Depending on where you are from, you may be lucky enough to have an Aldi grocery store near you. Aldi is currently the third-largest grocery store with locations in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Florida, and California. If you don’t have one yet, be patient because they are growing! Aldi is my FAVORITE grocery store, and I absolutely love shopping there. Today I’m going to share my best tips about how to shop at Aldi.
Before we even get started, I will share a pre-tip: be sure to bring a quarter with you. You will need it to unlock the shopping cart. It’s like a deposit; you will get it back when you return the cart. Don’t worry if you forgot your quarter, you could always get one from the cashier, but it takes time to go in, exchange your money, and go back out to get your cart. So it’s always a good idea to come prepared.
While each store is unique and some have been updated, many are laid out similarly. When you first walk in, you will see Aldi Savers. Many times there is a lot of fresh produce. I always suggest focusing on what’s in season.
There will be a section near the front with good deals they have in-store. These will be marked with a clearance tag. Be sure to check the sell-by date on items to make sure they aren’t going bad. If the date is pretty close, make a mental note to yourself so you can use it quickly.
Produce is pretty standard in most grocery stores. What I love about Aldi is its organic food selection. If you are just learning how to shop at Aldi, you’ll need to know they don’t carry the large variety of fruits and vegetables that some other stores might have, so you may not find everything on your list or your more unique choices. But for basics and organics, Aldi is perfect. I share more about what to buy organic at Aldi in this post.
Aldi has a lot of in-store brands. Many times they are produced right in the same facility as name brands. If Aldi cannot make an item better than a name brand, they will offer both. This is why you will sometimes see both products on the shelf, like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Savoritz 4 Kids Penguins.
Aldi also has a great selection of Aldi Finds. This is an on-the-go section where you can find some fast lunch items, lots of refrigerated salads, hummus, and more. Things I love to grab from here: the single-serve hummus, snack bars, calzones, Lunchables, and pasta salad. They have a great selection of nuts, peanuts, dried fruits, trail mixes, and healthier items.
If you are craving sweets, Aldi makes a great cheesecake (I say that as a New Yorker!) and some dessert hummuses, too.
Check out their bread section. Aldi will mark down their bread 50% 5 days before it goes bad.
I mentioned Aldi has their own brands. So one of the deli lines is their NeverAny line. This means it’s free of antibiotics and additives. And anything labeled organic will have that on the shelf tag. While it might be a matter of taste, I think Aldi has fantastic cheese. I think their deli meat is just okay, although my kids like it.
As you get savvier with how to shop at Aldi and try some products on your own a few times, you will learn what you like and what you don’t, so you’ll know what items to look for.
I love their dairy prices. Compare some of these prices on products like butter, sour cream, yogurt, or eggs. Their regular prices are better than other stores with a coupon, and I think that’s fantastic when you are saving money or working on budget goals.
I also appreciate the variety of milk choices they offer: almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, and organic cow milk.
You can find bacon, shredded cheeses, and cinnamon buns in the other refrigerated section. Remember, you will be able to find the most commonly purchased items found in a grocery store and produce them in an Aldi brand.
If you have to live a gluten-free lifestyle for whatever reason, you know purchasing pre-made gluten-free foods can be expensive. I eat gluten-free, so trust me when I say I have tested many products for taste, consistency, and value. Aldi’s LiveGFree products are the best, and they are such a good deal.
I share some of my favorite gluten-free finds at Aldi in this post.
They have a great selection of chips. My kids prefer name brand chips, honestly, but they are a great deal, especially if you’re having a birthday party.
All right, next to the meats and seafood. One of the most common questions I’m always asked when I start talking about how to shop at Aldi’s is, “What do you think about their meat?” And my answer is, “The meat’s great. I have never had a problem with Aldi meat.” I think somewhere at some time, they got a bad rap for a bad chunk of meat, but it’s just as fresh and amazing as any other grocery store out there. And the prices are so nice. Anytime there is a red sticker, it means there is money off. That’s a good buy.
Just as an example, you can get a pound of organic grass-fed beef for $5 at my store. This would typically be about $10 – $12 at another grocery store. Since we eat ground beef every week, I try to look for the little red stickers to get even more money off.
The freezer section has typical items like frozen burger patties, chicken wings (I love to have these on hand to stick in my air-fryer!), steam-able frozen vegetables, breakfast items, frozen pizzas, frozen fruits, and ice creams.
