ALDI 101: Why I Shop At Aldi

February 25, 2013 by Ali

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series On Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

Ok, I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled recipe programming to hop on a little soapbox and share a 3-part series with you about one of my favorite places as a foodie — ALDI!

Over the years, countless friends have been surprised and intrigued when I tell them that I do at least half of my grocery shopping at Aldi. Yes, I also frequent Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (did you know they are owned by the same company that owns Aldi?), and our local Kansas City large grocery stores. But about eight years ago, I set foot in my first Aldi and have been a happy and loyal customer ever since!

A few weeks ago, though, I asked my Facebook followers what they thought of shopping at Aldi. And I was surprised when quite the heated discussion took place. People seem to have some pretty passionate opinions about Aldi! So I am fully aware that I may take a little heat for this series. But in talking with many friends about the store over the years, I have found that most reservations I hear about the store come from old rumors that aren’t true. And often, people are just iffy about going for the first time because they simply don’t know what to expect or how to navigate some of Aldi’s quirks (carts, debit cards, etc.).

So I thought I would do a brief Aldi 101 series because:

  • as a foodie, I have grown to really love and appreciate the store for what it does (and does not) offer
  • as a business student, I have studied and come to really admire their business model
  • as a blogger, I’m all about sharing any great tips I know to make cooking (and shopping!) fun and affordable

And people, this series has no disclaimer. It is 100% me. It is not endorsed, paid for, or in any way associated with Aldi. I just thought it might be cool to offer a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of why this food blogger likes buying affordable groceries there. And I am really hoping it might spark some discussion and that some of you might share your tips about Aldi too!

So this first post is “Why I Shop At Aldi”, and then the next two days will include How To Shop At Aldi and What To Buy At Aldi. Thanks for indulging me, and I hope this might be fun and helpful! :)

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series on Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

How I Began Shopping At Aldi

I have to confess that my first impression of Aldi was not a positive one. When I was in elementary school, I remember one of my best friends telling me about her mom took them to “the poor people’s grocery store”, where there were no name brands and the food was really bad. Yes, Aldi.

Ok, I’m pretty sure we were both 5 at the time. But for some reason, that description stuck in my mind for decades. Our family never shopped there growing up, and it wasn’t until I moved to an apartment nextdoor to an Aldi in (a very nice suburb of) Kansas City right out of college that I decided to venture in and see what the tiny “poor” grocery store was all about. I was out on my own for the first time, and low-priced anything sounded good!

What I found in my first Aldi experience completely surprised me! The store was incredibly clean, the food looked great, it was all perfectly organized, and holy smokes — those cashiers moved at lightening speed!!! But of course, I made plenty of first-time rookie mistakes. From only bringing a credit card, to giving the cashier a blank look when she asked if I wanted to “buy a bag”, to asking if they carried tahini — I realized that there was a bit of a learning curve to the store. And I realized there was also a ton to learn about the store’s business model once I learned they have 8,000+ stores worldwide!

But as I continued shopping there, I began to learn what Aldi is and what it is not.

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series on Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

What Aldi Is:

Consistent Selection

In a nutshell, I believe that Aldi is an awesome place to buy low-priced basics.

Clearly, Aldi grocery stores are only a fraction of the size of traditional larger grocery stores. On average, they are each only about 10,000 square feet of retail space. So there’s no way they are going to be able to carry an enormous selection! But the inventory they do carry of their basic grocery food and and non-food items is consistent, as are the low prices and the quality.

I will talk more about the specifics of the selection of groceries and non-food items that Aldi carries in my upcoming What To Buy At Aldi post. But from pantry items, to frozen foods, to baked goods, to dairy, to produce, to meats, to beverages/wines, and everything in between, I think that their selection of the basics is fantastic.

They also have a sizeable non-food section, with everything from TP to dog food to cleaning supplies and makeup. But one of my favorites is the “Special Buys” section that adds in new fun and seasonal items each week, usually with a theme. It can be anything from SuperBowl specials (footballs, to sporty paper plates, to green sprinkles, etc.) to summer camping gear (actual enormous tents, to sleeping bags, to tiny grills, etc.). Then don’t forget to also check out their clearance section, where a lot of the special buys go on sale at even more ridiculously low prices! I have bought so many random things there that I love!!

Consistently Low Prices

Most of the time, I find that Aldi’s prices beat even the sale prices of most larger grocery stores. This is because they have fine-tuned a business model that eliminates the crazy overhead costs that come with large store buildings, large inventories, large staffs, and large advertising budgets.

Be sure to keep an eye out for their low-price signs too. If something is clearance-d, or on sale that week, they put a special sign to mark down the prices. Then you’re really in for a treat!

Consistent Quality

Contrary to the assumption I have heard people make about low prices equaling low quality, I have actually found the quality of Aldi’s products to be as good as the larger grocery stores I frequent. I have read before about their rigorous test kitchens, and their high commitment to quality products, but I judge by what I buy. And 95% of the time, with the occasional produce fluke or their version of Cheerio’s (I’m a name-brand girl there), it’s great.

Here’s the thing, though — you have to be smart about quality with what you buy. Just like at the normal grocery store, if you notice that the lettuce is looking wilty, it’s probably not going to last you for more than a few days. The same goes for Aldi. Sometimes particular pieces of produce there may look a little past their prime, so just be wise about what you choose. I happen to love their produce section, and buy most of my thick-skinned produce there all the time. (I buy thin-skinned produce organic.) But if it looks iffy, ask if they have more in the back or just wait a week until the next batch arrives.

The one thing I will say is that if you ever do get something home and it’s not up to par, Aldi has an amazing thing they call The Double Guarantee. It reads that “if for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money.” Um, I don’t know of any groceries stores that refund and replace. I think that says something. Way to go, Aldi.

Consistent Store Designs

One of the other things I love about Aldi stores is that they are all similarly designed! So if you get to know your neighborhood Aldi layout, chances are it will be a breeze finding your way around a new one, which I LOVE.

The inventory is also similarly organized on simple pallets in the store, kind of like a Sams or Costco. Most items are organized in cardboard boxes, which you can also take with you to help carry your groceries once the box is empty. And each cardboard box is color coordinated to go with the item.

A Great Business Model

Ok, I know that I seem to keep coming back to this with every point. But as someone who loves to study business development and entrepreneurship, I am SO impressed by how Aldi has developed and stuck to their business model.

The store was founded 100 years ago this year (in 1913!), and now has over 8,000 stores worldwide. Crazy! But across the years and across the countries, from what I can tell, they really have kept a consistent model as they have grown. And clearly it has worked! From the innovative cart check-out system, to minimal building size, staff, operating hours and inventory, to bring-your-own or pay-for-them grocery bags, to minimal advertising, and more — I think the model is smart and sensible. I think of them as the IKEA or the Southwest Airlines of the grocery world. ;)

A Great Employer

This final point is one that I have read and heard over the years, but can’t confirm with personal experience. (So if any of you have worked at Aldi, I would love to have you weigh in!) I have heard that Aldi takes good care of their employees.

If you have ever been to an Aldi, you know that they clearly only hire the super-speediest-of-speedy cashiers, who also do double-duty stocking and cleaning the store as well. But they can hire the best of the best because they pay them 50% more than the standard rate for grocery cashiers. And Aldi employees are also eligible for full benefits if they work 20+ hours/week.

So no minimum-wage workers at Aldi. Their employees are well-paid for being the superheroes they are.

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series on Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

What Aldi Is Not:

Your One-Stop Grocery Store

I think the #1 complaint I’ve heard over the years about Aldi is that people can’t find everything on their “list” there. But I always tell them that’s kind of the point of the store — it is not meant to be your one-stop-shop!

As I said, I do about 50% of my grocery shopping at Aldi on average. I stock up on the basics, and then catch the rest of my “specialty” items (organics, name brands, or anything that’s not a basic ingredient) at a larger grocery store. On occasion, Aldi might be out of stock of a popular item, especially some of the hot produce buys that can fly off the shelves. But on the other hand, often they surprise me by carrying a new specialty item I never knew they had (like I found natural almond milk this week!).

Still, they will never be your one-stop-shop, especially if you are cooking recipes from my site and might want some truffle oil. ;)

So if you happen to be doing your grocery shopping all in one day at two different stores, I recommend going to Aldi first. Then you can hit up the bigger grocery store to finish off your list afterwards.

You may ask — is it worth the time and two trips? Well, that will depend on your budget. But for someone like me who goes through tons of groceries in a week, I believe the considerable savings to hit up Aldi and an additional grocery store is always worth it!!

Always Speedy

As I said, Aldi’s cashiers are lightening-fast. They hire the best of the best to be sure that they can run efficient stores and checkout lines.

But in order to keep overhead costs down, there are typically only 1-4 cashiers on staff at a time. So if you happen to show up at a busy time, the lines can get lengthy and you may have to wait a little longer.

Most of the time, I zip in and out. But it’s always wise to allot an extra 5-10 minutes for standing in line if you’re on the clock.

Open 24/7

Clearly, Aldi is also not open 24/7! For years, I worked a job where I was off work at 8pm each night, and was always annoyed that I couldn’t swing by the store on my way home from work.

But currently, I believe that most Aldi’s in the US are open from 9am-8pm Mondays-Saturdays, and 10am-7pm on Sundays. Those are peak shopping hours, so they are trying to keep overheads low by not staffing the store during low traffic hours. But plan accordingly!

A Health Food & Organic Grocery

Finally, Aldi is not a Whole Foods or the health food section of your grocery store. The majority of the items there are not organic or natural, or even all healthy, as is the case in a typical grocery store. (Apparently Americans must buy a ton of potato chips, because they carry a zillion!)

But that said, they do have a large produce section, more and more organic and natural grocery items, and they also have a fantastic grocery brand called “Fit & Active” that displays the healthier nutrition facts on the front of the package. That brand is all across the store from snacks to frozen goods to cheese and more, so be sure to check it out.

So the store is kind of as healthy as you make it. You can buy the junk food, or you can buy the fresher healthier side. But if you’re an all-organic-er, or are looking for specialty gluten-free or similar items, your selection will be very limited.

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series on Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Aldi:

Finally, because I’m a list-maker, I thought I would end with a few of my favorite reasons why I heart Aldi:

10. Aldi was “green” before green was cool, with low energy costs and fewer shopping bags.
9. You can shop at Aldi literally all around the world.
8. Aldi’s cashiers are ninja-fast.
7. Aldi carries my favorite razors that I used to buy at Target for half the price.
6. I never have to ask for help finding an item, since they are always in the same spot.
5. You have the chance to make someone’s day by being a “cart angel” and leaving a surprise quarter in there for them. (Try it!)
4. Aldi’s low prices help me fit even more produce and juicing into my budget.
3. Aldi’s incredible double guarantee.
2. Aldi’s unapologetic low overhead business model.
1. $0.99 pineapples!!!

(Ok ok, their pineapples are usually (gasp!) $1.99, but either way — they are cheap and fabulous and often on sale. I buy one every single time I go!!)

