Here in Rochester, NY we are lucky to have the Aldi chain of low-priced, value grocery stores. If you haven’t checked one out yet I highly suggest you visit a store near you.
Aldi stores are small, so they don’t carry as many items as your superstore (about 1400 items vs thousands in your typical grocery store) but that means you can usually get in and out much quicker. Aldi usually only carries one brand of an item, typically their house brand, but that means you get a good price on that item. The cash registers don’t have scales, so all produce items are packaged and priced or are priced per item (e.g. 49¢ for a peach or $1.69 for a 2 lb. package of grapes).
I have found that the quality of items is very good, though sometimes the produce can get a little picked over. Aldi is a great source of staple items like flour, sugar, cream cheese, eggs, etc. I usually visit my Aldi store weekly, to pick up any specials or to stock up on basics. Aldi usually runs a 1-2 page flyer in the Sunday paper, featuring seasonal items and any specials for the week.
Because Aldi is a no-frills store, it means that you have to pay for bags or you can bring your own. Or you can use one of the empty boxes leftover from stocking the shelves. You will also need to pay a quarter to use a shopping cart, but you will get your 25¢ back when you return the cart. Some days you may have to wait in line a bit to check out, but I’ll gladly do that to save money. The cashiers do not bag your items, they only put them in the cart. This saves time during checkout. They also don’t accept credit cards and I don’t think they accept checks either. I usually pay cash or use my debit card. I have no complaint since this keeps the price down as well.
Some of my favorite items at Aldi’s that I keep going back for (prices may vary seasonally and by region):
- Flat leaf spinach 9 oz – $1.69
- Mangoes – $.99
- Tortilla chips 13 oz – $.99
- Cream cheese 8 oz. – $.99
- Sliced cheese (Swiss, Pepper Jack, Muenster, etc.) 8 oz. – $1.69
- Blocks of cheese (Colby Jack, Cheddar, etc.) 8 oz. – $1.29
- Dozen eggs – $.89
- Cookie Dough (Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, Oatmeal Craisin, etc.) – $1.99
- Packaged pasta sides – $.66
I especially like visiting the freezer case where I can find marked down frozen items, priced to move. One day they were trying to move their hamburger and hot dog rolls and they were selling them for 10¢ for a package of 8 (and no they weren’t near their expiration date)!
If you are trying to save money, you can’t afford to not visit Aldi. Does anyone know of similar chains in other parts of the country?