Author Topic: Shopping at Aldi's  (Read 68083 times)

Pigeon

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2015, 10:15:04 AM »
Mine is several miles farther away than where I usually shop, so I only go once a month or so.  If they were closer, I'd go more often.

Their chocolate is to die for. Snacks and crackers are great.  I buy canned tomato products, dried beans, lentils, rice, tortillas, canned/frozen fruit, basic baking supplies, basic spices, bread, cheese, eggs, milk, and yogurt.  The take and bake pizzas are good.  They sometimes have specialty pasta sauces that are cheap and great, like sun-dried tomato and regular pestos.  Some of their baked goods are way too good, like their Danish, but they don't have an in-house bakery or deli.

Their toiletries can sometimes be great, but things I like tend to appear only periodically, like facial moisturizer and make-up. 

The produce at mine is hit or miss, but they often have boxes of four baby lettuces that are amazing.  The meat I find to be no bargain.  I can generally do much better with loss leaders at the regular grocery store, unless I stumble into something like post-holiday hams being sold at Aldi for a song.

Some paper products, like trash and food storage bags are good, but toilet paper and tissues are not cheaper.  I don't like most of their lines of coffee, but one is OK.

velocistar237

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2015, 10:44:18 AM »
what credit card do you use? 6% back on groceries is great!

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/blue-cash-preferred/

There's an annual $75 fee, so it works out to more like 4.75% for a $500/month grocery budget. It also gets 3% back on gas and 1% on everything else.

JimLahey

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2015, 03:41:16 PM »
Aldi's is amazing.  If they have it, we pretty much buy it there.  We stay away from a lot of the special buys and uncommon items though.  We do make periodic trips to the "big" store for deli lunch meat, Mr. Crackin's favorite dressing, or Doritos!  But that's about it!

Have you tried the Aldi's version of Doritos? They have both cheese and ranch. I gave the ranch ones a try and they are pretty close to Doritos.

I almost exclusively shop at Aldi. I can get the essentials like milk, eggs, etc. for significantly cheaper than other local stores. I enjoy their "SpagettiO's" and their canned ravioli. I keep my cabinet stocked with some of those for an easy meal. I buy their lemon "Crystal Light" for my water. Their fiber bars are good. I like their yogurt and string cheese. Their cereals taste like name brands. Their alcohol selections is worth a try as well. There is a Belgian beer called Kinroo Blue that tastes very similar to Blue Moon. They also have a hard cider called Wicked Grove that is great. I hear the wines were decent as well. I haven't found too much there I don't like. I did get some of their clam chowder and did not care for it. Their lunch meat is all prepackaged and is kind of meh. I don't buy too many household items there. I have bought their TP and it was fine but I think you get more for your buck at Wal-Mart or another big store. Their frozen chicken breasts are good but they are massive. So you don't get many breasts in a bag. I agree with others that the produce can be hit or miss. I have seen strawberries with mold on them. I do really like their mini sweet peppers. I like to dips those in some ranch for a snack. The prices are reasonable so I usually try something new when i'm in there.

deborah

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2015, 04:25:15 AM »
The consumer organisation in Australia did a price comparison of all the "national" grocers, and Aldi came out as the cheapest by far. They also tend to use local cheeses, and have won prizes at some of the state shows. So their products tend to be quite good here.

Nancy

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2015, 05:09:05 AM »
I'm making a price comparison spreadsheet and Aldi is on my list to visit. Before I go, does anyone know of the store's produce source? Do they make that info available? Couldn't find online.
Edit: Never mind. I found what I could on the interwebs. Looking forward to checkin ALDI out!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 08:15:27 AM by Nancy »

LennStar

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2015, 08:55:26 AM »
I am from Germany, ALDI is from Germany, so I will give you a few basics to interpret because there is no sense to compare items on different sides of the Atlantik ;)

ALDI is from Germany, created by 2 brothers who have divided Germany into ALDI North and ALDI South. Aldi S is considered the better one.
Aldi is the self-proclaimed cheapest discounter.
The basic priciple is to have a low number of different products of the same type, but a relatively diverse range of items. So you can buy a dozen different cheeses, but only one or two brands each.
They also have a low number of workers (btw: No one here in Germany packs the bags for the customer, its all "self-service" ) and everything is optimized for price, location, size etc. That included, as someone has mentioned "Unlike grocery stores that actually have shelves, everything at Aldi is still in the large cardboard boxes it's shipped in." - It just takes a lot more time to put 20 items on the shelf then a single cardboard box.

The quality is on average quite good, meaning you will seldom find anything bad, but even less often something top. That even is correct for electronics.

(btw: If you find a LIDL, it is the same principle, but Lidl is just trying to change their image from cheap to something else, so it may be the cheap variant will never exist in the US.)