ALDI 101: A 3-Part Series On Shopping At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

Coming Next:

Be sure to check out the final two posts of this series coming next:

What is your favorite thing about ALDI?

Aldi 101: Why To Shop At Aldi | gimmesomeoven.com

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About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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217 thoughts on “ALDI 101: Why I Shop At Aldi

  1. Thanks for the Aldi info Ali! I’ve been curious
    But hadn’t ventured in to a store due to mixed reviews from
    Friends and clients~ Now I know what to expect …
    And what not to!

    Thanks for the insider!
    :) Julie

    - Julie

  2. I LOVE Aldi and enjoyed reading your posts! I agreed with most you said….I also love the Baileys knockoff as well as most of the wines I have tried…..cheeses are excellent and you can do an awesome cheese tray cheap! Produce is top notch and sooooo much cheaper than Harris teeter, lowes and even wal mart! The “special items” Are great and I look forward to their ad each week to see what goodies they have! I have not bought much of the meat other than turkey’s and hams but will try more now! A couple of my fav items are…..baileys knock off, produce, pretzel buns (love but not always avail so I stock up in freezer), whole grain tortilla chips and the items that they have seasonally….special oils, potstickers (just as good as the ones my chef boyfriend spends hours making homemade) and if you are a fan of gyros….they have a kit in the freezer section with everything but tomatoes and lettuce that rival the local gyros shop in town……half the cost! Oh also can always get nice floral bouquet for under $5!!!! LOVE IT!!! One tip that saves time……I unload/bag groceries in the car……push out cart and bag in car…..saves time, I think!

    - Julie neumeier

  3. Oh no, I said simply Organic when I meant simply Nature, which is organic.

    - LeighAnn Pfeiffer

  4. Thanks! We sure try! Introducing…..GFree…previously a special buy item to our division (IL/IN) Gluten Free will now be a line item! Baking mixes, chewy bars, snacks! Cookies and hopefully noodles as well. As the products roll in, we are ordering and our warehouse is prorating to the stores as well. I am an Aldi store employee and the positive comments for the GFree line are what moved it into the stores, just like our Simply Organic line.

    - LeighAnn Pfeiffer

  5. Aldi is great for price but I just find the range of products very limiting, I have to go to Asda to get what I want! Don’t mind shopping there for meat and a few key things though.

    - Asda

  6. I love Aldi ,but now no car ,and I buy a lot ,what happened to the beige canvas grocery bags ,I could buy I went to 2 Aldi’s one in Chicago Ridge IL 60415 and one in Alsip IL 60803 and neither store has them ,why ?? I need to buy at least 10bags for me and my friends,sincerely Mary Harding

    - Mary Harding

  7. I love Aldi’s! I, too, used to imagine Aldi’s was a depressing place meant for low-income types. I tried it a couple of years ago and found the foods were to my liking with some exotic specials and organic produce items offered as well. I’ve even met a chef who buys items there for his gourmet meals at home! I have bought stemmed wine goblets there that are good enough for company, gluten-free items, rustic and even sourdough bread, and cat litter as good as the pet store brand. The jumbo shrimp can’t be beat, and many other fresh and frozen items are as good or better than the same item found in overpriced supermarkets. Even Walmart can’t compete with you in many respects. Thank you, Aldi, for all you offer and all the savings you provide!!!!!

    - Carolyn W. Taylor

  8. I love Aldi too!!! Ours are small stores without as much selection as yours seems but first and foremost the food is excellent quality, the stores are clean (there are 3 within 16 miles of my home) and most important my grocery bill has dropped.

    - Jan

  9. I have an Aldi’s practically around the corner from me. I like to go there, because they have some frozen items you don’t see anywhere else. I did try their ground meat once, and didn’t care for it. I should try it again as it could have been that I picked one that was more than 85% lean and I like 80-85%. My big problem is that they don’t have enough open registers.Last week I went and there was only one open and there was a long line. If I am only getting a few things it can be frustrating. I drive by every day on my way home and would go 1-2 times a week,if not for that. They do go quickly though and the cashiers are friendly.

    - jean

    • Try going at an off hour – Saturday at 3 or evenings after 6 except for Friday and the lines move much faster.

      - Jan

  10. I used to work at Aldi’s about 10 years ago. Sure, they paid a great hourly wage and great benefits, but they have no employee loyalty. Hours were inconsistent. There were weeks that I had 30 hours and weeks where I only had 15 hours. If you became old, hurt, pregnant, had a family emergency that would take you beyond the FMLA time-frame by even a week, couldn’t work another store in another city at the drop of a hat, used your allotted sick days, or became enrolled in school you were gotten rid of. Anything that put even a tiniest ripple in their operations would make you expendable. I saw it time and time again. Two years after my employment ended I ran into the store manager I had worked under and she told me that after working there for nine years and working her way up to store manager from cashier she was told with no warning that she was not Aldi’s material. So, sure you get paid well but job security is non-existent.

    - Becca

  11. i wanted to comment on this I LOVE ALDI’S the first time i steped into on of there stores i was hooked i worked in supermarkets for years in the deli dept and i had a manager who was my best friend he use to show me what products cost and what supermarkets make off them i will give you an example deli ham in the deli dept retail price 6.99 a lb average they buy it for 2.25 a lb……there name brand products are made from a company that does all the supermarkets in the USA like the pasta….let me stop ranting ….but i will say this i live with my sister and her 5 kids i do 75% of my shopping at Aldi’s and it saves me over 400 dollars a month from the reg. supermarkets…so if you looking for savings try Aldi’s you will be suprised how much you can really save like tuna 45 cents a can while store name brand is 99 cents a can i rather save the 55 cents its worth it

    - wayne s

  12. We love Aldi! I started shopping there as a college student and have been a regular customer ever since. My Aldi faves: their produce, their special buys, their Fit and Active brand, their new organics, and the ease of shopping there. Their produce is fresher and much better priced than other stores where we live. It makes eating healthy much easier. Their workers are pleasant, friendly, helpful, and seem to like their jobs. Regarding their special buys. I have bought everything from gardening equipment to toys to healthcare equipment. Amazing variety! Very thankful for Aldi!

    - Jamie

  13. I love love love Aldi…at least I do now! LOL Back in the early 1990s I was a broke college student forced to shop there and HATED the nasty tasting slices of fake cheese (that’s all I remember..I’m sure other stuff was OK). Fast forward to 2011, hadn’t been near an Aldi in years (lived in Denver…I think there are some there, but…), but was visiting a friend in Minneapolis who could afford to shop ANYWHERE, but she bought tons of stuff from Aldi. hmmmmmm….. A month later I got married and moved East and checked out the Aldi just down the street. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!! I have my list of things I prefer to purchase at Aldi, and other things we prefer from other stores. But they save me TONS of money on tortilla chips and produce and canned goods. My husband loves their “aged cheddar” blocks (I still haven’t tried sliced american cheese. LOL)

    - Audrey

  14. I love Aldi!!
    Thanks for your article, I was starting to think I was crazy. They have an amazing selection of cookies that remind me so much of my country. I’m from Spain and been living in the states for 5 years. I love to cook but I also love to save some money. Aldi has the best of both worlds, a lot of international products at an affordable price.

    - Irene

  15. I live in Oklahoma & have shopped at Aldis for a couple years now. Last week we got one in my city so I don’t have to shop in the next one. I love the fact that shopping carts are always returned for the quarter and not left loose to blow in the wind crashing into cars, a real problem in Oklahoma parking lots. And I am not worn out shopping because the store is small and very efficient, I know exactly where things are (no backtracking) and it doesn’t take as long to check out, plus no self-check which is mostly what Walmart Neighborhood Market Stores are offering. I save on average 40% over Walmarts prices plus I can find everything to bake with or make a meal. Specialty items might have to be purchased at ethnic or larger local markets though.

    - Pat

  16. I love Aldis! I’m not sure if you knew but they now have an organic brand they have recently launched and it’s amazing! THE ORGANIC BRAND IS “SIMPLY NATURE” They also offer organic produce and fresh meat every Wednesday.

    - Marsha

  17. I have noticed a new line of many organic items at least in the Aldi stores I frequent (Arkansas and Florida). From produce to soups!

    - Andrea Mitchael

  18. Thanks for this series. Very helpful and,because of it, I will check out my not-very-local Aldi’s

    - Brien

  19. Hey there,

    As a customer and an employee I can tell you that Aldi saved me from starvation. when I was in college my budget was limited and for 5 years I was a faithful Aldi’s customer (and I’m still a faithful customer). Then when I was in grad school I needed extra money to pay rent and utilities and I was fortunate to work in Aldi as a “casual cashier” (part-time). Aldi is a great place to work! We were like family. Aldi cares about their employees.
    FYI… You don’t pay $0.25 for a shopping cart or “buggy” because you GET BACK your $0.25 when you leave Aldi. The purpose behind is for you, as a customer, bring your shopping cart back to the place you got it, so that Aldi save you money from hiring a guy to bring your shopping cart from the driveway to the “shopping cart station”. Aldi always find ways to save YOU money!
    For those who are faithful to their favorite name-brands, now Aldi carries name-brand products like Cheerio’s, Coca Cola, Dove, etc.

    - Analisa

  20. Loved your Aldi review. I was worried that my son and grandson were eating products that were
    Substandard. Love your article.

    - Judy

  21. Thanks for sharing! I use your blog series to do my part to change the worlds opinion of Aldi.

    - Tracie

  22. There must be some significant differences among various Aldi locations across the country. In Cincinnati, where there does happen to be one Trader Joe’s in a high-end part of town, Aldi stores are a nightmare: prices equal to or higher than Kroger’s house brands, ancient-looking produce pre-wrapped & sitting out in a box at room temperature, no diet sodas, no fresh chicken or turkey (just beef & ham), overpriced dairy & frozen foods, and generally cluttered and disorganized. I bought 3 items and walked out in disgust. It was a truly an “urban food desert”, in the suburbs, for people who don’t know any better. However, it must be said Kroger is dominating their home area with enormous stores, and I guess Aldi can be a time saver, but it’s no money saver. And the selection everyone is talking about, I just didn’t see it. I can get a larger percentage of my grocery shopping done at Dollar General than at Aldi! And if you’re trying to eat healthy, forget it…it was a carb & sweet fest. Never going back.

    - Jim

  23. I live in Salt Lake City, UT. Where is the closest Aldi’s?

    - Shirley Peterson

  24. I have to buy gluten free and I actually prefer shopping at Aldi for our basic needs because they clearly label their gluten free products on the back of the package as gluten free. With 3 little ones, that saves me tons of time over reading the ingredients lists!

    - Jenny

  25. We used to live in OH and loved Aldiss now living in CO how do we get the word out we want an Aldiss here in Grand Junction!

    - Shirley debo

  26. i found ALBI in Wales and loved it. so glad they are in Minnesota. great
    article and very appreciated!!!

