I don’t live under a rock; I have known about Aldi forever. There are a few reasons that I didn’t go, though. For starters, I’ve always lived about 30 minutes away from an Aldi; I don’t want to grocery shop at all let alone drive an hour round trip to do so. Also, when you’re used to a large grocery store where you know that they will have basically every food item you could ever desire, it’s pretty easy to make a list and get everything you need. I knew that if I shopped at Aldi, my buying would depend on what they had in stock that week, so my tried and true method of meal planning wouldn’t work.
When Dan and I were visiting my brother in Vienna over the summer, we did lots of shopping at the European branch of Aldi, the Hofer to save money:
which made me really want to check the store out when I got home. I’m a creature of habit, so it’s taken me a really long time to actually do it, but now that I have, I don’t think I would go back to regular grocery shopping!
I was surprised to find that they really do cram a lot of food into that tiny store, but you definitely can’t get just anything there. It also wouldn’t really be practical for us to shop there weekly because, like I said, it’s an hour round trip and we generally grocery shop on a weeknight when we’re already pressed for time because we’re too stubborn to give up precious weekend time to compete with every other human in the world for a spot in the cereal aisle. So for the past six weeks I’ve been adjusting to a new grocery strategy. We do a large grocery trip once a month and stock up on as many basics as possible, and then do a smaller produce/milk/eggs run each week. Because the prices at Aldi are really low, we end up saving quite a bit of money.
The thing that really sold me on the value of doing a big grocery haul once a week was the price of wild caught salmon at Aldi. The first week we went, it was $4.99/lb. $4.99. Wild caught. This is so crazy! I grabbed 3 pounds that night. When we went back a month later, the price had gone down even more to $3.99/lb. I got four more pounds. We have now been eating salmon once a week, which is awesome because salmon is so good for you!
We went to Aldi 2 weeks ago and spent $60. We bought things like salmon, rice, dried pinto beans, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen stir fry mix, frozen blueberries, and frozen vegetables. Our strategy when we go is to just go up and down the aisles and grab healthy things, focusing on what is on sale.
When we shop at a regular grocery store, we spend around $75, and then inevitably have to go back once or twice (or more. We’re basically bffs with all the employees of the local Shop Rite) because I forgot something and end up spending no less than $10 more each trip, so realistically we were spending around $100/week on groceries. The $60 worth of basics for the month breaks down to $15/week, and then on top of that, our small grocery run of perishable items + things we can’t get at Aldi (natural peanut butter, almond milk) runs us about $20. Putting in the time to drive an hour round trip plus planning my meals around the food we have instead of planning my grocery list around the food I want to cook (which is admittedly taking some adjustment) easily saves us $50/week on groceries. We are still in the habit of going to the store to grab more stuff, specifically on weekends when we want munchies; if we stop doing this, we will be saving around $65/week. That’s an insane amount of money for a student and a substitute teacher living in a moderately expensive town!
Next time I stock up at Aldi, I will do a follow up post showing what I bought and what I spent, as well as what meals I plan to make with the food!