Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Saving money the Aldi way

No matter how bad the economy gets, groceries are one expense you can't get rid of. But there are tricks to cutting your grocery bill.

I'm sure many of you (like my wife) have pretty sophisticated methods of saving money via comparison shopping, clipping coupons, watching out for sales, etc. But one simple way I've found to save money is to shop at Aldi, the discount grocery store chain.

Aldi is based in Illinois, but has stores all across the country. There are 44 just here in North Carolina. Aldi stores are smaller than traditional grocery stores and are decidedly no frills. Items are stacked in boxes, not stocked on shelves. You should bring your own bags (or grab an empty box from the shelves), as bags cost extra. And be prepared to bag your own groceries - they don't do it for you.

But the biggest difference is the almost complete lack of name-brand items. Aldi sells almost exclusively their own store brand. For example, if you need ketchup, you'll find one brand - the Aldi brand - in one size. The selection is far more limited than in a traditional grocery store.

However, the prices are generally far cheaper than you will find in your average grocery store. I have to have my orange juice in the mornings. At Aldi, I can get a carton of OJ for $1.79. That's more than $1 less than you'll pay for Tropicana or Minute Maid -- even if you catch it on sale.

But what about quality? As always, store brands aren't quite the same as name brands, but overall, I've found the Aldi brands to be quite satisfactory. I didn't care for their brand of Pop-Tarts, but just about everything else I've tried has been fine. Some items, such as their potato chips, are actually very good.

So give Aldi a shot. You may not find everything you want or need, but you will save yourself quite a bit of money.


  1. Wow! I just visited ALDI yesterday for the first time. Got lots of great deals including a Pandigital 7 inch digital picture frame for $59. I bought 2!
    But beware, I use my airmiles credit card for all my purchases and pay it off monthly,(6 free roundtrip tickets in a year and a half!)
    ALDI does not take credit cards.

  2. I love Aldi! I've been taking a bit of a shopping break and using up my stash - so I'm really only shopping Aldi's for a few weeks - for fresh vegs & fruit and a few odds and ends.

    I love that the store is small. I can be in and out with a week of groceries in 1/2 an hour. - that's more time at the pool for me!