How To Shop at ALDI : An Overview & Why It Rocks

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Very early in my “how coupons changed my financial life” timeframe, I decided to step foot and learn how to shop at ALDI.

I had noticed the ALDI sign several times as I drove by, but to be honest shopping at ALDI scared me.

The utilitarian building with the weird blue and orange sign screamed “Discount Warehouse of Second Hand Food”.

But I knew I had a budget I had to stick to and I wanted the cheap produce I had seen in the circular, so I decided to be brave and venture in through the sliding glass doors.

And THANK GOD I ventured in through the sliding glass doors because I make a once (if not twice) a month trip to my local store.

Why? Because ALDI rocks.

But be advised, it isn’t like every other grocery store on the planet. While it isn’t the “Discount Warehouse of Second Hand Food”, it also has a few quirks. But once you get used to the quirks, you will become an ALDI pro in no time.

My Top 10 Reasons Why ALDI Rocks

1. They don’t take credit cards (but can take debit cards). Since I use a cash envelope system for my groceries, I love that I have to stay in budget when I shop at ALDI.

2. Weekly produce specials. Most specials are a $1.00 or less per pound.

3. Pork specials. During the holiday season (and after), you are able to get hams for almost $.50 per pound less than the best deal at the grocery store.

4. Seasonal Products. ALDI has different non-grocery items they bring in every week. I’ve purchased bath mats, electric food scales, cast-iron pans, garden trellis and more. The prices and quality are great.

5. Standard selection. The chances of having an impulse buy at ALDI are close to zero because their selection in consistent and minimalistic. Need Mozzarella cheese – they have it. Need Guyere cheese – not so much.

6. Small store. If you spend an hour in ALDI, you may have gotten lost in the storage room. You can truly be in and out in 15 minutes or less if you have planned your shopping trip ahead of time.

7. Wine. If you live on the Missouri side, you can take part in Winking Owl or other ALDI brand wine for $3.99 a bottle. Is it amazing? No. Is it drinkable and then some? Absolutely.

8. Carts For A Quarter. Need a cart? It will cost you a quarter. Return the cart? You get your quarter back. It is strange, but it keeps the parking lot neat and my kids entertained.

9. Fast cashiers. These are the fastest cashiers you will ever experience in your entire life. Period.

10. ALDI store brand. It is awesome. I’ve only had one item (lemon juice) that I thought was not great. Even better, if you don’t like an ALDI store brand item, they will give you double your money back.

Stay tuned…because later this week I’ll let you know What to Buy At Aldi.

What about you? Why do you think ALDI rocks? Did you have a misconception before your first store trip?

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  1. Vivian says

    Love Aldi – usually the cheapest price in town on milk and their produce is great.
    BEST rising crust frozen pizza I’ve ever had.

  2. Mary says

    This is encouraging me to check it out! My biggest pet peeve is the location in relation to my house. I literally drive past a price chopper, Hyvee and hen house (all on the same stretch of road) to get home. I hate to drive out of my way to shop. But I just may have to check it out.

    • says

      Mary, one of the other benefits of ALDI is that it doesn’t have weekly deals (outside of the produce), so you can fit it in to your schedule when you want to go.

  3. Donna Horton says

    I shop at Aldi on a regular for product and wine. I bought 1 bottle of the Winking Owl wine during my first visit just to put in the rack, but my husband love it so I buy it all the time. It is $2.69 at my Aldi! You talk about Aldi brand in your article. What do you consider the Aldi brand? I am a little nervous to try brands that I have never heard of.

    • says

      Donna – the ALDI brand is anything that isn’t a regular name brand. Like Clancy’s, Fit Active, and other. Basically, if you have never seen it in a grocery store than it is an ALDI brand. Hope that helps.

  4. Robin says

    LOVE Aldi! I probably buy produce there once a week. They also consistently have the cheapest tortilla chips around.

  5. says

    I actually took a class in high school where we were given a financial situation and had to figure out how to live on it for a week. My partner and I figured we could feed our “family” and stay in our minimal budget if we shopped at Aldi. So as an adult I was never afraid to head to Aldi for good deals. I’ve always been hesitant to buy meat there, so I’m glad to know you think it’s ok. One thing I’ve noticed though is that some of the Aldi products can be much less healthy than other brands (like the animal crackers have way more sugar, etc) but you definitely can’t beat the price.

    Can’t wait to read what you think the best things to purchase at Aldi are!

    • says

      Monica – we buy the ham’s and pork there very often. However, I can not attest to the beef or chicken products, because I’ve never bought them before…

      • Ruth says

        I’ve bought hamburger at Aldi several times. It is as good a quality as the grocery store. I also love their whole frozen chicken. It’s always cheap and great for my home made chicken and noodles.

  6. Amanda says

    My mother-in-law is a manager at an Aldi’s store. I will say with that I am a bit biased, but the honest truth is that we can go to Aldi and spend $150-200 and LITTERALLY walk out with a cart stuffed & overflowing with groceries thast will last us between 3-4 weeks. I never look at prices when I go. I like this, that, whatever– I throw it in the cart & go. It is wonderful! When we go to WalMart or our local grocery store the same stuff can cost us double if not triple.
    I love Aldi’s!!

  7. Lisa says

    We always get our milk there and the cereal is really, really good as well! Shoot, we get a lot of stuff there!

