I used to do most of my grocery shopping at Aldi. But then I started reading labels more closely and another grocery store came to town. So with some price comparing and label reading, my Aldi shopping trips have become considerably smaller. See what I don’t buy at Aldi anymore.
When I was still very loyal to Aldi, I was doing a huge shopping trip for a fundraiser breakfast I was making. Because I was spending a non-profit’s money, I wanted to make sure I got the absolute best deals – and do a little experiment.
Woodman’s had just recently come to the town where I shop at Aldi so I decided to do some price comparing.
Much of what I would have gotten at Aldi ended up being the same price or cheaper at Woodman’s. Plus, Woodman’s in on the Ibotta money saving app. So I did most of my shopping for the fundraiser breakfast there.
What I Don’t Buy at Aldi
A lot of people stock up on produce at Aldi. That’s great! They usually have a variety and great sales. Their prices on organic produce usually beat out Way Mart.
I live over an hour away from an Aldi. But where I usually go, I pass a Woodman’s on the way. Since I’m in the area anyways, I usually hit up Woodman’s for organic fresh produce. Woodman’s has a huge variety of produce – both conventional and organic. I find their prices on the “Dirty Dozen” produce I always buy organic is cheaper or the same as Aldi.
Butter – I can get butter for just as cheap or cheaper at our local gas station. And when it goes on sale twice a year, I have the freezer space to stock up.
Milk – We drink our own milk from the farm so I don’t buy it anywhere.
Read More: How to Start Getting Raw Milk
Whipping Cream – I love the price of Aldi whipping cream, but it is ultra-high pasteurized. Blech! Call me a dairy snob, but my husband and I don’t care for the taste of ultra-high pasteurized products. Plus, it is even more dead in nutrients and enzymes than regularly pasteurized cream.
Cheese – Usually I can get discounted cheese from my local bent and dent Amish store. Otherwise I buy fresh colby from a store up the road for the freshest – squeak – in – your – mouth cheese.
If I happen to be swinging into Aldi when they have shredded cheese on sale, I will stock up on that because I always have room in my freezer for it.
Read More: Frugal Kitchen Habits to Help Your Budget
If I want specialty cheeses (maybe once a year) and I’m near an Aldi, I will stop there. They have an amazing selection of specialty cheeses at an affordable price.
Aldi cheese section is great when you are making a charcuterie board !
Aldi does have a good price on baking chips. But my local grocery store can usually beat them on price when they have a sale.
Otherwise I usually get some discounted at my bent and dent store. And I can never run out of chocolate chips because the Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (using all butter, of course) is the best! I like to send them the barn for snacks or give them away elsewhere. Plus, there is always a container of them in my freezer in case anyone stops by for coffee!
Read More: Cooking and Baking for the Freezer: How to Make and Bake Ahead
Canned and Frozen Veggies
I can and freeze all of the vegetables and much of the fruit we need from our garden or local producers. Because I never have to buy them, I can’t speak about their price at Aldi.
Read More: How to Use a Pressure Canner
Aldi has great prices on all chips if you aren’t brand loyal. We don’t eat a ton of chips in our house, so I usually grab a store brand of tortilla chips at our local store.
Aldi has great prices on flour, sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. However, I get it in bulk for even cheaper from my bent and dent store.
If you buy store eggs, Aldi has great prices. But, I can beat that price with a sale at our local grocery store.
Plus, we have an egg lady who supplies us with delicious, farm fresh eggs, so I don’t have to buy store eggs very often at all.
Read More: Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
What I Do Buy at Aldi (when I’m in the area)
Because I don’t do the bulk of my shopping at Aldi, I don’t plan a specific shopping trip there. If I happen to be passing within 10 miles of one, I will swing in there and stock up on what I need.
I mentioned earlier about cooking for a fundraiser breakfast. I still do that every year, so I plan out my shopping trip for it between Aldi and Woodman’s. When I am cooking for a crowd like that, I’m not an ingredient reader. I buy the cheapest of the real thing.
Margarine is never in any meal I make for a crowd. Actually, I’ve never bought margarine in my life. Dairy farmer, here! I use the cheapest real sour cream, even if it has a few extra ingredients. No “topping” here!
And I will only use real whipping cream – no Cool Whip. In that case I will buy the ultra-high pasteurized cream I mentioned above just because it is so much cheaper but far healthier than Cool Whip.
One thing I don’t do cheaper for this fundraiser breakfast is mixes. Often brownie mix, cake mix, muffin mix, scone mix, etc. can be picked up pretty cheap at Aldi or Woodman’s. But no way. I just make the real recipe.
It’s not that I don’t care about the health of the fundraiser guests, but in the end, it’s just one meal.
85% Dark Chocolate
I love chocolate! But when it comes to milk chocolate there is so much sugar and other ingredients. Because I prefer the taste of dark chocolate and it has relatively low sugar, it is my splurge. Aldi 85% dark chocolate bars are AMAZING!
Aldi usually has one or two varieties of organic frozen berries. Because they are on the “Dirty Dozen” list and I’ve talked with my berry grower on the normal spraying process for berries, I choose to buy them organic.
Read More: How to Make Kefir at Home
I love salsa. And my husband likes it…after it comes out of the blender…with absolutely no chunks. Aldi brand is delicious, has very few ingredients and is cheaper than my Wal Mart options. Because it’s easy to store, I can stock up when I’m there.
Even though I follow a recipe to make my chili, I still love the added flavor of using chili beans over regular beans. The extra ingredients are mostly seasonings. And the extra cost isn’t much since we don’t eat a ton of chili.
For a larger family, it would be more affordable for you to buy dry beans and soak and season your own chili beans.
No, it’s not organic. But when I worked in retail and C&H brand sugar would go on sale, all the older ladies would come in and stock up. So one day I finally asked one gal what the big deal was with C&H brand. Wasn’t sugar just sugar?
The lady informed me that C&H brand sugar is one of the few conventional brands that is still made from sugar cane and not sugar beets. She explained how it made such a difference in the texture of her baked goods and in their taste.
So I buy cane sugar for personal use.
Also, if you are GMO conscious, most sugar beets are GMO.
We don’t drink juice. But Aldi usually has some variety of organic juice that I buy to make Jello. It’s a fun, quick treat without a lot of added junk and sugars.
Aldi sour cream is good. It doesn’t have a bunch of extra ingredients so it is healthy, also. I will grab some if I’m there. But I can get Daisy brand (it’s the store brand not full of extra junk ingredients) for a comparable price on sale or with a coupon when I run out of Aldi brand.
Cottage Cheese[Same as sour cream.]
Aldi is definitely a great place to shop! Their prices are mostly cheaper than regular store prices and they have a good variety. My Aldi stores are quite small but I still find what I need. [I discovered how small my Aldi was when I was in a city five hours away and swung by that Aldi. It was huge!]
But don’t let what I buy at Aldi (or don’t buy) sway you too much. Go to your local store and find out what they have. Learn the prices and what you are willing to pay.
Know your prices, know what you are willing to compromise on and go for it. For a one stop shopping trip, it is definitely a money saver.