    - martha clift

  27. We shop at Aldi and love it! It is quicker for us to go there and get in and out! Aldi has a selection of better quality ingredients (as well as the junk).And when you tell them you expect better quality…they listen. We even found wild caught flash frozen Salmon there!

    - Tracy

  28. My local Aldi has a great selection of organic produce and products. As a matter of fact, I buy most of these items at Aldi. So if you are looking to eat healthy, Aldi allows you to do so without hurting your pockets.

    - kitaboots83

  29. Love Aldi! Been shopping there for several years now. Great items & great prices.

    - Mary

  30. I have been shopping ALDI nearly 20 years. I always start my shopping there and finish off with sale items at Hy Vee and Price
    Chopper. I recommend ALDI to friends and family all the time.

    - J. Pickett

  31. I recently did the 2 grocery store thing, I took my list to Aldi and then went across the street to Walmart. I put a good size cooler in the car and put all the cold Aldi stuff in it. Worked great!

    - Sherri

  32. I recently discovered Aldi. I LOVE Aldi and the 99cent pineapples!

    - Mallie

  33. Lowes Foods also has the double guarantee, but they are mostly located in North Carolina. Also a great store…

    - tedclev

    • I used to live in the Charlotte area, Lowes was my one stop shop in college. I LOVED them! My aunt would take me to the one in Winston and send me home with about 5times the groceries I could get at Harris Teeter.

      - Carrie

  34. Hi, I’m from Germany (Aldi’s home country :) and right now writing a report for my MBA course on expansion plans of Lidl in the US. Lidl is in Europe the biggest competitor of Aldi and your article made me smile because everything you described as things you had to get used to is so totally normal over here :D I lived in the US for a while and visited last October. I made sure to shop at Aldi as over here I work for Lidl :)
    It’s like you say, the discount-principle surely but slowly is taking over. So if Lidl starts opening stores in the US you have to keep your eyes open because it might also be an alternative :)
    Thanks for the article though – gave me some important insights and also the comments are very helpful whether or not the plans of entering the US market are realistic.

    Anne

    - Anne

  35. Thanks! Really enjoyed finding this and reading about a favorite store of mine. And, I did find pineapples there this week for $.79!

    - Lois Carr

  36. Enjoyed your article! I also enjoy shopping at Aldi.Love threir layout,Produce section. Have been going there for 4+ years!

    - Sree

  37. You get the quarter back when you return it where you got it from. This is done to help costs low. They don’t have to hire a boy to round up the carts from the parking lot. The quarter is your incentive to do it yourself.

    - Barbara

  38. Excellent trio of articles; I’m an Aldi fan as well. One correction, though, with regard to availability of specialty gluten-free products. I have Celiac disease & it’s medically necessary to be gluten-free. In the Northeast Ohio area, ALL the Aldi stores have an exceptional selection of GF items, clearly marked and at rock bottom prices. I have never had a reaction from any of their products (10+yrs) and do 90% of my grocery shopping there. Just wanted to clarify this for any who may read this that have never been to Aldi’s who might assume they won’t be able to find particular things they need/want and dismiss the idea of trying it. If you’ve never shopped there, check out what’s available in your region, you may be surprised, I was!

    - Barbara

  39. Thanks for the info. We’re getting two Aldi stores in our city, and I had no idea what to expect. I’m interested to try them out for some of our basic needs.

    - Wendy

  40. Nice review…but

    “Aldi employees are also eligible for full benefits if they work 20+ hours/week.”

    well for the US and Europe

    You know that many retailers including the supermarkets have their staff working a max of 20 hours a week so that they don’t get benefits or pay employer contributions to insurance etc.

    Aldi maybe ok to shop there( I do my self )but please lets not pretend that they are a great employer, yes they don’t pay minimum wage, but they also don’t pay a living wage( see note about max 20 hours a week ), as many other employers in this industry also don’t pay minimum wage or living wage.

    - rob

  41. I am from Austria. My parents used to go shopping there when I was a kid – and now I go with my kids.

    Here in Europe Aldi is not low-end. Even people with good income prefer shopping at Aldi because the products are really high quality. Often they are even produced by brands but specially labeled for Aldi. But you can find out from the product which brand it is. Usually you will find that the address of the producer is located in the same street/town as the brand product that it can be compared to. there are even websites that compare the products to the original brands.

    - senf

  42. I love Aldis too :)

    - Dixie

  43. I absolutely LOVE Aldi! Thanks for putting into words all of my feelings :-)

    - Jessica Fannin

  44. Love it! I am obsessed with Aldi! It’s where I do pretty much all of my shopping. I love the prices on the roasted red pepper hummus, havarti with dill, frozen ground turkey, frozen boneless skinless chicken tenders, butter, nuts, avocados, vanilla extract, cheap wine, and pantry staples! AND, at least here in Asheville, NC, their cashiers start at $14 an hour! Their employees are always super nice and work so fast!

    - Tyler J. McCall (@tylerjmccall)

  45. My husband and I have a $50 per week grocery budget. Aldi has been my secret to staying UNDER budget! After trying Aldi once, I was hooked! I now do 90% of my shopping there. I’m still learning, but every time I go I fall more and more in love with the store!

    - Emily

  46. I LOVE Aldi! I’m currently studying abroad in Australia and i’ve managed to save a ton of money buying the majority of my groceries at Aldi! One of my friends doesn’t understand why I go to two stores every week but Aldi’s produce is fabulous and so much more reasonably priced compared to other grocery stores! In Australia, food is very expensive so it’s nice to still be able to eat healthy with the help of Aldi! I’m so glad you love it as much as I do! I cannot wait to go back to the US and become a regular Aldi shopper especially for basic items to stock my pantry and fresh produce! I cannot get over there awesome produce deals. Just the other day they had bags of mixed greens for .99 each and pears for .99/kg. I definitely stocked up!

    - Kayla

  47. Interesting article for Aldi. I would like to share a little information with you. I worked years ago for Sunshine Biscuit and at that time Aldi crackers were private label from Sunshine Biscuit. It was the same ingredients as the name brand, but just a private label. Some of there cookies were also private label, same brand and ingredients of Sunshine Biscuits. The only difference was the drum of packaging. It said Aldi on it. So you see, many of their products are the same name brands of high-end products with just private label packaging.

    - Lisa

  48. Just found your blog and like it thus far. :)

    So, as a german native, Aldi is a standard over here, however I’ll move to California next year and it sucks that they don’t seem to have stores in that area so far. Ah well.

    - Bonzo

  49. Dear Ali,

    I am a Scottish writer working on a piece on Aldi. Your Aldi Almanac was awesome! Go Girl. Go!

    - Moira Paterson

  50. Thanks so much for your input:)Our Aldi will be opening soon in Oak Ridge TN,and I can’t wait!Your tips helped me a lot.We have 5 children,7total in the household,and one income. Grocery bills are outrageous!I am hoping to really trim that at Aldi?Im a lil worried bout the amount of grocerys I buy at once,and having to bag it myself,but I think after a few trips it will become easier?We’ll see:)

    - cindy

    • if you have a chance, go by yourself and scope it out just by your lonesome. It will only take 30 minutes at best to get the feel of it. When mine were big enough to read, I gave them each an aisle and a cart and we met up. You are going to save a ton of money!

      - LeighAnn Pfeiffer

    • Hint: when you bag yourself, it is a lot of fun! Cold pile, dry goods pile (food), dry goods pile (non-food), veggies & fruit pile. You’ll know what I mean when you get there… but remember: piles! And if you have solid bags, bring them, or invest in some Aldi’s bags first time. .10 is a bargain, and they’re great bags. Good luck, have fun! (I L O V E Aldis. Just bought 52 items today for $88.00; bags and bags ….)

      - Jennifer Horan

  51. My mother shopped there when I was small. I don’t care about opinions. I use my brain! I guess my own shopping at Aldi is going on 17yrs. My sister won’t shop em because she thinks coupons are gawd.Sugar items are you what you can get on coupons. I don’t have time with a family of nine to clip and search for deals. Even if some items are 3c higher than walmart, the quality is better, and my time has been saved. I need to buy some new canvas bags as mine are about five years old. There are not a million food factories in the USA. Aldi gets their food from the same place as everyone else. I am not sure why you need a 3 part-er to explain Aldi, lol. You stick a quarter in for a cart to keep the lot auto clean, you fill up your cart, checkout with “green” bags, pay with debit or cash. Happy Shopping Everyone!

    - Kristi

  52. And the fresh (not frozen!) pizzas from Aldi are the best around. These pizzas are AMAZING! They are HUGE probably the size of an XL family size at any pizzeria and are $5.99 in my area. I love Aldi and I get a little harassment for it but I need the savings and the quality. They just opened a Woodmans which is very comparable in price to Aldi but its about 10x the size of Aldi at least and I would spend twice as much. Great Article.

    - Elizabeth Cooney

  53. I share your appreciation for Aldi. It has definitely helped me to wrestle an out-of-control food budget back to reality. We eat primarily organic food, and Aldi helps me to afford being able to do this. Yes, the organic section is limited, but the savings add up. I also buy the $3.99 bag of Beaumont coffee because my husband insists on his Starbucks, and this is an acceptable substitute.

    - ologsinquito

  54. I also love Aldi and I live in suburban KC-we probably frequent the same one! I have learned over time what we love and don’t live and I always feel like I’m robbing them when I have a cart full of groceries and paid so little!!!! Great post!

    - Andrea

  55. I fell in love with Aldi’s the first time I shopped there. And that was because I was between work and waiting for Social Security Disability approval, so I was budget conscious and on the SNAP program for a while. I want to emphasize they accepted my SNAP debit card as payment for groceries. There are many of us on assistance who need to stretch our dollars and cents as far as they will go. I would spend my cash on the gas to get to the nearest Aldi’s – 12 mi away – and save many more times the gas money on the groceries. I continue to shop there because they are clean, friendly, non-judgemental, and I love their product quality. The only thing I am missing is an electric cart. But, that makes the small size of the store a real plus.

    - Marcella

  56. Love Aldi! I just found your blog on Pinterest. I will say their coffee K cups are AWESOME! I have only bought the dark roast, and it’s about half of what they would be in any other grocery store. Worth a shot if you have a Keurig machine!

    - Ashley L

  57. My sister-in-law works at Aldi. Earlier this year she came down with mono so she was out of doing hard work (i.e. lifting heavy stuff, moving stuff around etc.), and they (the manager) was really understanding and let her still work but do lighter things. So they really do take care of their employee’s.

