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Do you shop at Aldi?  Do you drive by Aldi wondering what it is all about, perhaps thinking that it is a second-rate grocery store?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  I remember going into Aldi with my mom when I was in highschool.  I was so embarrassed. It wasn’t a shiny, large grocery store like Kroger or Publix and it looked a little plain on the outside.  You bagged your own groceries and had to pay to rent a cart. Oh the horror.  I just put my head down while I was there and hoped not to run into anyone I knew.

Teenagers are so awesome.

But what I didn’t know back then is that Aldi is amazing and now my favorite grocery store.

Food is expensive, especially if you shoot for eating clean, organic and/or gluten-free. Next to our mortgage, our food budget is our highest bill and we rarely eat out. Good news is that shopping at Aldi can just about cut your grocery bill in half. Seriously, half.

These are the best reasons why you should shop at Aldi too.

No frills = less expensive grocery bill – There are several ways Aldi keeps cost low. One reason is that they do not have a large number of staff to pay. Aldi does not have grocery baggers or cart retrievers. You “rent” grocery carts for a quarter that you will return at the end of your shopping trip and then get your quarter back.  You will also bag your own groceries.  Aldi has a nice, big counter space all ready for you to bag your groceries after you check out. Speaking of bagging groceries, you will have to bring bags too. Aldi has them available to purchase – plastic, paper and cloth – for cents on the dollar.  If you forget your reusable bags as much as I do, you will amass a good number of them.  Try to keep them in your car.

Gluten Free food options – liveGfree is Aldi’s brand of gluten-free food and it is delicious and waaay cheaper than regular grocery stores.  You can check out this link for Aldi’s line of gluten-free foods.  I have been gluten-free for 5 years and Aldi’s gluten-free foods are top of the line.  New gluten-free options are added every few months.

Organic options – For the past year, Aldi has really been ramping up their Organic selection. Again, Aldi’s organics are good for the budget because they are 30% cheaper than other grocery stores.  Aldi carries organic, grass-fed beef, organic milk, some fruits and veggies, frozen and pantry items. Aldi’s organic selection is expanding all the time.

Trader Joe’s little brother – This one was surprising to me.  Aldi is short for Albrecht Discount and was created by two German brothers in 1946. Theo and Karl Albrecht founded their grocery store empire together but a dispute divided them and they each formed their own line of grocery store chains in 1960. Theo named is business Aldi Nord and placed his grocery stores North of the Rhine, and Karl formed Aldi Süd, and his stores were in Southern Germany. Today, both stores operate in the United States, Aldi Nord operates as Trader Joes, and Aldi Süd operates as Aldi. Who knew?

Private labels – 90% of the food that is sold at Aldi is their private label brand. Aldi contracts out their products to the same food manufacturers that supply the popular national brands. The product ingredients are identical or very similar because they work with major manufacturers to create their own store brand products.  Aldi recently removed  synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and MSG from all of its exclusive brand food products based on scientific evidence that they are harmful when consumed. You can read more about that in their official press release. So basically, you are paying higher prices for national brands (that are full of synthetic ingredients) that came from the same manufacturer’s assembly line as Aldi’s private label foods.  Which leads me to the next reason to shop at Aldi.

Double back guarantee – Aldi is so confident in their high quality products that if you are not 100% satisfied with any product, they will gladly replace the product AND refund your money.  For the record, in 10 years I have not returned a food product.

Faster shopping trip – After a few shopping trips at Aldi’s, you will be able to zoom around the store like Andretti.  Aldi stores are smaller than larger chains and only carry 1,300 items versus the typical 30,000 items. You will choose between 1-2 versions of the best quality items so no price or quality comparison. I buy all of my basics (95% of my groceries) at Aldi and then head over to the larger grocery stores to buy certain items that Aldi doesn’t carry like organic eggs, organic chicken and Honeycrisp apples.  I LOVE Honeycrisp apples.

Rotating rando specialty items –  This is my favorite aisle of the store.   Need a three-tiered bookshelf? Omelet maker? Floor mats for your car? The non-food specialty aisle changes weekly, so if you see something you need, grab it.  No guarantees that it will be there later. Of course, these prices are ridiculously low too so no guilt over buying fun stuff for yourself.

New line of baby products – Same quality as name brands but cost 50% less.  I have not purchased any baby items but I see moms flocking to the baby section like crazy. If the Little Journey line of baby products is anything like the rest of Aldi’s private label goods, then you will be very pleased with the quality. Here is a link to the product selection.

Here is a list 10 items that I consider staples and always buy at Aldi.

1. Organic, fair-trade coffee. $4.49
2. Organic 2% milk. $2.49
3. Gluten free loaf of bread. $2.99 – I swear this is Udi’s bread with the Aldi Gfree label.
4. Gluten free crackers. $1.49
5. Organic, grass-fed hamburger 1 lb – $5.99
6. Organic apples 2 lb – $2.99
7. Whole almonds 1 lb – $3.99
8. Drawstring trash bags 45 count – $4.99
9. Select a size paper towels 8 count – $4.99
10. Wine.  Tennessee just started selling wine in grocery stores this past summer (so pumped!)

If you have never been to an Aldi, I know you will be pleasantly surprised after your first shopping trip.  I love overhearing first timers in Aldi.  You know who they are by their exclamations of excitement at the low prices as they fill their cart with organic avocados and neck massagers.  Who knows, maybe I will overhear you one day soon too.

To recap, make sure you bring the following items on your shopping trip to Aldi.

      • Quarter
      • Grocery bags
      • List
      • Excitement at the money you will save.
      • And a coffee.  Coffee makes everything better.

Bye now. Love ya!

**Edited to add that Aldi now sells ORGANIC EGGS!!  I am so excited!  A dozen will run you $3.50, which is close to commercial grocery stores but it saves me a trip to another store so it’s a win. Yay.