Why You Should Be Shopping At Aldi

If the title including the word Aldi caught your attention, I’m guessing the idea of saving money on groceries has crossed your mind. I feel confident I can say that the idea of lowering the grocery budget has crossed most everyone’s minds. Many of you may be on the road to being debt free, transitioning to one income, or working towards Financial Independence (like we are). Either way, Aldi is a huge stepping stone to helping us all meet those goals. 

If you live East of Houston, you have probably seen an Aldi. (There are some out in California too, for all you West coasters.) But if you have seen an Aldi and never entered one, you are missing out on the opportunity to easily crush your grocery budget. Let me tell you about my first experience with Aldi. We were just getting in the mindset of debt payoff/frugality, and I decided to check out this little grocery store that everyone raved about. Y’all…. I hated it. Seriously! It seemed so small, none of the brand names I was accustomed to, and I felt like the food just wasn’t as good.

Fast forward a little while, maybe a year or so. We had really begun to develop our frugal lifestyle, and were deep in the midst of debt payoff. I knew that lowering our grocery budget was literally the only part of the budget left to tinker with. And as the designated shopper for our family (Hubs gets anxious at the idea of grocery shopping), it fell to me to do something about it. I wasn’t excited to try out Aldi again, but I knew it was our best bet. I re-entered the store and this time, being aware of what I was getting into, I came out much happier and with a much fatter wallet that I would have anywhere else. It’s now the #1 place I shop and I honestly feel it should be your #1 place too.

Let’s start with how Aldi is different that other grocery stores.

  1. As you walk up to the store, the buggies  (carts for those weirdos that call them that) are right out side. To get one, you have to have a quarter. Yes, you rent the cart, but don’t worry you get the quarter back after you return the buggy to its spot. This return keeps them from having to hire buggy-boys, meaning less overhead and lower prices. Win for us!
  2. Okay, now you head in. The store is designed to allow you to follow one path through the store, which is super helpful with planning your grocery list. Smaller store = less options, one path = less of a chance to miss something and have to go back.
  3. Store brands are the main things on the shelves. We have found them to almost all be as good or better than name brands that we used previously(Hubs even prefer their chips and chocolate to other brands) .
  4. At checkout, the cashier doesn’t bag your groceries. You have to bring your own bags and bag your own groceries. Again, this keeps costs low and allows for the lower prices.
  5. Last, but definitely not least, they have a double guarantee.

If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money. To receive the Double Guarantee, the product packaging and any unused product must be returned to your local ALDI Store Manager.*

They are totally different than your traditional grocery store, folks.

Now, if that didn’t sell you on them, let’s talk about why you should shop there.

  1. It’s cheap. No, not cheaply made, just inexpensive. Because they have designed their stores to have a smaller footprint, less products to keep on hand, less staff needed, lower overhead, they are able to pass those savings on to us consumers.
  2. The one path layout makes planning your trip much simpler. After your first few visits, you will be able to write your list as if your walking down the aisles.  This makes it easier to not miss something you need and saves you time during the planning process. The smaller number of products also allows for less impulse buying. (We’ve all grabbed something we really didn’t need because we were at Wal-Mart and saw it on the rack). Lower impulse buying means more money to put in savings or investments and pay off debt.
  3. The products are better quality. They have high standards to keep the quality of products up. Many products tend to be more natural and include less additives and dyes. Our littlest had a reaction to dye and I was shocked. He was 18 months old and hadn’t been in contact with the dye because we shopped almost exclusively at Aldi. Their cereals and such have always (as long as we’ve used them) used natural sources for coloring the products. So the surprise of a dye related hive rash from a non-Aldi product made us appreciate Aldi even more!
  4. They carry baby and special dietary need items. When gluten issues first began abounding, I started noticing all the gluten-free options Aldi had. If we had those issues, Aldi would be my go to place to shop for food. Special dietary needs are not cheap, but Aldi makes the effort to provide a money-wise option for those in that situation. They’ve also recently added a baby section. It’s not large, but has the best deals on diapers we have found (and the Hubs has priced them all out, don’t worry)
  5. Seasonal items. During special holidays or as seasons change, Aldi has a section for things you may need. From summer slip-n-slides and air-conditioners to Christmas presents, they can help you save money on most every part of your shopping. ** Be aware. This section is the one area that impulse buying is a big possibility. Make sure to look at the sales online or in the paper ahead of time so you can decide before shopping if you need any of the items**

After all that, I know you are searching for your closest Aldi. But wait, before you head out. Let me give you a few tips on how to shop.

I hate couponing so why haven't I switched to Aldi yet?

  1. Take 30 mins and go over there before shopping. Walk through the store, try to remember the layout to help you plan your trip easier. Get a feel of the place so you don’t have a culture shock moment like I did.
  2. Plan your trip as if you are walking through the store. Any time I try to plan my trip by splitting items into dairy, meat, veggies, etc. I always miss items while going through. Use the simple layout of the store to improve your shopping and eventually you will get faster at the whole process.
  3. Grab a quarter and gather up your reusable bags, your old Wal-Mart bags, anything you can load groceries in. You can buy some reusable ones there if you don’t have quite enough or you can grab empty boxes from shelves as you shop.

Grocery shopping is a huge part of any budget. We all need food to live, but that doesn’t mean we have to spend all our money to do it. Saving money, paying off debt, living frugally… these ideas and goals for life mean we have to be wise with our money and even more, they mean we have to be intentional. Aldi is an easy decision that can make a drastic difference in your budget, and may even allow for a few splurges like a pint of ice cream or dark chocolate to end your nights.

Do you shop at Aldi? What’s your favorite tip to make it easier for a new Aldi shopper?

 

*source:www.aldi.com

  1. Joe @ Retire by 40

    July 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

    That’s pretty cool. We don’t have an Aldi in Portland, but it sounds like the kind of store I’d like. Not sure about the one path, though. Is it like an IKEA? 🙂

    1. Ember

      July 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Yes, it’s similar in the one path to get through the store idea. It makes for such a simple shopping experience. I actually tend to get overwhelmed at most any of the bigger box stores now because of I’ve adapted to the smaller Aldi store model. There’s another similar store from Germany too, Lindl, that is just now entering the US. They are said to be as cheap or cheaper than Aldi. Maybe that will spur Aldi to expand into the unmet markets further West so you can enjoy them too!
      Side note: Hubs has been an avid follower of your blog for a long time! I believe you were part of the current that moved us to where were are now in our FI process, so thanks!!

  2. ERRevelation

    July 30, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    New reader here. We don’t have aldi near us. It sounds a little like Trader Joe’s, which we do have but not entirely. Our problem is having to go to 2-3 grocery stores to get what we need; Costco, Trader Joe’s, hannafords.

    1. Ember

      July 30, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Welcome ERRevelation!

      Sorry there’s not an Aldi to help simplify your shopping. Trader Joe’s is actually owned by the same family that owns Aldi. I’ve never personally been in one, although I’ve heard great things. From what I can tell, they attempt to keep the low prices while offering more of a Whole Foods type selection. Now, I’m not sure what makes you run to 3 different stores but I have a couple of tips:

      1. Pick one store that carries the majority of what your family needs, food-wise.
      2. Meal plan (I’ll have a post on this soon!) according to that one store’s selection.

      You will save time from all the driving and also in the planning. I don’t plan a meal that makes me go to another store, because I know I’ll end up buying more than what I need when I go there. Simplify your process by narrowing your choices and planning from that selection. It may take a little while to adjust your meals, but you will be less stressed from one store than having to plan and find time to go to 3.

      I hope this helps! And thanks for reading!

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