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Aldi: Cheap Thrills And Even Cheaper Groceries

Food is expensive! I’ve talked about it ad nauseum on this site because this is an important topic to me and of course to all of you. We can’t control the values of our homes or gas prices, but to a certain extent we can control how much we pay for groceries. To that end I’ve been trying to find a cheaper solution because I just refuse to continue paying $700+/month for two people.

Then came Aldi.

Aldi is an offbrand grocery store lacking any o f the frills that you’ll find at your local supermarket chain. They pretty much have all the basics such as food, beverages, canned goods, household items, but you won’t find it in different sizes or any of the low fat variety. Just whatever they have on the shelf.

One woman stated that she fed a family of four on *gasp* $40 a week at Aldi so you know I had to go take a looksee for myself.

Ginger investigates:

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Our total came out to $147 but that’s because we stocked up on some items we need for our election night party. I imagine that we would spend no more than $75 for two weeks worth of food there. Buying the same products at Shoppers, Safeway, Whole Foods or even TRader Joes would have set us back at least $350+. Easy. I’ve read on other blogs where the price differences were sllight but in our case the prices were a huge difference. Enough such that I don’t mind going there for the basics, except for milk because I don’t drink cow’s milk, but it’s cheap for less than $3 a gallon!

Curious about Aldi’s business model? According to Privatelabelmag.com:

Aldi’s business model was developed to strictly support their mission to bring consumers the lowest prices on quality food. Consider the following as you think about an Aldi store:

Aldi stores average 15,000 to 18,000 square feet in size and pretty much resemble a box. If they buy into a second-use facility that is larger, a wall is put up, the rest either leased or even left vacant.

They all look the same…a “Spartan” box with as few fixtures as necessary to perform the function. Most product is displayed on floor pallets in cut-open boxes with a retail price sign overhead. There are only three to four aisles.

Three to five registers take care of the traffic and only relatively recently are equipped with scanners. In the past, because none of the items were price-marked, cashiers were required to memorize all the retails.

They all operate the same, too: no coupons, no preferred cards, no free grocery sacks (shopping bags cost 10 cents each), and there is a refundable 25-cent shopping cart charge. And for vendors: no slotting allowances, no promotions, no advertising contracts.

Most striking is their variety, or their lack of it, in terms of how food retailers typically think of variety…only 700 to 800 items. While most sub-categories are represented, there is only one item in one size…one item in one size of peas or spaghetti or apple juice. The average Aldi does less than $100,000 per week, but think of the buying power behind each of those 700 items, compared to the typical supermarket that may carry 40,000 items in 40,000 square feet and do $280,000 per week.

Most interesting is that 90% of the items offered are offered under a brand owned by Aldi, a private label. There are different brand names for each category, but all are owned by Aldi. Seeing a “national brand” almost seems like an anachronism.

Neat!

I’ve read in different places that some are perhaps a little ashamed to shop here but I can’t imagine why. Why would anyone be ashamed of finding bargain momma deals when it comes to groceries? Especially when we just came off high gas prices and still paying $4 for a dozen eggs? For me it was like uncovering a secret treasure, yes I am that corny! I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll ride this thing until the wheels all off, in other words, I’ll make it work. I’ve been successful at trimming the fat from our budget and while I still have to kill my shopping habit a little ways to go, this works.

What are your thoughts on Aldis? Have you shopped there? What are your impressions of the place? Would you let the “off brand” products turn you off?

  • http://twitter.com/TheAldiMom Aldi Mom (STL)

    Great to see another ALDI fan!!!

  • Joy

    I love Aldi. I ran an in-home daycare for more than 6 years and when I discovered Aldi I saved a TON of money. My grocery bill went from $400 per WEEK to $400 per month! Besides that, the products are as good as or better than “name brand” products. I discovered that they use the same recipes to make many of the products that are used overseas. Thus, most of the products have a lot less high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, preservatives, and MSG. My son has autism, and moving to the more natural foods that Aldi offers has made a huge difference!

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  • http://www.innomaxasia.com SEO Singapore

    In fact, Aldi carries a lot of the typical junky "convenience foods" and the most Americans look for in their stores, often times, their foods are healthier.

  • http://singlemomsinglemoney.blogspot.com/ SingleMomSingleMoney

    OMG I heart this store. I love when people turn up their noses at this store. Means more shopping and savings for me!

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Gingerlatte Gingerlatte

    Hell yea! I have no qualms about buying off brand as long as it's good quality and so far I have no complaints.

  • Spinster

    Used to shop there in college. Loved it. Trying to find one in my area now.

  • Sha

    I love Aldi my roommate and I go there all the time. I had never heard of the store before and she told me about it. I usually spend about 30- 40 dollars for about 2 weeks worth of food. I'm a student so anywhere I can save is good for me.

