6/27/07

Have I mentioned Aldi?

Wow . . . I cannot believe I have been so remiss as to not mention Aldi, yet! What is Aldi? Let me enlighten you.

Aldi is a way of life! It is it's own culture. Aldi is . . . grocery paradise!

According to their website, http://aldifoods.com/, "Aldi is an international retailer specializing in a limited assortment of private label, high-quality products at the lowest possible prices. Our unique way of operating makes it almost impossible for competitors to match our combination of price and quality. This means ALDI can offer Incredible Value Every Day. Aldi introduced the limited assortment concept to the United States in 1976 when the first stores were opened in southeastern Iowa. Today, Aldi Inc. operates over 800 stores in 27 states, primarily from Kansas to the east coast."

The bottom line is Aldi is a grocer that stocks mainly "off-brand" products at a huge savings for their customers. Trust me--if you are willing to go generic with your food choices, you will save a TON of money. Before Aldi, my husband could not bring himself to buy any other brand of macaroni and cheese than Kraft Deluxe. Now, he prefers the Aldi off-brand version, and it costs much, much less. I have watched enough of those under-cover, blind taste test programs where people think they can choose the brand name product over the generic one, and come out looking silly because they prefer the off-brand product. So, if you can just get past the fact that you're not buying a label, you will love Aldi.

Aldi is a unique shopping experience, though, so there are a few things you have to know before going.
  • Take a quarter with you. This is for the shopping cart. Aldi cuts costs by not staffing their stores with a ton of people, and they can do this because you have to insert a quarter to get your shopping cart, thus saving the cost of staffing people who have to run all of the parking lot to retrieve carts that people leave here and there. If you want your quarter back, you have to return the cart. It's really simple, and it works! Aldi has the most un-cluttered parking lots I've seen. And I can't complain because in the end, the cart is free and I still save money.

  • Bring your own grocery bags. Aldi does carry their own grocery bags, but you have to pay for them. So, I just save my old grocery bags from trips to other major grocery and chain stores, and reuse them at Aldi. That way, I'm not paying for more bags, and I'm keeping my old ones out of landfills.

  • Load your groceries onto the check-out belt quickly. The staff at Aldi work very quickly, and will be unloading your groceries from the belt as soon as you put them on, unless there's someone in front of you in line. It might feel hectic, but once you get the hang of it, it's no sweat.

  • Be prepared to bag your own groceries. Bring your own bags, bag your own groceries . . . you get the picture, right?

There are a few things you can't get at Aldi that you will still need to visit your normal grocery store for--things like fresh cuts of meat, and fresh fruit. You can get fruit at Aldi, but their selection is sometimes limited and it's sometimes not that fresh. However, it's hit and miss with that, so just keep your eye open when you're there. We normally get nice bananas there for half the price per pound. They usually have a great selection of grapes, and stock really nice kiwis, too. Like I said, it's hit and miss.

The bottom line is that Aldi's prices are so unbelievably low that you can easily save a TON on your grocery bill. The amount of food we get for $100 at Aldi would easily cost us over $200 at the major name-brand grocery store down the road. So, check it out!

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