Those of us in the United States are finally clued into what Europeans have known for years: Aldi is where it’s at. The grocery store—born in Germany—is home to a ton of foods that are easy on the wallet and on the waistline. But, where do you start? We’ve compiled a bunch of money-saving tips for the next time you hit Aldi. Just make sure you bring a quarter, ’cause you can’t pile your cart high without one! And if you love these tips, don’t miss the 14 Money-Saving Secrets from Costco Employees.
Keep Your Receipt
The Double Guarantee policy is truly one of the best reasons to shop at Aldi and is one of the best return policies in retail. If you buy something and don’t like it, you can bring it back with your receipt and they’ll give you an equal item and your money back.
Bring Your Own Bags
One of the first things you’ll notice about Aldi is the no-frills atmosphere; Whole Foods, this is not. The simple interiors and store set-ups are designed to keep labor costs low so they can pass on the savings. (There’s a reason we said it might be the cheapest store to buy organic groceries at!) The shelves are often stocked with merchandise still in the boxes and you must bring your own canvas bags to pack your purchases—or pay to get plastic bags (if the stores even stock them).
Stock Up On Canned Goods
Canned goods are one of the biggest deals at Aldi, according to one Redditor. “I go to Aldi specifically to buy canned goods like green beans, corn, and soups,” the Reddit user wrote on a recent thread. “I can tell no difference and they are half the price of brand names—and even priced less than other grocery stores’ store brands.”
Know That Produce is a Good Deal, With a Catch
Produce can be hit-or-miss at even the most high-end grocery stores, but many Aldi regulars say the store’s selection is pretty good—as long as you plan to use them soon. (Don’t miss these 25 Ways to Use Almost-Spoiled Food!)
“The fruit and vegetables are fine, if you use them right away. Just don’t expect them to last more than a couple days,” Redditor redshoewearer wrote recently. “But if you need salad and cucumbers for that night, it’s fine. Also the tomatoes seem to last pretty well. But again, just don’t expect to store produce in your fridge for two weeks before you use it. If you plan carefully, you can do fine with produce.”
Some of the best buys produce-wise are bagged salad mixes, strawberries, bananas, and colored bell pepper packages.
Check the Bargain Bins at the Front
At most stores, the bins around the checkouts, entrances, and exits are filled with impulse items that end up wasting money. Not at Aldi! The bargain bins are filled with different items at a steeply-discounted price—and you never know what you’ll get.
“They have some seriously good deals on the bargain bins as you enter the store,” Reddit user shawmatic wrote. “I got a set of head/tail lamps for my bike for $6.99! These would cost [more than] $30 at a bike shop and I can tell no difference between them.”
Meats Can Be a Good Deal
Some people incorrectly assume that a discount grocer like Aldi only sells highly-processed meats. However, many customers swear by their meats—and some stores even sell bacon-wrapped filet mignon for super cheap prices.
“Ground turkey,” one Redditor said of the meat he always gets at Aldi. “It costs about $1.60/lb at Aldi, and it’s a great replacement for ground beef if you season it up a bit.”
Another swears by the pork shoulder and whole chickens. “[They are] the cheapest by far. They don’t always have them, though. If you’re into cooking these things, buy a bunch when they’re there and freeze whatever you aren’t cooking in the next few days.” Check out 20 Make-Ahead Meals to Keep in Your Freezer for inspiration on what you can buy, cook, and save for later.
Milk is Often a Loss Leader
A gallon of milk can be a huge money-saver at Aldi, as long as your state doesn’t have dairy price limitations. Many times it’s a loss leader, meaning the store prices it at a very, very low cost to get people in the store. Some Redditors report getting milk for $1.99 a gallon!
Get Some Sweet Stuff
You’ll mostly want to focus on the healthy, non-processed foods Aldi has to offer, but even candy and items for cheat meals are a great deal. “If you like maple syrup, it is very cheap and good quality,” Gogotogo wrote. “Buy the chocolate. Every chocolate bar I’ve bought at Aldi has been good.”
Though Aldi sells food like any other grocer—meaning nothing sold is “old” or expired—some customers recommend checking sell-by dates so there aren’t any surprises when you get home.
“Make sure to check the date on milk,” one Redditor wrote in a recent thread. “It’s usually much cheaper, but the sell by date is sooner than other stores.” And if something does expire too soon? There’s the double guarantee, so you won’t be out any money.