I finally made it to an Aldi grocery store. When I moved to San Diego over a year ago, there wasn’t one near me. Hearing on news reports of Aldi stores coming to Southern California, I was hoping one would be close to my home. As an avid Trader Joe’s shopper, it was a goal to see what all the Aldi talk was about.
Finally a store opened near my home. Not a down the street drive, but close enough I would make it a priority to get there at least once a month. Here is a bakers dozen of reasons why I loved the Aldi experience.
Note to Reader: I guess you aren’t allowed to take photos in Aldi stores. After I took my last photo a clerk advised me of their policy. Yet, he did not ask that I delete the ones I had (I would have if he asked). So, my photos are limited, but you’ll get the idea.
1. You will save money
If you are on a grocery budget, you will be able to purchase over 40% more if you shop at Aldi. I did a comparison of the items I bought at Aldi to the same items at my local grocery store (I like them, so I won’t say the name). I saved on produce, dairy, meats, household items, paper goods, coffee, and packaged food. Imagine if your weekly grocery budget is $100, you get $40 extra bucks to stock up or buy that blouse you really wanted.
2. You will save on time
The store is smaller than a traditional store as they only carry items people need frequently. You won’t find products you buy once a year, except spices and some household items. If you’re not a browser type of shopper and have a list to tackle, you’ll get in and be done before you know it. But if you are like me, I like to see all the neat things they have. I’m not an impulse buyer, so it’s not a risk of my wallet to look.
3. There are Aldi finds which peak interest
The Aldi Finds are the best! Every week the weekly ad tells you what you will find at their store that week. Here’s the deal though: when it’s gone, it’s gone. These Aldi Finds don’t stay in the store. They are deep discounted items to entice you to come in. The week I wrote this post they had a plastic personal fold-up table for $12.99. I saw this same table at Target for $39. They have wonderful children’s educational toys, along with household items you would find at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but way cheaper (but not cheap on quality).
4. They have their own brands
Aldi has their own brands that mirror major brands. I have heard their Fruit Loops brand cereal is even better than the original. I bought the Ritz cracker own brand and I loved them. Their brands are half the cost of the major brands. It’s worth the money to give them a try. Your kids don’t even have to know it’s something new. Heaven forbid you buy a different kind of their favorite cereal.
5. They have great coffee
Now this was a shocker to me. I love their coffee. As a devoted Peets coffee drinker, it would have been difficult to win me over, but they did. Their Barissimo Fair Trade Medium Roast was fantastic. And the price is crazy amazing – just $4 for a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee. They also have coffee pods too. I haven’t tried their Donut Store brand (like Dunkin Donuts coffee), but I will buy that next time I go.
6. They have nutritious, organic and Gluten-free options
All private label products have been stripped of partially hydrogenated oils, MSG and certified synthetic colors. Their gluten-free products (called liveGfree) are nicely marked and easy to find. They have a “Simply Nature” line which is free of over 125 common artificial ingredients. They have healthy food snack for kids. They even have a natural dog food.
7. Lightning speed check-out
The check-out procedure is very interesting. There is no bagging at check-out. They quickly scan (the scan codes are huge) your items and put in another grocery cart. And before you know it, you are paying the checker. Note: Aldi does not take coupons and they do not take credit cards. They take cash and ATM cards.
You have to bag your own groceries, so bring your own bags. If you forget your bags, you will have to purchase them. They have a bagging station which I liked. I always feel rushed if bagging my groceries at other stores, like Winco. Here, they have a counter and you can take all the time you want to get your items sorted and bagged. As somewhat of a control freak, I loved it!
8. Great customer service
As a novice to Aldi, I was confused on their labeling. I asked a clerk about what “Aldi Finds” meant and she spent over ten minutes telling me all about the store. I’m sure she had other things to do, but she took the time to answer all my questions and pointed to all the unique features and layout of the store.
9. No frills, just get-in and get-out
If you want your money to go to the products and not the fancy decor and beautifully laid out isles, Aldi is for you. The products are put on the shelves with the original shipping containers. The isles are wide and easy to navigate so you aren’t spending time trying to find products. Everything is labeled in big bold lettering. It’s a get-in and get-out kind of store. It reminded me of a In-n-Out Hamburger restaurant.
10. More than groceries
If you like Hot Deals, you’ll love the Home Goods section of the store. They carry quality brand items of kitchen ware, electronics, linens, storage solutions, outdoors items, car supplies and much more. I hear they sell clothing but I didn’t see anything the day I went (except for socks).
11. Buyers Satisfaction incentive
They have a “double guarantee” policy with any items you return. First you get your money back and secondly you get a new product, or choose something else. For example, you buy some cottage cheese and when you get home it tastes bad. You return it and get your money back, along with a new cottage cheese OR another product similar to the same price. Thats a win-win.
12. You help yourself by helping them
Aldi has found a way to put the savings back to you. First, you pay a quarter to get a cart, but you get it back if you return the cart to the holding area. This cuts down on personnel cost. You also bag your own groceries which again saves on personnel. And they don’t take credit cards which saves on what they would pay the banks to pay the credit card fee. Aldi uses the same model as Trader Joe’s in being a smaller store, which means lower rent and expenses.
These all add up to lower prices and savings to your family.
13. They have enticing weekly ads
You can get the Aldi app or check online for the weekly ads. Sign up for their weekly email. Before you go, take a look at what’s in their Aldi Finds for the week. This is where you will most likely see something you have wanted (or thought you did) and it’s at a great price. I’m going back next week as the weekly ad says they will have Irish Grass Fed butter for $2.89. I pay $6 for it at my local store.
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