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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saving Money on Groceries: My Favorite Aldi Products

The first time I visited an Aldi, I was a little bit irritated that they charge a quarter for the use of the shopping cart and a few cents each for grocery bags. I also assumed that their products were inferior generics. I couldn't have been more wrong!

For one thing, you get the quarter back when you return the cart, or as they call it here, the "buggy." Ugh! (Even after six years in Texas, that still sounds weird to me.) I don't normally carry much cash, but now that I'm used to shopping at Aldi, I make sure I always have at least one quarter in the center console of my car. Paying six or ten cents for each shopping bag is no big deal since you are saving tons of money on groceries. Sometimes I keep a few bags in the back of my car so I can bring my own.

The great thing about Aldi is that common staple items are cheaper yet often superior in taste to national brands. Most of the products you'll find at Aldi are Aldi's own brands, but they also have a few random name brand items at discounted prices. The fact that the store is small and doesn't have a lot of selection is actually a plus because you can get in and out quickly. Unless I am making something exotic, Aldi usually has everything I need. In the middle of the store, there are seasonal items and toys that they rotate in so you never know what fun non food items they might have on special.


Here is a list of my current favorite Aldi products:

Frozen USDA choice sirloin steaks
Frozen Shrimp
Coffee
Milk
Vanilla Almond Milk
Yogurt
Eggs
Cheese
Imported German Chocolate
Tortilla Chips (made from organic blue corn)
Spaghetti
Parmesan cheese
Macaroni
Spaghetti sauce
Tuna packets
Ice Cream
Frozen Fruit
Whole Grain White Bread with no High Fructose Corn Syrup
Natural Peanut Butter (90 percent peanuts and no refined sugar or hydrogenated oils)
Flour
Trail Mix
All Natural Granola Cereal
Protein bar in checkout that tastes a Kit Kat
Diapers and Wipes
Laundry Detergent

I don't do all of my shopping at Aldi since I'm not always up for bagging my own groceries with several little ones in tow, and they don't have a huge selection of meat and produce. Since the shopping carts are stuck together until you pay to unhook the one on the outside end, it can be hard to find one with a working child safety strap. Another negative is that they sometimes expect you to switch to a different cart at the register which is also inconvenient when shopping with a baby.  Those certain Aldi items that I love keep me coming back, though. Bagging my own groceries and dealing with the other inconveniences is more manageable on those smaller in-between shopping trips.

Related Post: Saving Money Shopping at Mexican Grocery Stores.

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