By Erin Huffstetler | 11/05/2013 | 10 Comments
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Ever shopped at an Aldi? It’s definitely worth a trip, if you’ve never been. I stopped by our local store last Friday to stock up on some things. Here’s a look at my shopping trip:
Before heading into the store, I made a quick stop at my trunk for reusable bags.
They don’t offer free plastic bags, so you either have to bring your own, buy bags at the register or pull empty boxes off the store shelves.
My next stop was the cart return. All of the shopping carts are locked together, and you have to insert a quarter into a cart to free it from the others. You get your quarter back when you return the cart, so it’s not a big deal. Aldi does this so they don’t have to hire someone to round up the carts in the parking lot. Pretty smart. It helps to keep the prices down, so I don’t mind a bit (and my kids think it’s really fun).
Armed with my bags and a cart, I headed into the store to get down to business. Aldi is basically set up like a mini warehouse store. It’s much smaller than a traditional grocery store, and far less polished. The merchandise sits in cases on the shelves, rather than directly on the shelves (thereby cutting down on stocking time), and the inventory varies quite a bit from week to week.
Plenty of people do all of their shopping at Aldi, and you definitely could. There’s a meat section, a dairy case, a frozen food section, a produce department – all the stuff that you’d need to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping. However, being a hard-core bargain shopper, I go to Aldi to cherry-pick the very best deals. Like any store, some deals are just better than others, and it pays to know what a “good” deal is on each item that you buy.
Here are a couple stand-out deals that I spotted on this trip:
4-oz. goat cheese logs were $1.69. These sell for close to $4 at my Kroger, so that’s a huge savings!
And fresh pineapples were selling for $1.49. These sell for $3.50 each at my Kroger!
And those aren’t the only deals that I found. Here’s a look at what I bought on this trip:
(3) Goat cheese logs – $1.69 each
(2) Fresh pineapples – $1.49 each
(6) Bags of chocolate chips – $1.29 each
(4) Sticks on unsalted butter – $1.99
(1) Bottle of canola oil – $2.59
(1) Bottle of olive oil – $2.59
(1) Jar of minced garlic – $1.99
(1) Carton of raisins – $1.69
(4) Jars of roasted red peppers (clearance) – $.89 each
(1) Container of hummus – $1.99
(1) Box of saltine crackers – $.95
(1) Jar of unsweetened applesauce – $2.19
(1) Block of cream cheese – $.99
(1) Gallon of apple cider – $2.99
(1) Bag of Halloween marshmallows (clearance) – $.49
Heading to the Check Out Line
Checking out is a bit different at Aldi, so let me show you how that works, too …
I already mentioned that you have to provide your own bags or buy them, but there are a few other unique things that you’ll want to know before you go:
1. Aldi accepts debit cards and cash, but not credit cards.
2. Coupons aren’t accepted.
3. You have to bag your own groceries. They’ll ring everything up, and stick it back in your cart. After you pay, you can roll your cart over to the bagging area and bag your own groceries.
These are just some ways that Aldi keeps costs down, so it’s worth the extra hassle.
How Often I Shop
Time is valuable, so I don’t hit Aldi every week – just when they’re running a special that I want to take advantage of or when I need to restock my pantry. They put out a weekly sales ad, so it’s easy to see what they have without making a trip to the store.
And here’s something that I love … you can pick up next week’s ad on your way out the door. How cool is that?
Are You an Aldi Shopper?
I’d love to hear what you buy there.