ALDI 101: Why I Shop At Aldi

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 grocery stores.  But about eight years ago, I set foot in my first ALDI and have been a happy and loyal customer ever since!

So for something different, 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 someone who loves business strategy, 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

That said, I do want to say right off that this is not a sponsored post, and has not been written in any sort of collaboration 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 today I’m sharing “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 stores 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 Total 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 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 sometimes — 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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266 comments on “ALDI 101: Why I Shop At Aldi”

  1. 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!

    • 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 :-)

  2. 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!

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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 :)

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. “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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. =)

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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. :)

  27. 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 :)

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

  29. 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. :)

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

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

  36. 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. :)

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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, 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??

    • 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.

  41. 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!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. 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!

  43. 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?

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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.

    • 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!

  48. 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!!!

    • 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.

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  50. 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!