One thing I want to mention is the red bag of chicken. Aldi’s is kind of known for this; people rave about it. I can’t eat it because of my gluten-free diet, but I hear it comes highly recommended!
While I’m in the freezer area, I will share a little about the limited freezer finds, and seasonal freezer finds. Seasonal finds will be marked with a blue shelf tag, and in my store, they are located in the center of the freezer aisle. One of my favorite seasonal finds is the sparkling lemonade.
I also LOVE the cauliflower pizza crust.
We all know coffee is life (well, I think so anyway!), and Aldi’s coffee is fantastic. They offer an organic Guatemalan that I buy every single week. I have also tried the regular coffee and the K-Cups, and both are great.
Let’s talk about baking items. You cannot beat the price of Aldi’s baking staples like flour, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. Spices are super expensive in most stores, but Aldi has them for $0.95 each. That’s ridiculously cheap, and I can assure you everything is the best quality. Stock up if you do any kind of Christmas cookie baking.
They also have items like organic coconut oil and other organic oils. They even have a ton of baking mixes.
You might be discouraged from buying paper products from grocery stores because of the higher prices. A lot of times, this is true. But I feel like Aldi has fantastic prices, and their quality is excellent. I love their toilet paper; it is the only one I buy.
As far as cleaning supplies, Aldi offers both name brand and their store brand. For example, they have Tide laundry detergent at regular price, and it’s cheaper than sale prices at other stores around me. I also recommend buying their candles, their disinfectant wipes, and their garbage bags.
If you have my freezer meal plans, the freezer bags I use are from Aldi. I also love their slow cooker liners because they make clean-up so easy and are a perfect compliment to my favorite easy slow-cooker recipes.
If you want to try one of my slow cooker meal plans, grab a free one here.
If you have a baby at home, you know how expensive they are – especially considering how little they are!! Luckily I’ve been learning how to shop at Aldi for over 10 years, so I have been able to learn some of these tips while my kids were little and share my savings knowledge with you.
I recommend their in-store brand, Little Journey, for wipes and diapers. I used these with my youngest two children, and I was really impressed with the brand’s quality!
Other baby products they carry are formula, puffs, and food pouches – and like everything else in Aldi, they are incredibly priced! Just $0.79 for a food pouch compared to $1.00 to $1.40 for other brands.
They do have pet supplies, but the selection for pet food is a little limited. Our dogs recommend the prime rib flavored food that I mix in with their dry food. I don’t get their dry food here, but I’ve heard of many people who have had great success.
Aldi is an American incarnation of a German grocery store. Since it’s European, you know their specialty chocolate is off-the-charts amazing! There is still higher sugar content and some additives making it less than superior quality, but for the money, the dark chocolate and the sea salt varieties are among the best I’ve ever had!
I do not recommend buying your Halloween candy here, though. This is one item where you’ll spend more money at Aldi than discount department chains like Walmart or Target.
Okay, so yes, there is a place in Aldi called the Aisle of Shame. This is where you find all those impulse items that you don’t know you need to buy, but you end up buying anyway. Some home goods like baskets, candles, or stickable tiles for your kitchen are here. They have some clothing which is amazing and comfortable. Aldi even sells its own shoes, socks, and booties, which are affordably priced.
Other things you can find in the Aisle of Shame are last chance box items that aren’t typically carried in the store, so when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Let’s not forget the fresh flowers. Nothing brightens up my home more than seasonal flowers, and they are such an inexpensive pick-me-up. Aldi offers a beautiful bouquet for $3.99. It’s amazing.
After you have gathered all the items on your list and head to the checkout line, the process is super quick. Most items have multiple barcodes on them if you notice. Why? This is so the cashier can scan them quickly without having to fumble around looking for the code to scan. This helps the line move super fast.
Bring Your Own Bags
You will want to come prepared with your own bags and know that you have to bag your groceries yourself.
They do have cartons placed in certain areas throughout the store where you might be buying bulky items too, so chips and bread, for example. These cartons are specially made for Aldi and are meant for you to take for your groceries.
