Monday, August 4, 2008


Aldi just came to my neighborhood in the past year or so. I was hesitating to go, because they don’t carry anything organic. With the price of groceries going up, up, up, I finally decided it was time to make a trip. I could fill in the organic items on my weekly visit to SuperTarget (I always buy organic milk, and The Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables. For everything else, it depends what’s on sale. I’d love to buy all organic, but I’d have to get a second job to support that!)

But back to Aldi. For the uninitiated, Aldi is a grocery store with a few twists. They advertise themselves as being up to 50% cheaper than a traditional grocery store. And they save money by cutting out a few things.
1) The carts are chained together outside the store. By offering up a quarter, a cart is released. Assuming you are a good little shopper and return your cart to the cart corral, you’ll get your quarter back when you’re done.
2) They don’t offer free bags. Personally, I think this is fabulous because it encourages people to bring their own reusable bags. If you forget yours at home, you can buy paper bags at the checkout.
3) This is the most important piece of information, as far I’m concerned. They don’t take checks or credit cards. As someone who only carries a minimal amount of cash, this is a challenge and necessitates an extra stop at the ATM on my way to the store.
4) When you check out, you roll your empty cart to the end of the register, where the cashier puts your groceries back in the cart. After you’ve paid, you take your cart and your bags over to one of the counters that line the wall to bag them up yourself.
5) They don’t carry national brands. The food is all off-label, private brands.

I was able to find almost everything on my list, although I was not able to find canned artichoke hearts (but that could have been due to the distraction provided by shopping with two young children). We’ve sampled a lot of things that we bought, and so far, everything has been of excellent quality.

The most exciting purchase, as far as I was concerned, was frozen ground turkey at 99 cents a pound. I usually pay $2.99 for 20 oz. at the regular grocery store.

I ended up with a cartful of groceries that I estimated at $100 by eyeballing it. Since that was how much money I’d brought with, I was a little nervous that I’d go over that limit. The grand total rang up to be...$68! Wow!

So, although there are some inconveniences, I was very impressed by the cost savings, and the quality of their food. I will definitely be going back.


Carol Beth said...

Wow, that sounds GREAT. I wish we had Aldi here. They need to come to Texas.

Tabitha said...

I wonder if fargo will ever be so privledged.
Sounds great and a lot like cashwise here in fargo except the cart thing.