I am a bit confused about your reports of the difference in the different Aldi stores. Here in Germany Aldi makes the low prices with buying huge quantitites and dictate prices this way (not to the amusement of the producers). Maybe they are not big enough for that in the US or it depends more on the single local manager (I think I did read Aldi in the US is going more the franchise way; if this is true, that would be the result I think). I dont think it is the difference between Aldi Noth and South, because i think they have split the countries so only one of them in the USA, buy maybe you could ask? I woudl really like to know it, just out of curiosity.


So, at last, from a german point:
I mostly buy potato chips, one sort of cheese, one sort of chocolade and one other sweet item there. Nearly everthing else is from Kaufland 100m away, partly beause if I go to Kaufland anyway I buy the things I coudl buy at Aldi there, too. The price fight especially here is so extreme it is either the same price for brand ware, generic items like milk and flour where there is no difference at all between brands (so take the cheapest) or store-brand anyway, so you cant change. I often joke I only buy sweets at Aldi ;)
I would not recommend the bread there, but that is because it is pre-made like in every discounter and supermarket here, and my local Aldi seems to be not able to manage to keep its assortment stuffed anyway. There are always only half of the bread sorts there when I go in.

I often think of Aldi as a sort of single-market: You get everything you need, but no fancy stuff or wide choice. One size fits all. Go in, grab it, run out.

Kimbl

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2015, 09:10:34 AM »
I started shopping at Aldi's exactly 1 year ago and my 12 month grocery cost dropped by $2600 with very little effort.   I have two children and I purchase most of their fruit, veg, cereal and snacks there.  They do not seem to care about brands and actually prefer some of the Aldi snacks/cereals.  They eat 5-7 servings of fruit and veg per day at least plus I eat even more so it's nice to get the basics at significantly lower cost.

I'm mostly vegan and the kids eat mostly vegetarian with me so I cannot comment on the raw meats, dairy, etc.  We have tried a few frozen prepared meat items and the kids like them.  I do still shop at Whole Foods for some of the things I like to eat such as Tofu, unsweetened nut milks, various whole grains from the bulk bins, and ethnic foods/seasonings but buy as many staple items as I can at Aldi (i.e. dry beans, brown rice, canned tomatoes, etc.).

Overall, Aldi has been a good experience for me and they seem to be expanding their organic and vegetarian selection at my local one.

 

latinlover77

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2015, 09:59:37 AM »
We love Aldi's. 

You know you should always take a quarter, right?  Not two dimes and a nickel, but a quarter.  You'll need it to borrow a cart.  I always keep a quarter in the console of my car just for this purpose. 

Also note that they don't accept credit cards.  You can use cash or a debit card. 

And bring your own bags.  I actually LIKE bagging my own groceries; I do it more carefully than the store clerks. 

Good things to buy: 

- Chips and crackers
- Salad dressings, pickles, and other jarred items
- Milk and eggs
- Produce, good quality stuff! 
- Cheese of all varieties
- Chicken salad with cranberries and almonds; yes, we go JUST for this one item
- Some frozen things; for example, we like the gyro sandwich kit
- Glutten-free items, if that's your thing

Things we avoid:

- Meat
- Frozen pizzas; really, the kids won't even eat them


Yup, i think you resonate exactly how i feel about good ol' Aldi. LOVE the mayo they have. I think its better than Hellmanns

Thinkum

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2015, 11:00:55 AM »
I am from Germany, ALDI is from Germany, so I will give you a few basics to interpret because there is no sense to compare items on different sides of the Atlantik ;)

ALDI is from Germany, created by 2 brothers who have divided Germany into ALDI North and ALDI South. Aldi S is considered the better one.
 

Aldi Nord in the US, owns Trader Joe's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader_Joe%27s

dramaman

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2015, 11:45:49 AM »
We buy Aldi's no salt added maranara sause in jars and then add in our own veggies and spices when we cook pasta.   It's similar to the leading brands except without the 30%+ of the recommended daily serving of salt.

Our Aldi stopped sticking the no salt sauce several months ago. A real bummer because it was the lowest sodium sauce that we could find around. Now its back to making our own.

DaMa

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2015, 05:51:05 PM »
Some things are awesome, some are not.  I buy a lot of staple items there.  Things I really like - tortilla chips, cereal, canned tomatos, cheese, frozen fruit, frozen asparagus, 12 grain bread, nuts, and eggs.  I do not like their cottage cheese, coffee creamer, frozen corn, peanut butter, and pasta sauce.  I like their produce except I never buy fresh berries any more - I swear every container I bought had mold where I couldn't see it.  I always buy baby spinach, green peppers, and grape tomatos. I do weekly shopping there with a monthly stop at a Meijer or Kroger for the things I can't get at Aldi.  There are Aldi stores all over our area and what they carry varies.  Some stores have a good line of organic items.

My SIL's family thinks the pasta sauce is the best. 

