I don’t like couponing. I’m all for saving money but couponing just isn’t for me. I tried it for about 6 months after getting married and finally decided the time I was spending was not worth the effort. I realized that I could be working and making more than I was saving by couponing. This made me think of Aldi Tips I have been keeping in my back pocket.
I was also buying things I didn’t really need immediately with the promise of saving LATER and it just started to feel very contrived and like it was not a good fit for our family. I know people who have it all digitized and down to a science who will never need to buy another stick of name-brand deodorant again, but for me, it was an exercise in perceived futility.
In lieu of couponing, I started getting better about meal planning and creating family menus based on the items on sale at the stores we really enjoy. It helped. But still. As much as I love going to our neighborhood grocery chain, it’s darn expensive to feed a family of 7 and in a somewhat healthy way.
About a year ago, my husband and I started heading to Aldi once every two weeks to load up on the basics of what our family was going to need for meals and snacks. I went into it hoping to stock up on canned goods and cheese, and ended up being pleasantly surprised at the wide array of items we could buy to create meals.
Since then, we’ve tried it all: cereal, turkey meatballs, crackers, bread, hot dog buns, watermelon (in season it was AMAZING!), pasta, eggs, spices, cake mix, diapers, and more. There are still some items (like bananas) that I prefer to buy from the chain grocery store closer to our home, but by supplementing at Aldi we have saved anywhere from $200 to $300 (or more) on groceries in any given month.
If you’ve been thinking about heading to Aldi for the first time, here are some Aldi tips to think about before you dive in:
5 Aldi Tips
Download the Aldi app.
First of the Aldi tips that will help is downloading their app! You can peruse the weekly ad and see price drops all on your phone or tablet. The Aldi app can help you with meal planning with its shopping list function and also has a store locator function.
Bring a quarter.
Not two dimes and a nickel. Not a dollar. Not 25 pennies. ONE quarter. You will need this to get a cart, but you will get it back. It sounds annoying but actually makes sense. One way that Aldi saves you all that money is by keeping a pretty small staff. Aldi does not pay people to collect stray shopping carts from the parking lot. By giving people an incentive to bring the cart back to the front of the store on their own (and get that quarter back), it saves everyone money. Want to really make someone’s day? Hand them your cart instead of clicking it back in place. You won’t miss the 25 cents and they will appreciate the sentiment. (But seriously, don’t leave your house without a quarter – it’s a pain to try to shop without a cart.)
Another way Aldi saves you money is by not building in a charge for grocery bags. You have to take your own, cloth or plastic, or pay for them at checkout. I personally prefer cloth bags and take them to all the stores I frequent. Their sturdiness makes them easier to transfer between cart, car, and house, and they stand up in the back of my mini-van better than plastic or paper. Also – if I never see another plastic bag in my garage again, it will be too soon. Taking bags to Aldi doesn’t sound hard to remember, but just keep in mind that if you do forget, you will pay (literally). You will also be bagging your own groceries, so build in a little extra time for that.
The layout of our Aldi is different from any other grocery store I’ve ever been inside and my husband swears there is no logical design to it (I’m sure there is, but we haven’t figured it out yet). Thankfully the layout is basically the same from one week to the next, so I’m getting used to finding things. I use the shopping list function in my Cozi mobile app to check off what I need from Aldi, but I took a good old fashioned notebook and a pen my first few visits. I wrote down notes on layout, items I didn’t need but may need another visit, and prices. There is a little bit of a learning curve to maximize your Aldi dollar, so don’t be afraid to write down things to help you do just that.
Check out the non-food items.
Aldi actually has a lot of handy and inexpensive items for your home that vary by supply and season. It’s worth at least browsing when you are there – or at least looking up what those items currently are on the mobile app before you go. I’ve found a fun serving tray and some Halloween decorations from that area.
Do you shop at Aldi? What Aldi tips would you add?
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