Good News for Your Grocery Budget: Aldi is Expanding
I was first introduced to Aldi upon moving to Springfield, Missouri about two years ago. While I was blown away by some of the prices, I always found the shopping experience to be a stressful one as the shop was perpetually packed. What’s more, the store’s only entrance dumped everyone into one aisle to start with, making it difficult to even get anywhere. Thankfully, a redesign of my local Aldi was completed just a few months ago and things have been infinitely better ever since. In theory, this improved layout is what they’ll be rolling out with their newest locations.
If you’ve never been to an Aldi, there are a few things you should know first. Topping the list is the fact that Aldi has very few name brands. Granted, the store isn’t completely devoid of the big guys (good ol’ Coca-Cola is still available), but most of what you’ll be buying is the generic or private labeled stuff. Furthermore, when you do see the national brands in the store, the deals hardly compare.
Another Aldi tip is that they won’t have everything you need or at least not a great selection of it. For that reason, my wife and I often make two shopping lists: an Aldi one and another for Walmart or more traditional grocery stores. Sure it’s a bit of a pain to make two stops, but it’s definitely been worth it for us.
So what items in particular are good buys at Aldi? Personally, I’m a big fan of their ice creams — the cookie dough and peanut butter s’mores flavors are especially impressive. They also stock a great selection of cereals that sell for less than $2 a box. On some items like milk and eggs, the prices may vary based on demand. That said, my wife reports she was one able to snag a dozen eggs for… wait for it… 13 cents! Lastly, I recommend the relatively new Priano Herb Chicken Tortellini, which goes for about half of what a comparable item would at your regular grocer and is quite delcious if I do say so myself.
Before I forget, there’s one more little quirk I need to mention about Aldi. In an effort to save money on cart-herding employees, Aldi’s shopping carts are corralled and chained. To unlock your cart, you need to insert a quarter (yes, a physical 25-cent coin) into a slot on the cart. You will get this quarter back once you return and rechain your cart, but it’s always a bummer to show up unprepared.
Overall, Aldi’s expansion into additional U.S. markets in the next few years is great news for shoppers who want to make their grocery budget go further. While, for most people, this discount store won’t completely replace your supermarket of choice, it can certainly help supplement your shopping list if you know the right things to buy. So get your quarters ready and keep an eye for an Aldi popping up near you.