KBecks2

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #61 on: August 13, 2015, 06:12:38 PM »
I buy…

-- sugar cereals for my kids (I know!  I know!!!) 
-- milk
-- eggs
-- butter
-- chocolate and chocolate chips
-- spices
-- wine
-- canned goods -- tomato soup, pasta-Os, canned beans and tomatoes
-- chicken breasts and ground beef
-- frozen pizzas
-- ice cream and ice cream cones
-- laundry detergent
-- (we haven't got it yet but they have water softener salt and I bet it's a good price compared to Wal-mart)
-- paper products
-- produce -- watermelons, apples, cucumbers, lettuce, almost anything (inspect before buying but most is good)
-- halloween pumpkins (this is what got me started at Aldi)
-- at Christmas, stocking stuffer candy and teacher gift chocolates
-- vanilla, sugar, flour
-- coffee (we like their fair trade dark roast)
-- graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, chex mix, tortilla chips
-- mushrooms, avocado

pretty much anything.
We don't like their chocolate syrup and mayonnaise (prefer Hershey and Hellman's).

If I need fancy things like fish or deli items, I go to a regular grocery but you can get tons of basics at Aldi.

Have fun checking it out!

KBecks2

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2015, 06:19:44 PM »
I shop at Aldi weekly. We love it! We've never had any issues with their meat, but I do pick through their produce thoroughly before adding it to my cart. I think if it were refrigerated in the store, it may fare a little better.  The frozen pizzas have been hit and miss, but we enjoy the flatbread variety, and the "take and bakes" are awesome. I always keep a box of pierogies in the freezer, and the kids love the fish sticks. We buy lunch meat, every kind of cheese they sell, crackers and cookies, chips, you name it. The organic milk is great and .50-1.00 less than Kroger typically. We've never had an issue with the bread molding prematurely, and we buy at least 1-2 loaves every visit. I highly recommend the knock off girl scout samoas. They're like 1.79 and they're amazing.

Knock off Girl scout samoas?   Oh, maybe I don't' want to know…. ;-)


Thinkum

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #63 on: August 13, 2015, 06:30:20 PM »

Knock off Girl scout samoas?   Oh, maybe I don't' want to know…. ;-)

You do know that Keebler as well as some private label supermarkets have all the girl scout knockoffs....right? Thin mints, samoas, etc. Just sayin'. lol!

Dicey

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #64 on: August 13, 2015, 08:04:14 PM »
If they accepted credit card, I would shop there, but I don't right now. I get 6% back on groceries on my credit card, making my local grocery store slightly better than Aldi, and pretty close to Costco, except for a few items.
Just wondering - are you including the Costco and AMEX rebates in your price comparisons?

I live in the land of no ALDI, but when we went to Orlando, I spotted one beside the highway on the way to our condo and had DH pull a U-turn. We loved it so much we shopped there twice, bought 10-cent ALDI shopping bags as souvenirs for our fellow frugal but ALDI-less friends, and took pictures with our full bags at the cart corral. A big shout out to Kristen at The Frugal Girl who regularly waxes poetic about the joy that is ALDI or we wouldn't have even known what we were passing by that memorable day. Fortunately, I have Winco to drown my sorrows. It's not nearby, but at least it's in my state and I pass one occasionally when visiting a family member. I always remember to pack bags and an ice chest. They're open 24 hours, so it doesn't matter what time of day or night we're passing through.
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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #65 on: August 13, 2015, 08:16:10 PM »
I looked at a WinCo in Chandler AZ when I was out there last week.  Except for $0.48 cantaloupes, I saw nothing that was worth buying.  Prices were as good at Fry's and Safeway if you shopped carefully and the $0.67 grapes at Fry's were far superior to WinCo.  Sprouts had a similar deal on cantaloupes in the last couple of weeks.  No Aldi's in California yet, although they are supposed to break into the Southern California market soon.

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #66 on: August 13, 2015, 10:36:56 PM »
We have a new Aldi in town opening next week and I'm wondering:
What do you buy at Aldi/ what's good there in terms of quality and cost? and what don't you like there?

I've read a couple of the other posts but is seems like quality has improved.
thanks!

I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.
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Ricky

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #67 on: August 13, 2015, 10:42:11 PM »
We have a new Aldi in town opening next week and I'm wondering:
What do you buy at Aldi/ what's good there in terms of quality and cost? and what don't you like there?

I've read a couple of the other posts but is seems like quality has improved.
thanks!

I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.

Don't forget cash only.

I don't get it either.

One can only spend so much on groceries.

LennStar

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2015, 02:53:11 AM »
I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.
I hope for you you never come to Germany, because you will have a really hard time shopping here.

Whats so hard on bringing your own bags? One in left trouser pocket, one in right pocket, and you have enough carrying capacity for all your needs (if you dont have a familiy with children). Wash them twice a year. I just had to replace one, it was older then 10 years. I have one very stupid looking and I have several with nice pictures.

Also you know that "store brands" are often better then "real brands"? That is because the supermarket with brand X makes sure its own name is not synonym for bad wares. If some brand is bad - the store does not care. In extreme case they just replace the item with another one.
Its all about profit after all, and that is btw. the reason why there is very intentionally not much space to place things after the counter, excactly for the reason that you feel pressured and move away faster.