    - Joy

  58. I’m looking for a shopping list I can create to make week long meals from Aldi groceries? I just found out about the greatness of Aldi and looking to lower my expenses. Do you possible have a section on what I could be looking for? Great blog by the way! :)

    Steve

    - Steve

  59. I admit I haven’t read all the comments, so if someone mentioned how insanely good their chocolate is prior to this I apologize….but YUM, real German chocolate for pennies :D. Unlike you, I had no preconceive notions of Aldi since I had never even heard of them until a few years ago when the first one opened around here. I am under the impression they are fairly new here since when I was looking for coconut the cashier remarked it is seasonal to Christmas and they were trying to convince corporate that if you have stores in Florida, we pretty much use it year round, lol. We are a couple on a single income and I find that I can usually do at the bare minimum 90% of my shopping there since I don’t buy a lot of pre-prepared food. Their prices are amazing, the quality is great, stores are clean and the cashiers very friendly. LOVE THEM!

    - Koreena

  60. I shop at Aldi consistently! I can walk out of Aldi spending about $100 and getting almost double what I could at other grocery stores! I am not a huge fan of their produce section, because it usually doesn’t last as long as the farmer’s market fruits & veggies, but other than that – everything else is a huge deal!

    - mommypowers

  61. Oh, and one more comment. On my first trip to Ald’s I brought my reusable shopping bags from Wegmans. Ten other shoppers were in there with me and EVERY SINGLE person had the Wegmans bags. Made me giggle – that and the parking lot full of Lexus, Infiniti and other high end cars. It’s no longer the “poor man’s grocery store” – it’s the smart man’s store!

    - Pam

  62. I am a new shopper to Aldi’s and can’t believe how small my weekly food bill is now. It went from $75/week (Wegman’s and Shoprite) to an average of $30/week. Wow. And….their food is high quality. My SIL and nieces were over two weeks ago for dinner. Chicken, corn on the cob, and carrots. My nieces went crazy over the chicken (they’re normally very picky eaters). My SIL asked me their brand and was stunned when I told her everything was bought at Aldi’s.

    I didn’t realize they were owned by Trader Joe’s – but it makes sense since both have such good quality. Thanks for your blog. You’ve given me some more information when extolling Aldi’s virtues to my friends!

    - Pam

    • They aren’t actually owned by Trader Joe’s but the two companies are related and have very similar business models. They are separate companies but the founders were brothers.

      - Elaine

  63. I, too, am in love with Aldi’s. My favorite thing is that their store-brand products use the same colors and similar branding to name-brand products…thus, with a quick scan I’ve found cheaper-in-price-but-not-quality sweetened condensed milk, granola bars, cheeses, cake mixes, etc…what a great idea. I’ve even done a blind taste test with my husband on the granola bars–Aldi’s “Millville” brand compared to the name brand…Aldi’s won (much to his surprise :-)

    - Kelley

  64. Gday from ALDI Australia…I work at ALDI, so I’ll declare my interest off the bat. ALDI opened here 10 years ago and after a slow start has exploded in recent years. It is now now the 4th largest retailer in Australia and has ambitious plans to open 200 stores in the next 3 years. You’ll be pleased to know store layouts are by in large the same all around the world. High quality items and an ever expanding range are why I ove the place. Looking forward to popping into a US store on my next visit, please do the same if you’re ever in OZ.

    - john173

  65. I agree with everything you said..however under what aldi is not section…yes they may not be a wholefood/healthfood store…majority of their products contain cholestrol free, gluten free, lactose free labels. I find this pretty healthy and up there with organic :)

    - corey

  66. It was amazing to find your blog! I’ve been shopping at Aldi for a year now and I’m kicking myself in the butt for not shopping there sooner. This is great information to those who aren’t sure about it. I plan my grocery list around what they sell because I cannot see myself paying high prices anymore. I’ve never been disappointed with the products or the staff. And YES, I too keep an Aldi quarter and a bag in my car at all times :)

    - Emily from Iowa

  67. I was recently hired as an Aldi cashier. You are required to ring about 48 items per minute, as the registers time each of your transactions. That’s why the cashiers move so fast. Also, cashiers are encouraged to memorize all the codes for produce to make transactions move quicker. Sounds difficult, but it isn’t too bad. Nothing a set of flash cards can’t fix. As long as you put in effort to learn the produce codes and get some decent practice time on a register, ringing will be a breeze. Just wanted to post this for anyone who may be intimidated by their quickness requirements before applying there :)

    - Sydney

  68. I love the unexpected finds a Aldi! Seven years ago, I purchased assembly required, matching, finished wood furniture consisting of a bookshelf, 2 end tables and a gorgeous foyer table for just over $200! To date, the bookshelf shares space in the livingroom along with the Crate and Barrel pieces, the foyer table displays apothecary jars & seasonal decorations while the end tables found their way to my daughter’s condo! And, she wants the other pieces as well! Dream on. By far one of my “best purchase” finds!

    - Mrs.Ruddy

  69. “…if you happen to be doing your grocery shopping all in one day at two different stores, I recommend going to Aldi first.” I do exactly the opposite! I have a mental Aldi price book, and often find manager specials at the chain stores, or catch a clearance with a coupon. So while price matching and shopping at the “regular” grocery stores, I can compare and then pick it up at the Aldi price….if I know it’s lower there.

    - LIsa@CheapThrillsInOmaha

  70. I agree whole heartedly. It’s my favorite go-to store. Wish ALDI would sell wine in Kansas !!

    - joann

  71. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it
    was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    - treatment for snoring

  72. First impressions are usually wrong, but what can you do? The first Aldi’s I ever saw was on Ford Rd. in Dearborn Heights, MI. Dearborn has a very large middle eastern population and the name “Aldi” sounded as though this was going to be an ethnic market. Thanks to your posts, now that I live in Huntsville, AL and have a new Aldi’s coming in right across the street from a WalMart, I’ll be trying Aldi’s!

    - B. D'Angelo

  73. I am a frequent Aldi’s shopper. My husband knows not to DARE spend the “Aldi quarter” that I keep in the arm rest of my car!

    - Deb

  74. Aldi allows me to do my grocery shopping for the month all in one trip! Yes, I still do need to make a Meijer or Walmart trip, but the bulk of my items come from Aldi. It has saved me on my monthly budget, and I actually prefer their brand to most other generic brands!

    - Kelsey

  75. Is Aldi allergy friendly?
    In all grocery stores we pretty much always have to buy Kraft because store brands always use the same machines to make many of their products. My son has peanut allergies and usually can not have cookies, chocoalte chips, etc. unless it is made by Kraft.
    Aldis just opened up by my house!!

    - Lorena W

    • I’m not expert, but just wanted to chime in that I really enjoy the fact that although many of their items are not GF, DF, etc. they CLEARLY LABEL everything, which I love! The other local grocery store near us often tries to “hide” ingredients and it is such a chore reading labels. I love the GF stamp on Aldi products :)

      - Liz @ Beyond Blonde Blog

  76. I really appreciated your notes on the business model and employees at your local Aldi! My husband is a shift manager at an Aldi in St. Louis, and works in a store that handles nearly $1million in sales/month. Not only are there fewer employees per store than you’d imagine (about 10 or so), but each and every one works their tails off to keep the stores running they way we all love… Also, just a side note, Aldi is the highest paid grocer in the country, across the board, and I can personally attest to their taking care of their workers. It’s a fantastic company to be a part of (even just as a spouse), and one I’m happy to patronize as a consumer. It makes me really happy to see that others feel that way, too.

    - Elise

  77. I didn’t know you are in KC! Hopefully I’ll see you at Aldi sometime :]
    I tell everyone I meet about what a great place it is. You can’t beat the prices.

    - Jess

  78. I just tried Aldi’s about a month ago. I had put a post up on my fb about Aldi’s the other day and my sister put a link to your 3 part article there. I loved reading it. I especially loved the last article. Every time I go, I seem to find something else new I’d like to give a try. And so far, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with both the quality and the amount of savings :) Thank you!!

    - Erin

  79. We like so many things at Aldi , but really love their baked chips! Less than half the price of baked lays and we think they taste better!

    - Christy

  80. I bought some great stuff at ALDI this week! http://happywifey.net/2013/03/this-weeks-grocery-shopping-picks/ You really can’t beat it!

    - Kelly

  81. absolutely love this post and am clearly way behind on my google reader but YES to everything above! love aldi!! going to give a shoutout to this series in my blog!

    - natalie@thesweetslife

  82. Actually, my aldi in mn is carrying some organic items now! I’m thrilled! Especially about the organic produce

    - Sara

  83. This series has left me with serious jealousy over the fact that there is not an Aldi within a decent radius of my house. :)

    - Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

  84. A year or so ago in our little town on the border of DC, they tore down a crusty old Giant and put in a shiny, new Aldi to our pleasant surprise!! I love going to Aldi and frequent it several times a week, it is like a treasure hunt every time we go there looking for all the amazing deals. Most recently we have enjoyed the 19 cent red velvet and strawberry shortcake yogurts. Once we stumbled upon the Wheat Thins marked down to ten cents a box, which was amazing. My favorite is the post-holiday markdowns. 25 cent boxes of Andies and cake mixes!

    - Lili

  85. I LOVE Aldi’s. I left a very high paying job to be a stay at home mom and when i realized how great Aldi’s was I was able to take our grocery bill from $150 to $200 a week to under $200 a month!!!

    - Jackie

    • I’ve had a very similar experience with my monthly budget! For just two of us we were spending over $150 a week! And now we’re down to about that for the month. I just couldn’t believe how great their food was and how much our Shop-n-Save and Schnuck’s were overcharging us.

      - Devin

  86. The first time I ever walked into an Aldi, I hated it. I knew nothing about it so I wasn’t prepared to “pay” for my cart, use cash or debit, or bag my own groceries. That combined with a “having a bad day” cashier (seriously that was the one and only time I have ever had bad customer service at Aldi)and I decided to NEVER go back into the place. But a few years later I gave it another chance and have loved it ever since. We save a lot of money.

    I loved your Aldi 101 series so I linked it to my blog http://www.indianapastorswife.blogspot.com. Thanks for writing this.

    - Karen @ Indiana Pastor's Wife

    • Same thing happened with me. The cashier was incredibly rude the first and last time I went in – that was a couple years ago. That combined with not knowing what I could trust in all the generic brands kept me from ever going back. Decided to give it a try again after finding them on Favado, thus my landing here upon searching for what to buy. Thanks for the great articles!

      - ChristyK

  87. This is a great article! I, too, remember hearing the “poor man store” mentality, but I’m starting to realize that many well off folks shop there for good reason! I try to shop at Aldi anytime I am close to one (closest one is 15 minutes away as opposed to 5 minutes from my local stores). They carry the BEST maple leaf cookies on the planet and they are hard to find. A couple of grocery chains in Canada have tried to replicate Aldi (bring your own bags, a quarter for a cart, bag your own), but theirs are no where near how clean Aldi is (hubby is from Canada and we have shopped these stores while visiting). We were recently at lunch here in TN and a table of co-workers next to us started talking about Aldi. The two men were singing Aldi’s praises to the woman who had never heard of it. It tickled me because these men did not look the type to shop there, but then again, with the money saved there, we can all afford some “finer things in life!” Now I’m off to make my Aldi shopping list!

