Money Monday: Shopping at Aldi

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Money Monday: Shopping at Aldi l Love.Bake.Read

If you’ve been following my Money Monday series, you know that Steve and I only spend $40 per week on groceries. That’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two people for 1 whole week. It’s slim pickings all.the.time. You know what makes having such a small budget a whole lot easier? Shopping at Aldi.

Have you ever shopped at Aldi? Aldi sells quality items at low prices, which is made possible by keeping their operating costs to a minimum. No, that doesn’t mean they skimp on anything. But, what it does mean is this:

  1. You have to have a quarter handy in order to retrieve a cart.
  2. Aldi only sells a small portion of what other grocery stores sell because doing so helps keep their costs down. Selling fewer items means they can make-do with a smaller store, which means cheaper rent and less electricity—a huge savings for Aldi and you.
  3. You have to bring your own reusable bags, or buy some when you checkout. Plastic bags are 10 cents each.
  4. You can only pay with cash, a debit card, or an EBT card. That’s right—no credit cards.
  5. Aldi closes earlier than most stores. Ours is open until 9pm and is closed on holidays.

None of these things have ever been a deterrent for us. Like us, you can do the following:

  1. Leave a quarter in your car, so you know you always have a quarter on hand for a cart. Don’t worry because you’ll get your quarter back when you return your cart to the cart section.
  2. Since Aldi doesn’t sell everything, make a list of the items you know you can buy there and list of the items you need to buy elsewhere.
  3. Bring reusable bags. If you don’t have any, buy some at the counter. If all else fails, pick-up a box from one of the isles and use that to carry your groceries.
  4. Make sure you bring the form of payment you intend to use. We know our bank charges a fee after so many debit transactions, so we sometimes make sure to stop by the ATM for some cash on our way to Aldi.
  5. Plan accordingly so you can hit the store before it closes. We always head in around 6pm on Fridays, which is typically a pretty quiet time. Heads up—weekends are busy!

Aldi is our go-to grocery store simply because they sell quality items at low prices. It’s right up our alley! We started shopping at Aldi right after we started our debt-free journey in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.

In my previous Money Monday post, I discussed meal planning templates and included a screen shot of our Excel template. You may have noticed that a majority of our grocery items are indeed from Aldi. If we need items that Aldi doesn’t sell, then we skip on over to Wal-Mart for the few remaining items—typically brown rice, tofu, and some frozen veggies. No biggie!

If you haven’t yet discovered Aldi, I strongly encourage you to stop by and have a look around to familiarize yourself. That’s what we did, and while we were there we jotted down the prices for some of the items we knew we’d buy. Knowing the prices makes meal planning a breeze!

I’d love to hear your thoughts—Have you heard of Aldi? Have you shopped there? What’s your take?

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