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11 Things You Should Know Before Shopping at Aldi for the First Time

Here are my top tips for shopping at Aldi! The first time I stepped foot in Aldi I walked through the store and didn’t buy a thing, it was so different than any grocery store I’d ever been too and I couldn’t find anything I wanted.

Fast forward to years later I heard all of these YouTubers talk about how awesome Aldi was and how well priced it was. I decided to give it a try and see if it could help me cut back my grocery budget. I only spend $200 a month for my husband and I, all thanks to Aldi and their amazing prices.

If you’d like to see my grocery hauls, check them out here, I film every week and show you all of my favorite finds and how I make a meal plan! I’ve personally found that it is about 40% cheaper than the average grocery store in my area!

Here are all of my tips and tricks that I have learned over the past 3 years shopping almost exclusively at Aldi. Click here to watch How to Shop at ALDI | Tips and Tricks for SAVING MONEY!

Rewards app

Before going to Aldi, download the Fetch Rewards app. It is one of the ONLY rewards apps that accepts ALDI receipts.

Fetch rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you with free gift cards just for snapping pictures of your receipts. 

That’s really it.

Free gift card rewards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and earn gift cards – FOR FREE! 

Download the Fetch Rewards app and enter code QHKBH when you sign up to earn your first 2,000 points which is equal to $2 in gift cards.

Don’t expect it to be fancy

I want to make sure I set your expectations from the beginning so that you aren’t disappointed when you go. I live in South Florida and the queen bee of grocery stores down here is Publix. At Publix everything is in perfect order, everything sparkles and shines, it is most people’s favorite grocery store, well except for me!

Aldi not only has amazing quality of products which we will get into but it also is really good at saving you money. Some of the non-traditional ways they have found to save money may seem a little weird to the average shopper. One way that Aldi saves money is they do not stock their shelves by taking every item out of the box and place it neatly on the shelf, instead they use the boxes to display their products, and some isles are made of pallets stacked with boxes. It sounds weird but it actually works really well and is extremely efficient.

Go when you have time to browse

Aldi has almost anything that you would ever need to buy from a grocery store but sometimes it may be hard to find the items you want. I recommend people go in with at least an hour to explore (once you know the store you can be in and out much quicker, my average shopping trip is 20 minutes from the time I pull in the parking lot to the time I’m pulling out).

In most grocery stores there is 100 different types and bottles of ketchup so it is very easy to spot the 6 feet head to toe section, at Aldi there will most likely only be one or two varieties, on one shelf about 2 feet wide. Another example is spinach, when I first started shopping at Aldi I was on a smoothie kick and couldn’t find spinach ANYWHERE in the produce section, then I spotted it in someone’s cart and asked her where she got it.

She pointed me to the refrigerator section of spinach, lettuce and amazing salad kits. I’d never been so happy to find spinach in my life! Moral of the story, take time to really learn the layout of the store and where things are. The typical store is only 4-5 isles, I now write my grocery list in order of how I shop the isles all from memory.

You have to pay to use a cart

Yes, you heard that right, you have to pay 25 cents to use a shopping card. Don’t worry, you will get your quarter back! Each cart as a slot where you enter a quarter it unlocks from a corral, when you return your cart and lock it back up the quarter releases. One of the ways that Aldi is able to cut costs of the food is by encouraging you to bring your cart back to the front of the store so they don’t have to pay employees to gather carts in the parking lot.

Refund Policy

Aldi has an amazing refund policy and their twice as nice guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with the product they will replace the item as well as refund the money. With a program like that there is no harm in trying something new!

Try unfamiliar brands

You may see a brand that you recognize scattered throughout the store but the majority of the store is Aldi’s personal brands. They have won numerous taste tests and even my bougie husband can’t tell the difference. Aldi has 9 exclusive brands, Pueblo Lindo full of Hispanic favorites, Specially Selected which is gourmet seasonal products, Fit & Active which is a low fat line, Simply Nature which is fully organic, Never Any for meat raised right, Live G Free for gluten free options, Earth Grown for plant based picks, Elevation for high protein and Little Journey for baby essentials.  

Cost Per Ounce

One of my favorite things about Aldi is they put the cost per ounce/pound right on the price tag. This makes it so easy to compare prices without having to whip out the calculator on your phone! You can’t miss the big yellow tags giving you all the details you need to save the most money!

Special Buys

The middle section of the store is my favorite part, it is the Special Buys section, and these can range from food to household items like candles, to shoes, to office supplies. They are typically grouped together by theme or occasion like back to school or Super Bowl. I have found so many interesting finds in this section and it’s even better when they go on clearance!

Bring your own bags.

As you walk through the store you will see big bins full of empty boxes that are for your taking much like a warehouse store. Aldi does not provide free grocery bags when they pack your groceries, you can either take some of the boxes provided, bring your own re-useable bags or be prepared to purchase bags at the store.

Prepare to pack your own groceries.

One of the ways that Aldi is able to cut the cost of their food is they have worked very hard to minimize the amount of employees they have working at a time. They do not have employees that bag your groceries, they have a counter set up that you can pack your own groceries.

I’ve learned to love this method, that way I don’t have to worry about my bags being uneven weights, raw meats in the same bag as cheese, little things that make our experience a little better. Another way they are able to reduce the amount of employees is they have a bar code on every side of the package and sometimes a long one that is the whole length.

That way they are able to move the products along the scanner very quickly and move through the line at lightning speed. Typically there are only 1-3 cashiers open at a time but it’s amazing how fast you are checked out!

Don’t bother bringing coupons.

Aldi doesn’t accept manufacture coupons, the majority of their products are exclusive to Aldi and already deeply discounted. Keep your eyes peeled for big red stickers on meat and dairy, sometimes you will see $2 OFF stickers on some of their products. They also sometimes have coupons for store openings so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Next week’s flyer.

As you enter the store they have a stand of this week’s flyer but also as you are leaving there is a stand ready for you of NEXT week’s flyer so that you can build your meal plan around the weekly sales. Aldi’s sales run Wednesday-Tuesday, I typically go to Aldi on my way home from work on Friday evening to check the first item off my weekend to-do list but if there is a sale item I am really excited about I will go Wednesday to ensure they have the product. You can also access their flier on their website and via email each week.

Ways to save money:

Here at Freedom In A Budget, I am all about saving money! Here are some of the EASY ways that I save money:

• Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!

• Hulu: Discover and watch movies, shows, Hulu Originals, past seasons, current episodes, sports, live news, and more with Hulu. Stream TV shows your way. Try for FREE for 1 month!

• Rakuten/Ebates: Rakuten is my to go way to earn Cash Back from over 2,500 stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sephora, Walmart and much more. Join Rakuten today for free, and you’ll get a $10 Cash Bonus to get you started! Every three months, you’ll get a Big Fat Check in the mail or a PayPal payment just for shopping. 

• CIT Bank offers high-yield savings accounts that provide a safe, secure way to grow your savings.

• M1 Finance is an easy to use brokerage platform that allows you to invest in Fractional Shares and auto reinvest!

• Webull Get 2 Free Stocks on WeBull when you deposit $100 (Valued up to $1400).

• Honey: Stop wasting money- Honey finds you the Internet’s best discount codes. 

• Budget Templates: Excel budget templates with pre-populated categories and formulas to keep you on track with hitting your financial goals.

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