Before I stepped foot in an Aldi, I envisioned the grocery store being like a maze of European products that left me puzzled and confused. I was intimidated (and slightly afraid) of what it would be like shopping there. But, one quiet night, about a year ago, everything changed. Will and I were feeling adventurous (I know. This may not sound like your idea of an adventure!) and decided to drive down the street and check out the Aldi grocery store that had been opened for months. Fast forward to today, and Aldi has surpassed our expectations. It is the grocery store we frequent the most. Over the year, we have pinpointed the perks of shopping at Aldi that just keep us coming back every week, and they are honestly too good not to share!
Shopping at Aldi
If you haven’t heard of it Aldi is German discount grocery store with locations in 20 countries. In the U.S., Aldi stores are located in 36 states, mainly in the east coast, midwest and southern California. Now, here are the reasons we love shopping at Aldi and prefer it to all the other mainstream grocery stores in the DC area.
Without a doubt, this is the biggest of all the perks of shopping at Aldi. So many of the prices truly surprised the first time we went to Aldi. In the past year we have probably saved a couple thousand dollars by shopping at Aldi. I estimate our groceries at Aldi cost an average of $65 each week. This often includes a couple meals, portioned for four or more people, so we have leftovers, food for lunches, produce, alcohol, cat food and more! When shopping for the same types of items at the other grocery stores in our area, we easily spend close to double what we do at Aldi.
(Note: the estimates are rough. I work from home and eat a large portion of meals at home. Will’s work weeks vary a lot and some weeks he is traveling the whole time.)
Aldi is smaller than mainstream grocery stores and that means there are less options. Compared to other grocery stores, I’d say it’s comparable in size to Trader Joe’s. Will & I quickly realized how wonderful and refreshing it can be to walk down an aisle and see three options of one product instead of 20. Ultimately, this leads to a faster shopping experience. When we are at Aldi, we can easily get a week’s worth of groceries in thirty minutes. It seems to takes us twice as long at other grocery stores…. maybe it is because they are twice as big!
The produce was what I was most concerned about the first time I walked into Aldi. The quality of fresh produce surprised me then, and I still get surprised at how long vegetables and fruit from Aldi last at home. They have a lot of organic produce options too. I often buy big bags of fruit and I can count on them to stay fresh for a couple weeks when refrigerated.
I always thought it should not cost an arm and a leg to have healthy food options. Some healthy food brands are outrageously expensive, and healthy food is something that everyone should be able to afford. At Aldi, there is an impressive range of healthy, organic food options.
On top of that, since 2015, all of Aldi’s exclusive brand food products have been free of certified synthetic colors, added MSG and partially hydrogenated oils/trans fat. With that in mind, you don’t have to worry or spend that extra time looking at the label of your popsicles for Red No. 2! Aldi has an exclusive organic line and gluten free line full of all the pantry essentials, dairy snacks, frozen foods and more.
Chocolate & Cheese
What better perk to end with right?! You all already know I’m a cheese lover, and if you don’t know, my obsession with chocolate is just as strong as it is with cheese. The selection for both does not disappoint at Aldi. The quality is so good and there is a solid range of flavors.
A few honorable mentions . . .
In addition to the perks I’ve shared, there are a couple other things I want to mention. First, Aldi has a great selection of affordable beer and wine. We personally, love their Belgian style “Kinroo” and their version of Corona.
Second, the store has an aisle or two for seasonal items, which can range from kitchen supplies and rugs to pool floats and alarm clocks. If you’re living abroad in Europe or in the U.S. temporarily, it would be a great spot to get affordable pieces.
Lastly, one of the coolest things about Aldi is how familiar it feels when you travel abroad. We went to Aldi on New Years Eve in a small town in Switzerland, and it was refreshing to know exactly where to go. Several brands were exactly the same too!
While I think many of you will agree these perks are pretty awesome, there are a couple potential negatives about sharing at Aldi I have to make you aware of ahead of time. Shopping at Aldi is not for you if/when:
- You don’t know what to do without a checkout person to put all your items in plastic bags. Now, you can pay 45 cents for one plastic bag, but you have to bag your groceries yourself. The large majority of Aldi shoppers use recycled boxes from in the store or reusable grocery bags.
- You don’t have a quarter on hand for a grocery cart. NoteL The quarter system for their grocery carts is Aldi’s way of ensuring their carts aren’t stolen. Your quarter pops out of the slot when your cart is returned and connected to the other carts.
- You need very specific items for a recipe.
- You prefer name brand products, well known in the U.S.
So, there you have it. If you’ve never been shopping at Aldi and have been wondering about it, like I was, I hope this helps. Aldi is not a fancy place, but it’s affordable, simple and easy, which is 9 times out of 10 all we need in a grocery store. If you frequently shop at Aldi, I would love to hear what keeps you coming back to shop there. I also
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