I feel like some people just don’t get Aldi. The brands are off, the cart policy is unusual, cardboard boxes are used in lieu of plastic bags, and the store is always at some offbeat location that’s hidden behind a hardware store or something of that ilk.
I’ll admit I drove by it for years without stepping foot inside.
My husband, too, turned his nose up at it until I introduced him to their shredded cheese: pillowy soft, rich with flavor, and devoid of that weird, white powder. He was a goner.
While Trader Joe’s (same owner, didja know??) has a proud cult following who get downright orgasmic over the Two-Buck Chuck and cauliflower fried rice, Aldi is like TJ’s younger, less pretty sister.
Yet Aldi thrills me. I feel a little elation pulling into the parking lot, a jolt of energy when I trade my quarter for a cart.
Why? In a word: savings. The savings, people.
I go every week and I’m still reeling each time from how low my total bill is when I check out. My monthly grocery bill was easily cut in half, just from buying as much as I can at this store. I have to stress the savings are substantial, it isn’t a matter of just saving a few pennies. I’ve reduced my monthly grocery spending drastically since discovering this gem.
Around 80% (this is math I pulled out of thin air, but I feel is accurate) of my grocery shopping is accomplished at Aldi. I’ll admit, I have to round off my shopping at the big-name grocer down the way, but that is only because of how I plan my meals. It’s entirely possible to purchase all the groceries you need at Aldi.
One fun thing about Aldi is discovering what is on the shelves each time I go. Last week we had planned to make gyros one evening and I had to add pitas to our list. I couldn’t remember if Aldi stocked them, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they do (both white and wheat)! They were less expensive than our big-name grocer, and they tasted great! That’s one more thing I can count on picking up there from now on.
I’ve compiled a list of items I purchase at Aldi that I find to be a significantly lower price than at the big-name grocer. Note, these are just a few off the top of my head, certainly there is much more stock on Aldi’s shelves that I’m either forgetting to mention, or I haven’t had the need to buy yet.
pork shoulder – this deserves a special mention! Not only is it less expensive but we vastly prefer it to the big-name store’s. It shreds wonderfully and makes for great pulled pork sandwiches and Mofongo (a favorite dish we discovered on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico)
pork breakfast sausage
hot Italian Sausage
steak- they have a variety of cuts
Although they do not have every veggie, fruit, and herb under the sun, their variety is substantial. What I buy regularly:
EVOO- holy crap is their EVOO affordable! Least expensive I’ve seen and we go through this like whoa
white wine vinegar
dark chocolate salted caramels, OMG
pain relievers (Ibuprofen)
There is much, much more available that I haven’t listed here. The snack aisle is particularly becoming, and they have a refrigerated section with artisanal cheeses, spreads, dips, and fancier meats that always draws a crowd.
It’s also worth mentioning that Aldi is an easy store to save money at, not just because of the lower prices but because of the nature of the store. If you go in with a list in hand, it’s likely you’ll actually make it out of the store with just those items. Unlike larger stores that have promotional displays and use all kinds of marketing techniques to get you to impulse buy, Aldi’s setup is straight forward and minimal. I can get in and out of there in about ten minutes.
Don’t forget the pizza!
If you go to Aldi check out my actual favorite Aldi buy which is their homemade pizza. It’s in the refrigerated section in a cardboard box. It’s $5.99 but can sometimes be nabbed on sale for $4.99. The pizza is HUGE. It fed me and my husband for days, and I have no doubt it could feed a family of four with leftovers. It cooks well in the oven, has a deliciously crispy crust and is generous with the toppings (we got the pep). I recommend baking it for five minutes longer than the box directs if you like your crust a little crisp, like me. I bought this one night after seeing a woman marching through the aisles with her giant pizza and just had to know what that was and where she acquired it. As soon as I mentioned the word pizza the whole store was abuzz. No less than three different people let me know how amazing it was and that I had to try it. Yes, it’s more cost effective, and often yummier to make your pizza from scratch, but sometimes you just need a quick answer to the question of “what’s for dinner??”.
I still have fond memories of the Friday night when my husband and I baked our Aldi pizza and shared a bottle of Aldi Cabernet Sauvignon ($3.99). No muss, no fuss.
If you’re tired of your exorbitant grocery bill and you’ve been giving Aldi the side-eye every time you pass it, swing into the parking lot and give it a try! I suggest writing out your grocery list as you normally do and stop at Aldi first to acquire as much as you possibly can there. On your drive home, as you’re glowing from the euphoria of your savings, stop at a larger grocer that will carry those few extra items on your list. It may seem like a lot of time and effort at first, grocery shopping can be unpleasant especially if you are tired and hangry, but it’s worth slashing your grocery bill in half.
Pretty soon you’ll have your own list of go-tos, favorites, and memory makers!
What do you buy at Aldi? If there is an item that you particularly love let me know in the comments!