    - Angela B

  88. My grandmother would shop at Aldi and I never really got into shopping there until a few years ago. I’m a crazy couponer and over the last few years, I kept track of my savings each time I went grocery shopping. The first year I was crazy about going to big box stores and using all my coupons and last year I did a little bit of couponing, but mainly shopped at Aldi. The difference in my savings between the two years? Just 1%. It’s definitely worth shopping at Aldi for your basic items, fresh produce, cheese, milk, eggs and canned goods. I have noticed they are starting to carry more organic stuff. And I love my set of four Pyrex bowls I picked up on special for $6 a few weeks ago.

    - Amber

  89. I enjoyed everything you wrote about Aldi !I shop there every week!You are spending to much on groceries if you
    Don’t shop there.My new favorite find there is their bag of frozen biscuits, they are delicious!

    - Kendra Quinn

  90. I used to shop Aldi pretty regularly and I agree with all your reasons. However, I stopped going because while the cashiers were super fast they also damaged many of my items when they threw them into my cart after scanning. Many of the boxes (especially the frozen food items) had the corners dented in and some of the cans were dented. While I appreciate the savings it doesn’t do any good if the food is crushed. Has this happened to anyone else?

    - Julie

  91. I absolutely love Aldi. I would disagree that it isn’t a one stop shop. I don’t think any store is truly one stop but we buy about 85-90% of our groceries at Aldi. If we need to we can go a few weeks on only Aldi. When I first started shopping there about 10 years ago there was no way I could get everything there. Aldi has come a long way, especially over the past few years. Though right now we shop there because we need to in order for me to stay home with my boys, even when I did work we shopped there. Why pay double the price for the same product just because of the name and advertising?! I like Aldi most of all right now because I can get in and out with a full load of groceries and two boys under 3 in tow since I know where everything is located and I don’t have to price compare or deal with coupons. Love it!

    - Sarah

  92. I love Aldi! We do about 80% of our shopping their. They have saved us a ton of $. With 2 children who have to eat gluten free Aldis has been a life saver. They carry a ton of gluten free stuff!!!! Cereal, tomato sauce, chips, taco shells and lots more. For a while they even had gluten free chicken nuggets!!!!!!!!!!!

    - Marrissa

  93. I like Aldi’s but rarely shop there. It’s too much of a mixed bag for me. I have found some incredible items there. Their dark chocolate bars, as well as seasonal chocolates, some amazing ice creams and pops, dairy, and spaetzle. My biggest complaint is the produce which in my Aldi’s I would say at least 50% if not 75% of the time, on any given day, looks nasty. If I was having a party, or doing baking for the holidays I would definitely go there to stock up.

    - Cynthia

    • Cynthia, I’m sorry you have had bad luck with the produce! I also love Aldi’s and one of reasons I started going there was because people told me Aldi had amazing produce for great prices (most of the time, depending on what stock was left). I have found that to be true, so far. Perhaps you have been unlucky on the days you’ve been there, or maybe I’ve been really lucky on the days I’ve been there! haha Maybe it is the location/store? Has anyone else had either really good or really bad experience with the produce??

      - Anna

      • The only reason I don’t shop there is the produce. My Mom shopped there as I was growing up, and my sister and I have discovered we have this same strange compulsion – we both pick up any piece of fruit from any source with the expectation that it is rotten and check it for spots or whatever. It may have been “our” store, or my Mom’s produce picking ability, or something else entirely, but it’s just this thing I cannot get past in order to shop there – even though there would be a completely different Aldi location.

        - Tiffany

  94. I first found out about Aldies when I was in college. My boyfriend (now husband), hated that I never had any yummy food in the house…it cost a lot, I had no money, I could eat at work for free, and worked enough so I could get by with a really small amount of food (yeah, I was skinny, skinny). He said we needed to go out to the aldi store that his sister worked at, and we spent $100 and filled the cart to overflowing…he had food for months. I was impressed over 20 years ago, and have always used aldi if there was one close. This last week I bought a bunch of stuff I normally get at Aldies at the regular grocery and spent at least twice as much….didn’t feel like dealing with the snow and sick kids, and going to two stores. Next time we do without the fancy stuff, and go to Aldies.

    - Michele

  95. I LOVE THAT STORE! Miss it soooo much. We used to have one a block and a half from our house when we lived in MD. We were in a corner of Baltimore so it did look and feel like a poor people’s store. Every once in awhile we would go to a different one a ways away where it wasn’t so ghetto. We bought the mid-grade bags and reused them forever! We also used them for transporting supplies for parties, potlucks and holidays. Once I used them to stash away a bunch of soiled baby clothes…it kept the smell in quite well I might say. And what would normally cost 200+ at other places we could get for like 80 bucks at Aldi. Amazing! And personally their diet soda tastes better than any national brand…along with many other products of theirs.

    - PrincessMoo

  96. I shopped at ALDI’s when I lived in the Netherlands: best prices, best lotion, best coffee, and perfect chocolate.

    If there were an ALDI’s where I now live, I’d be there regularly, if it would be anything like the Dutch one.

    - Annie Kate

  97. Don’t forget their $.19 avodados!!! :) I agree with you 100%. It’s not a one stop for us, but I can usually get 85-90% of our groceries there and if I plan well enough, I can shop at Aldi 3 weeks and Walmart the other 1 week to get the things I need that Aldi doesn’t have. (And that one week I buy at Walmart I just about choke when I see how much higher their produce is and end up price matching what produce I do buy there… $1.28 for avocaods this week – I price matched to $.19. :)

    - Alisha

  98. I love love love Aldis! My sweet mother got me started going there. All the little old ladies I know get their friends/family to take them to Aldis to shop — and that includes the really rich ones ;-) Which my mother was not. Mom’s been gone since 2005, but I still feel like I’m with her when I shop at my Aldis.

    I have preached about Aldis to everyone I know. Some people just think it is too much trouble to go there, and I understand that travel time has to be considered. But my schedule takes my within hailing distance of Aldi at least once a week, when it is very convenient to run there after church on Sunday.

    At the beginning of the month, when I am doing my stock up shopping, I go to Aldis first. Then I hit WalMart which I pass directly on my way. The first Tuesday of the month I also hit Kroger for the gray hair special (5% off for seniors every Tuesday). It is a quick swing from WalMart.

    My husband was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, so we have gone to 100% whole wheat pasta and bread. We all LOVE the 100% Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti and the 100% whole wheat bread — and they are so much less costly at Aldi!

    Only two things bug me about Aldi — I frequently fall in love with one of their “special purchase” foods and then it disappears :-( and if you happen to get there late on the day before shipments, there may literally be NO eggs or NO butter or NO 2% milk :-(. In the long run, I am sure it is much better to run out occasionally than to have waste, so I take it in stride. Still waiting for the Cozi Toasted Ravioli to show back up though ;-).

    Great article! Now I’m going to go read the other two.

    - Ruth

    • It is frustrating to see a good product disappear. I remember when they had artichoke veggie pizza!

      - Emily from Iowa

  99. I LOVE Aldi!! My grandmother is from Germany and used to shop at Aldi on her return visits. When Aldi came to Oklahoma she and my mother were ecstatic! They even brought a shopping bag from Germany in to show their regular check out lady. I shop Aldi weekly and it makes my $100.00 budget for my family of 4 a reality.

    - Sarah Grage

  100. While I do love Aldi just as much as you – i did purchase their cinnamon rolls and came and made them and they tasted not very good – i was hoping to take advantage of their double guarantee- unfortunately you have to bring the product back to get that. Otherwise i do 80% of my shopping there.

    - Erika

  101. I do shop at Aldi, and am always surprised at what I find there. Unfortunately I used to love it because the canned goods were so much cheaper, but now most of them are 59 cents. I can definitely do better than that with sales at Schnucks and coupons.

    - Kelly

  102. I LOVE ALDI! You just can’t beat their produce prices and they have the best skim milk. I can’t drink any other brand.I get a little impatient on the chip aisle and wish that passing through it wasn’t the gateway to the rest of the store. It gets really jammed up with chip-loving Americans, while I’m just trying to get to the dairy case! That is my only complaint. I’ve never bought anything at Aldi that I didn’t like.

    - Lauren

  103. Yes! Love Aldi! Unfortunately, it’s far enough away that it’s not always worth the drive for me.

    My dad started shopping there when I was in junior high–his efficient self LOVED the fact that he could get in and out in record time. I think his fastest was 7 minutes :) He also loved the prices.

    Every time I go, I’m always shocked at how low my total is. I go when I need mostly produce, because theirs is consistently significantly lower than Kroger. Off to read your other posts–thanks so much for this series!

    - Diana

  104. I grew up (late 70′s/early 80′s) on Aldi food, and let me tell you, the inventory has exploded since those days! I remember going shopping at Aldi as a kid. I was always on “empty box patrol” as we shopped. :) Also, back then the cashier’s had all the prices memorized (no scanners at the checkout), and were so fast that they always had the groceries on the belt rung up before they could even transfer them into the cart.

    Anyway, now I am a mother of five, work hard to shop economically, and frequent our local Aldi. And now my kids are on “empty box patrol” as we shop. :)

    - Joanne

  105. Yay! I just discovered Aldi’s about a month or so ago and LoVE it! Thanks for a great post :)

    - Misty

  106. I love, love, love Aldi! I also shop the basics at Aldi and then I hit the regula grocery store for their sale ad items. I went yesterday to a differentlocation than my normal because I had to be in that area. The layout was virtually the same and everything excellent quality. Yesterday they had grape tomatoes for 69 cents!! and they were delicious. I am anxious to read your next posts :)

    - Stephanie

  107. FYI: Aldi is in the middle of a redesign shift. Our Emporia store just finished theirs, and I heard from one of the superhero checkers that the rest of the region will undergo the change soon. When everyone is done (if they’re not already) they will start to carry some new, AWESOME products that they have been previewing here for the last month. Included in this is Dillons’ new organic brand Simply Nature, among other things. So organic products will be available soon, more than just the occasional, seasonal products they have now, which is very exciting for us, since we do about 75% of our shopping there to avoid Wal-Mart at all costs. :)

    - Megzee

  108. Oh my, how I could sing the praises of Aldi!

    Working 3/4 time (never quite F/T) as a home health aide, let’s just say that I made well south of even $20K a year. Even now, working a full-time job that effectively doubled my yearly earnings, I still make under $25K/year. I share this information with you to illustrate my point.

    On my monthly grocery shopping trips when I only had home health work, I was regularly able to pick up about 95% of my grocery list at Aldi for between $30-40. At Super Walmart, such a list would have easily set me back a minimum of $50. During a time in my life when I was tearing my hair out settling my monthly bills 2 weeks out of every month, Aldi was and is a spot of ease in my life.

    Also, it gave me the perfect excuse I didn’t need to grab tons of Better Bags from Whole Foods to put all of my groceries in. Those things are tough.

    I hope your next couple of articles will mention some specific examples of Aldi’s healthy grocery practices. For example, they advertize on their milk that the cows supplying their milk do not get those bovine growth hormone injections.