I hate that, too, like the other psychological tricks, but if I can save 30% because fo this - heck yes! And Why should I pay someone to pack my groceries?

velocistar237

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2015, 06:36:12 AM »
If they accepted credit card, I would shop there, but I don't right now. I get 6% back on groceries on my credit card, making my local grocery store slightly better than Aldi, and pretty close to Costco, except for a few items.
Just wondering - are you including the Costco and AMEX rebates in your price comparisons?

I include the Amex rebates on the grocery store side. What rebates are available at Costco? For Amex rewards, Costco counts as a warehouse club rather than a grocery store, so I would only get 1% back (<1% if you count the annual fee). Also, Costco is discontinuing Amex acceptance in April 2016.

I have to admit I haven't done a thorough analysis. Costco is not far away, and I've heard they'll let you go in for a look. I checked online price lists and found a lot of things to be about the same before the ~6% cash back. Checking again, it looks like cheese, frozen fruit and vegetables, and oatmeal are among the things we buy that would be cheaper at Costco. I'm not sure it's worth the annual fee. Maybe I can tag along with a member every few months and buy 100 lb of oatmeal.

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2015, 07:40:12 AM »
I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.

There are valid complaints about Aldi (such as hit-or-miss produce quality), but these are not among them. In fact, those are the things that make Aldi great for mustachians like us!

For one thing, name brands are a waste of money and you shouldn't be buying them most of the time anyway. Sure, occasionally it matters, but it certainly doesn't most of the time.

If they accepted credit card, I would shop there, but I don't right now. I get 6% back on groceries on my credit card, making my local grocery store slightly better than Aldi, and pretty close to Costco, except for a few items.
Just wondering - are you including the Costco and AMEX rebates in your price comparisons?

I include the Amex rebates on the grocery store side. What rebates are available at Costco? For Amex rewards, Costco counts as a warehouse club rather than a grocery store, so I would only get 1% back (<1% if you count the annual fee). Also, Costco is discontinuing Amex acceptance in April 2016.

I have to admit I haven't done a thorough analysis. Costco is not far away, and I've heard they'll let you go in for a look. I checked online price lists and found a lot of things to be about the same before the ~6% cash back. Checking again, it looks like cheese, frozen fruit and vegetables, and oatmeal are among the things we buy that would be cheaper at Costco. I'm not sure it's worth the annual fee. Maybe I can tag along with a member every few months and buy 100 lb of oatmeal.

In my experience, Aldi generally beats Costco on price (by a whopping 15% on whole chickens, for example). I have a Costco membership, which was worth it because I bought some big-ticket items (such as a mattress) and had a clown-car commute so I saved a lot on their gas, but I'm seriously considering letting it lapse.

rubybeth

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2015, 07:41:04 AM »
I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.
I hope for you you never come to Germany, because you will have a really hard time shopping here.

Whats so hard on bringing your own bags? One in left trouser pocket, one in right pocket, and you have enough carrying capacity for all your needs (if you dont have a familiy with children). Wash them twice a year. I just had to replace one, it was older then 10 years. I have one very stupid looking and I have several with nice pictures.

Also you know that "store brands" are often better then "real brands"? That is because the supermarket with brand X makes sure its own name is not synonym for bad wares. If some brand is bad - the store does not care. In extreme case they just replace the item with another one.
Its all about profit after all, and that is btw. the reason why there is very intentionally not much space to place things after the counter, excactly for the reason that you feel pressured and move away faster.

I hate that, too, like the other psychological tricks, but if I can save 30% because fo this - heck yes! And Why should I pay someone to pack my groceries?

Or really any European grocery, for that matter. The ones we visited in Paris and Amsterdam were also similar to the German ones, which were all very like Aldi. I like going to our local US Aldi since it feels more European to me. ;) That, and the prices on European style cheese, will keep me a loyal customer for life. :D

Also, one thing to add is that my DH, who has ADHD, really appreciates Aldi for the simplicity--there aren't a lot of brand choices. If you want salsa, you just choose the flavor, not the brand. If you want chips, same deal. It reduces the amount of mental energy needed in shopping. And there's no cost comparison between brands, which also simplifies things. You either want corn chips, or you don't. It's not "which brand, and which size, and--oh, is this brand on sale, and this one isn't? What's the price per ounce?" In terms of mustachian optimization, it's pretty great.
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coppertop

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2015, 08:20:36 AM »
Astonished that anyone would think it was a trial to bring one's own bags to the supermarket.  You do know about the floating plastic bag island in the Pacific, don't you?  We are destroying the earth with our laziness and inability to think beyond our own comfort.  I keep a stash of reusable cloth bags in my trunk at all times.  When I go to the store, I just pull out whatever I think I will need.  I prefer to pack my own groceries because when some teenager does it, inevitably something is crushed or smashed, or gets left behind on the belt and I have to come back for it.  And young boys always seem to pack the bags too heavy for women to lift comfortably.

dramaman

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2015, 11:07:32 AM »
Also, one thing to add is that my DH, who has ADHD, really appreciates Aldi for the simplicity--there aren't a lot of brand choices. If you want salsa, you just choose the flavor, not the brand. If you want chips, same deal. It reduces the amount of mental energy needed in shopping. And there's no cost comparison between brands, which also simplifies things. You either want corn chips, or you don't. It's not "which brand, and which size, and--oh, is this brand on sale, and this one isn't? What's the price per ounce?" In terms of mustachian optimization, it's pretty great.
I'm not ADHD and I really appreciate the core simplicity of Aldi products. Some things like toothpaste I can't get at Aldi and I absolutely hate the time I waste in a regular supermarket trying to decide which brand to buy, trying to compare different flavors, sizes, prices, etc.

