Many of my friends have recently become more aware of the amount of money they are spending on their groceries and thus have begun taking steps to spend less. Of course I wanted to do the same! Most of my friends have turned to couponing and man are they good at it! I started doing some research myself and soon found I was becoming overwhelmed with all the websites, coordinating, clipping, and organization it took. Not to mention that you have to plan your meals around the coupons you clip. Also, here in Louisville we do not have the great store Publix. We have Kroger. Yay. Not. I could definitely see couponing if we had Publix, but alas. So I began looking for a different option.

A couple of my friends — as well as David’s Aunt — shop at Aldi. Now I have never been a big fan of Aldi because I judged the store as cheap with products that reflect that cheapness. I had never even stepped foot in the store and I already had set my opinion! Don’t we all do this? Anyway, back at the ranch. I mentioned that some of my friends shop at Aldi; every time that I’ve eaten at their homes I have found the food to be quite delicious and not lacking in any sort of quality. This led me to believe that I should give Aldi a try.

Before I get to my experience of shopping at Aldi let me preface it with a couple of things. First, David and I believe in the importance of eating good quality food. We try to avoid processed food or boxed food. I try to follow the strategy of perimeter shopping, where you stick to the outside edge of the grocery store and avoid the center aisles where all the boxed ready-made food is. However, this can get expensive; still we paid the high prices because we felt the long term benefits outweighed the high costs.

Second, I enjoy cooking from scratch. I like to try new recipes, especially ethnic recipes. This too can be expensive and my grocery bill was reaching upwards of $100 a week. I knew I needed to make a change, but I didn’t want to lose any of the food quality. I tried Meijer, Kroger, Value Mart, and even Wal-Mart but I was not impressed with the prices of the first three or the quality of the last. OK, so this is where Aldi comes in.

Aldi hails from the small German town of Essen, and was started by two brothers in 1913. Aldi now has stores all over the world. Their motto is, “No frills shopping so you can spent little and live big.” Sort of like the IKEA of grocery shopping. No frills, meaning the store is not decorated and the items are not shelved. You pick the items off of pallets and once the pallets are emptied they are replaced.

Interior of Aldi

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The discount store also asks you to pay with cash and to bring your own bags. You also bag your own groceries which I found I enjoy. Not only are you helping the environment but your bread and eggs are not getting smashed! As far as paying with cash goes, Aldi is saving money by not having to pay thousands in credit card fees, which ultimately results in lower food prices. Also, the only advertising Aldi does is old fahioned word of mouth. Again, no advertising costs equals lower food prices. There are other ways Aldi cuts prices but lets move on.

Once I made the decision to try shopping at Aldi I started to plan. I created my two-week meal plan, got some cash, grabbed my bags, found a quarter for a grocery cart and headed to the store. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was all of the available parking. There were only about seven people in the store which made shopping  easier. (It may get more crowded in the evening and on the weekends.) While shopping I quickly discovered that they had most everything I needed. I was impressed with their veggie and fruit section. The milk was only $1.49 and the eggs 99 cents! They had good meat too. A bag of 6 chicken breasts was $5.99. I found everything I needed except for a few specialty items!

After the cashier rang up all my items it was only $30!!!! I could barely contain my excitement! I then headed to Kroger to get my remaining items and spent $20. I’m sure I would have spent $100 if I had bought all my items at Kroger.

David was super impressed with my shopping success and we both enjoyed all the meals I made over the next two weeks. We each love Gala apples and I bought a big bag at Aldi. I can honestly tell you they were the best I’ve had in a long time! Once we were out of meals I made another two-week list and headed to the store again. This time my list was longer but I still only spent $44!!

Here is a picture of everything I bought yesterday at Aldi

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I would not usually go on and on about a grocery store, but I couldn’t believe my savings and the quality of food. I know that I was weary of shopping at Aldi, but let me just tell you, not anymore!! I realize that Aldi does not have numerous locations like other larger grocery chains, but they are in most metro areas. To find an Aldi near you head here. I would suggest giving Aldi a try if you live near one. I think you’ll be impressed with the quality and the savings!

Here is a salad I made with some Aldi ingredients!

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Pros of Aldi:

  • Amazing savings
  • Quality Items
  • No waste on adverting or frills
  • No large crowds
  • Monthly cost on groceries before, about $400. Now, about $150

Cons of Aldi:

  • You may not be able to find all the items on your list.
  • Only a few locations in each city.
  • You have to pay with cash
  • You have to bring your own bags and bag your own groceries (this is a pro for me).

Enjoy shopping!

-E

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