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I remember the first time I went to Aldi – it was nothing like I expected but in the end, it was SO much better! I actually called my mom and listed everything I bought and had her guess how much I spent.. I think I had paid around $60 and she guessed $110!
So what IS Aldi? Straight from the website, “ALDI, one of America’s favorite grocers*, operates more than 1,600 stores in 35 states. We take a simple, cost-effective approach to grocery shopping that saves shoppers on their grocery bills. In fact, smart shoppers have found that switching from national brands to ALDI exclusive brands can save them up to 50 percent** on their weekly must-haves. More than 40 million customers each month benefit from the ALDI streamlined approach, bringing shoppers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices every day.”
Aldi is one of my favorite ways to save money on groceries and I want to share with you what you need to know before you go there for the first time. Keep on reading for my tips!
Bring a quarter
Why do you need a quarter? If you want a cart, you need one. It is almost like renting the cart for 25 cents and getting your deposit back once it is safely returned. Why do you need to do this? Think about any other grocery store and carts strewn throughout the parking lot… you won’t see this at Aldi! They don’t have to pay someone to gather carts and don’t have to worry about damage to cars in the lot. This saves them a ton of money so it’s one more savings passed onto you.
Bring a bag
There are no baggers at Aldi and if you don’t have a bag, you pay a small fee. If you forget your bags in the car like I have before, don’t worry, they have all sorts of bags to purchase. There are reusable bags or paper, plastic, eco, or insulated. I’ve learned to keep my reusable bags in my trunk in case I ever want to go spur of the moment. I’ve also seen people not use bags at all and transfer from the cart to the trunk… whatever is easiest for you!
Expect to bag your food on your own
As mentioned, there are no baggers at Aldi. All of your items are scanned and put in your cart and then you do the bagging on a long table at the front of the store. Another way that Aldi saves money – not having to pay baggers!
Have an accepted form of payment
Aldi now accepts credit cards, but this is new. Don’t expect to pay with a check though or with Women, Infants, and Childrens program (WIC).
Items are in their packing boxes
Aldi saves time and the cost of paying more employees to stock shelves by putting the boxes of items directly on the shelves. Some people take these boxes to use to pack their groceries instead of using bags, so you may see empty boxes on the ground or on the table where you bag.
Check stores hours before you go
I have tried going on a Sunday before only to find they have closed at 7pm, so make sure and check your local store hours!
There’s usually only one brand
I’ll admit, at first I was a little thrown off by only having the option to purchase Aldi specific brands. Guess what? They still taste great! I know that some people refuse to buy generic (my husband is one that I am slowly changing) so this may not be the store for you, but if you’re willing to try something new and save a ton of money – check out Aldi!
There are only a few aisles
You won’t find everything you need here but you can get a lot of bang for your buck if you are willing to go to Aldi and then a second grocery store for other items.
There aren’t price tags on every item
There will either be a sign above or below the item, clearly listing the price. It’s nice not having to pick up each thing and see how much it is on the tiny tag!
There are just a few things to know before you go. Do you have any tips for new Aldi shoppers or any places you love to save money at?
*According to a survey of more than 6,000 consumers conducted in March 2014 by Market Force Information.
**Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.