Friday, October 16, 2009

The Great Aldi Experiment

All this for $37.18 plus tax

I've been reading on some of my favorite Frugal blogs about how much Frugals love to shop at Aldi. Up until recently, I wasn't willing to drive the half-hour to my closest store to take advantage of the savings. Just in the last few weeks, a new Aldi has opened up about 10 minutes from my house. I was determined only to buy the very basics this week (milk, produce, cheese) and I didn't want to stock up on any major coupon deals at the regular grocery stores.

Here are my observations from my fun Aldi trip:

(1) Bring your own bags and a quarter. Aldi strives hard to minimize their overhead costs. A few of the amenities we are accustomed to at traditional grocery stores do not exist at Aldi. They do not employ baggers or courtesy clerks. If you want to use a grocery cart, pop a quarter into the receptacle to check out a cart. The quarter is returned when you return your cart. Also, bring your own bags, and plan on spending a few minutes at the "bagging area" after you check out.

(2) Aldi is a small grocery store. They mostly carry house brands to minimize costs, and they do not accept coupons. They have a fairly good selection of groceries, but did not carry everything I wanted. For example, they had only white rice, and not brown rice. The dried bean selection consisted only of pinto beans. They were also out of spring mix salad blend, but did carry other bagged salad selections.

(3) Some of the produce prices were amazing! The produce section was small, but the quality of the produce looked good. Here are some of the amazing prices I found:

3 lbs. large gala apples, $1.19/bag (I bought 2 bags!)
whole Dole pineapple, 99c ($2.99-$3.99 elsewhere)
48 oz. zucchini, 99c
large pumpkin, $2.49 (These are $5.99 at other stores!)
bananas, 39c/lb (69c at other stores!)
broccoli crowns, $1.49

(4) Aldi is a good place to buy basic baking supplies. I bought a bag of all-purpose flour for $1.49. I'd have paid at least a dollar more at Publix or Kroger. I also bought a 2 c. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips for $1.69. Basic baking supplies rarely go on sale, except for a little bit around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I usually do not stock up at the holidays enough to last all year, so it's nice to have a lower cost source.

(5) Aldi has great prices on dairy products. Dairy is another thing we go through quickly. I bought skim milk for $1.49/gallon. Whole milk was an incredible 99c/gallon. I also bought blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese for $1.49/8 oz., a good price.

(6) Aldi has a double guarantee on their house brands. If you don't like something, they will refund your money and replace the product.

Have you shopped at Aldi? Do you have any good tips to share?


  1. We used to live about 20 minutes from an Aldi and I would stop in a couple of times a month to stock up on some basics. Like you, I found their produce and dairy sections to be good and would also purchase a few of the canned items. Where we live now there is no Aldi and I do miss shopping there!

  2. I wish we had an Aldi's closer to us. The nearest one is in Fayetteville, GA about 25 minutes away. But your shopping trip has definitely made me think maybe I should re-evaluate the distance and plan a trip.

  3. i shop aldi for the basics like eggs and milk. the eggs usually run $.79 to $.99 a dozen and milk is super cheap! and, if you visit their website, they even have feature that shows the meals and recipes that one can prepare from the items sold in their store!


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