Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days: Aldi, Part One:

The following is Part One of a guest post from Bobbi over at Favorite Family Foods.  I asked her to write this article because she is the expert on all things Aldi!  I'll post two articles today as part of my 31 Days series, since I don't post on Sundays.
Thank you, Lisa, for inviting me to do a guest post about Aldi during your 31 Days of Saving Money in the Kitchen series! I am honored and happy to share my Aldi tips.
Maybe some of you are unfamiliar with Aldi, but are curious about it.  Or maybe you are a regular Aldi shopper and can share your own advice or favorite things about Aldi with us!

Aldi is a discount grocery store.  They guarantee that their prices will be lower than any other store's prices.  I do about 80% of my shopping at Aldi. The other 20% is at stores that carry items that Aldi does not have, or sale items I just cannot pass up.

I like shopping at Aldi for these reasons:
1. Saving money.  I know I am getting a great price on every item.
2. It is a one-stop shop.  I can get my groceries, some personal items, and paper goods in one need to fly all over.
3. I love the "small town" feel.  It is a small store with a limited number of employees.  Don't be surprised when the employees recognize you and say "Hey, weren't you here last week looking for ____ ?? Well, we have it now!"
4.  They stand by what they sell with a double guarantee.  This means that if you are not 100% satisfied with something, they will replace the product and refund your money. (May not apply to ALL items, does not apply to the non-food "special buy" items or alcohol.)
How can they offer the highest quality of everyday items at the lowest possible prices without sacrificing taste and quality??? is part of the uniqueness that is Aldi!  They save us money by doing these little things:
1. The stores are not HUGE and carry only the most popular grocery items ~ those we all use to stock our pantries, fridges and freezers.  A smaller store means less employees are needed.
2. To get a cart, you need to put a quarter in.  When you bring it back, you get your quarter back. We all want our quarters back, right? :)   No need to have an employee out there collecting carts left in the parking lot.  Money saved there and it is reflected in the price of their groceries.
3. Re-using and recycling bags. Aldi does not provide you with bags. You can buy some for a small price (about 5 cents to 1 dollar, depending on what kind you get) or bring your own.  More money saved which also helps keep the price of their products down.
4. No "bag boys" to bag up your groceries.  It is up to you to do it.  More money saved there.

As with any store, you'll find things to love about Aldi, and things that you don't like so much.

The Good Things About Aldi:
1.  The store is well-organized. All the baking items are together, all the produce items are together, etc. The stacks of products are neat and right at your fingertips.
2.  The products may not be "brand name", but nevertheless, they are delicious.  There is not one thing that I can say that we do not like "their" brand of.
3.  There is only one ketchup to choose from, one flour, one foil, etc.  No debating which brand to get, making shopping faster.
4.  Check-out is speedy. If they see that there are more than 2-3 people in line, they will open a new lane. Simply unload your cart and push it forward and they will load it right back up for you.
5.  You get to pack your own bags, which I personally like.  I like to put "like" items together. No more forgotten cream cheese in with the powdered sugar.
6.  Drastically marked-down products.  Keep your eyes peeled...when they have a large supply of something that is nearing the expiration date or they just need to get rid of it, they will drastically mark it down. Take that opportunity to stock up!  I have seen it done with milk, yogurt, meat, breads and some canned goods.
7.  Employees are friendly and helpful...even when your child drops a bottle of wine in the checkout lane.  (Since then I have not seen a wine display near the checkout.  You're welcome.)
The Tricky Things About Aldi:
1.  You need a quarter to get your cart.  Simply pop a quarter in the slot on the handle of the cart, unhook it from the cart behind it, and go shop. When you are finished shopping, bring your cart back to the cart corral, hook it up to the cart in front of it and out pops your quarter. To avoid a "no quarter" issue, I have my "Aldi quarter" in the cup holder of my car.  The kids know that it is all mine! :)
2.  The produce is generally ready to eat RIGHT when you buy it. Usually it is best to eat it within a few days.  Don't let it set on your counter very long or it may go bad.
3.  Don't bring your coupons.  Aldi doesn't accept coupons.
4.  You have to bring your own bags. Be sure to be on the lookout for empty boxes throughout the store because you are more than welcome to use those to "bag" your groceries.  I also keep my Aldi bags in a paper bag in my car at all times so that I am ready to stop and shop whenever I need to.
5. You have to bag your own groceries.
6.  You have to load your own car.
7.  They do not take credit cards or checks, only cash or debit card.  Keep that in mind, because you don't want to have to leave a cart full of groceries because you cannot pay.
8.  They have limited hours.  My Aldi opens at 9AM and closes at 9PM.  No early morning or late night runs!  [Note from Lisa:  "My" Aldi closes even earlier, at 8PM!]
9.  You still have to watch your prices.  They're almost always cheaper, but if Meijer or another grocery store is running a great sale, that sale price might be better than the Aldi price.  Case in point:  "My" Aldi's price for cream soups is 69 cents...which is good compared to the regular price at Meijer.  But Meijer recently put cream soups on sale for 49 cents, and I stocked up!  When I run out, I'll buy the soups from Aldi...unless Meijer runs that sale again soon.  (This "tricky thing" is added by Lisa)

I find that the good things about Aldi far outweigh the tricky things! 

Do you shop at Aldi?  What do you like about the store?  Is there anything you dislike about Aldi?

Come back later today for more great Aldi information, as well as a Top 10 list!

Looking for more ways to Save Money in the Kitchen?  Check out the rest of the articles in this 31 Days series here.

Bobbi is an Indiana wife and mother who LOVES to spend time in the kitchen.  Cooking for picky kids can be challenging, but yet a joy.  She shares some of her family's favorite recipes at her blog, Favorite Family Foods, where she also does an Aldi post (like this one) every Wednesday.



  1. I do shop at Aldi. I hate the fact that the produce often spoils. The exception is their apples. I love that their prices are so low. That means I get to try buy some treats that I never would at the regular store, like caramel dip to go with the apples :) I generally buy biscuits, oatmeal, syrup, bread, chips, canned and frozen veggies, apple juice, and frozen fish from there. They have the large 16 inch fresh pizzas you get from the deli at a regular store, and one time they marked 90/10 grouond beef half off, so I bought all 9!

  2. If you happen to forget your quarter and/or your own bags you can grab an empty box or 3 from the stacks and use them to do your shopping and pack your goods :)
    Only return Aldi purchased beverages for the 10c refund.