Aldi in Wonderland

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I was 21, newly-wed, and quite poor when a coworker first told me about this tiny European grocer. “You are crazy if you don’t shop at Aldi! Everything is half as expensive!” he said. I nodded my head politely, but all I heard was “blah-blah-blah dirty and gross and in a sketchy neighborhood.”

I couldn’t believe him because, well, I’m American (which usually serves me quite well because FREEDOM)! The thing is, our nationality comes with some preconceived notions. One of these notions–better costs more–is why I delayed my pioneer trip to Aldi. I mean, if I wanted wholesome, quality groceries I should pay out the nose for it! Right?…right?

Today I’m going to share everything you need to know in order to…

1) Accept that Aldi can save you money (while offering great quality)
2) Not look like a total baffoon shopping there.
3) Save MORE money with a few thrifty tips.

Then I’m going to share my family’s grocery list that makes 5 dinners and a hearty breakfast for $55!

 

Let’s get started!

IMG_3360PM1(cue: heavenly chorus singing)

How Aldi saves you money:

  1. You bring your own shopping bags or buy them at checkout. My store charges 10 cents for plastic, 5 cents for paper.
  2. You bag your own groceries! This is one of the many ways Aldi saves on labor costs.
  3. There is no customer service desk, no staff to collect grocery carts, and no telephone in the store.
  4. There is a limited and heavily discounted product selection and they don’t accept manufacturer’s coupons. As a result, there is no fluff in the prices.
  5. The items are left in the original shipped boxes and not shelved with fancy displays. Very utilitarian.

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So are you convinced? Let’s go shopping! But first you should know:

  1. Bring a quarter. You will need it to rent a shopping cart. No worries—you get that quarter back!
  2. Bring bags from home or be prepared to purchase them. Bonus points for earth-friendly bags!
  3. Bring cash or a debit card. No credit is accepted at Aldi.
  4. This is not an all-in-one store. There are basic groceries and random other goods.

Thrifty Tips:

  1. Plan your menu in advance. If you can double up on certain ingredients, do it! I buy bagged spinach every week and make sure it’s in at least two meals. A little planning goes  a long way.
  2. Check out their website or facebook page for weekly specials. Last month I got avacados for 25 cents each!
  3. On your way out the door, grab the preview pamphlet to plan the next menu. Savings for the next week, as well as Special Buys, are listed therein.
  4. There is a 100% Aldi Guaruntee. If you don’t like your product, you get a full refund or replacement!

You really need to check this place out. There are tons of boxed and canned goods, but there are also healthful—and even organic—choices you may be surprised to find.

IMG_3352PM1Grab this pamphlet on your way out for next week’s specials. 

My Top 10 favorite buys at Aldi:

10. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
9. Premade spicy guacamole
8. Ground chicken
7. Speciality cheeses (buffalo mozzarella, seasoned feta, etc)
6. Sea Salt Pita Chips
5. Almond milk
4. Organic pineapple
3. Mamas Cozis Freshmade Supreme Pizza
2. Avocado
1. Donut House Keurig pods

IMG_3353PM1I suggest the donut house coffee

There is also a great variety of organic produce, ethnic foods, and sales on brand names you’ll recognize! Their off-brand Skinny Cow Ice Cream sandwiches are NOMNOM-able.

I used to spend >$125 a week on groceries. My new budget is $60.

This week’s list/menu assumes you have the following items in your kitchen: salad dressing, olive oil, salsa, dried basil, and powdered mashed potatoes. If you don’t have potatoes, they are 85 cents per packet at Aldi!

 IMG_3357PM1Woo! Let’s save some money!!!

Without further adieu… 

MK’s Grocery List!

**if you are eating clean this list is NOT for you. Check HN’s blogs for that kinda stuff!

Produce: 1 bag of spinach, 2 packages grape tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, romaine hearts

Meat: Turkey tenderloin, Turkey kielbasa, 1 lb ground chicken or beef, Chicken breast tenderloins

Refrigerated: 2 packages stuffed tortellini, large eggs, Supreme Mama Cozis Pizza, Guacamole, Shredded Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, biscuits, light sour cream

Dry/Canned: 2 cans green beans, 2 cans refried beans, taco shells, taco mix, 2 boxes couscous, sea salt pita chips

Done shopping? You have the following meals! Enjoy!

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Spinach and Bella Alfredo Tortellini with Grape Tomatoes

(Sautee sliced mushrooms with seasoning in olive oil. Reduce heat, add spinach until wilted. Remove from heat. Cook pasta and drain. Add remaining ingredients)

IMG_3372PM1
M
editerranean Couscous with Chicken

(Cut chicken into strips, season and cook in oil. Cook couscous according to instructions. Mix in chopped tomatoes, feta, chicken and basil according to taste)

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C
runchy Chicken Tacos with Refried Beans and Guacamole Salad
(This is as easy as it gets. Cook meat with seasoning, microwave beans with cheese on top. Chop up lettuce, add guac and tomatoes. Taco Night!)

IMG_3378PM1
P
izza night. What else is there to say? Make a salad, folks. Chow down.

IMG_3365
T
urkey Tenderloin with Baby Reds and Green Beans
Everything cooks according to the package, and let me tell you…this tenderloin does NOT disappoint.

And finally, on Saturday, our family does breakfast. The great thing about this meal is you can change it up a ton.

IMG_3383PM1
S
aturday Morning Happiness
Biscuits for the win! The sausage is great sliced and fried or on the grill. Use the eggs with all of your leftover produce for omelettes, or simply fry them up. Yum!

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Sorry for the craptastic picture, but can you believe this??? Save on and eat well, sisters. If you have more questions write them in the comments!

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2 responses to “Aldi in Wonderland

  1. You can also use the empty flat boxes from around the store if you forget bags to bring food home. My mom does a month of grocery shopping in one trip to Aldo since she has to drive to raleigh or rocky mount to find one but worth it!

    Like

  2. *aldi. Stupid phone

    Like

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