I have posted numerous times our love for Aldi. I thought it was due time I wrote up a post as to why we shop Aldi & how we save. Aldi is one of those stores I think a lot of people turn their nose to, because of how it appears when you walk through the doors. Or maybe even more so the fact when you get to the store, before you walk in, you have to pay .25 cent to even use a cart.
Let me encourage you, if you’ve walked into an Aldi before and didn’t care for it the first trip. GO back and try again. I for one, was one of those who wasn’t super excited my first trip… but the more I went, the more I realized how much more I could buy and still stay under budget.
I won’t go through the entire history of Aldi but it is very interesting to read about. If that interest you check out Wikipedia :)
One other tid-bit of information that I think some may have missed… is that “The Aldi supermarket chain recently announced that by the end of the year all of its branded products, which make up most of its offerings, will be free of synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and added MSG, reports Supermarket News.”
In short, Aldi is the place to shop and I will show you a few things we buy there….
I took a few photos recently while shopping with my youngest Reed. Forgive the poor quality. iPhones have to do for photo purposes when shopping with a young 3 year old. I wasn’t about to lug around my “Actual” camera :) – but figured these would serve the purpose just fine.
I thought Id walk you through the basic layout of our Aldi (Although all of them are a bit different)… and give you an idea of some of the prices, what we buy and so on. I’ll also list some items sold that some may not be aware of.
So first thing…
As soon as you walk up to your Aldi, you will see a neat line up of grocery carts. Unlike most grocery stores, you will see a parking lot free from randomly tossed carts… or buggy stalls. Aldi requires you to place a quarter into a small device on the cart. This then releases that cart for you. In order to get your quarter back, you must bring back the cart. As silly as it seems, this works… and I have ONLY once or twice seen a stray cart. This helps the stores to require less staff (who typically go collect carts and keep things neat), which keeps the prices even lower.
For some reason my kids think this is awesome… and putting the quarter into the device… and playing with the chain = a great toy. So, no beef here, unless I show up without a quarter. :) Then in those instances, just go ask the cashier, she will give you one (they have never told me no).
When you enter the store there is usually a display with the weekly deals… These same deals can be viewed on the Aldi website.
After that display, you will enter the snack lane first. Lots of chips, chocolates (they have amazing chocolates!), special limited time seasonal items, baking goods usually, cereal, breakfast items like pancake mixes, sugars, flour and so forth.
Aldi has a great mix of very inexpensive snacks but also an amazing GLUTEN FREE line as well as organic products left and right!
We normally stock up on things like Kettle Corn (as you see pictured above – I believe the price was $1.75 a bag). I’ll grab some of their baked chips, some graham crackers, baking supplies and so forth. I also am not against buying junk food on occasion. I will buy the Aldi brand cookies and granola bars. We also love their fruit snacks. There is a time and a place for home made snacks (in my world) but lets be real. I have four kids. I home school. I run a business. There are only so many hours in a day and I will not be a slave to my kitchen, just so my kids can eat all “homemade” foods. :) That is just my own personal conviction though, so do as you feel led. Aldi snacks though all taste great and I have yet to have one that didn’t.
One other thing that is usually on this lane are sugars and honey. Aldi has ORGANIC Honey ($3.49), Organic Agave ($2.99). They also have lots of great Organic sugars. Not far from that they also have ORGANIC Ketchup ($1.69)… The prices are far less than any other store I’ve been to.
If Organic isn’t important to you, there are also lots of “non” organic items as well. With Christmas coming soon, I am stocking up on baking items. Such as brown sugars, chocolate morsels, cocoa powder, etc. When I went this week, they had their brown sugar for $1.09 a bag! SO CHEAP! So I grabbed a few bags knowing Id have lots of cookies and treats to bake for neighbors and church events.
Also on this same lane you can find things like CHIA SEED ($2.99) and FLAX Seed ($2.49). BOTH of those items we use.
