If you have never shopped at Aldi, you are in for a treat! It is a store that offers some of the best prices on the foods you need for your family. But, there are some things you should know before you shop.
I know a lot of people shop at Aldi and love it (me included). If you haven’t ever shopped at one, or aren’t sure if you should, there are some things you need to know about how to shop at Aldi. Even if you currently frequent your location, there may be things you don’t know about, which can help you too!
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*This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated in 2018 to make sure all information was accurate.
ALDI SHOPPING TIPS
1. Bring along a quarter
You have to “rent” your shopping cart. You slide a quarter into the slot and then do your shopping. Return your cart to the corral after unloading your groceries and replace the lock and your quarter will pop out.
They do this to keep carts from being left in the parking lot which saves damage to cars. It also saves the store money as they don’t have to pay someone to run to the parking lot and corral the carts.
*Bonus tip: Make someone’s day and just give them your cart when you are through. You’ll be surprised at how much a small gesture can make someone’s day!
2. Don’t forget your bags
Aldi doesn’t have bags. Well, they do, but you have to purchase them. One way they keep prices low is that they don’t purchase paper or plastic bags for you to take your items home. They do have boxes in the store, which you can use if you happen to forget yours. I just keep my bags in my van and grab them every time I walk into the store.
In addition to bringing bags, you will have to sack your groceries too. I prefer this as it seems the kid a the grocery store always puts every heavy item in just one bag or mixes my cold and canned products. I can sort them as I want, which makes unloading and putting away my items so much simpler!
If you forget your bags, you may also find boxes in the front of the store that works perfectly (and are free). A trick many Aldi shoppers use it to keep a laundry basket in their trunk. They roll the cart of food to their vehicle and unload everything into the baskets, which they can carry into their house when they get home. So smart!
3. Don’t like something? Get your money back!
Refunds are one thing many people do not know about Aldi. If you ever try a product and it is not the quality that you expect, or you just were not satisfied, you can get your money back. Strike that.
You can get your money back PLUS a replacement product!
Just take the item and your receipt back to your store, and they will gladly take care of you. Note that the guarantee does not apply to non-food special buy items, alcohol or national brands. Read more here.
4. No store brands here (or very few of them)
You need to know this about Aldi. They have their own brands (which are as good as, if not better than, the name brands). It is one way they can offer such great prices.
The packaging also holds a secret. Look at it from different directions, and you will see several barcodes. Those multiple codes make the checkout process much faster as the cashier does not need to search for the code to scan.
*Bonus tip: Look at the packaging, and you may notice it looks similar to national brands. That lets you know which one they are like, so you know what “name brand” product you are getting.
5. If you find store brands, they may be more expensive
As mentioned in #4 above, Aldi does not carry many store brands. However, you may find them from time to time. The problem is that they are often more expensive than you will find at other stores, where these are on sale and you can use a coupon. These items are often those you will want to pass over when shopping.
6. Forget the coupons!
No coupons needed as Aldi does not accept credit cards. The prices are often lower than what you will find at your local store, even with a coupon. Of course, there are some sales at larger stores which are less than Aldi, so you do need to check your local ad and know the prices (when using your coupon), before you shop.
7. Spend less time in the store
Without ten brands of ketchup to look at and 47 boxes of cereal for your kids to look at, you can save time in the store. There is one type of ketchup. There are only a handful of cereals to look at. It makes it so simple to just grab the item you need without having to compare per unit prices of various products.
*Bonus tip: Checkout is also quicker as all items have multiple barcodes on them. When the cashier grabs the product, they don’t have to turn the item to try to find the barcode. In most cases, there is one on the item, no matter how they grab and slide it over the scanner. This saves time when checking out too!
8. Organic or Gluten-Free? Yes, please!
Aldi has a huge selection of organic and even gluten-free foods! They know that this is a concern for many families, so they have taken steps to help you get those items you need – at a price you can afford!
9. You can use cash back apps
While you can’t use credit cards, you can use apps such as Checkout51 to get cash back. They often offer rebates on general products such as milk and bread. That is instant money in your pocket.
10. Aldi accepts credit cards
One question I have heard many people ask is “Does Aldi accept credit cards?” Fortunately, they do! This changed in early 2016. Aldi accepts EBT, debit, credit cards and of course, cash!!
11. Know the store hours
Aldi has shorter hours than most stores. Aldi store hours run from 9 am to 8 pm. They are open on Sunday as well, but the hours are 10 am – 7 pm. again keeps costs down as people work fewer hours and the operating costs are reduced (fewer lights needed when the store is closed). You can head HERE to find a store near you and confirm your local hours.
12. You can save 50% and more
Try it and just see how your bill looks. Even if you save $30 a week at the store, do the math – that is more than $1500 in a single year!! I know I could find something fun to use $1500 on (or you could even use it to pay off your debts). When I go to Aldi, it amazes me how much food I get for less than at my local grocery store.
Shopping at Aldi has become a norm for our family and has made a huge difference in our budget. It amazes me how much grocery money we have left out of our budget – just by shopping here!
13. Aldi doesn’t have fancy displays
Aldi is a no-frills grocery store. In fact, products are not unpacked and put on display on shelves. Instead, it is left in the original box, and the side or top is removed.
14. The ad may vary by location
The weekly ad that you see may be different than one in another part of the country. Make sure you check the ad for your region before you shop.
15. Some items are the best deals you will find
There are products you may find are typically priced lower than other stores. Items such as milk and eggs are often priced lower at Aldi than other stores. Make a price list so you know what you pay at other stores so you know if Aldi is your best deal or not.
16. Know what you should buy
Ask most Aldi shoppers and they will share with you their must buy list. Some of these include chocolate (which is absolutely amazing), wine, milk, bread, ketchup, coffee — and so much more!