Note: I am NOT getting paid by Aldi or any affiliate marketing company for this blog post. Aldi sells itself!
I regret to say I just recently started shopping at Aldi. I had seen the advertisements claiming you could save 40-50% but thought there’s no way a business would sell groceries for that much lower than the average supermarket. I’m a cynic so thought it was too good to be true. After talking to my sister-in-law about it, I googled Aldi to see if there were any stores near me. I’m not a shopper so don’t typically pay attention to stores in my area. There happened to be two locations, one about 15 minutes from my house and another a little further but on my way home from work so quite convenient. I gave it a try and have been a convert ever since.
I had also educated myself while searching for locations as to why Aldi can sell items lower than the average supermarket and it all made sense:
- They keep their overhead low by limiting hours (sorry – you won’t be able to shop there at 2 in the morning)
- They carry only the most commonly purchased items and these items are not displayed in fancy display cases. They’re displayed in their shipping boxes which also limits the amount of time employees have to stock shelves
- They offer mostly private labels eliminating the middleman
- They offer fewer bar codes (about 1500 versus a standard grocery of about 50,000)
- They use local farmers for produce which is sometimes organic
- Their stores are small taking up less of a footprint plus they use energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration (I love this – can get in and out quickly).
- Their quarter cart system puts the customer to work rather than using employees to corral the carts out of the parking lot
- The customer is also responsible for bagging their own groceries
- They employ few associates per store and they’re trained to multi-task
I still shop at my local grocery store and wholesale club for certain items. For instance, I buy deli meat for my daughter and my son’s favorite brand of protein bars at another big name grocery store. However, here are some staples I buy from Aldi on a routine basis:
- Organic Milk – $3 cheaper
- Eggs – about $2 to $3 cheaper for one dozen
- Almond Milk – $1 to $2 cheaper
- Ground Turkey – $1.50 to $2 cheaper per pound
- Gluten free spaghetti pasta – $1 to $2 cheaper
- Liquid fabric softener – $2 cheaper (plus cheaper than my wholesale club)
- Organic baby spinach – $1 cheaper
- Organic salsa – $.50 – $1 cheaper
- Hamburger buns – $1 to $1.50 cheaper
- Sour cream – $.50 – $1 cheaper
- Ibuprofen – $1 to $2 cheaper
- Granola bars – $.50 to $1 cheaper
- Taco shells – $.50 cheaper
- Shredded Parmesan cheese – $1 cheaper
- Wine – I can get a decent bottle of red wine for $6 to $7
- Specialty cheese – $3 cheaper for a block and they’re really good
- Fruit and Veggies are cheaper but hit and miss on freshness
The snacks at Aldi are cheap even though I rarely buy them. However, if we’re having a party or cookout, this is where I’ll get snacks plus I feel better knowing I can buy junk food without spending a ton of money.
Now my family of four saves about $100 a week on groceries. Of course the frugal person in me regrets not discovering this 20 years ago when my adult life began. That’s $5,200 wasted every year! If I started shopping at Aldi 20 years ago, I’d have $104,000 more to use on life goals or savings. If I were to have invested the $5,200 into a mutual fund using a conservative interest rate of 7%, I’d have $220,000! This may sound odd to you but this is how my frugal mind works.
This post is not to convince you to shop at Aldi. It makes me feel better writing about it and sharing this well kept secret. It’s your decision whether you want to save money or not 🙂