I’ll admit I was skeptical. When I approached the doors, I saw a line of chained shopping carts. Assuming these carts were on some sort of lock down, I walked inside but the carts there were similarly chained. The sole cashier in the place shouted over to me that I needed to grab a cart outside. Okay. Inspecting the carts, I noticed some kind of slot. They wanted me to put in a quarter. I checked my purse and pockets – no luck – so I turned to walk back to my car to search for change, but, seeing my irritation, an older gentleman approached and said, “Hey do you need a quarter?” And he handed me one.
Aldi shoppers save so much money they can afford to be generous to strangers. But you need a strategy to save at Aldi, and here are a few tips on how to spend less money on food:
- Find a store
- Don’t be so worried about brands
- Be flexible
- Do NOT get the chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels for $2.99
- Also buy household supplies
Visit the Aldi website and you’ll see that these stores are all over the world. Surprising. Use the store locator to find one nearby. An icon tells you if your Aldi sells beer and wine (handy if your recipe calls for these ingredients).
I am a person who likes brands. I buy Starbucks coffee, fancy shampoo, even my dog’s food is organic and grain free. But in the spirit of embracing frugality, I was willing to buy off-brands. My conclusion? No difference. Except in price.
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I went shopping with a list in hand, along with a recipe for a favorite casserole, but there was no ground pork or ground turkey at Aldi that day, so instead I bought a chuck roast ($10.04) and made a delicious pot roast. Along with other ingredients I bought, the entire dish cost under $25. Here’s the recipe:
1 approximately 3 pound roast
8 slices of thick-cut bacon
4-5 Yukon potatoes
2 stalks of celery
1 small can of diced tomato
1 box of beef broth
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350. Dice bacon and set aside. Dice onion and celery, cut the carrots and mushrooms larger, and the potatoes into fourths. Heat a few glugs of oil in a Dutch oven. Pour flour on a plate. Season meat with salt and pepper, then coat in flour. Sear meat about 5 minutes per side, then remove and set aside. Add bacon to the pot, and cook until brown and crispy, rendering the fat. Add all the veg, simmer until onions are translucent. Add broth, tomatoes and Worcestershire. Stir. Return meat to pot, cover and cook for 1.5 hours. Remove cover and cook for 45 min more.
Remove meat. Using a hand-held blender, blend 1/3 of the sauce. Stir. Cut portions of meat to serve and cover with sauce. Can also be served with rice or crusty bread.
Because later that night you will eat almost the entire bag, when you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, or maybe that’s just me.
Shampoo, paper towels, detergent that looks like Tide but that’s called Tandil. It’s all there for you.
My assessment of Aldi is this: I came home with eight bags of groceries (including great looking/tasting meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, snacks and supplies) for $156.31. It is nothing short of a revelation.