Thank you to Emma who blogs over at From Aldi to Harrods, for this guest blog post. I really like her blog, she writes about all sorts of things around saving money, making money, grabbing a good bargain, and making her money (and yours) go as far as it can. I have picked up a few handy tips from her site. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook and she is also engaged and writing about weddings at bargainistabride.com Today she is sharing about shopping at Aldi. I must admit, I had always heard amazing things about shopping there, and we have all seen their adverts, but because lots of people know it can be a great place for a bargain, it can seem a bit intimidating, unless you have a plan on how to shop, get the best deals and work your way round.
I first visited Aldi as a student, a good 8 years ago, and I found myself very confused. I couldn’t find branded items and I didn’t know what half of the stock was. I could never manage to do a full week’s shopping there. Fast forward to the present day, and Aldi is my first port of call for our household grocery shopping. I like Aldi so much that it even featured in my website name (From Aldi To Harrods).
So what is shopping in Aldi really like?
1. It is cheaper. When you start looking at the individual prices of items the prices aren’t that much cheaper (5p here, 40p there), but it is important to remember that these savings do add up. There are also bigger savings on things that aren’t classed as essentials – such as posh cheese. Alongside their brilliant prices, Aldi also do a “super 6” fruit and vegetables offer, where 6 items are on offer, and they’ve also started doing super 6 meat offers (as opposed to 2). We spend between £20-£35 a week at Aldi and it covers groceries including food, toiletries and cleaning products for two of us.
2. You can’t get everything. If you want salad dressing, you can get salad dressing. However if you want a particular flavoured salad dressing then you may not find it. We either go without, or pop to another store every 3-5 weeks to grab something in particular.
3. A lot the food is just cheaper dupes of brands. One of the firm staples in our house is “monster claws”, which are Aldi’s version of Monster Munch. There are also branded items on offer – Skittles are 99p in Aldi, whereas the same bag is £1.40 in Tesco.
4. You need £1 (or a trolley coin) to get a trolley.
5. You either have to pay for bags (starting at 3p, more in Wales), bring your own or scrounge the store looking for empty boxes to pack your shopping in.
6. Aldi employ mystery shoppers to ensure things are running smoothly. This means that they try to keep the aisles clear (although if you’ve seen a clear aisle, please let me know. There is always someone putting more stuff out, no matter what time I visit) and queue lengths down.
7. You need to either pack your shopping at the speed of light, or ram it all into your trolley and take it to the designated packing area. I actually never knew this until a few weeks ago when someone tweeted about being annoyed at people packing their items at the tills. I use two large reusable shopping bags for my shopping, so instead of packing them at the packing area, I just shove my items into the bags without being picky about what goes where.
8. All the meat, and a large percentage of the dairy items are 100% British sourced. This includes yoghurt, eggs and cheese. It even stretches to some of the frozen meat – I haven’t looked at anything frozen apart from the chicken (fillets and on the bone) but these are 100% British.
9. Trial and error are your friends. You’ll find things you love in Aldi, and things you absolutely despise. For me, I loathe their brown sauce. It has a gel like consistency and I cannot stand it – this coming from the person who loves Tesco value brown sauce. However, their mango sorbet is to die for, and it is hands down the best I have ever had.
10. You cannot buy branded margarine – at least in my local store. Aldi have their own dupes, but I’ve never found a decent dupe, so I’m reluctant to try one of Aldi’s.
I hope that you’ve found this information useful. If you shop at Aldi, what is your experience?