Aldi is a low-priced grocery store operator that originated in Germany but now has almost 10,000 stores in 18 countries around the globe. Aldi stands for Albrecht Diskont and is named after its founders, Karl and Theo Albrecht. In the U.S. alone there are over 1,500 stores (and the company operates Trader Joe’s stores as well).
If you’ve never been to an Aldi, you owe yourself a trip. It may change the way you shop for groceries. It’s known in many frugal circles as being one of the best priced grocery stores because they are so focused on keeping costs low.
Here’s something that might surprise you – Aldi does not accept manufacturer’s coupons. While 90% of their products are Aldi’s exclusive brands, they do have some brand name products but they will not accept manufacturer’s coupons on those items. This can often be a real shock to seasoned coupon clippers there for the first time.
There are, however, still ways to save money at Aldi.
1. Scour Weekly Ads
Most grocery stores release their circulars for the following week just a few days early, Aldi does it up to a week in advance. You can use the extra days to plan your shopping so you buy products when they’re on sale, not a few days before!
Pay attention to when the week begins, it’s different for each store. Our Aldi in Maryland starts its week on a Wednesday but the one in New York near my parents starts their week on a Sunday. This is important because products will go very quickly once they are on sale and won’t be restocked until the next shipment. If you see a sale on something you need, make sure you make it there on day one or it might not be there on day two.
You can see the circular for your store on the Aldi website. While you’re there, check out their new low prices for savings that didn’t make the circular.
2. Remember Your Quarter
One of the ways Aldi keeps costs low is through their shopping cart rental system. You get a cart by putting in a quarter and you get it back by returning the cart, which means one less person they need to hire to retrieve all the carts people leave behind (or enterprising teenagers can make a quarter a cart returning them!).
3. Remember Shopping Bags
If you’ve never been to Aldi, another cost-cutting move they use is charging for shopping bags. It has the benefit of both saving them money and saving natural resources for things other than bags.
You can still buy bags, but why allow that money leak into your budget unnecessarily when it’s far better to remember to bring your own reusable bags from home?
4. Satisfaction Double Guarantee
If you purchase something from Aldi and are not satisfied, they will replace the product AND refund your money. It’s their Double Guarantee on their store products so if you don’t like it, just return it to the store and get your money back. This should give you the confidence to try their store brands and see if they beat your favorite name brands.
5. Keep Track of Prices
There are certain products that are almost always cheaper at Aldi. Staple products, produce, meats, and canned goods are often much cheaper than at competing stores. Keep a close eye on how much you’re paying for these products and keep Aldi in mind when you are comparison shopping.
Also, don’t miss the seasonal and clearance items that are on significant discount!
As you can see, Aldi is already well-priced with a lot of store brands but there are still ways to make sure you save money when you shop there. If you want to really boost your savings, you can use a cash-back rewards credit card for your grocery purchases. It’s good to keep in mind, of course, that not paying off the balance each month can negate any additional savings the card might provide.
If you don’t already have a cash-back rewards credit card, it’s good to keep in mind that you’ll need a solid credit score to qualify for one. You can see how your credit might affect your rewards card application by checking your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.