2005. A year of positive change. 22-years-old, graduating college, moving into my first real apartment with the love of my life, giving birth to our beautiful son, applying for and starting graduate school, and paying real bills. It is here that my love affair begins. One smoldering summer day, with a belly ready to pop, I could not imagine putting one more piece of food into my compacted stomach. Unfortunately, the little boy within me and my big boy enjoying a hard day’s work, felt different. No matter what mama’s feeling, you can always count on the family feeling one way…hungry. Belly to the steering wheel, I slowly made my way to the post office to mail a package.
Waiting in the infinite mail line, I contemplated another dreadful trip to the grungy, headache inducing Super-Walmart. As I headed down the street a yellow, blue, and white sign caught my eye. “Aldi” the sign read. I saw grocery carts outside. At this point, I would pretty much prefer to go anywhere than the humongous Walmart. I would have loved to go to nice Hy-Vee or Price Chopper, but they were miles away. That would cost way to much in gas, not to mention more expensive groceries. I decided to give this “Aldi” place a shot. I walked up to the store and “boom”… I was not shot, but caught without a quarter. I explained to the gal at the checkout that I was a newbie and she gladly loaned me a coin to get a cart. As I pushed her quarter into the cart, memories of studying abroad flooded my brain. At that moment, I knew my life would never be the same. This place links me to my happy place…Seville, Spain. Just another town in this huge world who rents grocery carts with euros.
As I made my way through the aisles, I was slightly skeptical, but extremely interested. The prices on milk, bread, potatoes, soups, cereal, chicken, tomatoes, garlic, avocados, and all the other important staples were far less than the headache monger could provide. It did not take long for me to realize that I could make 99% of my favorite meals with ingredients from my new favorite place. Better yet, I could make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2, 7 days a week, for less than $40.
When my son was born, I needed Aldi even more! Baby food was way too expensive. Health benefits or not, baby boy would be eating homemade baby food because mama still wanted to eat cheese and drink wine. I’ll never forget the phone call to my mom. “Guess what, Mom? Baby boy had his first people food.” “That’s great, Rach. What was it? Did he like it?” “Broccoli puree, Mom. Yah, he loved it. He gave a tiny grimace and then ate every bite!” Dead silence on the phone… The only thing better than the silence would have been to see the look of shock on my mother’s face. “Who gives their baby broccoli as their first food?” “Well…, I do. Broccoli from Aldi , Mom.” Since that day baby boy has not stopped eating. From chicken curry to spinach tortelini soup, Aldi’s goodness mixed with mama’s and dada’s love, have formed him into an almost 6 year-old small man.
As the years have progressed, my husband and I have worked hard and found our careers. Paychecks have slowly increased, rent has turned into mortgage, our daughter has been born, but the grocery budget has stayed proportionally the same. We have since moved closer to big, fancy, grocery stores. I find myself being reeled in by their ads and sales. I have been hooked several times. I go in, I buy the items on sale, I usually buy a few extra things I don’t really need, and then he dumps me. The next week, I go back to my one true love and I instantly realize that I had made a huge mistake. Aldi has and will continue to nourish my family and my wallet. Together, we will travel through life encouraging each other to eat gourmet and to be gorgeous…in every essence of the word.
G5- Gorgeous Tip #5 is to keep part of your frugalness from when you had no choice but to be frugal. The payoff is gorgeous!