    Bonnie said:

    Hi, I’m just curious how many people are in your family? We have 6, so it’s like to adapt this for our family! Thanks;)

    • 5.2.18
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Bonnie! We have 5 in our family, and one kitty (I make his cat food). Our kids are currently 12, 7, and 3.

  23. 5.5.18
    Misty said:

    It was an awesome read! I do my shopping very similarly and find its a great way to save money for families. My only difference is i also go to a regular grocery store for those must have items that you cant get at Aldi and i will go to sams club for restaurant size seasonings since we cook alot from scratch.

  24. 8.9.18
    Kim said:

    Thanks for sharing!! You have inspired me to tackle my grocery budget!

    • 8.12.18
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re so welcome, Kim!

  25. 11.28.18
    Rae said:

    Do you know of an โ€œequivalentโ€ to Aldi? We donโ€™t have one here, but those prices are amazing!! We spend about $250 every two weeks and would love to only do that for an entire month

    • 11.28.18
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Rae! The only equivalent price-wise would be Lidl. If you don’t have either, you’ll get one soon! They are expanding very quickly, now that many people are getting hip to how awesome they are :).

  26. 12.28.19
    Lada said:

    Great read Amiyrah how do you keep the bag of salads from going stale mine only lasts a couple of days in the fridge until turning greasy and watery.

    • 12.30.19
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Lada! I mentioned our hack for bagged salad and spinach in the “Have A Plan For Produce” section of the post. Basically, you have to use it within the first few weeks, but have a solid plan behind that. Check out the section, and let me know if you have any other questions!

  27. 1.27.20
    Sandy said:

    Wow!!! I am seriously impressed! I have a budget of $350 and shop once monthly at Aldi as well. My anxiety can not handle weekly shopping trips. The first trip I made, I was a little negative and not expecting much… Once I got in the store and saw all the food I got at half the bill of Shop Rite , I said Aldi, where have you been all my life?

    You seriously made some good decisions and use of the money. I am shocked anyone would have the nerve to be negative about the effort you made to share your ideas with us!! I learned a thing or two from this article! I think I finally met my match. Shop on Amiyrah!!

    • 1.28.20
      Amiyrah said:

      You are so awesome, Sandy! I love that ShopRite is your store (besides ALDI). Boy do I miss ShopRite!

  28. 5.9.20
    Ki said:

    I will definitely be trying this. Like you said it will definitely take time and some getting used to but the price you paid for an entire month is less than I spend for my family if 4 every 2 weeks.

    • 5.11.20
      Amiyrah said:

      I’m so glad you’re going to give it a chance!

  29. 5.12.21
    Marie said:

    Thank you for sharing this, it’s very helpful! And I am impressed by your fridge-tetris.

    • 5.13.21
      Amiyrah said:

      Ha! Thanks, Marie!

    • 9.4.22
      Tina O said:

      I am impressed! I am not sure I have the endurance and patience to get through a month of shipping at once! Great job and thank you for sharing! Just for the record I try to grab something easy like frozen pizza as an ace up my sleeve for busy or tired nights too. Better than paying for take out.

  30. 8.27.22
    Laurie W. said:

    I have been shopping at Aldis for years now. I would have to drive to other towns to shop before we ever had our own Aldis in town.. I work for the school system so we only got paid once a month and I would also buy extra to stock up for the summer months when I didn’t get paid. I use to be able to spend $113 and have a buggy so full that it was hard to push and items would be falling off the top. Now with food prices the way they are, $113 barely covers the bottom of the buggy but still cheaper than other stores. I have learned not to buy theor bagged Brussels and asparagus. They can be bag which waste your money. I always made myself a staple list of items and I would buy them even if I didn’t need them because these items would be extra for the summer months or in emergencies. During the pandemic when people were struggling to find things, I didn’t worry. I can live out of my pantry and freezer for months!!! I do plan my menus for the month and have a master shopping list I made. I only do for 5 days in the week so that leaves 2 days for either a throw together kind of meal or for ordering pizza. Sometimes you just don’t want to stand in the kitchen. It also allowed me flexibility to move dishes arou.d and to try out new recipes to add to my menus later on. I stock up on rice, noodles, spaghetti sauces, flour, sugar, garlic, half/ half, whipping cream, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, and a variety of block cheeses. These are staple items that multiple uses. The biggest thing is not to spend money on process anything!!!! That will take up to much of your grocery bill.