Thursday, February 2, 2012

Aldi? "Al"does

Quite a while back, I posted about the opening of an Aldi store in Southwest Durham (you can read about it here). From what I can figure, the store opened in December, but I just made my first visit yesterday.

Couponing websites typically skip sharing weekly Aldi deals, as the chain doesn't allow manufacturer coupons, which is due to the fact that most of their merchandise is store brand, rather than national brands. Within the past few weeks, though, I've noticed that one major coupon site has begrudgingly added Aldi deals. Under the deals, this site lists stores that beat Aldi's prices, almost as a, "See, I told you that you'll spend less using coupons than shopping Aldi!"

While it's true that you can definitely beat many Aldi prices by shopping other stores that allow coupons, I really do feel that Aldi has it's place in a savvy shopper's shopping routine.

For example...

Aldi's fresh produce selection is meager when compared to large chain stores, but the produce they do sell is of good quality and at rock bottom prices. Each week, a number of produce items are featured, with prices that I have not seen matched by other retailers. For example, this week, I was able to buy a pint of cherry tomatoes for $0.69, as well as a pound of broccoli for $0.89. Cherry tomatoes were over $3.00 a pint at Kroger this week, and broccoli was selling for nearly $2.00/lb. I was also able to buy avocados for $0.49 each, while they were on sale for $1.00 at Kroger and $2.50 at Harris Teeter.

Need it Now Items
Sometimes, you just can't wait for a good coupon to come along before you buy an item. When you need something ASAP, and you don't have the right coupons, Aldi's prices often beat other retailers. For example, I bought a can of Harris Teeter store brand black beans this week for $0.77 (didn't have any coupons for black beans). Aldi store brand black beans were $0.55/can.

Items that Rarely Have Coupons
Some products/companies just don't put out coupons. For example, I really like Stacy's Pita Chips, but they're usually over $4.00 a bag, and I almost never find coupons for them. At Aldi, I was able to buy a generic form of Stacy's for just over $1.00 a bag. I also noticed that Aldi's prices for milk and eggs this week had both Harris Teeter and Kroger beat.

So, while it's definitely possible to cut spending by using coupons, I don't suggest writing Aldi off completely. Approach shopping there with an open mind, realizing that it won't be your only shopping stop if  spending the least amount of money possible is your goal. Know that you can coupon shop elsewhere but score some great Aldi deals to round out your grocery shopping and fill in those couponless gaps.


  1. I like to "pre shop" at aldi. I look at my weekly list and first go to there to get what I can, since they don't always have everything. I also find it a much more manageable trip with my little guy since the store is smaller and usually not particularly busy. I've definitely been pleased with the quality of the produce.

  2. I think that Aldi is going to become part of my normal weekly routine too, now that we have one close to home. We used to shop at the one in Madison but didn't have one in Durham until a few weeks ago.