Groceries 50% off?! I’m in!

A few years ago, a new grocery store moved into my town. Its name is ALDI. The global discount supermarket is based in Germany and has been around since 1913. For more background, and to find a store near you, visit ALDI’s website. When my mom first started shopping there, I was skeptical that a store that only sold its own-brand products could be worthwhile. Ultimately, my curiosity to find a cheap way to buy groceries overwhelmed me, and I did my grocery shopping at ALDI one week.

I usually go grocery shopping on Saturday nights when other people my age are out with their friends or home relaxing. It’s the best time to go because the stores are usually empty. ALDI was no exception. However, it must not get deliveries on the weekends because the produce looked wilted, and the meat in the refrigerated section was changing color. Needless to say, I stayed away from the rotting items that I usually put on my shopping list. (I didn’t notice a difference in price for those items anyway.)

Some things that I noticed were considerably cheaper than ShopRite were Pop-Tarts, granola bars (all types), cookies, and paper products. Things that weren’t much different were cereals (stick with the name brand for the same price), hygiene products (their selection wasn’t that big, even though they carried name-brand items), and frozen food (stick with the brand-name items for a few cents more).

To start, a 12-pack of Pop-Tarts is $2.79 at ALDI when the eight-count box is $2.69 at ShopRite. ALDI’s brand of granola bars and other snack foods is Millville, the equivalent of Nabisco (I would say). Its products are no different than the products Nabisco puts out, either, and include granola bars, cereals, and other snack foods. Millville chewy bars are $1.79 compared to ShopRite’s $3.19 for the same size product. Benton’s is ALDI’s brand of cookies, which is the equivalent of Keebler—same type of packaging, too. The cookies are just as delicious as Keebler’s too ($1.19 for fudge-striped cookies at ALDI vs. $3.69 at ShopRite).

Name-brand Keebler Fudge Stripes are nearly double the price of ALDI's brand.

Name-brand Keebler Fudge Stripes are nearly double the price of ALDI’s brand.

ALDI's brand Benton's Fudge Striped cookies have nearly the same packaging to mimic the name-brand it represents.

ALDI’s brand Benton’s Fudge Striped cookies have nearly the same packaging to mimic the name-brand it represents.

I didn’t notice if ALDI sold fresh cold cuts, but I know for a fact that it doesn’t have a bakery or a butcher on hand. I found that this article summed up my feelings about ALDI very well. This was also an interesting read on how Trader Joe’s and ALDI are taking the U.S. market by storm.

As a post-college, young professional trying to save money, I will now incorporate ALDI into my weekly grocery routine. On average, the things I buy (that are usually on my list) are about 50% cheaper than ShopRite. Of course I will have to still make a trip to ShopRite for meat and produce, but at least I’ll save a little bit here and a little bit there.

Another issue that I confronted was minimizing my shopping list. When my mom goes shopping, she buys a bunch of stuff that really isn’t necessary or healthy. When I go shopping, I usually only buy the necessities, like bread, milk, eggs, produce, and meat for the week. I’ve stopped picking up the extra snacks that will expand my waist band but shrivel my wallet. On my budget, that’s the perfect plan.

If you have a favorite discount grocery store, please share it with me below!

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