Dicey

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2015, 01:13:18 PM »
I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.
Ooh, I loved the locked grocery carts! It keeps them out of the parking lot, so no worries about getting dinged or worse by a cart and it makes the place look tidier, too. I always bring my own bags, as they are not free in my area and I always pack my own groceries, wherever I go.

Sorry, do you realize you're whinging about small things and store brands vs.brand names on a frugality site?
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kite

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #75 on: August 14, 2015, 04:16:45 PM »
Astonished that anyone would think it was a trial to bring one's own bags to the supermarket.  You do know about the floating plastic bag island in the Pacific, don't you?  We are destroying the earth with our laziness and inability to think beyond our own comfort.  I keep a stash of reusable cloth bags in my trunk at all times.  When I go to the store, I just pull out whatever I think I will need.  I prefer to pack my own groceries because when some teenager does it, inevitably something is crushed or smashed, or gets left behind on the belt and I have to come back for it.  And young boys always seem to pack the bags too heavy for women to lift comfortably.

We've got canvas bags that are decades old.  Besides being sturdy and more comfortable to carry, packing them myself means I've sorted groceries before I get home. Cans in the green one, toiletries in the blue, perishables in silver insulated....  It's a PITA to go back to the old way and deal with plastic bags. 

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #76 on: August 14, 2015, 04:41:21 PM »
I live near two Aldis.  One has fabulous produce; at the other it is dreadful.  I have no idea why there is such a huge difference.  Produce examples from this week include a bag of lemons (1.99), broccoli (1.89), bag of yellow and red peppers (1.49), cucumber (.79).  During the winter I buy almost all my produce at Aldis.

My favorite non-produce foods are:  goat cheese, brie, hummus, and nuts. Also their baking staples seem just as good as other brands. My daughter loves their veggie sticks in the snack section and their vegetarian sushi in the frozen section.  I know another poster recommended it, but I actually was quite disappointed with the chocolate, except for the pure cocoa powder (when they have it).

My favorite thing about the Aldis near me is that it is incredibly quick to shop there.  The store is small and the checkout cashiers are amazingly quick and pleasant.

See, the Aldi I tried had terrible produce and very little in dairy. It's got to be very hit or miss from everyone's different anecdotes.

I do agree that the cashier was the most pleasant and nice person I met in that entire town. A+ for employees.

esq

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #77 on: August 14, 2015, 05:21:23 PM »
I don't get why anyone, especially on this site, would complain about bringing their own bags.  Also, there's no dirty looks because you pack your bags at a separate counter. You pack them any way you want. And there are no corrals in the parking lot overflowing with carts waiting to be taken back to the store. In fact, many times when I go, someone will offer me their cart instead of returning it to get their quarter back. I offer them a quarter they don't want it. We smile and wish each other a good day. It's like this little part of shopping brings out the best in people. I'd say we've liked 90 percent of the Aldi products we've tried.  They are so reasonably priced compared to other grocery stores that I don't mind trying new products.

But I have to say I did not care for their Aldi Hellman's mayonnaise!
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OlyFish

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #78 on: August 14, 2015, 10:29:26 PM »
Things that are as good or better than the brand name version:
Frozen veg and fruit
Canned tomato products (paste, sauce, crushed, etc)
Eggs
Canned beans
Anything German-y like sauerkraut/ red cabbage/ mustard
Boxed cereals
Pop tarts
Orange juice
Tomato juice
Wheat bread
Peanut butter and jelly
Graham crackers
Chocolates
Pasta
Large pretzels
Hummus
Yogurt
Dried nuts and fruits
Flour/sugar/butter

The salsa is only okay.
Tortilla chips are absurdly salty.
I would only get fresh fruit and veg there if I were going to use it within the next two-three days. It seemed to go bad fairly quickly.

We moved away from the areas with Aldi, and I miss it sometimes. We were able to fill a giant cart with a months worth of food for like $200.00.


Zehirah

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2015, 10:59:25 PM »
I don't know about the US but here in Australia most of the store brands at Aldi (as well as the premium store brands like Woolworths Select) are made in the exact same factory as the big name brands you find in other supermarkets.  Sometimes the recipe is slightly different, sometimes it's the exact same product and today it gets put into boxes that have name brand A on the front and tomorrow it gets packed into boxes with store brand B on them.

