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Saving money: Healthy grocery shopping at Aldi

If you’re a fan of blogs classified as “healthy living,” you may have noticed an influx of posts as of late about the store Aldi.

I’ll admit, my first impressions of Aldi weren’t that great. There is one about 10 minutes from my parents’ house, but I don’t recall ever going there. For some reason, I always thought it was “dirty.” Also, my great aunt, who is a nun, shops there religiously (uh, pun not intended), and she is known for her, umm, frugalness.

However, after learning of the store’s relation to Trader Joe’s and reading positive reviews of the stores, as well as promises of change, I decided to check it out. What did I have to lose? My boyfriend, Tim, and I already go to three different places for food (Giant, Costco and the farmers market). What was one more? We’re all about getting the best bang for our buck, and we’re both relatively healthy eaters.

So, we set off to the Aldi in Camp Hill, and we were pleasantly surprised. The store was clean, and although small, it was tidy and everything was organized. Here’s what we thought.

The Good

Produce
SO CHEAP. For some examples, pineapples were $1.39 (normally $2.99 at Giant), a huge butternut squash set us back $1.59 (normally .99 a pound at Giant), and we stocked up on three-pound bags of sweet potatoes that were $1.99 each (normally $1.29 a pound at Giant). A big steal were the avocados, clocking in at .59 each (typically $1-$1.50 at Giant). We had no issues with the freshness or quality of the produce.

Snacks
We didn’t buy any of these, but 10 ounce bags of chips, pretzels, popcorn, veggie sticks and so forth were $1-2 each. They typically cost $3-4 at Giant. They also had 16-inch frozen pizzas for $5.99. Next time we have a party, I am definitely stocking up here.

Spices
They had multiple rows of spices, most coming in at .99. Spices are generally a few dollars each, so it was fun to pick new ones to try.

The bad

Meat
I’m a vegetarian, so I can’t comment on their meat quality, but Tim was super stoked to see salmon priced inexpensively. However, he later said “you get what you pay for” in regards to meat, and this was not up to par. For one pound of salmon, he happily paid $3.99, but was disappointed with the quality.

The Different

Choices – or lack thereof
Like Trader Joe’s, you don’t have multiple brands available. Generally, they have one product available for each item, and it’s their own. Also, I don’t think you could do all your grocery shopping here, we still had to go to Giant afterwards, due to lack of some things we have specific tastes for. However, for “general” items, I think it’s worth making a trip here.

Checkout
Bring your own bags or you have to pay for them! Also, you do all the bagging yourself, and they only accept cash, debit or EBT cards. However, lines move at a very brisk pace.

Grocery carts
You have to pay a quarter to get one, but you get your quarter back when you check out.

Style of store
Shelves aren’t neatly stocked and there aren’t many displays. Like Costco, items are still in boxes, and you choose from there.

Overall, I don’t think Aldi will become our “main” store, but we both agreed that we’ll stop here once or twice a month to stock up.

Have you been to Aldi? Where do you find the best bargains?

CATEGORIES: Food/Drink, Shopping

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2 thoughts on “Saving money: Healthy grocery shopping at Aldi

  1. Lauren on said:

    I love this post! I’m a pretty big saver when it comes to grocery shopping (think that crazy person with a trapper-keeper full of coupons organized by aisle…), and I’ve always been afraid to shop here too. I’ll definitely give it a shot! (Another place that has cheap produce, and lots of random items at a low price is the Sharp Shopper in Middletown.)

  2. barb powell on said:

    I’m a huge advocate of Aldi. Food staples are the same everywhere, sugar, flour, honey, milk, pasta, eggs … so it makes no sense to pay more. And they constantly have weird fun imported items that are fun to try.
    The lines move VERY fast. Environmentally there’s noone pushing white plastic shopping bags on you.

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