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Monday Q&A | Sunday Meals, Grocery Shopping, and Snack Foods

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!


I’m curious about your Sunday menus…they always seem quite light (this week just breakfast?). Do you eat Sunday dinner out? with family? fast?


Nope, we don’t fast (my children wouldn’t be fans of that!), and we don’t go out. However, we tend to eat breakfast a bit later than usual on Sunday mornings, because we’re not up and at ’em quite as early as we are on weekdays. And then we have a later lunch than usual because we’re not normally home from church until 1:00 or 1:30. All of this means that we are not very hungry when our 5:00-5:30 dinner hour rolls around, so we usually just have breakfast for dinner.

Besides the fact that we’re not starving at dinnertime, another reason we do this is that it gives me a little break from normal dinner prep. Breakfast foods are generally fast and easy (both on the prep end and the cleanup end!), and cooking them on Sundays means that I can spend my Sunday afternoons in a restful way.

We do eat breakfast and lunch every day…I usually include a sentence or two about our breakfast/lunch plans on my weekly menu posts. I just don’t plan them out in detail like I do for our dinner meals.

I shop at Walmart because I thought it was cheaper. I haven’t been to Aldi except maybe 1 or 2 times. I loved your comparisons about the two stores and while I agree on everything- the size of the stores, the cleanliness, the parking lot, etc… I was wondering if you really do save money by shopping at Aldi. When I went in there it seemed everything was off brands, are they good?


As I mentioned in my post about Walmart, I don’t often shop for groceries there except for when we go on vacation (could Aldi please add a Myrtle Beach location???). So, I don’t have a scientific means of comparison between the two stores, though that might be fun to do for a future blog post.

However, in my experience, Aldi’s prices on everything except meat (I rarely buy meat at Aldi) meet or beat most every other store’s prices so yes, I think I save money by shopping at Aldi. And not only do I save money, we end up eating better food that we would otherwise, especially when it comes to produce. Aldi has such awesome prices on produce, we now regularly eat things like red peppers, grapefruit, seasonal berries, spinach, and lots of other foods which were prohibitively expensive at normal grocery stores.

Aldi does carry mostly private label brands, but I’ve found that almost everything I’ve tried has been good. If you do try something and hate it, you can bring it back, get your money back, and get a replacement product if you wish, all for free. So, there’s no risk involved in at least trying the store brand product.

I’m working on a post about what I like to buy at Aldi, and in that post I’ll make sure to include a list of stuff I don’t like to buy at Aldi.

I am a pastor’s wife and mom of 2. I recently have been trying to stock up with things are on sale, shopping at thrift stores and trying many other tips. I can’t seem to get my grocery bill under $100 dollars a week though…I am more motivated to try after seeing you! Do you live in a rural area? I find things are more expensive where I live so I drive to a larger town 30 mins away to do most of my shopping. What kind of things do your kids snack on? I am having trouble figuring out some CHEAP but good snacks for the kids.


First, I should assure you that I don’t at all think that everyone needs to budget $100/week for groceries. Different families have different needs (some have hungry teens, some have big and tall husbands, some need special foods, some eat organic), and so grocery budgets are not a one size fits all sort of thing. For more on that topic, check out post about why I don’t think you have to make yogurt. 😉

Secondly, I don’t live in a rural area…I’d describe my area as suburban, and as I mentioned a few days ago, I live in grocery shopping heaven (lucky me!). I have a ridiculous number of grocery stores to choose from, all of which are close by, but if I were in your situation, I’d definitely plan ahead and make a trip to a larger town every other week (or every week if necessary). I’m assuming, of course, that the savings would outweigh the gas expense you’d incur by driving farther.

Lastly, yes, I do have some frugal snack ideas. We don’t do a whole lot of snacking here, as I try to encourage my children to do their main eating at meals (if they do a lot of snacking, they’re not hungry for the actual meals). However, we do sometimes feel the need for a little something if there’s a long stretch between lunch and dinner. Here are a few frugal, low-prep, non-junky things I offer my children when they’re “staaaaarving”:

  • peanuts or cashews (these are not super-cheap, but they are fairly nutritious)
  • sunflower seeds
  • raisins
  • carrots
  • bananas
  • cucumbers (my kids like to eat them sliced and sprinkled with salt)
  • crackers, usually store-brand (I don’t offer these very frequently since they’re not as nutritious as the other options on this list)

If you’d like some more substantial options, here are a few ideas:


Since I don’t have a corner on frugal knowledge, do feel free to add your advice to mine in the comments!

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Wednesday 24th of August 2011

In addition to being frugal, I like to frequent the family-run stores. I live in a small town in the middle of "country" (I have to drive 45 minutes to get to a big city) and I feel like I have some great options. While I don't have Aldi here, I do have a small discount store in town--only 2 blocks away, even! I get great prices on produce (although not always the freshest--I can't expect fresh from WM, either--a disadvantage of small town with few choices), meat, milk and cheese, not to mention pantry items.


Tuesday 2nd of March 2010

One thing I did not see here is the mention of balanced snacks. A little protein, carb and fat. If the kiddo's are hungry this is the best combo to satisfy. I am a big proponent of hummus with vegi's. Hummus is easy to make, get a can of chickpeas(garbanzo beans), some garlic powder, salt and a couple teaspoons of olive oil and whip it up in a blender or food processor. My kids like to dip carrots, red and green peppers, cuc's, zucchini and crackers in it. Here are some other suggestions:

Peanut butter with apples Stringcheese wrapped with lunchmeat Mix half a carton of yogurt (8oz size) with half a cup of cottage cheese (great ice cream substitute) Pudding in 1/2 c. portions with grahmn crackers


Tuesday 2nd of March 2010

Kristen, Thank you for sharing Zoe's birthday celebration pictures. They were great!


Tuesday 2nd of March 2010

Great Q&A as always.... I am really missing Aldi's back home in England now :(


Monday 1st of March 2010

I lovingly refer to Aldi's as 'stupid cheap' because the prices at other stores seem so 'stupid' in comparison. A suggestion for the meat dilemma is that I hit the major grocery stores on Monday mornings. They seem to stock up on their meat for the weekends and slash the prices on what's leftover Monday mornings. (Especially in the summer and during football season!) I can get large packages of steaks or roasts or chops and repackage them into smaller portions at home. If I do this once/month, our meat is taken care of and I don't get distracted by their other budget bashers. (just one trip into a Giant Eagle can kill my entire month's budget if I'm not careful!) While our Aldi's does have great produce, I am a big supporter of local farmer's markets and make that my FIRST stop during the season, which is getting longer and longer thanks to innovation in greenhouse techniques. When fresh produce is coming in fast and strong, the prices are great and I can freeze or can enough to keep us in strawberry smoothies and tomatoe sauce for months.

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