How to Shop at Aldi

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Aldi Food Market

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:

Reusable Bags

Before heading into the store, I made a quick stop at my trunk for reusable bags.

Buy Grocery 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.

Aldi Shopping Carts

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).

Saltine Crackers

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.

Aldi Meat

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:

Goat Cheese

4-oz. goat cheese logs were $1.69. These sell for close to $4 at my Kroger, so that’s a huge savings!

Pineapple Sign

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:

Aldi Food

(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

Aldi Groceries

Aldi Purchase

Heading to the Check Out Line

Checking out is a bit different at Aldi, so let me show you how that works, too …

Bag Your Own Groceries

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.

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  1. Love the produce prices and the clearance sale. Dont snooze or you will lose. Dont come back for something thats on special it most likely wont be there!

  2. Hi. This was a good article, very useful. Here in upstate NY, near Albany, we also have Price Rite, which works pretty much the same way. And We have a little market called Save A Lot, and Ocean State Job Lots. Those are very good, inexpensive shopping options too, in addition to Aldi. I enjoy your information very much.

  3. They have a line of gluten free foods now, LiveGFree and carry a limited selection of gf crackers, cereals, cookies, bread, frozen items like burritos, personal pizza, chicken nuggets etc. I have liked most of the items. Of course they are much less than a grocers and since they are processed foods still, I don’t buy a lot but it’s worth the trip to stock up.

    1. Great tip. My neighbor was just telling me about the gluten-free line. I think it’s great there’s now a more affordable option for people who have to, or choose to, eat gluten-free.

  4. Milk is the deal I look for. We have several Aldis in our area but I shop at the one which has the lowest milk prices. The one in the neighboring town has milk that is 20 to 30 cents cheaper then the rest.

  5. I love our Aldi store. It’s fast in and out. Cashiers are quick and friendly. They have a great produce section. Way better than Walmart. May not be as nice as the other local grocery store but less $.

  6. How I make my ALDI Shop a No Fuss.
    When I get out of the car, I have a quarter in hand and offer it to some one off loading their groceries. Then, I put my reusable bags which are lined with boxes into the cart as a cart liner. Then, I do my shopping putting things in the bags, when I get to check out, I un pack the bags in reverse heavy items first. and lighter stuff last. The empty bags then stay in the cart ready for checkout person to “Refill the Cart”. This cuts out the need for me to duplicate the packing up step. Then I offer some one entering the store to purchase my cart from me as a safety enhancement as they walk in the parking lot. A Cart often attracts a backing up driver before a pedestrian does.

  7. I believe they are taking credit cards now. Also, I have noticed that a few things are the same price as elsewhere or even a touch higher, so be watchful.
    (I keep meaning to start a small notebook listing prices at the different stores so I know where to go for what)

    1. Yep, you’re right on both counts: they do take credit cards now, and the last time I was in, I noticed their apple prices had shot up to regular grocery store prices. There are plenty of good deals to be had, but you really have to know your prices.

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