Last week I said that we would discuss the specialty grocers this week, and then I remembered my beloved Aldi!
“Oh, Aldi, will you please forgive me for forgetting you. It wasn’t because I didn’t shop with you this week, I just plum forgot. Ok, forgiven? Good.”
Aldi: The hidden gem! Skeptics out there, you need to give yourself a few trips to Aldi to get used to the ins and outs of it, then you will be hooked. Aldi is a German-based grocer and the proud owner of Trader Joe’s (yes, this is true!). Trader Joe’s is a little more “classy” than Aldi, but the prices are better at Aldi and on occasion you can find a hidden food gem. (Note: TJ’s and Aldi sell different items and do not really lend themselves to a side-by-side comparison. The cashier and I were discussing this connection recently and I said that I wished Aldi carried more TJ items at Aldi prices. He said, “That’s why they’re Trader Joe’s.”)
- They only accept cash or debit card.
- Bring your own bags or pay for their bags (or snag an empty box off the shelf).
- Bring a quarter for the shopping cart.
- Be patient. They typically only have 1 or 2 employees working at all times doing cash register, stocking, etc.
- Produce is hit and miss.
- The stores vary from new/old decor to the type of items stocked and prices as well as patrons.
- Bring an open mind.
What I buy at Aldi:
- Basic staples: flour, sugar, eggs (milk is a great price too, but we don’t buy milk), marshmallows (for the kids rice krispie treats 🙂
- Hummus: no soybean oil
- Fresh Salsa (artichoke & garlic): This stuff is awesome and terribly addictive! It’s a knock-off of Wild Mike’s fresh salsa and priced much more reasonably.
- Fruit Leather: Yes, they have it and it is only $1.99 for a box of 8.
- Old-Fashioned Oats
- Brown Rice
- Tortilla Chips
- Veggie Chips
- Chicken Broth: Fit ‘n Active brand contains no soy or corn and is cheaper than organic broth
- Produce, on occasion
- Cashews (best price anywhere)
- Black Olives, can
- Canned/Jarred Fruit/Beans, on occasion
- Kettle Chips (If you don’t follow on FB, you missed my post about indulging myself in their Cracked Pepper & Salt Kettle Chips on discount for 99¢.)
- Canola Oil (although their price just went up and Meijer brand is now cheaper)
- Fresh Ground Turkey, on occasion
- Paper Food Products: plates, plastic cups, utensils
- Shameless Plug: If you like cheap frozen pizza (who doesn’t have the occasional weakness for the terrible stuff?), Mama Cozzi Thin Crust Pepperoni is the best I’ve ever had.
- Fit ‘n Active brand is a good place to start for “healthier” choices.
- Flowers – Sometimes you can find them on discount with plenty of life left.
- I generally do not buy their fresh meat because they’re prices aren’t any better than the sale prices at the big stores. However, I will sometimes find them on “manager special” and score a huge deal!
- Our Aldi has been mailing out coupons lately, perhaps to get people into the store (although they always seem busy to me). This week was a $5 off ham of choice. I was able to get a 9+lb. ham for $7. They’ve also sent out $5 off when you spend $30.
- The price on their Old-Fashioned Oats and Brown Rice seem to be the best that I’ve found and I use them frequently for making homemade wheat-free* flours (*Aldi oats are not guaranteed to be free of wheat cross-contamination).
So, that’s my Aldi. I ♥ Aldi!
I would like to challenge each of you, if you are not a regular Aldi shopper, to try it out for 2-3 weeks. Then, come back here or on Facebook and let me know how you liked it.
Do you shop at Aldi? What are your favorite things to buy there?