What about Aldi? Aldi is a relatively newer store in our area, it’s small and it’s cheap. The question is, is Aldi cheap enough? I thought I’d answer that today with a little Aldi Shopping 101:
1. Bring a Quarter: You have to insert a quarter to get a buggy (you’ll get your quarter back when you return the buggy) however, I will say searching through my purse for a quarter is often an exhausting experience but that’s my fault not Aldi’s.
2. Bring Bags: In order to keep prices low, Aldi requires you bring your own bags and bag your own groceries or you can purchase bags from Aldi when you check out. If you forget your bags, don’t worry, it won’t bankrupt you to purchase bags at the store. I believe the brown bags were .06 each.
3. Shop Produce: I’ve seen very few stores ever beat the prices at Aldi when it comes to produce. You could certainly price match the Aldi prices at Walmart or Target and I'm sure many of you do just that. It's totally worth it for the produce factor.
4. Check Prices: You cannot use coupons at Aldi, the prices just are what they are. Some are good and some are not so good. Many times I find stores have a ‘cheap’ appearance and ‘cheap’ marketing such as the quarter for a buggy draw in consumers who assume all their prices must be low. However, many times, you can buy the name brand counterpart with coupons even cheaper at a big box store.
I just can’t stress how important it is to know your coupons and your prices. Yes, $1.99 for a box of cereal is cheap but I’ve been able to buy name brand cereal completely free at times using coupons and sales.
5. Check Quality: Most of the items at Aldi are their own brand. You’ll find there are some items that compare just fine with the name brand but you’ll also find a few others that don’t. My biggest problem with off-brands is the way they are made. They are usually made on equipment that is contaminated with food allergens, meaning the products share equipment with one another. This means, my son who has food allergies can’t eat these foods so I have to go to another store anyway. For me, this is frustrating, for the average person though it may not be.
The picture above reflects one of my Aldi shopping trips, all of that was bought for only $34. Not too bad at all considering it includes produce, bread, canned veggies, snacks and more. However, like I said above, I still had to visit another store for my son’s food and a few more essentials.
My final opinion: I’m half and half on this one. If you don’t want to use coupons, yes, Aldi is the way to go. I love the fact that the store is small which makes grocery shopping easier especially if you have kids. However, there is just no way I can do all of my shopping there so I’m not sure it’s worth it entirely for our family. It also bothered me that I knew I could get some items cheaper using coupons at the Walmart across the street.
Don’t let appearances fool you, sometimes the ‘cheapest’ looking stores aren’t the cheapest in town. In saying that, the prices are still better than many other stores in our area so if you don’t want to shop around coupons and sales then this might be the store for you. I also like their marketing strategy and the things they do to save money as a company which benefits you at the check out.
What has been your experience at Aldi?