    Oh, Aldi. You’ve saved my wallet more times than I can count.

    - Bonnie

  109. My cousin & I have both recently discovered Aldi. Right now there are only 2 for us to chose from.

    I can’t get over the produce costs. So much less expensive for the same produce I find in the larger markets & just as good. I also discovered the Fit & Active brand & am very happy with it.

    I was reading some of the comments here & learned that Aldi’s frozen chicken is the same as Tyson’ with a different label. I’ll be checking that out next.

    Thanks for your series. I look forward to reading more!

    - Tammie

  110. This is so ironic – I was just talking to my co-worker today about Aldi! She was telling me how I MUST shop there because the prices are so low. After her advice and your post, I’m planning a trip there this weekend!

    - Taylor

  111. We love Aldi’ s…..and love saying a ton of money!

    - Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats

  112. One more thing. A friend has connections to a pasta factory that gives away all the opened packages they have tested from. As we were going through it, we noticed that the Aldi pasta, Target’s Market Pantry, Walmart’s brand, and several name brands were all from the same factory. I would venture to guess that pasta is not the only grocery item at Aldi that this is true for. I also want to say that if you look at the label to see where the item was manufactured, it’s relatively close (to me anyway) compared to a lot of items at the other grocery stores coming from further away. So there is less of a carbon footprint!

    - Nicole

  113. Finding Aldi when I moved to Kansas City was such a treat! I was a die hard couponer but with Aldi’s everyday low prices I feel like I don’t need to shop elsewhere with my coupon stash! I buy about 70% of my groceries there. I love that they encourage you to bring your own bags by charging for theirs. The selection is good, considering the size of the store, and everything I’ve tried, I’ve liked. (Actually, I’m a Kraft Mac & Cheese snob, so their’s doesn’t do it for me.) LOVE me some Aldi!

    - Nicole

  114. I LOVE Aldi! I do not usually buy produce there, but last week I did. I was washing some apples, and realized they were organic (the sticker code began with a “9″), so I started looking at all the produce I purchased, and most of it was organic, and half the price of larger stores’ regular produce! I’ve cut our grocery bill almost in half just shopping at Aldi. Recommend it to everyone!

    - rachel

  115. I also love Aldis. Not only for the low prices, but their brand is actually pretty good quality, especially in the freezer section. From the chicken wings, to the ice cream we have never purchased anything we didn’t like. I hate to admit it, but my husband loves frozen dinners for his lunch/snacks and he would rather have the Aldis brand stuff than any other. It is not only the freezer section for me. I love the entire store. =)

    - Diana

  116. Great article! Our family loves shopping at Aldi too. I loved your term “cart angel.” My daughter & I always bring a handful of quarters and fill up a few carts. We call it the quarter ministry.

    - Amanda

  117. I started shopping at Aldi as a “I’m going to show him” rant when my husband was complaining about our grocery budget getting out of hand. At the time I was doing all that I thought I could do by shopping at Walmart and using coupons. Well, he showed me! Aldi is definitely my go-to store for most produce and all things basics pantry, and I have never had a problem that I can recall with anything I’ve purchased there. I love their dried fruit and real Maple syrup! I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

    - Deb M

  118. The first couple of times I went into Aldi I could not find anything I wanted. Gasp, I know. But with 3 kids and a love for baking I have to shop there:) I love the selection. My loves the yogurt and only ask for it. Plus, there are other things my kids love and will as for just from there. That being said my kids don’t like the peanut butter (on their sandwiches, I can cook with it) and also the Nutella. That has to brand name:) and the Wheat Thins.

    - Danielle

  119. Another thing to notice though when you go in there.
    The cashiers may be super fast, but they have the
    Tendency to double ring items so check your receipts
    When you go there. I got charged for 7 packs of lunch
    Meat when I bought 1! But they’ve always given me my
    Money back no questions asked, and its still more than
    Well worth it for me to go, just something to watch for!

    - Anna

  120. I love Aldi! We had the same kind of “poor man’s shop” mentality here in the UK for a while, but I grew up shopping there because my parents appreciated the low-cost when they had a growing family. They used to do their shopping at Aldi and then go to another supermarket to get anything they couldn’t get there. There are just some things you’ll never find in Aldi–sometimes it’s something really bizarre that I’d consider a pantry staple, like chickpeas!

    I used Aldi for the first three years at university, going to Morrisons or Tesco for the few things I could’t buy there, but my husband and I have moved out of town and because we don’t have a car, it’s hard to do a big shop when you have to spend 45 minutes on a bus there and back. There are a few things we specifically go back to Aldi for, mainly their washing detergent (super cheap, and probably a repackaged brand name, and neither of us reacts to it) and their fresh focaccia bread. They also have great fresh flowers all year round. We do most of our shopping online with Asda (owned by Walmart) right now because they offer cheap delivery, but there was a period a while back when they stopped selling store-brand tinned tomatoes online, so we went to Aldi and bulk-bought a ton of their 19p tomatoes to keep us going! Seriously, I really hope we live close to an Aldi next year. They cut our food bill down so much. Asda is almost as cheap, but the special buys in Aldi are great, especially at Christmas.

    The wonderful thing about Aldi in Scotland is that, for the last couple of years, they’ve been exclusively stocking fresh Scottish meat, which some major British supermarkets (Tesco in particular) don’t do. Aldi is one of the few places I know of where you can’t get any imported meat. Recently they’ve started starring the Scottish items on your shopping bill so that you know how many local products you’ve bought. I think Lidl does a similar thing. I imagine this is because a lot of people falsely believe that because Aldi is German, their meat and dairy is imported from Germany. And even better, their meat is cheaper than the Scottish meat in other supermarkets. Where else can you get six Scottish chicken thighs for £1.50?

    - Rachel Brand

    • I wish they stocked Scottish items at my store in the States! Nice to hear they carry local items at local stores.

      - Angela B

  121. It’s pretty funny that you mentioned the Cheerios because that’s the only thing I won’t buy at Aldi (except some produce, obviously) because there’s just something funky-tasting about them haha. But I am an absolutely avid Aldi shopper. My fiancé and I joked that we were going to ask at grad school interviews whether there was an aldi close. It’s just that much of a savings, in our opinion. I’ll never forget seeing the story on Good Morning America: “you have to put a quarter in the cart!” Her utter shock never ceases to make me chuckle. I look forward to the next two parts of your series, though.

    - Laura

  122. “Special Buys” is so awesome. In fact, that’s where I got a certain floormat that my friend’s dog puked butterscotch chips on. LOL. But it was so damn cheap it didn’t matter! See?! Last summer toby and I saw a “three story inflatable water slide” in the special buys section. Amazing.

    I can’t believe they’re 100 years old! So cool. I loved living close to one in the Northeast (don’t forget about your closest one on Admiral & Paseo) but now only think to go when I’m nearby one, but need to make more of a habit of it.

    - maux

  123. I love Aldi’s as well. I found this pinned on pinterest and it is so funny, I too was thinking about doing a different kind of Aldi post in the future. I love the store due to the rotating seasonal items as well, but I most appreciate the wonderful selection of produce at rock bottom prices. They also seem to be carrying better items, we recently started purchasing the organic milk and fage yogurt that they started to carry regularly. I always (unless I am in a great hurry) stop here first and try to get everything I need before going to any other store. Great post!

    - Jordan

  124. I have always been scared of Aldi simple because of the things I have heard about it and the way it looked. But since reading your article I plan to stop in and check it out..might I mention I am actually really excited to do so. Nothing like saving some money on the same product!

    - Jackie

  125. This is a great series. I must admit I have not stepped into an Aldi. I think I might be guilty of having preconceived notions. After reading your post I am intrigued and want to go in and see it for myself. I am always looking for good prices, but quality food. It sounds like Aldi offers both! Thanks for sharing.

    - Julia

  126. I am sooo glad you are doing this series! I absolutely love Aldi!! It is so wonderful, and here in Iowa the organic section is growing really quickly! I feel like each week there is another addition to fresh organic fruit/veggies. I love buying the organic baby tomatoes and dehydrating them for my own sundried tomatoes since I can’t always find them there, and they are expensive at the regular grocery store. I am also lucky enough that I have a Hy-Vee literally across the street from Aldi so I just swing by there after to grab anything I couldn’t find. Lastly, I just want to again say as I saw mentioned below that a lot of Aldi food is actually name brand. My mom worked at the Aldi warehouse in the office for yearssss and they have deals with so many companies and they just slap their own label on it and sell it for cheap, so seriously think about going there again if you are scared, it isn’t so bad. Also, they do treat their workers well. My mom loved working in the office and because of what a great company they are, they had an extremely high retention rate of workers that also worked there forever with my mom. I think that is a good sign for a company :)

    - Kara

  127. I too am an Aldi super-fan. We happen to have a fairly new store down the street and find my self running in after work for “the basics” you mentioned. I also personally love their .19 avocados and reasonably priced eggs and milk. I love that you wrote this great post Ali! Keep on cookin!

    - Alicia

  128. I’ve only been in an ALDI once last year. I stopped in looking for some random thing, and was so confused by the store that I left without buying anything. Honestly, that particular location wasn’t very clean either. All this said, I feel like I need to take a fresh look at it and give it another chance. So, maybe … maybe.

    - Sarah W. Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella)

  129. Great information. Didn’t know about their “green” practices and employee pay. Looking forward to the next installments – this will help me try other items. Canned goods, especially green beans, seem are fuller than the name brands to me. Thanks!

    - Debbe

  130. I was so excited to see your post on this…we shop at Aldi every single week. At least 50 % of our food items come from there. Being on a budget means being creative with food shopping and I love that Aldi gives me that option. And those crazy fast ninja cashiers are amazing!!!! My favorite thing in this whole post was the cart angel :-) I love finding those quarters and also leaving one from time to time. I need to start keeping more quarters in the car so I can do it more often!!!

    - Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

  131. I used to shop at Aldi but have gotten away from it. This is the 2nd time I’ve heard someone talk about them in the past week though so maybe it’s a sign I need to go back!
    When I was little my mom used to shop there and I always hated it too. She had a good laugh after I was married with kids of my own and told her I went to Aldi!

    - Jamie @ Thrifty Veggie Mama

  132. This post is hilarious, as it is ridiculous that Americans see Aldi as a the poor person’s store. I guess because other “similar” stores (i.e., low prices, very few brand names, basic layout) in the US have been crap. But there is a reason Aldi is #1 in Germany and has been around for a long time. But in Germany there are 2 Aldis (owned by the same family – north and south). The South Aldi is better in my opinion, and as far as I understand, the north Aldi owns the American Aldi. By the way, Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi… so all those who love Trader Joe’s and are scared of Aldi… they’re the same store, just different levels. This fear of putting a deposit for a cart, paying for shopping bags (or having to bring your own *gasp*) and packing up your own groceries cracks me up. Whenever I am back in the US, it drives me crazy that someone else packs my groceries. What a waste of time and money! Thanks for the entertaining read, and I will share this, as there are those people that need to read this!

