Cheap Eats: Aldi Foods

Since I’m a tightwad, I plan on adding an entry here and there on cheap but decent recipes, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. I’ve been on an extremely tight budget the last couple of weeks, and Aldi’s has been like unto a saviour for me. Most people just know it as the strange grocery store with no name brands where you have to pay for bags and spend a quarter to get a grocery cart.

True, Aldi’s has it’s quirks. They try to keep costs down by elimating unneccesary manpower, so you won’t find any bagboys or cart attendants. To get a grocery cart, you put a quarter in a slot on the cart and it releases. When you’re finished shopping, you take the cart back and you get your quarter back. Aldi’s doesn’t add the price of “free” bags back into the groceries and being a European company, they’re pretty pro-environment, so they encourage people to bring reusable bags. You can buy a paper bag for $0.05 or a heavy duty mall-department-store shopping bag for $0.10. They also encourage customers to use packaging materials from the store as free boxes for your items, so I typically grab a banana box to carry all of my groceries. The cashier rings up my purchase(cash or debit only) and puts everything loose in the cart for me to bag before leaving. These systems completely eliminate the need for a bagboy/cart attendant.

Now about the food. It is true that 95% of the stuff is Aldi’s generic label, but I’ve been pleased with everything purchased there so far. If you don’t like an item, you can take back the packaging and receipt for a double refund. I hate generic soda, so I’ve never tried theirs, but everything else I like.

Here’s my last receipt from Aldis:

1 gal whole milk $2.95
Honey Wheat Bread $0.79
Hot Dog Buns $0.65
Plain Bagels $0.99
Cheese Crackers $0.99
Bite-size shredded wheat cereal $1.69
3 boxes Macaroni & Cheese $0.87
1 doz large eggs $0.85
Chocolate Spread(generic Nutella) $1.69
Strawberry Jam $0.99
Crunchy Peanut Butter $1.29
1 roll Paper Towels $0.59
1 lb Ground Turkey $0.79
1 lb Ground Turkey $0.79
Frozen Orange Juice $0.89
Parmesan Cheese Shaker $1.89
Smoked Sausage $2.19
Frozen Orange Juice $0.89
12 oz Hot Dogs $0.59
Cinnamon Crunch Cereal $1.69
Cinnamon Graham Crackers $0.99
1 lb Frozen Meatballs $1.69

Total w 5% tax $28.07

Pretty good. You can do better with coupons, but this is no hassle. www.aldifoods.com

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