If you’ve never shopped at Aldi, you’re missing out. Aldi is a a German owned grocery store (they own Trader Joe’s too) that has become increasingly popular in the US over the last several years. I was very skeptical at first on what the quality of food would be like, but I gave them a shot after reading about the amount of money people were saving. There are many things I would pick to buy at Aldi over other stores even if they cost the same; they’re that good.
Saving money is what first brought me into Aldi, but I’ve found I prefer shopping at Aldi to other grocery stores. Here’s why:
If they’re busy I know I can still get a cart. You use a quarter to check out a cart, and are refunded that 25¢ when you return your cart. This means you never get stuck walking into the store when all the carts are in the parking lot.
The store is small. Instead of 12 different kinds of tortilla chips to choose from, you have 2. This keeps the store small, navigable, and efficient. I like being about to get all my groceries from the perimeter and 4 aisles.
Checking out is efficient. At bigger stores I typically use the self checkout because the regular lines are long and I like to bag my own groceries. But that always leads to a fight with the self check out register. At Aldi, they check you out and put your groceries in a cart unbagged. This keeps lines running smoothly. Then you bag your own groceries before exiting the store. Nothing makes me crazier than mashed bread or bruised apples. I like bagging my groceries my way because I can put things together according to how they get put away at home. Anyone else a bit nuts about how they bag their groceries?
These are some of my favorite items at Aldi that regularly end up in my cart. I’ve put them in the order that the appear when I shop my store. All prices are in the Richmond, VA market and the pictures are nothing spectacular. I’m not about to compose stylized pictures at the grocery store.
The dark chocolate version of these bars (sold out the day I took this, because they’re that good) frequent our house. They also have milk and hazelnut versions. You get four 1.4 oz bars for $2.29. They’re made in Germany and certified sustainable. I munch on half of on if I want something sweet, or smash up two of them to make peanut butter chocolate chunk bars. Delicious!
I picked up a 6-pack of this Monterrey beer on a whim. We’ve tried a few other beers from Aldi, but this is the only one we’ve bought repeatedly. These are light, but still flavorful. A cheap, tasty beer for summertime, grilling, and spicy food.
White bread, wheat bread, honey wheat bread. It all mostly tastes the same to me, and why not get a good deal on it? Regular loaves of bread range from $0.89 – $1.19. Hot dog and hamburger buns are 69¢.
I love all forms of cheese: shredded, sliced, block, and spreadable. We get all of our cheese at Aldi. They have cheese in the deli case as well as the dairy case. From the deli case – shredded parm for $1.45 and sliced gouda for $1.25 are perfect for pasta dishes and bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches respectively. There’s other sliced cheeses that are a fantastic deal too. Aldi’s pimento cheese spread is a guilty pleasure of mine. The first time I tried it, I ate the whole tub in less than 24 hours. Oops.
From the dairy case, bags of shredded cheese and cream cheese are regulars in my cart. Bags of shredded cheese at $1.75 may not seem like a huge deal, since you can get bags at other grocery stores on sale frequently for $1.99. BUT the bags at Aldi are 3 cups, where as standard bags are only 2.
We buy a large amount of our produce at Aldi, but these mini peppers are my favorite. I use them in cauliflower burritos, salads, and stir frys. I’ve found that most of my Aldi produce lasts longer, and am able to keep these peppers in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Which is perfect for pulling out a few at a time to add into meals.
We made the swap to ground turkey a few years ago. It has less cholesterol and is generally cheaper than beef. Aldi’s is 93% lean and ranges from $2.99 – $3.49. Just like with cheese, that may not seem like a great deal (Kroger regularly has 90% on sale 2/$7), but Aldi’s package is 1.2 pounds. That’s 20% more, and its leaner! Try ground turkey as burgers or in chili.
Dairy & Eggs
Aldi is the best place to buy the basics. Milk, eggs, and half & half are such a good deal here. Milk is just over $1 for half a gallon. A gallon is an even better deal, usually less than $2. We just don’t use enough milk to buy a gallon. Eggs range is price from $0.68 – $0.98 for a dozen, but are always a steal. Potato pancakes take 5 eggs, and we regularly have eggs on weekend mornings so we go through a dozen or so a week. I don’t drink coffee, but Mr. PC uses half & half in every morning, and this is much cheaper than other regular or flavored creamers.
The Best Veggie Burgers
We aren’t vegetarian or vegan, but I will chose to eat these because they’re so tasty. Aldi has a variety to pick from, but the quinoa crunch is my favorite. It doesn’t have any icky onions! Mr. PC prefers the black bean burger, but they also have a standard veggie burger, a kale version, and one with Asian flavors. I don’t know what veggie burgers run elsewhere, but at less than $1 a burger these are great for lazy nights. A few minutes on each side in a skillet with a slice of cheese on some toasted bread and you’ve got a burger to chow down on. Add a beer because you ate so healthy and call it dinner.
Another lazy night meal for us is chicken nuggets. Sometimes life gets crazy and you need to pop dinner in the oven and handle other things while it cooks. These nuggets are cheap and delicious. They recently got a makeover and improved breading, so are worth a try if you didn’t like them before. Always bake them longer than the directions to ensure the outsides get crispy. Old bay and yum yum sauce are the best flavor combo with nugs and tots!