    - Katja

    • We had never heard of Aldi until we lived in Germany for a year! Just got back in summmer of 2010 and were excited to figure out we had one in our own city! Although, we can’t go in one without feeling like we’re in Europe as that was the 1st place we ever found an Aldi! It was our favorite grocery store there and I find myself bummed sometimes that I can’t find my favorite foods in the US Aldi that I could find there :-)

      - Kimberly

  133. Your article on Aldis very good and informative. My daughter worked for Aldi for 7 years. Yes, they pay their cashiers very well. They have full medical coverage and a retirement investment package. Believe that they all work very hard and earn every penny. I shop for several items there and save alot of money by doing so. But there is a great misconception to their, “non-name” brands. At Aldi you really are buying most name brands. Aldi contracts with many major corporations and pay them to buy their product and package it under the Aldi label. We are a society drenched in name brands and people are leary of trying something that doesn’t say Nabisco on the label. An example…….Aldi frozen chicken breast and tenderloins are Tyson chicken, from the Tyson factory packaged for Aldi. Their milk and dairy product are delivered daily in NYS by the Byrne Dairy truck. All milk is Byrne dairy product,labeled as friendly farm, an Aldi brand. Byrne dairy milk at even walmart is almost 4.00/gal. same milk at aldi is 2.29. I laugh when it’s called poor mans grocery store….I prefer to call it the smart mans grocery store. 4.00$ vs.2.00$ for the same milk will for certain make you a poor man much quicker :)

    - Linda

  134. I love their frozen fruits for smoothies and also their frozen fish, shrimp, and scallops. I do not like name brand 90 second brown rice packets but I love Aldis. I will always be a fan of theirs.

    - Dianne

  135. I’m so glad you posted this. Aldi has always been referred to as the “poor people’s grocery store” around here too. Remember when i picked you up from the airport and we were talking about Aldi? They actually JUST opened one near my house – i must go check it out after reading your post!!

    - Julie @ Table for Two

  136. I love Aldi. I used to have a prejudice against it that really can’t be explained, other than I didn’t like sacking my own groceries. But once I gave it a fair shake, I realized that the quality of Aldi’s food is GREAT. And the prices are unbeatable. I mean, milk is like HALF the price of the big stores. I’m in!!!

    - Mike

  137. Hi..Thanks for this post..We have an Aldi’s here in Rhode Island and I do shop there quite often..The only problem that I have encountered was with their fresh broccoli.It was full of sand! I ended up having to throw away my whole shrimp and broccoli dinner!
    :( I usually just give my veggies a quick rinse,before preparing them, and that’s what I did with the broc, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.I do find some really great deals in there, I just don’t buy the broccoli ;) karen..

    - Karen

  138. Ok…I’m listening…
    I’ll give Aldi another chance. Looking forward to the next two posts!

    - Monica

  139. I love Aldi’s for all the same reasons!! Problem is, I retired to a lake region and the closest Aldi’s is 45 min. away. How do we petition to get an Aldi’s in a closer town?

    - MJ Silva

  140. Love Aldi’s! I love the Clearly Organic tomatoes, marinara sauce and other organic products. Love the Fit & Active brand. Love the Greek Yogurt, I usually buy 12 and bring the cardboard container home. Stores perfectly in my fridge and we can pull it out to easily select the yogurt we want. Love not collecting more plastic bags. And love the fact that there are no carts in the parking lot! We are all a bunch of cart angels here, often passing our cart to someone entering the store. I don’t think I’ve put a quarter in for a very long time. We just “pass it on”, our little random act of kindness. I seldom have to go to any other store but when I do, I pass 2 grocery stores on the way home and WalMart is just across the street from Aldi’s so there’s no extra cost involved. I like being able to pack my own bags so all my refridgerated items are together in the insulated bags and easy to put away first when I arrive home.

    - Dee

  141. My Mom and I both love shopping at Aldis. Every Wednesday night is family night and we have hot & spicy chicken. We cook a minimum of 6-7 lbs but up to 15 lbs or more if my teenage nephew brings his baseball team over. Aldis is the cheapest place to buy frozen chicken and we’ve shopped a lot trying to find cheap frozen chicken. Thanks for sharing how great it is.

    - Shawna

  142. Okay, now I’m super jealous. Because we don’t have that here! :(

    - Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

  143. I have lived in SWMO after growing up in KC and living in Brooklyn. There are only Walmarts here and a run down regional chain in my town. I loathed giving Walmart my money. We do have a lovely farmers market, but when I started shopping at Aldi a year ago…hallelujah! I ONLY shop there now, unless I’m in KC and hit some specialty stores (Penzey’s, Trader Joe’s, World Market). My favorite thing is their refrigerated “deli” section. Tzatziki sauce, cilantro hummus, cheap gourmet cheeses. To die for. NONE of those things are anywhere else remotely close to Carthage, MO! And their vanilla almond milk. I can’t say enough about it. The limited items is actually better for my mental health than a big box store. I think it’s absolutely appalling that regular grocery stores have entire aisles just for cereal. I just don’t get it. Spirit fingers for Aldi!

    - Josie Mai

  144. I have experience with their guarantee, too! I called about a product (brownies) that had been recently changed that seemed to poof! all over when you went to use a mixer to stir them up. Not only did they call me, they sent me 2 free boxes (thus the 2xguarantee) of the product. In the meantime, I tried other name brand brownie mixes, and honestly? The aldi ones are WAY more consistent. The name brand ones left gross chewy/hard spots that made me gag.

    - Jill

  145. I love this post! I know people that think ‘I just have to shop at xyz for something else so I go there for everything’, and we’ve had times when we’ve done that, but honestly, with the economy the way it is, and we’ve got young kids that need fresh food items, oh the bananas we go through!…it’s just plain smart to shop at Aldi!

    - Jill

  146. This is great! I have one close to my house and have never been there because of some of the previously mentioned pre-conceived ideas. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts and to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

    - Adri {Food-N-Thought}

  147. Their chocolate is by far the best deal I’ve found… and I am a huge chocolate snob. It’s not only cheap, but it is high quality, two of my favorite things all rolled into one!

    That said, that’s one of the few items I buy there, so when I go, I stock up. I have a kiddo with a corn syrup allergy, so we read labels very carefully, and unless it’s the plain chocolate or fresh foods like produce, nearly everything else I’ve looked at buying there has corn syrup in it, so I’ve just stopped wasting my time hoping to find a product without it there and shop elsewhere for most things.

    I have found some of their seasonal special buys to be great. I got new cushions for our patio table last summer for a fraction of the cost of anywhere else, I’d I’d been pricing them out for close to a year.

    - Andrea

  148. I also didn’t like Aldi at first site but there are great bargains and quality to be had if you give it a try. Aldi and Trader Joes are part of the same company and have similar business models with Aldi being the discount sister store to the department store. Looking forward to see the products you like at Aldi.

    - Tracy

  149. I also like to shop at Aldi and am lucky to have two very close by!

    - Kara D

  150. Sorry if you get this comment a couple times.
    We love Aldi… my kids love it because of the whole put the quarter in the cart thing. I love it because it is always consistent and fits my budget! Plus, in MO, they have a great wine selection!

    - Kristen

  151. Thank you for writing this series! I’ve been meaning to write a post like this because I seriously LOVE Aldi and I want other people to know how great it is too! Can’t wait for the rest of it.

    - molly

  152. The place I live (NE Florida), and the place I’m moving to in August (Colorado), doesn’t have an Aldi, so unfortunately I’ll have to pass on this series.

    In general, though, how much money does someone really save by shopping there if you have to drive and go to other grocery stores just to complete the list? I personally have never understood the people who will take trips to two, three and sometimes four different grocery stores to shop “sales” or whatever. You’re spending 3x as much time and who knows how much extra on gas.

    - stef

    • I am fortunate to live within 3-4 miles of two different Aldis. Both Aldis are located right next to great stores. One is in the Sam’s Club parking lot and across the street from a Hy-Vee and the other is right behind a brand new Hy-Vee. I don’t waste gas to go there. I plan my routes and stop in when I am going by there which I frequently do for my kids’ schools and activities. I do shop multiple stores with coupons after I check the weekly flyers. If you are going by them anyway then you are not wasting gas.

      When I made the decision to try Aldi the first time about 8 years ago, I took my receipt from Aldi to the grocery store where I had alway shopped and priced the same items. I would have spent $25 more for the same items at my grocery store. That did it for me. I became a true Aldi convert.

      - kelliinkc

    • Hey! My family of 5 shops at 4 plus stores for sales and the like. My husband and I make les than 25,000 dollars a year and get no assistance from the government for food/healthcare/housing. Yes I will admit that it does take more time, however we couldn’t afford to feed our family if we didn’t shop all the stores. For example Marsh a regional chain here carries broken bags of flour for 84 cents a bargain we can’t afford to pass up, but their produce isn’t as cheap. The trick is to take one day and shop for either two or four weeks at a time. We also bike to stores when we can and swing by the foods section when we are out at other stores.

      - sarah

  153. I love shopping at ALDI’s. I used to do about 50-75% of my shopping there as well, but we’ve recently moved & our new town doesn’t have one. Such a bummer.

    - Hannah

  154. I love Aldi’s prices! I shop there for the basics, rarely buying anything from the center aisles, just like at a regular grocery store.
    What I like is, if you need mustard, there is only ONE choice. No looking at all the brands available at what price per ounce. It is truly a no brainer!
    If my pantry is stocked up on the basics and I have some meat in the freezer, we always have something to whip up a fantastic dinner. I also stock up on frozen veggies and fruits.

    - Pam

  155. What an amazing post! Thank you! My sister is the general manager of the Aldi where I live. She loves her job and they take very good care of her. I have been shopping at Aldi for years and everything you said is absolutely true. Can’t wait to see what else you have to say!

    - Holly

  156. I never, ever walked into an Aldi until I met my wife. Why? Its the POOR PEOPLE’S store! So for all the years I’d been within blocks of one, I wouldn’t go in. Then, I went with Chelle and found it to not be that at all. And granted, we do what you said; buy part of what we need there then jet across the street to HyVee. The prices are insanely low, but thats not what changed my mind.

    I have a close friend who was a rep for DelMonte. She told me from her insider point of view, she did not have a single client with higher standards than her buyer for Aldi! From the quality of the product to the time on the truck, no one was more strict, higher demands on a vendor than Aldi.

    And, its shows in all the other items they carry. Chelle drug me with her, first time, kicking and screaming; now I’ve actually gone on my own!

    Great series, I look forward to the other two installments!

    - paulwilsonkc

  157. I used to shop at Aldi every week when we lived in Chicago. Now that we have moved our Aldi is not terribly close so I’ve stopped going. I really need to make a point of going in there when I’m nearby.

    - Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

  158. I’ve never shopped at Aldi and have been very curious about it for quite some time. As a newly single mom I’m ready to give it a whirl. So hurry, hurry, tell me HOW to shop at ALDI!!!!