Grab a Flyer for Meal Planning
As you leave the store, be sure to grab one of the flyers. These are what’s going to be on sale next week, so they are great for planning. I will let you know, there are a lot of Asile of Shame items in the flyer to entice you back into the store. The flyers do have useful information about upcoming sales through, and I create my meal plans based around all the ingredients. Most of the time, I can make 20 dinners for $150. In my Aldi Meal Plan, I share everything you need to know about how to shop at Aldi AND how to prepare your meals from where to find each item in the store to how to assemble each recipe, storage details, and cooking information. This process alone can save you hundreds, if not thousands a year.
Twice as Nice Guarantee
I’ve told you Aldi doesn’t carry a lot of name brand items. Many products are an Aldi brand. I have found the quality of several things to be excellent, but if for whatever reason you buy something from their store and you don’t like it, know that you can get the item replaced and your money back. It’s just a little insurance when you are trying a new product you aren’t familiar with.
How to Read Aldi Store Tags
One thing that distinguishes newbies from the pros who know how to shop at Aldi is how to use the store tags to save at Aldi.
The yellow tag with black writing is just a regular priced item. The prices will not change on that unless it goes into clearance.
Next to them, you can find an organic tag if the item is organic.
A clearance item means that there’s a lot left, and they want to get them gone soon.
Aldi Finds are premium buys at a limited time. Those are the ones that are going to be found in the flyer. These rotate every week, new ones come out, and they’re in the refrigerated section, the freezer section, and they have their own aisle of shame.
Red Hot Specials are always limited time special buys, even though they might sport a yellow tag. So the red printing and the date in the lower right-hand corner of that are your clues that this is a super special item, and then also you’ll see red hot yellow tags on a white and red Aldi Finds. These are always going to sell out quickly. Red Hot Special are items that are on deep clearance that they expect to sell out.
Seasonal favorites are items that are only sold at a specific time of year. It’s not going to be back next year. So you want to make sure next month, the next week, you might even know that it might not come back. So if you see something that you love and want, buy it now so that you can get and have it and make sure it’s in your pantry when you want.
Make sure that you check out these clearance tags all around the store. Aldi Savers, clearances, the meat and produce sections will have $2.00 coupons so that you can save even more money.
There will also be tags for items that are designated Shopper’s Favorites. These have been rated by customers who responded to surveys as popular, and they won a shoppers’ choice vote. I recommend looking for these when you whether or not you are first learning how to shop at Aldi or have been doing it a while because these products are usually really great as far as taste and value.
While I shared with you how to shop at Aldi and save money on your groceries, I will share some additional ways you can save even more!
I have shared before how I save money using apps to scan receipts. Fetch Rewards is an app I love to use. With Fetch, I scan a copy of my receipt and I earn points which I can then turn in for gift cards to places where you normally shop. I have purchased gift cards to stores like Walmart, Aldi, Target, and Amazon.
Cash Back Apps
If you buy items at Aldi that IBotta has in their app for the week, you can redeem them at Aldi using your receipts. Other cashback apps I love are Checkout 51 or Receipt Hog. Not only are you saving a ton of money at Aldi, you’re also saving extra money when you get home just by scanning the receipt.
I have mentioned my Aldi meal plans, but seriously, this is how I save so much money in my grocery budget and it trickles into my yearly budget. My Aldi meal plans let me create 20 meals for $150 using all of their ingredients. You buy the meal plan, make the meals, you save hundreds of dollars, and you don’t have to think about what to cook for dinner.
Then you have some cash left over to splurge on those great smelling candles in the Aisle of Shame!
If you are using Instacart as a shopping service (if you don’t I really recommend you sign up here because it can save you so much time and money!). You have the option to have it delivered or pick your order up at Aldi. Either way, it’s great because it saves you money and you aren’t tempted to impulse buy, so this service is totally worth it. When you combine meal planning, tips about how to shop at Aldi looking for sales and deals AND using money-saving apps, it’s a total trifecta!
One thing you might not realize is you might know they don’t always give you the receipt because there’s a price discrepancy. Be sure to tell them you want the receipt because you want to do the receipt apps. So keep that in mind.
I feel like we’ve covered a lot today! I’m going to light one of my Aldi Huntington Home Candles, put my feet up, and enjoy some of my cheesecake and a cup of coffee. If you want some additional money tips like how to plan your budget, where you can save money each month, and creative ways you can MAKE money, sign up for my FREE budgeting kit here!