How to Shop at Aldi and is it Worth it?

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I was browsing through our forums and stumbled upon Aldi.  “Is Aldi worth it” people have asked me.  Well let me tell you, my mom shopped at Aldi when I was growing up, and I think EVERY bone in her body is a frugal one!!  That should tell you something, but like any other store, it’s all about learning how it works and whether it’s right for you.

Here are some Aldi Basics:

  • Bring your own bags, as you do all of your own bagging after the cashier throws everything into a cart. (regular grocery bags are for sale at the checkout. When you buy the last few of an item, take the box it came in.)
  • Leave the checkbook, credit cards and the, *GASP* coupons at home. Aldi doesn’t take ANY of those!!  But they do accept Debt Cards(you must enter your pin), EBT cards and of course cash.
  • Pay attention to the times and days it’s open, then go early in the week and day. Lines tend to be longer in the afternoon when people get off work.  Also, I suggest if your a once-a-month Aldi shopper to go later in the month.  The reason is simple, government assistance comes once a month, usually early in the month. (This includes SNAP.)  The lines will generally be longer at that time, so to avoid waiting and long lines it’s best to go late in the month!
  • Aldi will look like a small warehouse and it’s generally a one way maze to checkout.  Pick things up as you go and try not to go against the flow of traffic!
  • Be wary of the produce unless you plan to eat in within a few days. In my personal experience it seems to go bad quicker than stores like Kroger or Walmart.  Aldi’s prices on produce are still better than other stores, but if your looking for Organic, don’t shop at Aldi.  If I find a good deal, I may cook and freeze the produce for later!
  • Bring a quarter, you probably will get it back (unless the machine jams). Each cart has a very simple lock on it. Inserting the quarter into the lock while it is in the cart corral pushes out the chain and device locking it to another cart. When you are finished with it, just return it to the corral, attach the chain from the cart in front of it, and, bam! Your quarter pops out! Every store should have this system! No stray carts to bang up the car!  If there are carts in the parking lot…..YEA, it means a FREE quarter!

DaytonCouponMom posted in the Aldi forum her recommendations below on what is cheaper and tastes better than the major stores.  Here is the list:

  • Apple sauce
  • Broth most times cheaper
  • Candy
  • Canned mandarin oranges/pineapple
  • Canned mushrooms
  • Cereal
  • Cheese products
  • Condiments cheap
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Flour, vinegar, salt,………fill those cupboards cheap if you move into a new place!
  • Frozen crispy chicken strips
  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen juice or drinks
  • Frozen meat
  • Frozen potato products
  • Ice cream
  • Mayo light is really good
  • Namebrands are there as well (might be the same as sales prices)
  • Nuts for baking
  • Olive oil decent size/price
  • Paper products sometimes cheaper
  • Pasta
  • Pepperoni
  • Real butter
  • Salad dressings are great
  • Soups a lot of times cheaper
  • Raspberry lemonade (powder form; so yummy and priced right) add sprite; punch

Things you should Avoid:

  • Crackers (just don’t taste good)
  • Sour Cream (just gross LOL)
  • Fresh Meat (prices aren’t great, quality is okay in my personal opinion)
  • Paper products (Unless you can’t afford off-brand Kroger toilet paper etc, don’t buy it.  It hurts LOL)

What is your experience with Aldi?  Do you think it’s worth it?

Don’t forget to check out our Aldi Forum!!

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Comments

  1. Samacid says:

    I love the sour cream at Aldi.

  2. Guest says:

    I think the sour cream and crackers are fine from there:) I love aldi’s and think everything is as good as name brand, if not better. Some things I can do better with coupons but if you don’t have the time to coupon, this is the place to go!

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