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Aldi Grocery: Don't Forget Your Quarter!
Inspired by Jeannieinabottles recent hub about Trader Joe's, I'm going to sing the praises of Aldi, the discount grocery store.
Aldi (short for "Albrecht Discount"), is the only international grocery store that I'm aware of. It's located in 17 countries, including the USA.
To go to Aldi you will need these items: a quarter and a few shopping bags. The quarter is necessary to detach your cart from the other carts. Don't worry, you'll get the quarter back when you bring the cart back. The logic behind this: it costs money to hire people to play cart round up. Therefore, they get rid of the middleman and have you be responsible for your cart. If you don't bring the cart back, no skin off their nose. Someone else will grab it and earn a quarter!
Bring some sturdy bags or boxes for all your groceries; again, the reason for providing your own bags is so that the store can save money and pass those savings to the customer. I realize this turns some people off; apparently, they are too good to bag their own groceries. Me, if it saves a few bucks, I'm not too proud to "bag".
Update: As of 2/1/2013 Aldi's Has Gone Organic!!!
Aldi's has embraced it's green side and introduced a HUGE line of organic items. They have organic dairy, chips, frozen foods and yes even FRESH ORGANIC PRODUCE!!! (Sorry Whole Foods, I love ya, but man you are expensive. If I can get it at Aldi's for much cheaper, I have to go for it). Way to go, Aldi's!!!
Cheap. They are usually cheaper than Walmart on many items. However, like any smart shopper, don't assume that everything is cheaper. Some of their items are more expensive. I've found that they are usually the cheapest store around when it comes to :
- Cereal: You can get their genetic brands of Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch at half the cost of the brand names
- Bread: They have white, wheat, whole grain white, italian, bagels, english muffins, etc usually for about .20 to .50 cheaper than Walmart's generic brand.
- Coffee: Their coffee selection is surprisingly good, they even carry "free-trade" coffee.
- Pasta: They carry whole wheat or regular.
- Eggs: I don't buy eggs here, because they aren't cage-free (I buy direct from a local farm); but they are usually about .20 or .30 cheaper a dozen than Walmart. UPDATE: THEY NOW CARRY CAGE-FREE!
- Canned goods
- Fruits (especially bananas): Bananas are usually .10 cheaper a pound
- Snacks: Chips, crackers, candy, etc.
Good variety, even on healthy items. When I first started shopping at Aldi, I really liked it because saving money was the primary goal. However, it had one major flaw that eventually turned me away: they didn't carry any "healthy" food; no low-cal, low-fat, or whole grain options. Since I'm always trying to eat healthy, this frustrated me. However, in the past few years, Aldi has revamped their food line to include healthier choices. You can now find low-fat cheese, whole wheat pasta, sugar-free fudge bars, etc.
Exotic items you won't find anywhere else: From time to time, they will carry a variety of German foods, strange candies, and fancy cheeses.
Friendly cashiers: I've been to three different Aldi and everytime I was waited on by someone who was very kind and courteous. I wish I could say the same about the other grocery chains!
So, do you need a quarter?
Would you shop at a discount grocery store like Aldi's?
Hours of operation: Most Aldi are open only from 10am to 8pm, and they close earlier on Sundays. You can't just go anytime to pick up a few times. I guess the 24 hour grocery stores have spoiled us!
Stuff runs out: Sometimes they only carry something for a limited time. If you really liked a special item, don't count on it being there the next time you shop!
Working for the money: It's not terribly fun or convenient to bag your own groceries, or have to worry about taking the cart all the way back to the store.
Picky Husband/Wife: My husband refuses to drink their half/half, thinks Walmart's milk is better and he absolutely insists on some brand name products. So sometimes I don't go there because I don't want to bother making two separate trips (one to Walmart, one to Aldi)
Don't let the word "discount" deter you! If you can shop at a huge warehouse store, you can definitely shop at Aldi! Trust me, you'll probably save 20% to 50% off your grocery bill.
Just don't forget your quarter! For an Aldi near you, click here