Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm a Believer!

So I've always been curious about the grocery store Aldi. We had two locations relatively close to us, but I just never got there. But I always meant to because I have friends who couldn't stop raving about the deals.

Well, a third relatively close location just recently opened up, and it happens to be the closest of the three relatively close locations. :) My neighbor and I decided to brave the unknown together (with our collective four children) and made our debut Aldi appearance on Thursday afternoon.

Since I had already done my "big" shopping trip for the week, I decided just to pick up a few things that we would normal buy and eat to compare prices and tastes. Aldi carries mostly their own brands of everything. Once in a while, they get a big shipment of some overstock of a name brand item. For instance, when we went on Thursday, they had big bags of M&Ms and jugs of Arizona iced tea. But otherwise, everything is an off brand. Now, I happen to buy mostly store brands anyway (unless a combination of sale and coupon gets me the name brands for a better deal). So the idea of off brands was just fine with me.

Just walking around the store, I was extremely impressed with the prices. A loaf of sandwich bread was $.99 (comparable quality to Cub's store brand loaf of sandwich bread, which is closer to $2). A pound of butter was $2.49, which is, unfortunately, a really great price right now. (Just yesterday, Target's store brand of Market Pantry had butter for over $4/lb). The trip was mostly to browse, but I did pick up a few things. Here's the rundown:

Cheese Sharks (like goldfish) $1.29
Honey Nut Cheerio-look-alikes $1.59
Fruit snacks $1.79
Graham crackers $1.19
Flour (5 lb) $1.63
Mandarin oranges (4-pk bowls) $1.49
English muffins (6) $.99
Tortilla chips $1.19
Hot dogs (10) $.75
Hot dog buns (8) $.79
Tortellini $1.99
Fruit strips $1.99
Brats (5) $2.99
Strawberries (8 oz) $1.59
Frozen corn $.65
Frozen green beans $1.49

For comparison, I entered all comparable products on the Coborn's Delivers website. Now, Coborn's is generally a little more expensive than Target or Cub, but I did pick their store brands whenever I could. The total for the same 16 items was over $51. I'd say I did pretty well!

So far, the things we've tried have been great. The English muffins are gone (thanks to a 5-year-old who decided he loved them), the cheese sharks are awesome, the brats were very similar in taste to Johnsonville, and the hot dog buns were amazing for being $.79. Fruit strips, tortilla chips, mandarin oranges, and hot dogs were also all very comparable to other store brands.

Since I'm a person who already shops at Cub, Target, Sam's, and occasionally Trader Joe's, I don't really want to add another store to the list of places I need to go to get what I want. But after just one trip, I'm fairly certain I can cut my Cub trips (which is great, since it's not exactly my favorite place to shop. And don't let Amy Garvin tell you differently). :)

I'm excited to go back with my actual shopping list and try more things. If you have never tried Aldi and would like to, there are a few things you need to know:

1) You have to bring your own bags and bag your own groceries.
2) You need a quarter to get a cart. You get it back when you return your cart.
3) You need either cash or a debit card with a pin. Now, my receipt says that they are now accepting all debit/check cards, but I don't know if that includes check cards that are issued by Visa (like my check card from Wells Fargo, for instance). I'll have to ask next time.


Brenda said...

You made quite a haul! My town has one store, no options. High prices. I like your blog

Jennifer said...

We hopped on the Aldi train a while ago...we get a lot of the items on your list, plus some frozen items too like their juice, general Tsao chicken and some desert things for parties does freak me out when they THROW your food into the cart at the register though...

Erin Bennett said...

Yeah, what is THAT about? Leah was sitting in the front of the cart and the cashier was like, "Can you just hold her hands so she doesn't get hit with stuff?" I thought she was kidding and then she starting going crazy. Cracked me up!

Heidi said...

Haha!! Good to know!! I can't stand Cub, I think I ranted about that on FB recently :) I am totally spoiled by Super Target. I have always avoided Aldi too, but you convinced me to give it a shot!

-Lisa- said...

I laughed out loud at your comment about the cashier having you hold Leah's hands! That's hilarious.

Inspector Clouseau said...

Interesting. It was always my understanding that Aldi's business model was to carry brand names, but only a few varieties of particular products, resulting in less selection but better prices.

Of course, I've never shopped there but will consider doing so now.

Nice work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the Next Blog button on the blue Nav Bar located at the top of my site. I frequently just travel around looking for other blogs which exist on the Internet, and the various, creative ways in which people express themselves. Thanks for sharing.

PCkitten said...

this really sounds like the Aldi stores we got here in germany.