Aldi seems to elicit strong reactions from people for a variety of reasons. Personally, I love Aldi. I continue to be amazed at the money I save by shopping there and I am continually impressed by their products. As the holidays approach, a season where I tend to spend more on groceries and baking supplies, saving dollars by shopping at Aldi makes sense.
First, a little back story. I discovered Aldi in the swanky neighborhood of Danada, IL, near Wheaton in the 1990s. I laugh now as I think how out-of-place Aldi seemed among the high-end salons, the boutique stores, and the pricey grocery stores. As a young married woman, trying to stretch her grocery dollars, I was amazed at how much more I could buy at Aldi than if I headed over to the local Jewel or Dominicks.
The first time I stepped inside the store I realized there was a “right” way and a “wrong” way to shop at Aldi. I needed cash or a debit card for starters. I needed a quarter to use a shopping cart. I needed to bring my own bags and bag my groceries. Once I figured out those details, I was ready to go.
I also quickly learned to be careful who I told that I shopped at Aldi. Among some, Aldi was thought of as “the ghetto store” or “the trashy grocery store.”
After we moved from the area, I went through a long non-Aldi stretch. No store was found near where I lived. On more than one occasion during the graduate school years, I wished for an Aldi store to help stretch my grocery dollars even farther. When an Aldi store opened near the Smith Haven mall a couple of years ago, I happily resumed my Aldi-shopping habits.
Every household has their favorite products/grocery items that they love. When I make my weekly or biweekly trip to Aldi, you can bet the following items are in my cart. (BTW, if you are new to Aldi, don’t think of this store as your “one-stop-kind-of-store.” I probably do 80-90% of my shopping at Aldi and pick up the rest of my groceries at the local Stop-n-Shop.)
- Aldi Frosted Mini Wheats—my family swears they taste as good as or better than the name brand version. At $2.09 a box, I buy 4 or 5 at a time.
- Aldi Half-n-Half—By far, the cheapest price around. Again, I buy a couple to stash in the frig.
- Butter—cheap and good.
- Milk—In recent months, Aldi started to carry 1% milk. Hallelujah! The price difference from the regular grocery store is sometimes close to a $1 in savings. FYI, Aldi carries almond milk and lactose free milk too.
- Greek yogurt—Whether it is individual cartons or the quart-size container, the price can’t be beat and the texture and flavors are as good as the name brands.
- Fresh mozzarella—In the summer, when my go-to lunch is a tomato sandwich with basil and fresh mozzarella, I am glad for the great taste and low price of this item.
- Frozen orange juice concentrate—The shelf in my freezer is routinely stocked with a row of Aldi orange juice cartons. $1.49 a carton!
- Ice cream—No one in our family seems to complain about any of the varieties. From vanilla to chocolate chip cookie dough to cookies and cream, there is a flavor for everyone.
- Seasonal items—This past summer we bought a window AC unit for our bedroom for $100. None of the other home improvement box stores could touch the price. You never know what you will find in this middle section of the store.
- Potato Chips—Most bags are under $2. While I don’t eat a lot of chips, the mesquite barbecue and salt and pepper kettle chips are tasty. We also love the tortilla chips in our house.
I would love to hear your thoughts about Aldi. Do you love it or hate it? What are some of your favorite products?