I’m fairly certain at this point you all have met my love of Aldi, particularly if you follow me on Instagram.
Aldi is one of the most budget friendly grocery stores that have ever existed. Despite the fact that they’re usually about half the size of typical grocery stores, it’s still pretty easy to do all of your grocery shopping there. Aldi prides themselves on working really hard behind the scenes to keep operating costs low so they can keep their prices low to consumers.
The one caveat to that is: You can’t be brand-loyal.
You’re not likely going to find the “popular” brands of anything at Aldi because they have their own exclusive lines that you can only find at Aldi. Every once in awhile you may find a popular brand item, but it’s possible that they are only carrying it for a limited time, so don’t be surprised if it’s only there once.
Aldi prides itself on quality products in their exclusive brands, Any items that go on their shelves have been quality tested several times and are guaranteed to be high-quality and taste great. From personal experience, I can tell you I’ve never had a bad experience with anything I’ve purchased from Aldi and do actually prefer some Aldi brand pantry staples to national brands that I bought for years.
I admit, going to Aldi the first time or two, takes some getting used to. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that a lot of stores have; there aren’t little sample stations or designated departments for specialty products, or dozens of aisles to browse through. In fact, my local Aldi has all of like 6 super long aisles, which includes produce, meat, diary, and frozen foods.
Since Aldi carries it’s own brands, it’s rare that you’ll find more than one variety of anything (for instance if you want ranch dressing, you’ll find their variety of ranch dressing and nothing else) which makes shopping easier and it means they can actually carry almost anything you need in 6 long aisles as opposed to dozens. You’ll also likely just find items neatly presented in the cases they were shipped in, stockers just take the shipping boxes, cut them open for easy reach by the customer and put them on shelves.
When you head to Aldi also be prepared for two other things you don’t typically have at other grocery stores; be prepared to bring your own bags and bring a quarter for the grocery cart.
When you get to Aldi, you’ll see that all the carts are locked together, so you have to insert a quarter in the slot to release the lock, then when you return your cart, you put the lock back on and get your quarter back. I know, it sounds weird, but this is another way they keep costs down; they don’t have to employ someone to go get the carts from the parking lots (because doing this requires you to put it back in front of the store to get your quarter back) and they don’t have to worry about cars getting dinged in their lots by runaway carts.
As mentioned, they also don’t provide grocery bags. They do sell some that you can purchase if you forgot them at home, or if you don’t want to spend the money, you can also grab some of the empty stock boxes that are around the store to carry your items home. Not only does this keep costs down, but it’s also environmentally friendly, so it’s a win-win.
Since I started shopping at Aldi regularly about a year ago (ya know now that one finally opened near me), I’ve found quite a few favorites that I’ll happily buy at Aldi over any other grocery store.
Casa Mamita Mild Chunky Salsa
While I do usually prefer medium salsa (and Aldi does carry a medium version) I love this salsa for work lunches and typically have a jar of this in my work mini-fridge at all times. This salsa has so much flavor and has the right amount of juiciness to it. I do actually prefer this to most name brand salsa’s. The best part, this large jar is usually a little over $1 at Aldi, when most jars this size at large chain stores would be $3-$4; definitely a better value at Aldi!
ALL the Produce!
I love Aldi produce. I’ve heard that produce can be hit-or-miss in some areas, but in mine it’s pretty much always a win. All of this produce shown here was about $8…seriously. Aldi carries most of the basic produce that you could need, but it does also carry more premium produce like zucchini noodles and chopped salad kits.
Aldi Seasonal Items
Aldi almost always has a seasonal aisle, which is full of housewares, party favors, seasonal food items, baked goods, etc. Large jar candles for $4.99 is an amazing deal.
Aldi’s Candy Stash
Aldi almost always has the best seasonal candy stash and usually for about $1/bag less than chain stores. While $1 might not seem like a lot, it’s still a nice little savings, especially if you’re like me and just love Holiday Hershey kisses.
Boulder Paper Towels
You see where these say “Compare to Bounty” right on the label? They do; like they actually look and feel just like Bounty paper towels; they’re quilted and absorbent and are the Select-A-Size variety that I really like. Devon actually always thought I was buying Bounty and didn’t realize until he unpacked them for me one that it wasn’t Bounty. He said that he felt like he had been lied to, but in reality, I’m okay with that. Plus, this package is under $3 at my store, whereas the Bounty that is this same size is usually like $7-8 at Target. I’m totally okay with Devon’s feel of deception for that.
Aldi’s ENTIRE Gluten-Free line
I was going to take a full picture of the section to show you how much gluten-free stuff they carry, but it was a disaster area and I didn’t want to put them on blast like that. But their gluten-free line, Live GFree, is amazing. It’s some of the very best gluten-free pasta that I have found along with crackers. They have several different baking mixes at all times, they have crackers, cookies, wraps/tortillas, pasta, mac & cheese, yogurt covered pretzels, granola, bread, cereal, etc. They also carry some frozen gluten-free items like pizza and chicken nuggets. As you can see, it’s also nice that they think of us for the holidays with these gluten-free french fried onions and they also had gluten-free stuffing, which looks like our “staple” or “iconic” brand that most always have for Thanksgiving. The best part is it’s wallet-friendly, like everything else. I think they’re the most expensive item is about $4-5.
Meat and Poultry Section
Similarly to the produce, I’ve heard that the meat section can vary from region to region in terms of quality, but mine is pretty great. Again, you’re not going to find the super fancy stuff (maybe from time to time, but not all the time) but you will get most of what you’re looking for. Our house is pretty basic in that we eat a lot of chicken thighs and pork and occasional red meats like steak or roasts. Most of the time I can get all of this at Aldi for significantly less. I made a flank steak roll-up over the weekend and got a nice sized flank steak at Aldi for $7.99/lb whereas my other stores were $10.99/lb for the same cut. I’ve also gotten a lot of bacon here recently, they have a nice center cut, thick sliced bacon that we absolutely love:
And….last but not least….
Cheese! AKA My favorite food group.
We know I love cheese. Aldi carries a ton of different cheese and they are almost always cheaper than regular grocery stores, and I’ve found some of the bags are sometimes bigger than you find in typical stores. You can get shredded, blocks, slices, crumbles, etc. They carry most of the normal varieties and even some of the more artisanal ones like feta and blue cheese (and other stuff I don’t really bother with).
If you’ve never been to Aldi, I highly recommend checking it out. Even if you don’t get all of your shopping done here, you can likely get a lot of your staples and basics here for a lot less than you can in other stores. If you do go or already go, let me know what some of your favorite Aldi finds are; I’m always on the hunt for new things!