If anyone knows the stress that living on one-income can put on a family, it’s me. While trimming our family’s budget, I had to find a way to reduce our grocery spending. One very important way I do this is by shopping at Aldi. If you’ve never heard of it, chances are you have probably driven by one and never even noticed it. You may have seen the store, but didn’t really know what it was. It’s not very eye-catching, but I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t let that keep you from giving it a try.
1. Low Prices Every Day – I know you’ve heard this phrase so often, it might be falling on deaf ears. Aldi is cheaper than even Walmart and most days I’d rather cut off my right arm than stand in a Walmart checkout line. Even if you only stock up on staple items at Aldi, you stand to save a good chunk of change. Here are just some of the items I bought this week. I spent $99.20 for a family of 5 for a week’s worth of groceries.
Bread – .99 for wheat ( .89 for white)
Milk – $2.49 a gallon
Cereal (generic frosted flakes – $1.21)
Generic raisin bran ($1.79)
Generic rice krispies($1.79)
Butter – $2.69
Sugar – $1.79 for a 4 lb. bag
Large Eggs – $1.45
Brown Sugar – $1.29
Yogurt – .39 a cup
Generic Oreos – $1.69
Dishwasher Detergent (20 count tabs) – $2.49
Though I didn’t need any this week, they also have diapers in sizes 3, 4 & 5 for $4.99 for a jumbo bag and baby wipes for .89 a package.
2. They Don’t Take Coupons – I know for some of you you’re thinking, “why is this a good thing?” That’s because it means less wait time at check out and for those who just don’t like the idea of spending time cutting and sorting coupons, you can feel confident that you’re still paying low prices without having to use coupons. I still shop at ShopRite when I can get really great deals on loss leader items like shampoo, toothpaste or cereal, but I know I can get a lot of my family’s basic needs at good prices at Aldi all the time.
3. Double Money Back Guarantee – You literally have nothing to lose and something to gain by giving Aldi a try. They have a double money back guarantee that if you don’t love one of their products you can bring it back to the store and they will replace the item AND give you your money back. I was a little hesitant to try their meats at first, but I’ve never had a single problem with their quality.
4. They Don’t Take Credit Cards – Ok, before you beat me up on this one hear me out. Not paying for credit card transaction fees is one of the ways they keep their prices low. If you’re a frugal person or trying to get out of debt, you can be thankful that Aldi gives you no reason to rack up more charges on your card for groceries. They do take debit cards, cash and EBT cards.
5. You Bag It – If you’re like me and get super frustrated by the way they bag your groceries at your local supermarket, then Aldi is for you. At Aldi, they return all rung up items to your cart and you go to a bagging counter where you bag your groceries however you like them. I also tend to hate how stores sometimes only put one or two items in a bag, leaving me with 20 bags instead of the 4 it would take if I just bagged them myself using my reusable shopping bags. This is another way they keep costs down, by not hiring extra people to do your bagging. You’ll want to bring your own reusable or plastic bags with you. They do have bags for sale for five cents each or you can grab empty boxes you find around the store to pack your groceries in.
6. Fewer Items – Sometimes I just want a jar of peanut butter and don’t want to spend twenty minutes looking at all the different brands, comparing prices. I just want to grab a jar and keep moving through my list. If you get overwhelmed in big stores, Aldi’s smaller selection is a welcome change of pace. There’s only 4-5 aisles to maneuver through and less options means less indecisiveness for a quicker shopping trip.
7. Household Items & Toys – Sometimes you can snag really good deals on dishes, household appliances and even toys at Aldi. I grabbed a steam mop for $40 and some really great camping chairs a few summers ago for $11 each. You never know what great goodies they’ll get in. You can keep an eye on these items as they typically get marked, but don’t wait too long cause once they’re gone they’re gone.
8. Growing Organic & Gluten Free Lines – Aldi is working on growing their organic and glutten free product lines, which is great for shoppers looking for these items.
Other Things To Consider
Don’t forget to bring a quarter with you for a cart. You’ll get it back when you return the cart to the corral at the front of the store. This is yet another way they save you money. There are no employees running around collecting the carts.
Much like Walmart, Aldi tends to sell produce that is already at its ripest so buy only what you plan on using right away or you might find that it’s gone bad before you have a chance to get to it.
Most of their items are their own store brands. You can find one or two brand names, but they are few and far between. Generics save you loads of money and if you don’t like an item you can return it for a new item and get your money back.
It’s not going to be as big or fancy as other supermarkets, but let’s face it, you aren’t getting married in the building, you’re getting your groceries and getting out with the least amount of hassle as possible without spending a ton of money. I would definitely recommend suspending your instinct to judge this book by its cover.
Would you consider shopping at Aldi to save money?
Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent Magazine when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.