My ALDI Experience
Raise your hand if you’re an ALDI shopper.
I recently went on my first shopping trip to my local ALDI store, I won’t lie….I was expecting something similar to a scratch and dent for food. And even though I have seen the sale flyers and commercials for ALDI AND I knew they had their own brands of food products, I was expecting more of a grocery outlet with expired or near expired products and old packaging designs. Now….don’t get me wrong….I’m a HUGE fan of saving money. I used to be a master coupon clipper back in the day and I DID frequent grocery outlets fully educated on what to buy and what to leave. It’s how I survived as a single mom and stayed well fed while still being able to pay the bills.
I’ve been lax lately with the grocery shopping planning and food prices climb each time I shop. Have you noticed this strange phenomenon? You could buy exactly the same things week after week but your bill just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Less money in the shoe budget because an avocado now costs twice as much as it did a week ago. I like shoes. I like avocados. I want to be able to buy both and not feel the pain in my wallet.
So, off I went to ALDI because I’ve been hearing great things about the savings here. I wanted to see for myself if it lived up to hype, I wanted to see if I could recover some of my shoe budget.
Here’s what I learned:
- Shop smart. Check out their weekly ad. It’s available online and they even post the following week so you can plan ahead.
- Take a quarter. You’ll need it if you plan on buying more than an armful of groceries to “rent” a cart. I’ve heard some grumblings about the quarter cart thing but hear me out….this is genius. Do you know how much it costs for grocery stores to hire someone to retrieve carts from the parking lot? Do you know who pays for that? We do…the customers. ALDI keeps the costs down by having us return our carts…and get our quarter back. And teens, like my daughter, aren’t shlepping carts back to the store. Genius.
- Take your own bags. This….I don’t have a problem with either. More savings passed onto the customer and if you buy more groceries than your bags can handle, you can buy one at the store. Plus, aren’t more and more stores encouraging us to bring our own bags anyway? This is not new folks…let’s all be green.
- Be timely. Sometimes I like to shop late at night to avoid the crowds. This isn’t something you can do at this store. By keeping the store open only during peak hours, ALDI…you guessed it…saves money. And guess what? I shopped on a Sunday at NOON! It was pleasant and the people were nice and the aisles are really wide! So, there’s nobody running their cart into your Achilles tendon. LOVE IT!
- Grab a box. Didn’t bring your bags and you don’t want to buy one? Similarly to large wholesale clubs, you can always find a box somewhere in the store to pack your groceries. And honestly, I wish I had done this because bags fall over in the car. They do…it’s a known fact and it sucks. Boxes are better in my opinion.
- Back to basics. The store design is not gorgeous. You’re not going to see fancy signage and beautifully laid out displays here. More savings. But the store is immaculate. It was so clean you could probably eat off the floor….I wouldn’t do it but just sayin’.
- ALDI brands. Most of the products are ALDI’s own brands….but the packaging is strikingly similar to other brands…like Schmetty Clocker. If you catch my drift. And they taste the same too. 🙂 Just much, much cheaper. They have a Fit & Active brand that is pretty amazing. I’ll stock up on these the next time I’m there.
- Checking out. There were only two registers open and I was a little scuffed up about it. This is not a problem though, because I was third in line and was out the door in less than five minutes. The cashiers move at the speed of light. And because credit card fees are stupid expensive you will need cash, EBT or a debit card to pay. No biggie….I already use my debit card for everything.
- Just bag it. Your bag. You have to put your things in your own bags (or boxes) after your head stops spinning from the lightning fast check out experience. There’s an area at the end of the check out line where you can do this. I didn’t know that. I was bagging outside like a bonehead. I was the new girl.
So….was it worth it? In my opinion…YES! I purchased a lot of convenience foods that my daughter takes to school and work for easy meals, as well as, a TON of baking necessities. I even bought a huge spiral sliced ham that was incredible! (And will feed us three times.) I was out the door for less than $80 with a cart full of groceries that would have cost me twice that at my usual grocery store. I think that’s a pretty sweet deal.
I’ll be posting more about My ALDI Experience next week. Are you an ALDI shopper?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by ALDI markets, however, the opinions expressed are my own and are not those of the company.