I have fought going to Aldi for years. There is a stigma and a mystery associated with the store. You have to pay for your shopping cart. You have to bring your own bags. I knew that you didn't get name brands very much there, so everything was a mystery.
This past Saturday I decided (since I only had $50 to get groceries), that I would try it out. I first stopped at the bank to do some banking stuff. While there I got into a conversation with my personal banker and she gave me the skinny. She made sure I had my quarter to get the shopping cart. She told me that mostly the produce was not of very good quality. But she did say that she got some wonderful deals there. She also gave me the heads up on Sprouts (a future trip will be planned).
So off to Aldi I went. I knew that I needed milk, butter, meat, snack type foods. When I walked in I saw an entire aisle of off brand snack food and crackers. It would be easy to pick up everything because it was so cheap. However, I looked at everything and compared the prices to what I could get the name brands for (with a coupon) at my regular store's (Kroger and Albertson's).
I also had to remind myself that I had a strict $50 budget for the week. In the first aisle I picked up Saltines, Butter crackers, granola bars. I then checked out the produce. The advertisement had a bag of potatoes for .89 cents and mushrooms for about the same. I wanted to get them. The potatoes were mostly rotten, so I passed. The mushrooms looked great so I got them. I also saw that they had wonderful looking fresh broccoli for under a buck too. So I got that.
In the advertisement, they had a pot roast kit for $7.99. But after looking at the size of the meat, I know I could do better going to my other store. I did find a case full of ham's. Both spiral sliced and non. I was able to pick up a ham at .99lb. So for 10.98 I got an almost 11 lb ham. What a find in deed as it will feed us for several meals. I cook the whole thing and then freeze what we don't use. Its really easy to defrost overnight in the fridge and heat up the next day for dinner.
I looked at the bread and really there wasn't any saving there, so I passed it up. I would much rather make my own (a new venture I am trying) or get it fresh from my regular store.
In the canned aisle I was able to pick up veggies for cheap and juice for a great deal. Onto the frozen food aisle I found two pizzas for 1.99 each. Followed those up with organic milk, shredded cheese and butter.
My advice to newbie Aldi shoppers. Do not go with a list, but look at what they have. Have a price in your head of how much items are at other stores. Sometimes they are really cheaper at your regular grocery store. Don't count on produce and bread, those are better getting elsewhere, but some deals can be found. Bring your own bags. They do sell some nice fabric and freezer bags for $1.99 and .79. They also have under the conveyor belt cheap paper and plastic bags for sale too. When they ring you up, they throw everything into the cart and you take it to this shelving area to pack in your bags yourself. They do not take credit. Only Debit and Cash, so come prepared for that too. Shopping carts are .25 and you get that back once you return your cart.
Over all a great adventure. I will probably be going there every Saturday to pick any deals that I can. Then Sunday I will do my couponing and make a run to my regular store to supplement.
Here is my haul, I think I did great!
100% apple juice 64oz 1.39
Hawaiian punch (the super big bottle) 1.99
Pepperoni pizza 1.99
Sausage pizza 1.99
Butter 1lb 2.39
insulated bag .79
fabric grocery bag 3 at 1.99 each
green beans 4 at .49 each
shredded jack cheese (big bag) 2.99
sweet peas 2 at .62 each
yakisoba noodles 2 at .69 each
Organic milk half gallon 2.59
Center cut bacon 3.99
chewy granola bars 1.79
snack crackers (like ritz) 1.79
large jar minced onion 1.99
yeast packets (3 in a package) 2 for .79 each
brown gravy mix 2 for .35 each
Polish sausage 2.29
8 oz fresh mushrooms .79
golden pineapple 1.19
broccoli crowns .89
all purpose flour 1.49
smoked ham (about 11lb) 10.48
box of frosted mini wheats 1.99
total spent 59.30