They also have ORGANIC Peanut Butter and even Almond Butter. I didn’t price these but I have no doubt they are affordable as well.
When you turn the corner at our Aldi, you then enter the area where they sell some house hold goods, drinks and then produce. I have gotten some really cute house hold items at Aldi before. Including a school desk we got for $29 and a water proof mattress cover for less than $10.00. The items they have that are house hold are seasonal though, so it is a first come sort of thing. No point going through any of those prices :) but fun to see what they get in each week.
I do not buy any fresh meats from Aldi except for their uncured nitrate free lunch meats ($3.29) and uncured bacon ($4.99). I have seen organic grass fed ground beef though for I believe $4.99 a pound. We don’t eat much ground beef but I did buy it a few times and its a great quality. Besides that, I can’t really speak about the prices of their meats. Their uncured bacon though, awesome! It may not be the cheapest of items, but I’m willing to pay more for better bacon. I do feel that things such as lunch meat (no matter where you shop) are over priced… so we don’t typically eat much during a week. My limit is to buy a pack of the turkey, pack of the ham, 2 packs of bacon and that is it for one week. It last us just fine as long as we use it well.
Not far from the lunch meats and bacon you will find cheese!
I LOVE Aldi Cheese! I use to buy pre-shredded cheese. Once I found out that often times in pre-shredded cheese there are other things added into them… I decided buying block cheese was the way to go. Here is a post that kind of sheds some light on what pre-shredded cheese has in it.
As you can see a block of Aldi Cheese cost around $1.89 a bar. A typical week, we buy 2 bars. If we plan to make Pizza or something heavy with cheese, ill buy 4.
Now Aldi Produce is a hit and miss area. I try to buy some organic, some not. To be honest we cannot afford to buy all organic produce… but if they have it for a good price we do.
I love their ORGANIC salad mixes. They have a great price for Organic KALE, Spinach, Arugula and mixed greens. As you can see from this picture they cost around $2.49. They also have fresh lettuce, romaine hearts and other fresh produce out in the center of the store.
There you will also find organic tomatoes, organic carrots, organic cucumbers, apples and much more.
This particular week they had Pomegranates for $59 cent each! That same week they had the same Pomegranates at Public for $2.99 each. Let me think long and hard which store ill buy them from. :)
Okay, moving on.
Aldi also has a great variety of Pasta! There really are to many awesome options to mention… but like I mentioned above, gluten free options in Aldi are endless. They have a great Gluten Free Mac and Cheese for kids. They also have many Gluten Free (adult friendly) Pastas.
Regular Pasta is about as cheap as you can find (and taste great). They do not lack Pasta. So definitely check out their options.
Aldi also has great prices on bread. Regular WHITE bread is as low as $10 cents a loaf some times! This is during rare sales :) – but on a regular weekly basis it cost around $.85 cent a loaf. If you want some of their healthier breads it does go up… but even their nice low calorie bread that I like, its still far less than the neighboring stores.
& If you’re into ORGANIC paper towels, toilet paper and such. They even carry this now! We don’t buy organic paper products. I guess we aren’t crunchy enough… but Im good wiping my kids butts with “regular” toilet paper. :) Still, if that is something you love and find worth buying, they have it.
All in all, we adore Aldi!
We shop there every 1.5 weeks. (sometimes we can stretch out trips 2 weeks but most times its just over a week)
On an average trip to Aldi we spend around $50-75.00 (depends on the week). We do buy our RAW Milk from a nursery – this cost us about $15.00 a week. We have used Aldi’s milk before though and their eggs. It seemed fine but for us, we prefer RAW Milk whenever possible… and if I can budget it we do buy fresh farm eggs.
I try hard to keep our grocery budget down…. With four boys in the house we can go through some food! Aldi makes it possible!
So go check it out! Oh ! & Don’t forget your own bags. Aldi does not provide grocery bags. If you forget your bags, you will be able to buy bags from Aldi for around $.5-.10 cent a bag.