One thing we noticed is that when Aldi opened nearby, the other supermarkets lowered the prices of their basic store brand items to match.  The problem is that with lots of things, the quality just isn't the same.  I can buy shortbread fingers at Aldi for 95c.  At Coles I can choose the same quality by buying Arnotts for $2.95 or I can pay the same as Aldi and get ones that are rock hard and tasteless.  It's a no brainer for us.

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2015, 11:25:43 PM »
We go to Aldi's mainly because it's the only American store we recognize in Australia (I know it's German, but we've been to one in the US, so it's familiar).

BTW, I pronounce it All-Dees, in Australia I've heard it pronounced Al Dee (as in Al Bundy). Wonder how everyone else pronounces it?

I dislike how there's no trolley corrals at the Aldi's I've been to here. Coles and Woolworths have them. I like parking next to one, so I can unload the groceries, unload the kids and baby, and return the trolley. Can't do that at Aldi's.

There's not a lot of stuff screaming at kids "buy me buy me!" It's easier to do shopping with three kids at Aldi's (I didn't say it was easy, just easier). Though I may need to steer clear of the middle section (that's their non-grocery specials, sometimes there's toys, lots of electronics, etc.).

Quality is good. Wife likes the generic Tim Tams better, I like the name-brand better. We both decided that they were awfully close and would simply buy whatever was cheapest. Bread is better quality for the same price. Bananas and other fruit often much cheaper than Coles or Woolworths (but sometimes dedicated fruit/veg stores are cheaper). Just about everything is cheaper at Aldi's except things like flour, sugar, milk, bread, diapers, and loss-leaders (kinda a given).

Wife will not eat their grapes anymore. At least we know there's not a whole lot of pesticides on them (or that was a resistant snail).

I often forget to bring bags, so I throw everything loose in the car. I may have to make six trips to the house, but at least I saved 30c!

The ones here take credit cards, there's a surcharge. They got my wife once, she did the tap to pay thing (which runs it as credit). Doh!

Oh, sometimes they have country themed sales. First part of July they had a lot of American food. The American Facebook group was pretty excited.

JJNL

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #81 on: August 16, 2015, 12:27:31 PM »
I have Aldi nearby and I don't bother. Locked grocery carts, bring your own bags, bag your own groceries (and you'd better HURRY or else enjoy the dirty looks), more store brands than brand names. Not worth it to me.
Ooh, I loved the locked grocery carts! It keeps them out of the parking lot, so no worries about getting dinged or worse by a cart and it makes the place look tidier, too. I always bring my own bags, as they are not free in my area and I always pack my own groceries, wherever I go.

Sorry, do you realize you're whinging about small things and store brands vs.brand names on a frugality site?

LOL, welcome to European shopping - I actually felt sort of embarassed at having my groceries bagged for me while grocery shopping in the US. It made me feel like a stereotypical spoiled rich person.

Things I like buying at Aldi in the Netherlands (though no more, as I have a Lidl which is far closer):
- chocolate
- olive oil
- wine
- nuts
- good temporary deals on regional products (like monchego cheese during Spanish weeks)
- cleaning supplies
- basic toiletries like shower gel and soap
- muesli

Things I'd much rather buy elsewhere:
- produce, as it's often of poor quality
- dairy (yoghurt, cheese), also b/c of quality
- things like toilet paper and tampons - usually only unrecycled paper + poor quality
- bread, also a quality thing

Megma

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #82 on: August 16, 2015, 07:56:49 PM »
Love me some Aldi! Shopped there in Germany, Netherlands and was thrilled when I moved near one in the US!

The soft red licorice that is imported from Australia of all places is amazing, wish I'd never tried it. They have sometimes have this unfiltered blackberry juice that is amazing, buy two if you see it.

I love that they don't always have the same things but I get pissy when something I've been loving a few weeks is suddenly gone, the joy of Aldi! Some products here are a full dollar cheaper than elsewhere and in normal sizes, not huge Costco ones.
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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #83 on: August 17, 2015, 08:12:26 AM »
Grass-fed Australian cheddar anyone?  Yup, at Aldi, for $2.99.  Absolutely delicious!  I love finds like that in addition to the usual stuff I get there. 



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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #84 on: August 17, 2015, 08:43:15 AM »
ALDI is our number one choice of stores and shop there almost exclusively for groceries. We purchase beef and pork at a local market but the rest comes from ALDI. Our local store has truck delivery everyday so the produce is always great. We do try to go in the AM for the best selection as some items do sell out fast.
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tanzee

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #85 on: August 17, 2015, 10:04:45 AM »
We shop there every Sunday.  It has been getting to the point where we let our guards down because of their prices that we over-buy.  This week we spent $55 for two people. 

Some of it is certainly a bit hit or miss, but I've definitely gotten some high quality produce and good meat there.  At the same time, they sell these Jennie O turkey burgers that are dog food quality.  Seriously, we called up friends offering them the package for doggie treats.  You just have to pick and choose what you buy. 


