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A Mom’s Ultimate Guide to Aldi

 

There was a lot of celebrating that happened in Mankato yesterday!  Were you a part of the rejoicing that occurred as a result of Aldi reopening??  To me, the sound of angel’s singing seemed to permeate the air around the store I love so much.  Have you been to Aldi?  If not or you’re still a newbie, let me share the ultimate shopping guide from a mom of 5.

The facts:

  • Aldi is a sister company of the fabulous Trader Joe’s, a gourmet version of a food co-op with Walmart prices.
  • Bring a quarter.  You will need it to rent a cart while you are there.
  • Bring your own bags.  They have bags (paper ones are 10 cents) to buy but a few large utility totes from Thirty-One are the prefect fit for your trip.
  • Be prepared for a small selection, which actually makes your decisions easier and your trip faster.
  • Name brands don’t exist at Aldi except on occasion or for only a specific item.  Occasionally you will find some Kraft mac-n-cheese there.  Sometimes not.  If you are brand loyal, don’t count on it being at Aldi.
  • Be prepared to be amazed by prices and by how much you will come to love generic.
  • They are not Costco or Sam’s, there won’t be any bulk sizes here.

What does Aldi carry: pretty much everything, unless it’s an exotic ingredient where a trip to Hy-vee is warranted.  Again, they have some name brands but that isn’t something I would count on.

Why mom’s love it:  Aldi is the least expensive grocery store.  It is small, which means your kids will likely make it all the way through without a major meltdown.  The food is good!  It is not a second rate, “I’m poor so I will have to suffer through the food” store.  It’s food everyone actually loves.  

Moms with kids with special dietary needs: This store carries food for you too!  My friend, whose son cannot eat dyes or artificial additives, can eat SO many things at Aldi.  Aldi also has a lot of natural foods that we moms can feel good about feeding our kids!

Now let’s discuss food:

Dairy: 

  • Aldi carries all of your standard items: milk, cheeses (block, shredded and cottage), yogurt (Greek, regular, tubed containers and individual containers), creamers, butter, ice cream etc.
  • They carry specialty dairy: almond/soy/lactose free milks, delicious decadent yogurts with the stir in chocolate that every mom should have on hand for stressful moments.

Staples: 

  • A mom’s pantry is not complete with out bread, peanut butter and jelly. At least mine isn’t.  They carry “traditional” types of PB as well as sugar free (stir) types.  They have jelly and the special fruit only types that I prefer.  Bread selections are abundant.  Special bread for my friend’s son with dietary restrictions.   100% whole wheat for me. Plus bagels, wraps and english muffins and all the other fun bread products you need.
  • Baker’s will find all the major pantry staples.  Again, there is only one type of sugar, one type of  flour, etc.  However, they have almost everything you will need.  The cake mixes are amazing.  I have a friend who is a wonderful cook/baker and everyone asks what recipe she used for her birthday cakes and she loves to tell people it’s from Aldi.
  • Cereal.  I love Aldi’s generic cereal.  I’ve had one person tell me they didn’t like them but my children in their inhaling of their morning breakfast, never complain. My favorite part is that I don’t have a GIANT aisle of overwhelming choices, especially with children who start asking for all their favorites.

Fruits/Veggies:

  • My advice in this area is the same as with every grocery store.  Look at expiration and the quality before you buy.  I’ve had great success at Aldi and sometimes I forget to look and my fruit is not looking so great when I get home.  Sometimes this area can be hit or miss BUT the prices cannot be beat!!

Meats: 

  • This section is bigger then you’d think but small enough you won’t be overwhelmed.  I love that they carry a generic version of my favorite lunch meats and also some of the “specialty” meats that my husband and I love to “splurge” on like “crab” meat and our favorite salami.
  • They have expanded some of their meat selections as I noticed a bunch of hams to be roasted.
  • They have a great selection of fresh meat.  Due to the size of my family, we save money by buying a half a cow/pig at a time, but when I need frozen chicken or meat for dinner I am always happy with my purchases.

Baby section:

  • This winter Aldi started carrying all things baby.  I have not tried the baby formula so I cannot speak on this but we’ve LOVED the cheaper, but delicious pouched foods.  
  • The diapers were not my personal favorite.  I would compare them to LUV’s brand and since this isn’t my preferred choice, we’ve not used them frequently.  Nor the wipes as I am brand loyal.  However, I ALWAYS recommend trying the generic brands that Aldi carries before you go back to your favorite.  The cost is nominal to try and you won’t feel like you “wasted” a lot by giving them a go.
  • Check out the price of “baby” water!  $0.79/gallon!!!
  • Always check the “extras” aisle too.  When I was there yesterday they had nice looking generic nursing pillows for $12.99.  They carry Nuby brand dinnerware and sippy cups.  There were adorable baby blankets to choose from. 

Extra advice:

  • The checkers as Aldi are trained/required to be fast.  Sometimes annoyingly so.  I’ve ended up with apples with cart lines in them from a checker who was less then careful with my food.  Sometimes you have to speak up about it while checking out, including telling the checker to be extra careful with some of your produce.
  • Always check out the “extra” aisles, which change depending on the season.  You never know what deal you can find on something you’ve been wanting.  Or in my case get a laugh at finding a chain saw in the aisles.  Find great deals on kid’s toys at Christmas or summer sandals.  In the new year, all the exercise equipment you need to keep you weight loss resolution.

My favorite “steals”: 

  • Children’s gummy vitamin’s: $7.99 for what normally costs me $12.  And they are dye free!!
  • Eggs:  seriously the best deal!  Occasionally Kwik Trip beats them but rarely.  They were $0.47/dz this week!
  • Almond milk.  Again, best price around.
  • Bagged salads: Sam’s has some good prices too, but Aldi hands down beats the big chain grocery store and they taste so good.
  • Frozen broccoli: Want the good part of broccoli and not those gross stalks?  Aldi is the best source frozen broccoli!
  • PIZZA: Aldi pizza has become a weekly staple at my small group.  Fresh made.  Delicious and a good price they cannot be beat.  Ingredients in their cheese pizza are perfect for my dye-free, artificial-free friend’s son.  Sometimes they carry “gourmet” flavors like chicken bacon ranch or our favorite breakfast pizza.

Have you shopped at Aldi?  

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One Response to A Mom’s Ultimate Guide to Aldi

  1. Angie September 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    I did leave with a few Nuby sippy cups for @ $1.80 each!

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