Wednesday, December 3, 2008
For years I have heard people talk about Aldi, but I have never ventured into one. Recently, I found out that my friends Dylan & Stephanie really love Aldi. The fact that someone I know personally shopped there made me feel a little more open to trying it. After Dylan's whole-hearted endorsement, I finally went yesterday in the name of 'blog research'.
What is Aldi?
It is a discount grocery store that carries almost entirely generic products. They don't just take the 'no frills' attitude with the products, they are sparse with their features (no bakery, no deli, etc.) & even require you to put a quarter in the cart & bring your own bags. If no one told you to bring your own bags, ahem, you can buy them for a few cents each. I remember that paper bags were 6 cents each, because I thought I was buying three, but my cashier never charged for them. Oops!
Are the prices really that good?
Yes. The prices are very low! They aren't as low as combining a really good store sale with coupons, but they were very good everyday prices. For example, I always buy Berkeley & Jensen diapers (Bj's brand) that are 17 cents a diaper. That is my "cornerstone price" that I compare other deals and sales to. If a diaper sale doesn't work out to be cheaper than 17 cents a diaper, I don't bother, because I know that the everyday price at Bj's will beat the so-called deal. Here at Aldi's, their store brand diaper worked out to be 15 cents a diaper! There were a lot of other good prices for random things, like full-size frozen pepperoni pizzas for $2.49.
Am I going to give up Acme for Aldi?
Not at all. I think that I'll be sure to shop Aldi once and a while (especially for parties, there were tons of affordable chips, dips, cookies, frozen appetizers, etc. that beat what I could buy at Acme or Bj's any day--also staple items were very good prices), but I can usually do pretty well for my weekly trip going to Acme using my deals and coupons. For example, right now at Acme, boxes of Quaker instant oatmeal are on sale for $2.50 and I have a bunch of $1 off coupons. The price would be $1.50 for a box of Quaker oatmeal, and Aldi had their brand at $1.50 regular price. Now, you're saying, that's contradictory, why bother with the coupons in the first place? Well I get a lot of other great deals at Acme & I just can't stop shopping there for other stuff I regularly buy. While I was at Aldi I searched high and low for natural applesauce for the baby, and I couldn't find one variety that didn't contain high fructose corn syrup. I also only buy organic milk, it is just one of my preferences and even though Aldi's milk was awesomely cheap ($2.49 a gallon), I just couldn't buy it.
This is what I bought (and don't mind that it is super random) and the prices:
Diapers 40 pack - $5.99
3 frozen pizzas - $2.49 ea.
1 lb. frozen tilapia filets - $3.69
3 lbs. sweet potatoes - $1.29
2.5 lbs. bananas - $1.20
lunchmeat variety pack - $1.99
bacon - $2.29 (they actually had a ridiculous selection of bacon varieties, this one was a middle of the road choice)
1 lb. ground turkey - $2.49
instant oatmeal (to compare with Quaker, lol) - $1.49
stuffing mix - $0.79
2 cans mushrooms - $0.49 each
swiss cake rolls - $0.99
So just about $30 for all of that stuff.
Hopefully my review helped de-mystify the store for you if you never shopped there before. Aldi doesn't really deserve it's reputation as a "poor people's store" as the quality seems good and you could really do quite a bit of your regular shopping here and still not buy all processed foods. As a matter of fact, there is another blogger out there who calls herself The Aldi Queen, and she has a whole website devoted to menu plans using only ingredients found at Aldi's and her recipes look really good!