6 Awesome Reasons to Shop at Aldi
Since the price of groceries has been steadily rising and my only local grocery store went bankrupt, I have been trying better food budgeting with a monthly trip to Aldi for the essentials. My grandmother was always a big proponent of Aldi, but that was back in the day before the retail chain really stepped up their game.
As a frequent Aldi shopper, I have discovered that the years have been kind, and the store has really become an asset to our small area where unemployment rates are high and dollar stores are seeing more business than ever. If you have never shopped at an Aldi, I want to provide you some incentive by listing the things I love about the discount store and its offerings, as well as a few minor complaints about the store I frequent. (See also: 5 Frugal Lessons I Learned From Aldi)
Six Great Reasons to Shop at Aldi
The discount grocery chain has really come a long way over the years. As a frequent shopper, I have taste-tested many of the Aldi-brand products and can say that most are just as good or even better than their name-brand counterparts. Here are six of the top reasons you should consider shopping at the Aldi store near you (if you are lucky enough to have one).
I’ll be the first to admit I previously tended to shop brand-name because I was picky about how generic products tasted in comparison. The good news is that the items I now buy at Aldi taste just as good, and even better, than the more-expensive brand-name counterparts. I address the items I do not like in the next section, but overall I find that I prefer the Aldi brand to other brands. The caramel-filled ice cream cones are to die for, and I can’t buy them anywhere else!
Good, Small Selection
While it is true you don’t have a whole lot of choices when you shop Aldi, I find that the variety of items you can get at Aldi is great. I think I actually like not having to choose spaghetti sauces from 42 different companies. Aldi sells one brand of sauce but in a variety of flavors. I especially like the frozen section, which often features different products, so I get to see new items every time I go. I know I can always get my staples, but I also get to look forward to what’s new.
I did a relatively informal price comparison between the local Walmart and Aldi. I can get two times the amount of stuff at Aldi at the same price I could from Walmart, and three times as much stuff when compared to the local grocery store chains. We have left Aldi with an overflowing cart full of stuff for just under $200, which I know I can never do at any other store. I think the best example of the savings potential lies in the Aldi cereal aisle. Even my two tween girls who are obsessed with brand names and image largely prefer the $1.99 box of Aldi brand cereal to the $4.99 name brand box in the grocery store. Most of the popular cereal types are available under the Aldi brand, and I can buy five boxes at Aldi compared to one or two boxes from the grocery store. No one in our household can taste the difference.
Online Shopping List
The Aldi website offers weekly flyer information concerning its in-store sales. The cool part is you can add merchandise to your shopping list straight from the flyer. You can save a lot of time creating this list and learning about the deals. Simply print the list and take it with you when you shop.
If you have not shopped at Aldi, you may be surprised to find you have to bring your own bags and pack up your own goods. We have increased our reusable bag cache and now use those bags for many other things rather than create new waste.
On a personal level, it helps that Aldi primarily sells food items, with only part of one aisle devoted to miscellaneous items that can range from toys to clothes to exercise equipment. I am better equipped to deal with temptations and avoid impulse buys on my Aldi shopping excursions.
Three Not-So-Great Things About Aldi
As with most things in life, with the good comes the bad. There are a few things I find frustrating about the Aldi experience, but nothing so insurmountable that would keep me from shopping there regularly.
It is possible this is only relevant in my local store, but I have found time and time again that if I purchase produce from Aldi I will need to use it right away, or it will go bad within a day. We avoid buying produce there and tend to visit the weekly farmers market in our community, so overall it is still a win-win situation.
The Un-Tasty Stuff
There are a handful of items that I thoroughly dislike from the Aldi brand. Hot dogs are at the top of the list, followed by the refrigerated coffee creamer and the canned soup. There were a few frozen side dishes and entrees that left a bad taste in my mouth too. However, I have done enough taste-testing to know what I like and what I don’t. Plus, Aldi offers a double 100% guarantee. If you don’t like something, they’ll replace the product and give you your money back.
This is more of a personal problem, but it completes my list. I have to drive nearly 35 minutes to get to the nearest Aldi, which is why I only go once a month. It does take extra gas to get there, but I feel it is worth it. The downside to the long drive is that when we run out of stuff, we have to wait until a trip is worthwhile, although in the long run this likely saves me more grocery money each month because it forces me to better plan my shopping list for a month’s worth of supplies.