I went to Aldi

I frequent other blogs about coupons and saving money and I've seen a familiar theme....they all go to Aldi for their produce and other basics. I had no interest in going to Aldi, but after seeing it mentioned so often, I thought I'd better go check it out (how's that for advertising!)

I need to take a step back and let you know that I've been to Aldi before. I went about 7 years ago, and I did not have a favorable experience.

The store was cluttered and it smelled....really bad. I'm obsessed with milk gone bad. If I see someone leave milk on the counter for more than a few minutes, I will go crazy. I do cry over spilled milk and I can not stand the smell of milk getting icky on a wash cloth...it must be washed immediately. Phew...I'm glad that's over.

Bottom line, it smelled like old milk. And this was a brand new store, so I decided then and there I wouldn't shop at Aldi.

So I was hesistant to go again. But time changes things. Maybe it was the greatest store of all time? Maybe it would be like my dream clothing store (all my size, stylish and under 99c) but for food?

So with kids in tow, we set out to find our nearest Aldi, which just so happened to be 12 minutes away. No offense, but this was already a zero in my opinion.

We are lucky to be in the suburbs (this is The Suburban Jungle after all), and most stores are within 3-4 minutes of us. So to drive 12 minutes already left me a bit miffed.

We arrived at the store, reusable shopping bags in hand and entered the store. The first thing I noticed was a bunch of weird credit card pictures on the door. Wait a minute! Those aren't credit cards! They are some sort of debit cards. Oh brother. Some of us shop exclusively with credit cards....so this was going to be a problem.

Should I leave right then? No, I drove 12 minutes to see this store! Knowing full well that I had no cash, and don't own any debit cards, we went in purely on a price checking/product comparing mission.

My first impression. Hmmm....this is small, but it looks clean and no detectable smells. Proceed. I checked all the ingredients and prices for things I might buy. Frankly, there wasn't a lot I would buy except for produce, meat, and a few things like jelly (working on making my own by the way) and crackers.

A few good things...their saltine crackers did not have any trans fat in the ingredient list. The prices were okay, as good as the sale prices at my usual stores, but I decided it wouldn't be worth the drive.

The produce was by far the best deal (similar to the grocery store's rock bottom prices), but I like the variety I get by buying produce when it's on sale. It forces me to try new things and keeps our menu fresh. I even thought I found the food processor of my dreams, for only $16. But alas, they don't take credit cards.

And that is where Aldi lost me forever. I can deal with the paying for your cart. If the deals were good enough I'd drive 12 minutes (so spoiled, I know). And I use my own bags anyway. But I can't operate in cash. Or debit cards, so..... I'm sorry Aldi, I'm sure you save some people a lot of time and money, but not me.

Incidentally, Target and Walmart are great places to pick up your basics or even extras if there are no good sales or you don't have the coupons. They both price match, so bring your sales flyers with, and their normal prices are honestly pretty good. They don't beat loss leader prices but they do a good job on average. And the stores are clean and the selection is usually pretty good. I do most of my in between shopping at either of these stores. Usually Target, so I can find some good 75% off deals as well.

And I recently found Sams Club. I know it's been around forever, but I'd never gone inside. It's a great place to stock up on produce and basics (milk, eggs, baking supplies, nuts.)

If you want to see more about how I grocery shop, click here.

3 comments:

Molly said...

I have yet to go to Aldi, even though it's close to my other markets....not down with the odd brand name foods.

Elizabeth (The Savvy SAHM) said...

Sorry to hear you're having bad Aldi experiences. Our Aldi is fairly well kept and I do go there a lot, especially for produce and meat.

A lot of people I know won't shop there because of the off brand names, but a lot of that is made by the exact same companies who make the good stuff you like. Just branded with Aldi's brand.

Sometimes you do have to tweak some things a bit though. Like the Mac & Cheese for instance. I've found that you can't use the entire pack of powdered cheese, you have to leave about 1/4 in the packet in order to make it taste like Kraft.

Their canned veggies taste just fine to me as does the cereal and some of the snack foods. This, coming from an extremely picky eater!

I never really did understand their credit card policy though. Stick with what works best. I'd say I split my shopping between 4 sometimes 5 different stores. All depends on who has the best deals at the time.

Lydia said...

You make me laugh...I LOVE Aldi and save lots there. But hey, different things work for different people, right?

As for the debit cards, by not taking credit cards they save themselves a HEAP. I know this because my husband works at a business that accepts credit cards and the credit card companies keep around at least 3% and obviously groceries aren't something you make a lot of money on anyway. We use credit cards too for most purchases, but for myself, I feel it is worth using my debit card there.

I'm jealous of your short distance to shopping. I have about 10 to most of mine and thought that was good! :)

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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