Oh, Aldi. How I love you so. I recently wrote a post about what we spend at the grocery store each month, and I mentioned that I do about 80% of my shopping at Aldi. I realize not everyone has an Aldi in their area, so lots of people may not be familiar with the store. I got a few requests to do a more in depth post about Aldi, so that’s what I set out to do! This post with have some Aldi tips and faves, and just a general guideline to how the store works.
First, Aldi is definitely not like other grocery stores…at least not any that I’ve been to. Aldi is a very small store. You probably wont find everything you’re looking for there. That’s why I get everything I can at Aldi, and then I finish up at HEB. Also, the products they do carry only come in one or two brands…so you aren’t going to have 10 mustards to choose from.
Before I show you some of my favorite things at Aldi, let’s go ahead and get the things you probably aren’t going to like about Aldi out of the way: that way we can end on a positive note!
Possible Aldi Cons
1.You have to “deposit” a quarter for a shopping cart. Part of the reason Aldi is able to keep their prices so low is because they don’t really have a ton of employees working at the store…including a cart person. By not having to hire for certain positions, they are able to use that extra money to pass the savings on to us. When you return your cart, you get your quarter back. If you’re worried about being stuck without a quarter, just leave some in your car….don’t put it in your pocket! I always have a quarter in the little compartment on the side of my door, and that’s where it lives. It’s my “Aldi quarter”.
2. Most products are off brand. I don’t really see this as a con, since most of the off brand items taste just as good as name brand. But they do have some name brand items there. I spotted Blue Bell and La Croix when I was in there the other day.
3. You pay for your bags (or bring your own). Again, I don’t see this as a con. Lot’s of people today are using reusable bags. If you do have to buy the bags at Aldi, you will probably only have to do so once. They have paper bags that are 6 cents a piece, and some pretty durable plastic bags for 10 cents a piece. I have some of the plastic bags and that’s what I take with me each trip so I don’t have to buy bags every time. Plus, they make great bags for cleaning out the litter box. Ha!
4. You bag your own groceries. Yep, that’s the big one. For a lot of people, that’s a deal breaker. Again, Aldi doesn’t spend the money to hire a bagger. You do it yourself. Honestly, it’s hasn’t always been my favorite thing to do (especially when I have a fussy toddler in the basket), but it literally takes less than 5 minutes. Plus, I save so much money by shopping there that it’s worth it to me.
Here are some of my favorite things to buy at Aldi.
1.Beer and wine. They have a pretty decent wine selection, starting as low as $2.89. I don’t have a refined wine palate, so $2.89 is what’s going in my basket! Their beer selection is much smaller, but they do have a few name brands.
2. K-cups. If you have a Keurig coffee maker, you know how expensive K-Cups can get. In fact, even though I have a Keurig, I wouldn’t buy K-cups before they carried them at Aldi. I would just fill the reusable K-cups with regular ground coffee. I think my mom felt sorry for me, because I got about 200 K-cups for my birthday this past April! Ha! You can snag some at Aldi for $3.99. That’s cheaper than any other store brand I’ve seen.
3. Chicken. When I wrote about saving on chicken, I talked about how I buy chicken leg quarters at Aldi for 89 cents a pound. This pack of 4 huge leg quarters is only $3.80! These are perfect for crockpot meals, protein for salads, burrito bowls…whatever! I do use chicken breasts as well, but it’s more expensive buying fresh. I buy this bag frozen chicken breasts for $5.49….and it’s about 12 servings! They do have other meat including beef (even grass-fed), turkey, and pork.
4. “Fancy” cheese. Sometimes Chase and I like to pretend to be fancy and have a cheese platter and wine as a pre-dinner snack. And by “pre-dinner” I mean 9 times out of 10 it just ends up being dinner. Does anyone else love cheese as much as I do?? I am always so impressed with Aldi’s cheese selection. They have a small variety of “fancy” cheeses for around $3 a piece. I challenge you to find cheese in another grocery store’s deli for under $5.
Also, this is the mozzarella I use when we make pizza. It’s only $2.69 and we’re able to stretch it out over 2 pizzas. This same 8 oz. ball of mozzarella is $4.49 at HEB.
5. I love Aldi’s produce! About 50% of their produce is sold in bulk: potatoes, onions, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and pears are a few things that come to mind. This just means you can’t go in and buy 1 potato…they’re sold by the bag. Other things like cucumbers, avocados, strawberries, blueberries can be bought individually. Here’s a 10lb bag of potatoes for $2.99, which will last us a couple of months. To compare, HEB as an 8lb bag for $3.92.
6. Milk and eggs. I’m not sure how milk compares to other stores, but I do know how much eggs cost…and they can get pricey. Right now they have an 18 count for $1.59, and a dozen for 99 cents (I’ve seen them have a sale on eggs for 69 cents).
7. Baby supplies. They have a small baby section with diapers, formula, pouches, and a small selection of baby food. I admit, I love these pouches! This is still sometimes the only way I can get Lincoln to eat vegetables. They’re only 79 cents per pouch, and I know that’s lower than most other stores (although HEB now has some for 69 cents). Their diapers are only $4.99 for a 36 pack. I’m not really familiar with diaper prices since I use cloth diapers 90% of the time, but I feel like this is a good price. We use these when we’re out and about or going out of town.
Aldi’s Non-Grocery Items
Aldi also has a great section of non-grocery items that they switch out every few weeks. It’s usually themed with the seasons, so lately they’ve had a lot of pool, camping, garden, and patio items. I find a lot of good gifts here for super cheap! Here are a few things I spotted when I was last in there (I wanted to get pictures of more, but Lincoln was pretty much done with this excursion).
This Fisher Price Infant to Toddler swing is only $19.99! The same swing is $31.42 when I checked online at Wal-mart. I wasn’t able to find a price on Amazon, but I’m betting it’s not lower than that.
Also, these sleep sacks! Lincoln still sleeps in a sleep sack and has since he was about 6 months. I paid at least $20-$30 for each of mine. These were originally $8.99, and now marked down to $4.50! They come in 3 different sizes, and a few different designs. I stocked up! These are great to have when we have another baby, and they also make good baby shower gifts.
If you want to get a better idea of their non-grocery items, I suggest downloading the Flipp app and looking through Aldi’s ad to see what kind of goodies they have. Aldi does have their own app, but I think Flipp is more user friendly…plus, you can find ads for all sorts of stores.
Is anyone else as excited about Aldi as I am? For my fellow Aldi shoppers, what is your favorite thing to buy? And for my future Aldi shoppers, what are you looking forward to most?