Megma

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #86 on: August 17, 2015, 10:35:39 AM »
We shop there every Sunday.  It has been getting to the point where we let our guards down because of their prices that we over-buy.  This week we spent $55 for two people. 

Some of it is certainly a bit hit or miss, but I've definitely gotten some high quality produce and good meat there.  At the same time, they sell these Jennie O turkey burgers that are dog food quality.  Seriously, we called up friends offering them the package for doggie treats.  You just have to pick and choose what you buy.

Yes I also will splurge there because the prices are low. I usually spend 60/week for two people but this includes far more than just the "basics" instead I am buying hummus (1.99), berries (.99-1.99), NFC orange juice (1.99) and other items that I would only buy once in a while at Harris teeter because they are much more expensive, even when they have it on sale. We eat better and spend less.

Regarding the comments on produce many have made, I have had good luck for the most part but when something looks iffy I don't buy it. I would do the same at any store. I also buy the meat regularly including ground turkey (lean - they also have a high fat content one), ground beef (90/10), pork loin, whole hams, etc but I also don't buy everything all the time, check that it looks ok first.
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tanzee

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #87 on: August 18, 2015, 05:42:43 AM »
We shop there every Sunday.  It has been getting to the point where we let our guards down because of their prices that we over-buy.  This week we spent $55 for two people. 

Some of it is certainly a bit hit or miss, but I've definitely gotten some high quality produce and good meat there.  At the same time, they sell these Jennie O turkey burgers that are dog food quality.  Seriously, we called up friends offering them the package for doggie treats.  You just have to pick and choose what you buy.

Yes I also will splurge there because the prices are low. I usually spend 60/week for two people but this includes far more than just the "basics" instead I am buying hummus (1.99), berries (.99-1.99), NFC orange juice (1.99) and other items that I would only buy once in a while at Harris teeter because they are much more expensive, even when they have it on sale. We eat better and spend less.

Regarding the comments on produce many have made, I have had good luck for the most part but when something looks iffy I don't buy it. I would do the same at any store. I also buy the meat regularly including ground turkey (lean - they also have a high fat content one), ground beef (90/10), pork loin, whole hams, etc but I also don't buy everything all the time, check that it looks ok first.

Totally agree.  There is definitely some bad stuff there.  But in my experience the majority of it is good quality.  All the produce (fingers crossed) we've gotten there has been just fine.  Excepting those awful frozen turkey burgers, the meat has been good. 

It's not perfect, but it's well worth the trade off. 

IslandGirl

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #88 on: August 18, 2015, 06:41:37 AM »
I know some people on here have complained about their meat, but I have been happy with it so far, especially the chicken legs, which always seem to be on sale and have the $2 off sticker as well. I usually buy 5lbs of chicken legs for $3. I've grilled them, breaded them, and southern-fried them... yum!

I love Aldi dairy products: butter, cream cheese, milk, ice cream, hard cheeses. Their orange juice (not from concentrate) is great and by far the cheapest around.

Their produce is meh... very hit or miss. Someone once said of Aldi, "it was the best of bananas, it was the worst of bananas." They were spot on. You just never know what you will get in their produce section.

I like their organic stuff, but a lot of their non-organic packaged products (cereal, crackers, condiments, nuts/trail mixes, etc) have too many preservatives, artificial colors/flavors, GMOs, and high fructose corn syrup. If you care about any of those things, keep an eye out and read the labels.

I buy some of their baking supplies, but the selection is limited; for instance, they only carry bleached flour - you will have to go elsewhere if you want unbleached flour.

I supplement my Aldi shopping with Trader Joe's. Between the two, I can generally get everything I need.

Dicey

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #89 on: August 18, 2015, 11:29:11 AM »
The soft red licorice that is imported from Australia of all places is amazing, wish I'd never tried it.

Grass-fed Australian cheddar anyone?  Yup, at Aldi, for $2.99.  Absolutely delicious!  I love finds like that in addition to the usual stuff I get there.
And I didn't think my ALDI envy could get any worse...
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Cranky

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #90 on: August 18, 2015, 12:13:25 PM »
Aldi is my main grocery store, and I've bought groceries at Aldi in several different states. The mix of produce does vary somewhat from one store to the next - my store always carries lasagne noodles, and the one in Florida doesn't but has a bigger supply of "Hispanic" foods. My store has a wider range of "special buys" than does the one in Madison, WI.

I like pretty much everything that I buy there, and am often disappointed when I have to buy the brand name product elsewhere. A lot of specialty items are only there for a few weeks, so if you like it, stock up.

My cats vastly prefer their cheap kitty litter to any other. I think the plastic trash bags are better than the name brand, by far.

My store doesn't have wine, which I regret (Ohio has weird licensing laws), and only takes debit, cash and EBT. The produce is top notch, though, nicer than the expensive grocery store's by far.

The 100% whole wheat bread is great. I find that very little of their stuff has HFCS, though I'm sure there's some in there in the junkier foods.

I've found their gardening stuff to be extremely nice.

