Aldi IS weird...weirdly magical
You walk up to this new grocery story, its blue and yellow sign beaming with pride, and you think to yourself, "I am finally going to give this Aldi place a try." As you walk up to the carts you jerk on one but it doesn't wiggle free. Weird, but no problem you have been doing some of Hayley's upper body demonstrations so you just put a little more muscle into it. Nothing. Another grocery store goer walks by and casually places a quarter in some thingy jigger on the front of the cart and gracefully pulls one out. As she places her own grocery bags in her cart you think to yourself, "Good for you, helping the environment! I still need to do that." Next dilemma, no quarter on hand. You take a couple deep breaths, determined to do this thing, and walk in to talk to one of the cashiers. They kindly hand you a quarter and welcome you to wonderland. So now with cart in hand you enter the store to brave the aisles. The aisles are SO. WEIRD. This is strange. Everything is in boxes on shelves and you don't recognize a single brand. Never the less, you find things that are what you are looking for and begin to fill up your cart. Then you notice all the "Simply Nature" products. Some are organic and some have minimal ingredients and the prices. Good Lord the prices at to die for! You pick up some almond butter and give it a giant hug and ask it where it has been all your life, but little do you know it is about to get even better! The eggs are cheaper, the milk is cheaper, and then you see it. The heavens open and streams of light beam down as you look at the produce. Avocados for $.25. Surely they will be mush you think. COMPLETELY useless. No they are perfect. All the sudden Willy Wonka's song starts to play in your head "Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." So you continue getting all the on sale produce and picking up some more items along the way. You aren't that impressed with the meat prices. No one ever is, but you get to the check out and are completely satisfied with a successful trip. Then as the cashier whips through your groceries putting them in an empty cart on the other side of the cash register it dawns on you. Maybe environmentally conscious lady is in fact not so environmentally conscious, but more Aldi guru. They don't bag your groceries. The sweet cashier notices the sweat rolling off your forehead and the growing wet rings under your pits and hands you several plastic bags and graciously says, "Their on the house!" Thank goodness you have your debit card, when you realize they don't take credit cards. You bag your groceries and walk out looking at your receipt with glee as you just saved $60 dollars on your weekly grocery shopping trip. You return your cart and get your quarter back (yes you do get the quarter back).
So the scenario above is a common one for first time Aldi goers. I was one of them. I thought the store was weird. I was semi annoyed I had to bag my own groceries, but we were on a budget and things were tight so I was willing to drive a little further, put in a little more effort, and switch some brands to make it work. I was not a couponer. I had tried it. I am unbelievably unorganized. Really, it is unbelievable that a human could be that unorganized with tiny pieces of cut out coupon paper. So I knew that wasn't happening but for the time being I needed to cut our grocery budget down, so this was my compromise. Shop at Aldi. The funny thing is, once we weren't in as tight of a spot financially I still couldn't imagine leaving Aldi. I love it! The employees, the prices and a lot of the brands and produce. On average I would save $50-$70 on my weekly grocery budget. Granted, I shopped sales and meal planned around produce that was on sale, but for this produce loving girl I had found a gold mine. I went from hesitation to highfiving the employees as I cruise the aisles and work that store like nobodies business.
Not sure you are ready to go there yet? Totally cool. I have a 4 step guide to easing your way into a love relationship with my favorite grocery store. She will woo you...I promise.
- PRICE MATCH: So here is a great place to start. Every time you are at Walmart or another store that price matches competitors ads, look up the current Aldi weekly add and price match all their produce. I happen to be at Walmart yesterday. I wasn't grocery shopping, but I pulled up the Aldi add while I was there and price matched all the produce I wanted. Below is the difference in cost. Here is what I got: 3 bags multi color peppers, 2 avocados, one 4 pound bag of oranges, 1 container of 6 kiwi's, and 2 bags of spring mix salad
- VISIT THE STORE: My next step for you is just to visit the store, not with the intention of getting all your groceries but to see what they have and to see what things you would be willing to switch brands on. Check out their prices, check out their simply nature line, and go in with an open heart to receive the beauty of Aldi. Maybe buy a few things you need that week.
- MAKE A MINI TRIP: This time go in with a list everything you need that week, and see how much you can get at Aldi. Having already visited the store, you should have a good idea of what you can purchase there. It is very rare these days that I have to go to a second store, because I get pretty much everything there. Just go with the intention that you will go to a second store for the things you can't find.
- TAILOR YOUR LIST: If you have been won over by Aldi at this point, I encourage you to tailor your list to fit the store, and embrace that you get your groceries from there. This really will save you so much money, however, for some this will never be the case. They just can't switch over to Clancy's anything and will never make it to this step, thats ok! I just want you to know it is possible to do 85% of your monthly grocery shopping at Aldi.
So here is the deal, you may never be an exclusive Aldi shopper, but I bet if you give it the opportunity you will be a partial Aldi supporter. Even if it means you just use the add to price match and thats the only good it ever does for you, it could easily save you $10-$15 a week on produce!
MY LIST OF FAVORITES FROM ALDI:
- All their simply nature products
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Frozen fruit
- Produce (any and all...the bananas get ripe quick so I usually get a small bunch)
- Organic Produce
- Whole wheat bread
- Frozen fish
- Natural peanut butter
- Organic agave nectar
- Fruit squeeze pouches for kids
- Cottage cheese
- Chicken when it is on sale!
- Frozen ground turkey
- Fit and Active brand (2% cheese, salad dressings, portein bars, etc)