  • Your mamma

    Um…okay….

    My mother use to feed me and my brothers on Aldi for years! I couldn't wait to become an adult so I could finally buy name brand foods and leave the era of ALDI's….

    Look, just because it's "CHEAPER" doesn't mean that it's healthy…..It's nothing but the grace of GOD that I am still here.

    My suggestion…to all you fabulous ladies….

    Learn to GROW YOUR OWN FOOD and seek out your local FARMER'S market for organic foods…..

    It's really better to do it yourself….that way, you ALWAYS know where your FOOD is coming from and don't have to worry about all of the melamine (plastics) they (the powers that be) keep (accidently) putting in YOUR FOOD….YUM!!!!!!!

    Nothing tastes better than kidney stones at the age of 30 huh? All in the name of cheap food? Right?

    Become self sufficient and you can survive this……..

    It WILL be a depression! Most of us won't survive it because we've lived in the land of Milk & Honey for so long, but oh well…..leading a horse to water you know….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Gingerlatte Gingerlatte

    Uhmm your mamma? Im gonna need you to tone that down.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Gingerlatte Gingerlatte

    I dont think I will ever leave Aldi. The food has been fresh, tastes good and best of all CHEAP! I am really surprised. Thought it would be subpar.

  • Kim6992

    went to Aldi today! totalled $31.71 woohoo. Thanks.

  • http://pickleandbrine.blogspot.com Kate

    I love my Aldi in Wichita. My husband and I can get away with spending $30-$40 a week there on groceries. The quality of the food has never disappointed me, and the stock rotation at most Aldis is so quick, food never has a chance to get past date.

    Though Aldi carries a lot of the typical junky "convenience foods" most Americans look for in their stores, often times, their foods are more healthy. For example, their nacho cheese tortilla chips — a Doritos knock-off — costs only 99 cents and has no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

    Their chocolates (mostly) are from Bavaria, because Aldi's HQ is in Austria, and they are tasty. I haven't found a chocolate under their Choceur label that has HFCS or hydrogenated oils. I try to keep these things out of my life, and I love being able to find cheap, good chocolate without the worry!

    Though Aldi doesn't always carry some of the specialty items I love, the store is wonderful for the basics. Plus, in October, Aldi carries many German traditional foods (spice cookies, bratwurst, Black Forest ham, knackwurst, etc) to celebrate Oktoberfest. I am addicted to their spice cookies!

    Kate's last blog post..Smells like soup

  • http://missmmoney.blogspot.com/ Miss M

    We don’t have aldi here but there are no frills box type supermarkets, though I think they do sell brand names. Some are nice and clean, others, not so much. We’ve become pretty loyal to our local ralphs, they are more expensive than the ethnic supermarkets, but we’ve come to know all the employees and they remember us. The fruit guy tells us what is the best deal, lets us try the produce. I guess I find value in things other than price at times, the experience has to be pleasant as well.

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  • http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com Ginger

    How is the location in Forestville? crowded? clean?

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  • http://www.itslikebuttababy.com Butta

    I love, love, love Aldi. I started shopping there this past spring and have the savings to prove it. I hate that I would always drive past and not give a second thought to stopping there or anything. I thought it was like a Spanish grocery store or something. Little did I know the bargains and good food that lay in wait.

    I just have one correction to what you wrote:

    “but you won’t find it in different sizes or any of the low fat variety.”

    Actually, Aldi does carry a low-fat, low-calorie, healthier line of products under their “Fit & Active” brand. Let me tell you, Aldi has revolutionized my weight loss program with these products. With the exception of a couple that I tried that didn’t meet my taste standards, the Fit & Active line is fantastic and constantly expanding.

    Also, just an FYI, I’ve noticed that the prices at the Aldi in Forestville are slightly lower than the location in Lanham.

  • Ginger

    Im a little miffed that we didnt know about this place before. I am all about finding deep discounts!

  • http://dazedinlosangeles.blogspot.com Chantalle

    We don’t have Aldi here in So Cal :(

    But I do remember it from when I used to live in Europe. That and Tesco and Makro and lots of other discount stores.

    Chantalle’s last blog post..Sicky

  • Katie

    I LOVE Aldi! My husband and I do most of our grocery shopping threre. Our cart is usually overflowing and we spend around $100 (a cart full of groceries at SuperWalmart is $250+). This will usually last us a month (I occaisionally pick up a few items in between our monthly shopping trips). We usually hit another grocery store for the few items we can’t find at Aldi. Most sale prices at other stores can’t beat the regular price at Aldi! :) I find that I prefer a lot of the Aldi brands to other stores’ store brands (and sometime Aldi is even better than the name brand!)

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