LennStar

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #91 on: August 19, 2015, 03:36:27 AM »
Do US Aldis carry electronic stuff?

In my one there is always a small cabinet with one or two laptops, a tower, one or two tablets und a few other things.

Nickyd£g

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #92 on: August 19, 2015, 05:54:00 AM »
I'm in Scotland, and while I pass an Aldi on my walk home from work, I tend to go to Lidl once a week, as there is one pretty close by to my home.  I take a little wheeled trolley bag, fill it to the brim and pay about £30.  Lidl is very similar to Aldi, but my Lidl has free range/organic chicken (£4.30 for a whole one last week), wild salmon - 2 fillets for £2, grass fed beef - £4 for a large rump steak which did me for two meals and better produce than Aldi, including some organic.  I buy pretty much everything there, except milk, as they don't do lacto free :( and weirdly shaving gel - they only stock men's, which smells like aftershave. (Though I have bought it in a pinch!)

Particular favourites are:

Wine
Continental meats and cheeses
Cleaning products
Moisturiser
Greek yoghurt
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TheSecondLaw

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #93 on: August 19, 2015, 01:23:31 PM »
I love Aldi stores!

I love that they are small and usually neat and tidy. Usually they are 3-4 aisles and the checkers are lightning fast.

I recently moved to a new town about 60 miles from my old place and I had a mild panic attack when I rolled up to the Aldi in my neighborhood and it was closed for remodeling! I had to navigate a "regular" grocery store for everything. It took forEVER. Too many people and too many choices! I don't mind bringing a quarter for the shopping cart, or bringing my own bags and bagging my groceries or using cash or debit. In the end I'm done shopping at Aldi in half the time that it takes to go through a full service store.

Favorites:
- Produce including berries, melons, peppers, avocados
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Spices, they aren't as pungent as name brand ground spices but they are suuuuper cheap!
- Staples like flour and sugar
- Cheese
- Hummus
- Whole wheat wide loaf bread
- Meat fresh chicken, ground turkey, sometimes ground beef.
- Frozen veg, they carry edamame seasonally so I stock up when I see it.
- Granola bars

Things I often can't or won't buy at Aldi:
- Coffee: they don't carry whole bean
- Bananas: Conventional bananas come in a plastic bag and are slimy. I'll pick up organic sometimes if they are super green.
- Eggs: no organic or cage free varieties available. Maybe this will change since they carry grass fed beef in my area.
- Condiments: this is hit or miss. usually they don't have basic things like soy sauce

velocistar237

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #94 on: August 20, 2015, 06:08:29 AM »
An awful prank just passed through my head. Take $25 in quarters to Aldi...

Moonwaves

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #95 on: August 20, 2015, 07:14:27 AM »
I dither between trying to do local, seasonal/organic/supporting small independent shops and the fact that actually, some of the time, I really can't afford all of that. So at the moment I'm back to shopping at Aldi for somethings, which frees up cash for more expensive but lovely local/organic stuff. Some of my regular buys from Aldi at the moment are:

Muesli (the cheapie fruit one - the fancier, more expensive ones all have added sugar of some kind)
Own-brand Tuc-type crackers (not quite as salty but good enough)
Tins of tomatoes
Cartons of passata
Jars of olives
Wraps (during American week)
Fish fingers
Tins of tuna
Tins of sardines
Tins of kidney beans
Mixed nuts
Flour
Parmesan cheese (buy it and grate it all immediately and then into the freezer it goes)
Quark
Yoghurt
And some of the organic dairy stuff: milk, mozarella and sometimes other cheese
Organic, fair-trade bananas

And of course, every once in a while something from the weekly special non-grocery offers. But I do try to not get tempted anymore. If anyone struggles with that, they've written a song for you. Enjoy!


Basenji

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #96 on: August 20, 2015, 07:44:22 AM »
I just love the word "tins" for cans. So British/Irish and post-WWII frugal. Or is there a US regional dialect use of tins?

Moonwaves

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #97 on: August 20, 2015, 08:06:02 AM »
I just love the word "tins" for cans. So British/Irish and post-WWII frugal. Or is there a US regional dialect use of tins?
No idea. I'm Irish so that's why I use it. :) Although I do sometimes use can as well so now I'm trying to figure out if I just use them interchangeably or if there are certain things I say can for. Hmm, that might be a good conversation some time for when I'm in the pub and it's getting late...

green daisy

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #98 on: August 20, 2015, 08:46:23 AM »
I've never been to Aldi.  There is one approximately 25 miles away from where we live and 10 miles from my work in the opposite direction from home.  Would the savings be worth it?  It would also increase my time sitting in traffic if stopping on my way home from work.  But I am very interested in lowering our grocery budget. 

fitfrugalfab

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Re: Shopping at Aldi's
« Reply #99 on: August 20, 2015, 08:54:46 AM »
I live in Northern VA and I found that Trader Joes and Wegmans is comparable in price to Aldi. Also, Aldi doesn't have much of a selection on foods so I would only stock up on very basic food there, like salt or milk.
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