If you don’t have an ALDI in your area, one is likely coming soon. The company announced last week that by the end of 2018, it will expand to 2,000 stores in the U.S. ALDI is a chain of German grocery stores that does not offer U.S shoppers what we are accustomed to during our ritual trip to get groceries. The chain does not offer big sprawling stores, wide aisles, fancy eye catching displays or background music. What the chain does offer is a stripped down shopping experience and low prices for quality goods.
Before heading to ALDI, there are a few things you need to know. Quarters are not just for parking meters. You’ll need a quarter to use a shopping cart. You get the quarter back when you return the cart. Bring your own bags or buy them at the register. The stores do not accept coupons. You won’t routinely find your favorite national brand items. Lastly, you bag your own groceries. I hope I haven’t lost anyone yet. I know you’re thinking why should I try shopping there? If you want to save money, then read on.
1- Spend less time wandering. ALDI keeps shopping simple. Without all the fancy displays that will grab attention from your shopping list, buying things you don’t need is less tempting. The shelves stock less selections to choose from and compare. If you shop with your children, the likelihood of having to steer them away from all the shiny items are slim to none. Your shopping cart will mostly have things you went in there to buy.
2- Don’t like something, return it. Customer satisfaction is pivotal to their bottom-line. Remember many of the brands are new to shoppers. If you buy something but don’t like, you can return it for a full refund. Additionally, you can get a replacement item.
3- Shop organic and gluten-free for less. You can find many of these items cheaper than similar products at your supermarket. Some of the organic selections include fruits, vegetables, milk and some meats. The grocer has its own gluten-free product line, LiveGfree. Its price point is lower than other brands. The product-line carries cereals, crackers, pasta and cake mix.
4- Find specialty Items. You can find gourmet cheeses for 40% less than supermarket prices. The selections do not stop there. You can find coffee, potato chips, chocolate and stuffed olives. The shelves also stock European items and spirits, sodas and other beverages that are not found at American supermarkets.
5- Quality Store Brands. Many of us may remember those no-frills supermarket brands that we also remember for not tasting so good. 90% of the products the chain sells are their generic brands, costing 50% less than national brands. And what about the taste? You may not be able to tell the difference between their generic brands and the national brands.
6- Finding products similar to Trader Joe’s. Guess who owns Trader Joe’s? Aldi Nord who operates most of the stores in Europe owns Trader Joe’s! The chains are grocery siblings. Both chains are popular for unusual items which you cannot find anywhere else.
7- Girl Scout Cookies. You don’t have to wait until your friends or coworkers come around once a year to get your Samoas. The chain has a brand that is comparable in taste but selling for half the price.