  8. Be says

    We go to Aldi every week. Love Aldi. Low cost of milk is the number one reason, but there are so many other things we buy there. Had the sweetest strawberries there the past 2 months! Best ever! That isn’t always the case, but there has been a time I bought strawberries there, then bought across the street at HyVee for comparision and Aldi strawberries won by a longshot…that time anyway.

  9. Renee says

    Until last week, I had no idea that Aldi owned Trader Joe’s. A nice older lady at the pool told me that. She said they even have some of the same things. I haven’t shopped Aldi, but now I’m intrigued. I need to start going there if only for produce and milk. :)

  10. Stacie says

    Love Aldi’s. My husband and son are addicted to their Fit & Active Sting Cheese, I have to buy at least 2 every time that we go. Plus the milk is by far the cheapest in the city and hormone free, which I love!

  11. Charline says

    My husband loves their oatmeal and it is $1.49 a box. When I don’t have the energy to cut coupons it is the place to go. Chips, milk, bottled water and produce are the lowest in town. I’ve got my family hooked!

  12. Becky says

    Trader Joe’s is not owned by Aldi. There have the same parent company, but are independent of one another. I am always amazed by the speediness of the cashiers, but one of them told me they are expected to ring at least 100 things per minute. WOW! We shop there for produce, and chicken stock if I don’t have time to make some. The yogurt covered raisins are a fav at our house and significantly cheaper!

  13. Shannon H. says

    And don’t forget their chocolate. AH-MA-ZING!!! And so inexpensive…I mean, hello, $0.99 chocolate hazelnut bar. TDF!

  14. abby craig says

    Just recently started going into Aldi… and was so impressed with the produce. It definitely is a store I dont have to worry much on the price so the kids get a lot more leeway in deciding what they would like to see in the cupboards. It makes me happy because in the reg store all the impulse stuff they see is expensive so you already know what I am telling them… “No, we dont have a coupon for that!” Lol! Aldi is much smaller and alot quicker to get in and out of. I love that you have to reuse bags (or pay for them if you dont) which is better for the environment. I like the card system… basically it’s minimal, practical and efficient in numerous ways :)

  15. Michelle says

    I love shopping at Aldi! I usually go there for milk, eggs, and produce. Just yesterday I went and bought a pack of blueberries for $1.29….two days before I got a pack from HyVee (from the same distributor) and they cost me $2.50! I’ve also bought chips and ice-cream for my kids and they love it. And their french onion dip….my hubby said it was the best he’s ever had!!

  16. Donna says

    Love their novelty Ice Cream Products – Ice Cream Sandwiches, Nutty Cones, Fruit bars – All of them are good!

  17. Laura says

    Thank you!!! I have been waiting for this article! Can’t wait for the follow up … my Aldi’s favs are: corn chips, milk, eggs, cereal, granola bars, produce (especially pineapples and oranges when on sale), canned tuna, canned veggies. Love how much I can buy for 30.00!

  18. Lisa says

    besides the obvious “süd” on the aldi bag, you can tell this picture is from Germany (the cars!) love it!! i lived in Germany and Aldi in the States is almost like transporting me back there. :-)

  19. Ruth says

    I buy tons of stuff at Aldi every week but my favorite thing about Aldi is the beautiful scripture from the Psalms inside the egg carton! I could list several items that we like better than a brand name equivalent but I’ll wait and see what Kelly has to say next week.

  20. Ann says

    I love their garlic vinegarette salad dressing.
    It’s definately the place to go if you don’t do couponing. Or if you are too busy this summer to coupon much (like me).
    It is ideal for cheap kids snacks.

  21. Katie says

    I love Aldi. We have saved so much money since we started shopping there last year. I was totally nervous my first time, because it seemed really different. However, now it is my favorite store because they have great stuff for really cheap!

  22. stella says

    I have aldi bags from Germany. Been going to Aldi’s for a long time. It’s a global company. Aldi’s in Germany is like aldi’s here. They have lots of the same products. They are privately owned by a family. They had a kidnapping scare and thats why they are so quiet. Trader joes has been owned by the aldi family trust for a long time. As someone who travels and has to cook my own food for medical reasons, global grocery shopping is an experience. I suppose I am lucky to have seen how the other half of the globe lives, and it makes me appreciate how very much food we have in america. Also, our food is cheap and we have lots of variety. Our poor people in america that get assistance are not really poor from a global perspective. Also, aldi’s is good for people that are tired, have arthritis or just plain not interested in trekking around a big store. You can get what you need and get out.

  23. Selena says

    I am so glad to hear all the possitive comments .I usually go to Aldi to get milk and be-line it straight out of there. I find it smells funny so it concerns me about the product. I will go back and try actually shopping there. Thanks everyone!

  24. Shad Bailey says

    Tried Aldi a couple times. Always walked out empty handed. Walmart and Thriftway have much better deals because you can use coupons and ALDI has nothing but weird brands. Never again. If they have a good sale I will ad match it or forget it. NOthing is worth going into that store for.

  25. Michelle says

    I’ve been shopping at Aldi for years. My mother in law retired from there after 20 years + , she was one of those crazy fast cashiers and trainers. There are most all foods I will buy at Aldi, with a few exceptions, very few though. My kids love cheese sticks, but they are soooo expensive elsewhere, Aldi has them for under or right at $2. Their yogurt is great and their bread doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. I could go on, but I won’t. Just wanted to say I have to agree it is a fav store for our family.

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