    - April

  159. I shop at ALDI’s weekly. I make a lot of healthy lunch boxes, and majority of the produce in my lunch boxes are purchased at ALDI’s. I have also made a point of introducing my readers to ALDI’s and informing them of how great their products are. GREAT POST!!!!

    - Roxanne

  160. Good for you, you should become their ambassador. I shopped at Aldi once, but I cannot remember what state I was in. It just doesn’t exist in Utah so I haven’t been back since.

    - carrian

  161. They have some fancy coffees (nothing whole bean that I remember?) and chocolates that are fun treats for a great price! I’m so glad you are sharing this. In an effort to eat healthier I have stopped shopping at Aldi so I look forward to see your grocery list of items and definitely plan on tryomg them out again! I kinda miss it. :)

    - megan

  162. LOVE Aldi, for certain things. It is the only place to stock up when the grandkids are coming, and they actually like the Cheerios substitute :-). Also like the produce, bag salad for less than 1/2 the grocery store price, some of the cheese, most of the canned vegetables, and pantry items like flour, sugar, etc.

    - Jen

  163. I’m so glad to read this post! I have never shopped at Aldi (didn’t even know it existed until I moved close to one!). We didn’t have them where I grew up, but my husband and I just moved close to one here in Dallas. I’ve been so curious about it! This was an awesome post and I’m so looking forward to your next 2! We are really trying to be more budget conscious with our grocery bill, so this is super helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    - little kitchie

  164. I can not imagine my life without Aldi. Love their fit and active brand. Love their prices. Love the ease and quickness I can get in and get out. Love seeing my receipt total. I would not be able to feed my family on the budget we need to without them. Can’t wait to read your favorite items…maybe I’ll find something new I didn’t know they carried!

    - Angie

  165. I love Aldi for most of the reasons you listed. I came to start shopping there right after I got married and moved into my own home. We go through a ton of milk, and even buying the store-brand at Walmart just seemed crazy expensive. I bought milk last week at Aldi for $1.99 a gallon. I about died and wanted to buy a month’s worth!

    I have two complaints about Aldi:
    1. The smell. One of the stores I go to smells like rotten food. The store itself is clean and there is no food wasting away on the shelves, but it reeks.
    2. In being “ninja fast” the cashiers THROW food (including glass wine bottles and produce) into the cart. I have had to stop multiple cashiers and make them slow down in order to have produce worth using once I got home. They got a tad pissy, but if they want my money they will not throw my food. I now have learned to arrange my items on the conveyor so that the tender items are last and will end up falling on top of my more sturdy items.

    - Dana

    • Yes you are correct in keeping an eye on your breakables and save until last to put on the counter. As far as the speed and attitude of the cashiers. They are required and evaluated on a regular basis by store manager and district manager, to scan so many items eyein a one hour period. The corporation is very strict with their cashiers regarding the speed of their scanning per/customer. That could be why the cashier seemed to have an attitude. Slowing down is what is considered tabu for them..If they had an express line, which they don’t, they may be able to reduce their speed. So watch your breakables.

      - Linda

  166. Great post & I look forward to the next two! We’re fortunate to have an Aldi close to our house & it is one of the two stores we stop at every weekend. You can’t beat their prices & I love their surprise specialty items.

    - Marie

  167. I friggin’ love Aldi. It’s a great way, as you said, to get basics without breaking the bank. I do the bulk of my shopping there and will hit Kroger to finish up. (I do not live somewhere cool enough to have WF and TJ.) One of the big things for me is that the selection is limited, and I don’t veer from the list. They also have some organic stuff on occasion at a price I can afford. Our Aldi even has Fage and Kefir.

    - Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

  168. I am an American expat in Germany. Of course, we have Aldi here. However, all German “discount” chains are just like Aldi… Lidl, Penny, etc. Here we have these chips that go on your key chain to put in the cart. It is quite genius! Also, I just keep my bags in the trunk at all times. Almost no one gives free bags in Germany.

    - Amanda

    • Amanda how does one get those chips, that would be so much handier than making certain we have the appropriate euro handy?
      We will be traveling to Germany this fall and look forward to shopping Aldis and the other markets . Simply love the frozen plum torte which I think we bought at Lidls and I love Europes yogurts and of course who can pass up brotchen and butter…yum!!!

      - Crys

  169. Yay for Aldi! I have been shopping here for about the past 5 years now. I had my reservations at first. Until I went in. I tend to buy the bulk of my groceries here. And the one I frequent has started carrying tons of “specialty” items and ‘upscale’ items – cheeses, oils, etc. I bought gorgonzola, marinated mozzarella and some infused olive oil! LOL. This is the place to go if you do a lot of holiday baking – butter, sugar and flour are super cheap. I have never had a ‘bad’ product from Aldi.

    - Tay

  170. Ha – I remember your friend’s mom taking you to Aldi for a shopping adventure when you were young. Who knew?!!

    - Ali's Mom

  171. I love Aldi! I admit I don’t go there as often as I’d like because there isn’t one super close to me. Between checking the ads at the local stores & getting the basics as well as cheap produce (19 cent avocados?) it saves us so much. Aaaaand I believe they were one of the first places to have milk products with no growth hormones, so that’s awesome!

    - Alicia Johnson

  172. This rocks! I am a total foodie and I looove cooking and I love Aldi! My husband and I actually usually do our grocery shopping at three (OR MORE?!) places in the name of saving money and getting what we really want. (I have a CSA share, so a lot of our produce comes from there, but obviously, not everything!)Our shopping strategy goes something like this: 1. Aldi first – Get everything that we can possibly get on the list here, because its cheap and its GOOD. 2. Trader Joe’s – Any produce or grocery items that Aldi doesn’t carry, or stuff I want to buy organic. 3. Regular grocery store – if I need something like smoked paprika that they don’t carry at other stores. This saves us SO MUCH money and we have never been disapointed by the quality at Aldi. I get so annoyed when people ask me if the food I get there is “rotten”. Great post! Looking forward to the next two!

    Oh, and my fav thing about Aldi besides “everything”? Their Fit and Active brand. And that this brand has several varieties of soy milk!

    - Shannon

  173. I shop at Aldi weekly as well as Sam’s Club. We go to Cub Foods only for certain ingredients as we need them. To think of how much money I used to waste there.

    Who can argue with a cart full of groceries for under $80?
    I think Aldi is a hidden gem and if you don’t like to shop at Aldi, it means you don’t like your money and prefer to pay more for the same thing elsewhere.
    Our Aldi is testing organic products!! I buy it every time I go there to do my part to help keep it there all the time!
    P.S. Did you know that Aldi is a division of Trader Joes? Brothers own each store.

    - Kelly Jo

  174. I miss not having an ALDI near me. That was the first place we looked for when we moved to our new town! When we lived in Minneapolis, the neighborhood kids would sit around Aldi hoping to get the quarters from the carts. I loved it because they woud help me with groceries! I told them they could have the quarter if they would help me load everything in the car…and added bonus when it is -40 degrees outside!

    - Julie P

  175. The closest ALDI to my house is in the same parking lot as a HyVee (well, I can work my way through 2 parking lots to get from one store to the other without having to get back on the busy street). It’s perfect. And I love shopping there (especially yogurt, cheese and avocado)! I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldi (and/or Costco), but for the few other things I need I stop at HyVee on my way home.

    I haven’t been brave enough to try the wine at Aldi so I’m curious to hear about it from you. I think I read that you love their Sangria (from comments yesterday, maybe?).

    - Amanda

  176. I love this. I shop at Aldi weekly. I LOVE that the store is small and I can get in and out with my 2 year old so quickly without having a meltdown. It’s the perfect size for a quick trip of basics & necessities. Sure, I’ll need to stop at a larger selection store occasionally, but overall, they really meet my needs, are friendly and fast. I have a friend that works there and will confirm that it is a positive work environment and a good company to work for. Thanks for the post. I’ve introduced several friends to Aldi, who have been skeptical, but have found some of their favorite brands to be Aldi’s off brands.

    - Bree Courtney

  177. Great post, Ali! My favorite thing about Aldi? Their Baker’s Corner brand – because everything is peanut & nut-free. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find some baking supplies, in particular chocolate chips, that are safe nowadays. In fact, they are the only brand of white chocolate and butterscotch chips that I know are safe for me, so I am always stopping by to stock up on those. Love Aldi!

    - Tracy

    • This is so good for me to know! I was reading this post and wondering about their allergen labeling because I do have peanut/tree nut allergies. We tend to stick with brands we know for that very reason… and that’s one reason I’ve not gone out of my way to go to Aldi. We don’t have an Aldi’s too close to us, but it would be possible for us to make occasional trips there. Thanks so much for sharing this!!

      - SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen

  178. I loved this post! I have been shopping at Aldi for about 2 years now, and I love it for all the same reasons you do. I think the biggest reason why I shop there is their low prices and good quality, sometimes even better taste than name brand – no joke! On a side note, I finally stepped into a store after I found out they own Trader Joe’s. I always wondered what the TJ faithful would say when they heard that?! Blew my mind! :)

    - Kathy

  179. I LOVE Aldi, too! It is my first choice, and first stop when I head to the grocery store. I save at least half of what I would spend if I were to buy the same things on my list at a regular grocery store. Plus I actually prefer there cheese, bread, and produce compared to what I can buy else where! I love to see others loving Aldi as much as I do!!!

    - Erica H.

  180. Chocolate!

    - Ian Beyer

    • I’ve shopped our Aldis for years – they are clean, well-staffed and have the BEST chocolate for crazy good prices. And the wine will surprise you too. Yes, they have limited selection, but I have been as happy with their quality of items as anywhere else. They also get seasonal items that are terrific. I have bought Kerrygold cheese there for less than half of the other stores. And the organic butter is CHEAP. I love that I can get in and out in about 20 minutes. I am to the point where I do most of my shopping there, and hit BJs 2 times a month for the other items I need. For those of you who have not yet tried them – give it a shot. Even my college-age son, who was EXTREMELY skeptical, is a loyal convert. He eats more of the convenience items then we do, and he says they are better than the name brands he had been buying.

      - Margaret

  181. My mom went to Aldi around the holidays to buy her holiday hams. She still claims they are the best!

    - Rachel

  182. Love it! I can’t wait for the next post!

    - Cassie | Bake Your Day

    • I too hated Aldi until recently. Thought it was the poor peoples store and was very influenced by the basic interior and smallness of it. I live in an upscale area of huge, amazing but expensive grocery stores. However due to an encouragement of a friend I gave it a fair chance and I love it. I like that it is not a monster store and you can get in and out fast. I have not had any problem with quality and things are really cheap there expecially basics and produce which you do have to check over. I do not do all my shopping there, I rotate one week Aldis, one week Whole Foods another week a regular chain. The money I save at Aldi is incredible its about half to one third less than at the expensive stores.

      - Toria