Several times in the last week, friends have asked me about shopping at Aldi. Growing up in one of the first areas to have Aldi stores, I can say I’ve been shopping there for about 25 years. Now that we have one here in Franklin, I shop there weekly.
Aldi is a store that carries almost nothing but private label items. Because they do not have to pay a middle man, or advertise individual items, they can offer rock bottom prices…and they do. Although you will find occassional items for less somewhere else, there is no cheaper shopping alternative. Period. I’ve done my homework on this one. If you only have time to shop one store, this is the store to shop.
So I buy all my food there, right? No. I have the time to shop loss leaders and use coupons, so I do. Aldi is where I buy everything else. In other words, I build a stockpile of the things I need when they are on sale and I have a coupon. When my menu planning is done for the week and I see what I don’t have in my stockpile, I head to Aldi.
What’s a great deal at Aldi? This would vary by family, but I can tell you what we use most often. I typically buy milk there (still under $3.00/gal.) and eggs (.99/doz.). I usually buy bananas (.45/lb.) and apples (1.99-2.49 for 3lbs.). Other favorites include Aldi’s chili seasoning mix (which is the best I know of), cream cheese, canned tuna (.57/can) and old fashioned oats. However, I know people who rave about their boneless skinless chicken breasts, spiral sliced ham, frozen Asian entrees, and European chocolate. So be sure to walk through before you decide they don’t carry the things you use. If you’re already an Aldi shopper, please leave a comment and let me know what is a great deal for your family.
One of the best things about Aldi is the time saving factor. While most frugal pursuits take time, Aldi actually saves time. It only takes a trip or two to learn how the store is organized. I can usually complete my weekly shopping in about 10 minutes. We used to go every 6-8 weeks and buy two carts full. Even though it was Saturday and we were shopping with three young children, we were usually out in about 30 minutes. Try that at Wal-mart!
If you’ve never been before, rest assurred that our local Aldi is clean, organized and well-staffed. If you buy something you are unhappy with, Aldi will give you double the money back (I’ve never had to take anything back.) Because they require a .25 deposit for your cart and you bag your own groceries, be sure to take a quarter and some bags when you go. I promise you’ll thank me when you do.
(Note: If you would like to know more about what to expect at Aldi, be sure to check out their website here. You will learn more about their fascinating business model and what to expect when you go to the store. They also have a great recipe and menu planning feature.)