My Love Affair with Aldi’s

It started out innocently enough. I was coming out of Costco, thinking of the five other things I needed for the week’s menu. And I realized an Aldi’s was right there, and that I didn’t need anything obscure. I was pretty sure Aldi’s didn’t do obscure.

So I popped in. I didn’t even need a quarter for a cart. I grabbed flour, orange juice, and one or two other things.

I decided next time I needed a grocery run, I was going to try Aldi’s again. I went the Friday before we went to the woods and got a lot of snacks (chips, crackers, peanut butter wafers, and fruit snacks), trail mix, orange juice, almond milk, coffee, half and half, dish soap, plastic wear, and paper bowls. That run cost me about $40. I know it would’ve cost me more at Giant Eagle.

Last night, I ran to Aldi’s again. Because I hadn’t shopped over the weekend, the stuff I needed for lunches and dinners were in short supply. On this run, I discovered Aldi’s weakness: no vegetarian options. No tofu, no vegetarian baked beans, no meat substitutes (nuggets, soy crumbles).

This will be a problem if I continue to shop there.

Last night, I spent $64.86 at Aldi’s (including three bags of candy to hand out at Halloween), and then ran to GE for another six items that added up to $20.

My Aldi’s shopping list would’ve added up to $101.33 at Giant Eagle (plus the $20 I did spend there last night). I determined this by filling a cart online because I was curious to see if I was really saving money. Line by line, I saved between $1 and $2.50 per item. This is even with several of the GE items on sale.

That’s not insignificant.

There are other things I like about Aldi’s. It forces me to use my canvas bags (no free bags at Aldi’s). I mean to use my canvas bags more, anyway. I don’t mind bagging, at all. I don’t mind putting my cart back myself. The Aldi’s I’ve shopped is very small. Four or five aisles of products — that’s it. Because the options are limited, no decision fatigue sets in. A shopping trip at Aldi’s takes me 20-30 minutes, tops. I can’t even walk from one end of the Market District to the other in 30 minutes. Aldi’s has organic options for most products.

This clearly will need further analysis going forward. I don’t know if this affair will last.

Aldi's Store Sign

image source, and another take on Aldi’s shopping

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9 thoughts on “My Love Affair with Aldi’s

  1. Aldi removes most impulse buys, deletes the need to clip coupons, and I saves me time b/c I am in and out. Once you get used to it you know what they have, and I make my list accordingly. I keep a separate list on the frige for GE for things like meat and goofy things, like the only yogurt Miss HighMightyPristine will actually eat. It saves me so much money, the quick run to GE is still worth it (but granted I live *really* close to a GE).

    • Yes, that’s the other thing I should have mentioned. Because Aldi’s selection is very specifically limited, it does curb impulse buys.

      We live close enough to a GE that stopping there isn’t an issue. I can always send Dan as well. I think my shopping will become Costco/Aldi’s (next door to each other in Robinson), with the occasional foray to GE for the vegetarian and specialty stuff.

  2. ^ I do the same. I pretty much buy the same staples from Aldi and can be in/out of the store in less than 30 minutes. If there’s something I need that they don’t carry, I stop at the local Shop n Save near my house. I have saved a ton of money on groceries over the past year!

  3. I am a big Aldi’s fan. Even when there is a line, I almost never wait that long; typically another cashier will magically appear from the back. I almost always wait at the GE, no matter how much I have.

    I hate weeks when there are things I need that I know Aldi’s won’t have, and then I have to decide to go there and GE, if I want to save money.

    They often have good pizzas there too. I almost never buy cereal anywhere else, and we like their OJ. My kid would drink only Simply Orange before we discovered the Aldi brand.

  4. I really like Aldi’s and save a TON of money by shopping there. Unfortunately, my husband is a snob and does not like the Aldi brand stuff. I admit, Aldi’s quality is a little lower than even the GE brand, but it’s soooo much cheaper that I don’t mind. But my husband does. So we’re stuck bleeding money 😦

  5. I have a nearly 40 year love affair with ALDI and many fond memories of a steady growth in carrying organics and whole food choices.
    I have to add here that I’m German and grew up with ALDI. I have vivid
    memories of living alone for the first time and being able to fill my cart for peanuts.
    Oh, and hey, maybe it’ll happen here too… wine, the only thing missing then is the pharmacy!
    ALDI has proven that we (the shoppers) get what we want (buy): German Christmas baked goods, organics, (newer) gluten free foods. What’s next? Vegetarian selections? Look for specials, theme weeks, etc. they add to their usual stuff what gets bought in the test run! Good luck!

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