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Do you have an Aldi grocery store in your town? If so, have you been yet? If you haven’t, you may not know what you’re missing if you’re not shopping at Aldi.
In case you aren’t familiar with this chain of discount grocery stores, it is a global company based in Germany with over 10,000 stores in 18 countries. The name comes from the two founding Albrecht brothers, Karl and Theo, and the German word for discount. ALbrecht DIskont.
There are two divisions, one of which includes Trader Joes, and who doesn’t love TJ’s? 🙂
Aldi is a no-frills experience, which is how they are able to offer their customers lower prices. They carry staple items like food and beverages, toilet paper and kitchen goods, and household items. Much of what you will find at Aldi is their own store brand, but they do also carry some national brands.
Since their selection is smaller than other grocery store chains, the stores are also smaller. They do not accept manufacturer’s coupons, and you have to bag your own groceries. An employee at our local Aldi told me they never have more than two employees on duty at any given time.
From an employee standpoint, he told me that means they start at higher salaries than other jobs. He told me he started at $12 an hour and quickly was increased to $17 an hour. Not bad!
So let’s get into what it’s like to shop at Aldi.
Let me start by saying that I am a grocery store snob. I love going grocery shopping and want to enjoy my experience. I will not revisit a grocery store that has dingy lighting or is dirty, smells weird, has sad looking produce on life support, or messy presentation.
The first time I went to an Aldi was several years ago when we lived in Virginia. I didn’t know what it was all about, and that particular location was not impressive. I didn’t like it, so I never went back.
Then when I started hearing younger folks in one of my Facebook groups raving about it, I decided to try again here in Texas at a recently opened location. What a difference! I loved it and have made shopping there part of my routine.
One week I visited another location in a different part of town, and I didn’t like it. It was messy and not very clean.
What I’ve learned is that the experience can vary by location, so you may want to try out different locations if you have them in your area to find one you like.
So you pull up to the store, and the first thing you may notice is that there are no orphaned grocery carts littering the parking lot. German efficiency at work there. You have to pay for your shopping cart! But before you panic, it’s actually kind of fun.
Make sure you take a quarter with you to the store. All of the carts are corralled into a designated area and are all hooked together with little chains. You insert your quarter into the cart you want, and it forces the chain to unlock from the rest of the carts.
When you are leaving the store, you simply connect the little chain back to your cart and your quarter pops back out! (My daughter texts me a picture of her holding a quarter when she’s making an Aldi run in her college town.) 🙂
Aldi is a great place for students to get good quality food without blowing their food budget.
Then, once you get inside, you’ll see neatly arranged aisles, possibly with the merchandise still in its shipping cardboard. Remember they run a lean ship at Aldi, so there are not a bunch of employees around to unbox the merch.
But it’s okay! Everything is nice and neat so you should have no trouble finding what you are looking for. I kind of like having smaller selections of staples. How many mustards do you need to choose from to make a decision?
The produce at Aldi is a small selection but it is fresh and very well priced. I was there today and saw really nice sized avocados for 89 cents a piece. That is much lower than in larger grocery stores in our area.
They have a wonderful selection of snacks, meats and cheeses, and dairy. Their store brand trail mixes and dried fruit are delicious and much less expensive than their name brand counterparts.
Large bags of trail mix are $4.89. Same goes for their organic milk. Their store brand organic whole milk is $2.95 for a half gallon.
In our area, the name brand is well over $4 for a half gallon. They have grain fed beef and chicken and all kinds of frozen seafood.
One of my favorite meals to make from Aldi involves their marinated fajita skirt steak. The marinade is SO GOOD and tastes just like restaurant fajitas.
I put it in my Instant Pot on the Saute function and brown the meat on all sides. Then I put about a cup of beef broth in and set the pressure on high and the timer for 25 minutes. That gives me time to cut up tomatoes and onions and avocados and cook these awesome ready-to-cook tortillas from Aldi in a cast iron skillet. Then I crumble up some Cacique cheese.
Fajitas for dinner in 30 minutes. Yes. 🙂 (If you haven’t read about why I love cooking with an Instant Pot, you can read my blog post here.)
There are some things I just love at Aldi. Number one on my list is Dunkers. These are delicious chocolate chip cookies that dunk perfectly in a cup of coffee or glass of milk.
And I LOVE their German coffee. $4.99 a pound.
Also, they have wine and beer! It’s very reasonably priced and you can find some really good ones.
And don’t worry if you’re thinking you might not be able to find all those fun seasonal favorites there. Look at all this pumpkin flavored stuff I found!
And don’t forget the Cheerios!
My FAVORITE aisle is the Aldi Finds aisle. Here you will find all KINDS of stuff like baby items, rugs, home decor, workout accessories, vacuums, cookware, shoes, closet organization items, and you never know what else! The prices are great. It changes every week so if you find something you like, you’d better grab it because it might not be there next week.
A few other things to know about shopping at Aldi.
- Go on Wednesdays. That is the day the new ad breaks and the prices go into effect for that week.
- You have to bag your own groceries. With your own bags. If you don’t have any the first time you go, you can buy either paper or plastic reusable bags at the register for a minimal cost. I still have the first ones I bought and just keep them in my car.
- All of their store brand dairy products are rBST free, which means their products come from cows that have not been given hormones to boost their milk production.
- They now accept contactless payment! Both Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.
- They have a double money back guarantee on food items. If you buy something you don’t like, you can return it and they will refund your money AND give you a similarly priced item.
- And on that note, you may not love EVERYTHING they have. Some store brand items taste exactly like their more expensive name brand counterparts, and some don’t. Like their colas. Not the same. Not good. And their version of Lucky Charms. No. (Yes I’m old and I still like the sugary cereals of my youth. Don’t judge.) 🙂 I’ll have to shell out for the real deal to get my magically delicious fix.
Speaking of that, and this is totally unrelated to Aldi, DID YOU KNOW you can order Cereal Marshmallows and have them delivered to your house? There are never enough marshmallows in Lucky Charms. Maybe because I eat them dry right out of the box. But whatever.
Based on my years of scientific research, there is definitely an ideal ratio of marshmallows to whatever that other dry stuff in there is. I will use the Aldi version of Lucky Charms to illustrate what that magic ratio is:
So you can order just marshmallows and add them to your cereal and make that stuff taste the way God meant it to. What a great time to be alive! I’m out and proud about my children’s cereal thing. But even if you are a closet kid’s cereal lover, now you can have extra marshmallows delivered and no one need know of your shame. 🙂
All this Lucky Charm advice is free of charge. You’re welcome. 🙂 See? Good things come to those who read all the way to the end of blogs.
So if you have not yet experienced shopping at Aldi, give it a try! You may find you really like it. I usually go to supplement my grocery run at my neighborhood store. (Which has a Starbucks inside, so I’m never abandoning that place). 🙂 I haven’t yet tried going there for everything I need for the week. But I plan to try and see how that works out.
If you go, let me know how you liked it in the comment section. And don’t forget your quarter for your shopping cart! 🙂
And don’t forget to check out Pinterest!