I’m officially an Aldi convert.
I fought it for years and years, mainly out of intimidation. Those checkout people at Aldi are SCARY, man! They can ring up seven hundred items in 6.2 seconds flat (I think that’s their hiring requirement). The few occasions on which I ventured into one of these discount grocers, I felt like I was meeting the Soup Nazi–if you didn’t know the rules and follow every single one to the letter, they might take all your groceries away! “NO food for you!”
Now that I’ve been a regular Aldi shopper for a few months, I can say I’ve gotten over my fears. I still loathe going in there at peak times, but that’s true with any store. I still don’t have a debit card, so I make sure to get some cash out at the bank every week or two for grocery trips. Bonus: my two-year-old loves going through the drive-thru at the bank, because they still hand out Dum-Dum lollipops for the kids! It’s a nice little (free) treat for him, and it is too cute when we pull up to the teller window and he automatically says, “Are we going to get a lollipop?” (He pronounces it “wollipop”.)
Anyway. I digress. I love Aldi now.
I love how small it is. Even when I’m stocking up on everything imaginable, I’m still in and out in twenty minutes. Since they carry fewer brands, there’s little debate over which item is better.
I love how people try to give you their cart when they’ve finished shopping. Nobody ever wants my quarter; they just want to be helpful, especially when I’m lugging around the bambino in a car seat.
Above all, I love how much MORE I get for my money. A gallon of milk that costs $3-4 in another market can go for $1.61 at our local Aldi. Even when the price fluctuates up, it still isn’t usually over around $2. That’s just one example. I can purchase more organic items because they’re closer to the price of non-organic in another store. I get healthier, safer foods for practically the same price. I’m estimating our grocery costs overall to be about two-thirds what they have been at the other big chain stores.
We still frequent the Jewel down the street because it’s literally two blocks from our house and usually for a bunch of bananas or a pound of spinach, their prices are just fine. But for the majority of our food shopping, Aldi is the new default. Imagine if I’d been buying just my milk there for the past five years. Saving $1.38 per week when only using a gallon a week? That works out to $358.80 saved in five years! Just think of the potential savings gained when multiplying that over 90% of all grocery items over the years!
Now, I won’t lie. There are downsides. The store feels extremely small and hard to maneuver unless the place is completely dead. It’s not open as early or late as I’d like, making it such that there really isn’t much of a “down” time to go (except at 6:30 on a Saturday night…yep, I know how to live it up). If you’re a hardcore “granola” type of person (all organic, no preservatives, everything tastes like cardboard and your kids have never heard of Pop-Tarts kind of shopper), it’s maybe not for you as the selection of those things will seem limited. (By the way, awesome job, if you’re that healthy.) To me, the selection is perfect.
So don’t be afraid to try your local discount grocer. It might just be another in a long list of ways to save money that adds up to big dividends!