ALDI - My New Favorite Grocery Store

I finally had an opportunity to shop at an ALDI for the first time recently. A new ALDI store opened close to our home and I checked it our when they were have they're grand opening specials. Since then I've started shopping there regularly.

If you haven't been to an ALDI store, think miniature warehouse club. It has a very limited selection in a small format store, but everything carried appears to be at or below the low end of the price range for similar products at other grocery stores. Im confident I'm walking out with a lower average food bill compared to SuperWalmart, SuperTarget, or any traditional grocery store that we usually do our food shopping in.

There are some tradeoffs from shopping there - it is a no thrills shopping experience. You need to bring your own grocery bags; its nearly entirely Aldi brand products; you'll need a quarter to borrow a shopping cart; and they don't take credit cards - cash or debit cards only.

The credit card restriction is the biggest hurdle for me since I rarely carry much cash anymore. I did however get comfortable with using my debit card just for Aldi purchases. I don't use it anywhere else.

On the plus side I like Aldi because I can get in and out of the store quicker. Given how time poor I am these days that is a signficant benefit alone. The store is relatively small and you really only have one option for products so less time is needed comparing products.

Of course you have to know your prices - I can still find some items for less at other stores during sales or special promotions. However, ALDI is now my first choice for anytime I'm going shopping with a grocery list.

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Comments (8)

I love Aldi - just returned from a quick trip actually. Eggs for $.69/dozen! Be sure to watch for when they mark things down - that's when the really amazing deals are found. They'll have red stickers on the fresh meat before it goes out of date that could bring down the cost to under $1/lb. The limited-time items also often are marked way down if they don't most fast enough. I got gourmet frozen pizzas for $1.49 each not too long ago, and loaves of bread for $.25!

Wow! I just saw one in the next town and wondered it it was worth my while to drive there. I will have to check it out!

Sounds like a poor man's (Thrifty man's?) version of Trader Joe's! Do they have produce too?

I have issues with choice: Put 5 similar version of the same thing in front of me and I can easily spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what jar of salsa to buy. Original? Classic? Mild, Medium, Hot? Chi-Chi's, Mrs. Renfro's... or maybe Paul Neuman? Ugh. Choice is for the birds sometimes. Same for walking half a mile across a big box store!

Aldi rocks! They may be far and few between, but this little store has incredible deals. I've found that their brand of items is actually very good. I don't think I've tried a single item that I've not liked.

Do you think that Aldi might be more likely to get robbed because they only use cash?

Also, supposedly people spend more money if they are using plastic than if they are using cash, so probably they would increase their sales by 1 to 3% percent if they accepted plastic.

I find the variations in grocery stores to be a bit odd. There is a Whole Foods in my neighborhood which seems to be high priced organic and healthy groceries, similar to the Trader Joes right down the street. I like to save money on groceries by shopping at Aldi, but I am also concerned with eating health. I buy everything I can at Aldi, and the things I am concerned about the nutritional facts I buy from Whole Food or Trader Joes.

Matt -- dead on, Trader Joe's is owned by the same company. Yes produce seems to be to me the biggest deferential - they seem to always have some really great weekly produce deals.

James - Perhaps, never thought about the cash angle, but they must collect a ton of it ;-). Haven't seen an update on you since you went overseas. Still there? Blogging anywhere?

James & 2million - There are fees associated with plastic purchases that aren't applicable with cash purchases. That would eat into the 1-3% and is probably the reason they don't allow those purchases to begin with if their margins are so low.

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