Why I Love ALDI — At The Holidays and Everyday!

I love ALDI. Good food. Great prices. What’s not to love?

So when I was given the chance to get a $25 ADLI gift certificate and the chance to talk to you all about ALDI, well, to say I jumped on it would probably be understating it :)

For those of you not familiar with it, shopping at ALDI is a bit of a different experience.  They are dedicated to keeping their prices as low as possible–and there are some big differences from your local grocer to help them in this goal.  For example, you need a quarter to release your cart from the queue outside (don’t worry-you get it back when you return the cart), the products are arranged more warehouse style in boxes (see the picture below) and you have to either buy bags or bring your own (reduce-recycle-reuse!).

ALDI also stocks mostly their own house brands, although they do have some major name brands you would recognize.  They have items that they stock constantly, but then there are other “special” theme items that they rotate through for a month or so at a time.  Right now of course the items are holiday related–but they do feature Asian food, Mexican and Germany at different points throughout the year.  If you find an Asian stirfry sauce you love, buy a few bottles–it will have to last you until it comes back again next year!

ALDI prices are amazingly cheap.  I buy gallons of milk for $1.89 (it’s always super fresh-the “buy by” date is always at least 2 weeks away). They have eggs for $1.39, 5lbs of sugar for $1.89. . . well you get the point.  However you aren’t going to get a lot of selection for each individual item. As I said ALDI features mainly their own brand–so if you want tuna in a can you’ll be able to choose oil packed or water packed–but that’s it, they will have the ALDI brand and no other (note-they also have 3 kinds of flavored tuna in pouches).  That doesn’t bother me a bit as I’ve always found the quality to be outstanding, and it saves me the stress of having to comparison shop and decided which of the 10 kinds of tuna I want to buy.  I find it actually speeds up my shopping trip!

So lets start our little tour of ALDI for the holidays.
Of course I took my quarter and got my cart, then grabbed a copy of the current flier on my way through the door.  You can flip through and see what items are on special that week.

ALDI is an amazing place to shop for your basics–I try to buy all my baking supplies there!  The prices seriously can’t be beat–and in Nov-Jan a few of them are marked way down for the holiday baking season–like the 5lbs bags of white flour for $.99.  Yup, you heard me right, $.99.  That’s when I stock up on flour and pour about 10 bags or so into my 5 gallon bucket with the gamma seal lid!  Oh, and their brownie mix?  I always get RAVE reviews every time I take a pan of ALDI brownies somewhere.  $.89 and it makes an 8X11 pan. . . how can you go wrong?  The box cake mixes are great too.  I use them all the time for birthday cakes, cupcakes, even “cake mix cookies”.

If you don’t like to bake–never fear!  ALDI has plenty of premade options for the holidays (as well as for everyday).  Oh, as a hint–the items that are seasonal usually have a different color tag than the constantly available ones (which are yellow).  This year all the holiday items had blue tags with red bows on them :)  Oh, and ALDI is actually a German brand, so at the holidays they have some AMAZING chocolate offerings.  Mmmm.  ALDI has more than just groceries.  They have papergoods, personal care items and pet items.  They even have water softener pellets!  And then in the back they have a small area dedicated to “hard goods” that also rotate by season.  Right now it is full of great Christmas/Holiday gifts and decorations.  Starting this month (January) they usually feature organizing and exercising gear.  Near Easter, it’s items for the kids baskets. . . you get the idea!  The prices are again very, very good!  I mean seriously-a Graco baby doll stroller for $24.99?  An enamel cast iron casserole for $29.99?

Hosting a party? They’ve got you covered there too!  This year they had a FANTASTIC selection of special cheeses. . . mmmm. . . we purchased a bunch to use for our little home New Years party (as well as noshing all holiday season).  I did not get the cheese fondue kit, but it looked really fun!If you need a bouquet of flowers as a hostess gift, or just to brighten up you own day–what about a $3.99 bouquet of half a dozen roses?

And if you are tired from all your shopping,  you can pick up a pizza to bake at home for just $4.99.

Of course you can get everything else you’d need at ALDI as well-their produce section is nice (and of course cheap)–last spring & summer they had a great “artisan lettuce” mix that was SO good for just under $3.  They always have nice broccoli crowns, lettuce and cukes.  Their bannanas frequently need a bit of time to finish ripening, but they are about $.10 less a lb than all the other local stores.  The bread is also very very reasonable, and they have a good meat section.  I frequently buy their large packages of sausages for grilling in the summer and it’s another item that folks compliment me on and can’t believe come from ALDI.

When you check out you do either need your own bags or to purchase them.  The cashier doesn’t bag for you-the items simply get loaded into another cart and you can either use the bagging tables at the front of the store or you can take it out to your car and bag it as you load it in (which is my preference as long as it isn’t raining or too cold).  Oh–also I’m not sure if this is nation wide or not–but my ALDI doesn’t take credit cards-you can either pay with a local check, cash or a debit card.  So plan on that!

As you head out the door, make sure you pick up a flier with next week’s special deals–you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything!

Are there any of you who have been thinking about shopping at ALDI but were too shy to try?  I’m happy to answer any questions you might have!

Disclaimer:  I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for ALDI. I received a gift certificate to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

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Comments

  1. Mary Ann says

    I do the bulk of my weekly shopping at Aldi. The prices have helped our budget so much! I love their gourmet cheeses, especially fresh mozzarella. Our Aldi also accepts EBT (food stamps) but not credit cards.

    • says

      Mary Ann–I think the no credit card thing is probably nation wide–I can see where it would fit in with their cost saving measures since companies lose a bit of money with every credit card transaction they run.

  2. Jane says

    The no credit card is all of them, I think. Mine does not take checks. All should take EBT (think that’s what it’s called) cards, too. Hint when traveling: if you find you need cash, go to Aldi & buy something (small) with debit card and get cash back. No fees!

    The only thing I’ve bought & not liked was yogurt, but I am very picky about yogurt. I need to try theirs again, as I think it’s changed.

    • says

      Jane: Yours doesn’t take check? That’s too bad. . . they must have been stiffed too many times by folks with bad checks.

      As for the yogurt–I noticed on the trip that I took these pictures that they now have a house brand of Greek yogurt. They also had a house brand of Organic Butter, which I thought was interesting. Of course it cost more than the ordinary butter. . .

  3. Gwen says

    Thanks for the Aldi update. I shop their frequently but didn’t notice some of the things you talked about…like the different labels for seasonal items, and the “next week’s ad” before you head out the door. And if it’s not too late, I’m going to try and go get one of those enamel cast iron pots.

  4. says

    Great post! I am an Aldi lover as it helps my grocery budget immensely! Pertaining to their yogurt, I buy it regularly and really like it.
    My newest find there is their day and night face cream! Not kidding! (And I used to only use Lancome!) I read a review that another blogger posted so I thought I’d try it out. I really like it and am on my 2nd container. Try it out, it’s only $4.99!

  5. Juli E. says

    I live in Ohio and my local Aldi does not take checks either. I do love just about everything I have brought there. I was just there today!

  6. says

    I also love shopping at Aldi. I wish we had had one here when I had three teenagers living at home! The only negative that I have found is with the fresh produce. I shop every two weeks and I find that Aldi’s produce, especially the fruit, doesn’t last as long as what I buy in a traditional grocery store. Not exactly sure why that is but it certainly isn’t enough of an inconvenience to make me stop shopping there!

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