Over the last week, I have been taking part in the Aldi Challenge. You can read part 1 here in case you missed it but my challenge was to hopefully show my readers how swapping to Aldi would not mean compromising on quality. Aldi believe that little changes can make a big difference and by swapping to them for your weekly food shop, you can cut costs without cutting quality. I have been sharing photos of some of the meals that we have been eating over on Instagram throughout the week and I have to say that the response has been staggering. So many people have been telling me just how much they already love Aldi and how much it saves them every week – I love it!
Now the first challenge for me was spending £70 on a whole weeks shop in Aldi. I have to say that I have shopped there before but I tend to pop in there on weeks that we need a smaller shop. I had never done a ‘big’ weekly shop in there before but I knew from experience that keeping to that budget would be manageable. I wanted to see just how much I could get for my pennies though and came away with a really good shop but if I was keeping a really tight eye on my budget, I know that I could easily have shaved £10 off that total. Not only did I buy more than enough food for the week there were also lovely extras in there too (like the Oaties biscuits and pack of chocolate mousses you can see on the receipt there – yum!)
I think we eat really well as a family on the whole. I do like to cook from scratch most days so for me, it’s really important that I start with good quality ingredients. In the time that I have been shopping with Aldi, I have definitely seen their range of food improve. Things like organic produce and free range eggs for example. Obviously watching the pennies is always an important factor when you are cooking for a large family but I refuse to compromise on quality. I love my food too much! But I have to say that at no time over this week did I feel that my meal choices were compromised one bit. It’s true that there are more limited choices when it comes to some things like flour, grains, herbs, spices and that sort of thing but for your bog standard weekly shop, it is absolutely fine. They have all the basics and they are good basics at that.
Breakfast for us can be rushed during the week and we don’t all get to sit down together (but always make up for that on a weekend if we can!) The children usually have cereal or porridge followed by toast and fruit. I definitely found that I could afford to buy more breakfast choices this week. We always have at least three or four choices of cereal on the go but I could also give them a choice of toast, bagels, crumpets, brioche or pain aux raisins. I would normally buy one or two ‘extra’ breakfast treats a week and usually for the weekend but in Aldi I could afford to buy the lot. The brioche is particularly good by the way! Breakfast for us grown ups is usually yoghurt and fruit on weekdays or when I get back from the school run, I often have eggs in one way or another. On a weekend though when we all have more time bacon normally comes into the equation at least once!
My youngest two take a packed lunch to school each day and for sandwiches, I love the selection of continental meats that Aldi have. So good but so cheap! The yoghurts are great too I particularly love the Greek style range they have. They sell the squeezy tube and pouch type yoghurts too but the fruit pots were the biggest hit with mine this week. My teens sometimes take a packed lunch too or mostly tend to grab lunch on the go so I always like to have something like sausage rolls in the fridge for them. Not the healthiest of lunches granted but some days that is as good as it gets with teenagers, trust me! Aldi was great for pasties and things though and a fraction of the price that I usually pay. Depending on lessons though, they sometimes come home for lunch and they sometimes, just sometimes, talk me into making fishfinger sandwiches on soft white bread! I am such a pushover! For me though, lunch is normally eggs if I didn’t have them for breakfast, something on toast, soup or a simple salad cobbled together with what we have in the fridge.
We eat together as a family every night and sometimes it can a big fat pain in the bum trying to nail everyone down but I think it’s so important. We’re all off doing our own thing all day so that hour together around the table every night is so important to me. I do like to cook from scratch where possible but life with four children is busy as I am sure you can imagine so I have to be quite flexible in my meal planning. For example that lasagne I might have planned might have to become spaghetti bolognese instead because somebody has plans that night and needs to eat in ten minutes time not fifty, or I make a big pot of chilli or curry ahead of time so that it can simply be reheated when needed because I don’t know what time anyone is getting home that night – you get the idea! There wasn’t anything that I would normally buy in my usual weekly shop that I couldn’t find in Aldi though. I was impressed with all of the meat, vegetables and fruit in particular.
So over the course of this week for dinner we have eaten lamb keema with romaine lettuce, naan bread and raita, beef chilli con carne with baked sweet potatoes, turkey bolognese with stonebaked garlic flatbread, bangers and mash with cabbage and leeks, homemade pizza with parma ham and mozzarella, chorizo and red pepper risotto with garlic bread and last but by no means least, a big fat Sunday roast with chicken, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, broccoli and homemade Yorkshire puddings. Nothing fancy just good home cooking. Shopping at Aldi meant that I could afford to buy the extra bits that I might leave out if I was looking to save money normally. Just little things like fresh coriander to go on the keema, garlic flatbreads to go with the bolognese, parmesan for the risotto etc. In that respect, I would say that not only did we eat just as well as we normally would, we could actually afford to eat even better.
There is definitely less choice in Aldi than you might get in a huge supermarket but actually, I don’t think that is always a bad thing. Sure, there are times when you need a really specific ingredient for a recipe but day in, day out, do you really need for example ten types of digestive biscuit to choose from? I know I don’t. And I love that less choice means that I can whizz around and do a big shop in no time at all. I already liked shopping in Aldi for certain bits but I didn’t think that I would be able to do a ‘big’ shop but I was wrong. Taking part in this challenge has shown me that it can be done and done well at that.
So there we have it. Can I save money on my weekly shop with Aldi? Yes definitely. Did that mean compromising on quality? Absolutely not no! I hope you have enjoyed seeing me take part in the #AldiChallenge I’ve tried really hard to show you just how well you can eat for less. I know this is a bit of a whopper of a post so thank you if you have made it to the end (!) but as you can see, I had an awful lot to share with you. If you have any questions though please just drop me a comment below. And hey, maybe you might even think about taking the Aldi Challenge for yourself? Please let me know if you do, I would love to know how you get on!
Disclaimer: I have been provided with shopping vouchers in order to take part in the #AldiChallenge but all words and opinions are of course my own