Â Â Oh, ALDI (Aldi’s, big AL), how I love thee so…
for your minimal number of aisles,
for your controlled amount of options,
and for your amazing quality and prices!
For those of you who don’t know ALDI, I’d like to introduce you as it’s one of the most economical and user friendly grocery stores I, personally, have ever known.Â Shopping at ALDI takes the guesswork out of the grocery store, and gives you products that you come to know, enjoy, and expect them to have, in stock, all the time.Â My bill is ALWAYS less than any other store; whether I’m in for a few items or a whole stock up event, bar none, it’s cheaper.
So, my fine friends, what do I purchase at ALDI????
Let me take you on a journey through the aisles.Â Know that this is not by any means, a full encompassing list of the many goods that ALDI has to offer you as a grocery getter, but some of my personal favorites ð
What to bring?
Bring you ask?Â For shopping?Â I bring my $ and maybe my lovely recyclable bag or two…
First and foremost, please, do bring your own bags, or come prepared with some spare change.Â ALDI does not offer free grocery sacks, but also why they are so amazingly affordable.Â They do; however, offer you the option of purchasing for around a 10 cent fee, your own bags to bring for your experience next time. Â Additionally, you ought to bring a quarter.Â For what you might ask?Â Your Cart!Â As a child, visiting ALDI with my grandmother, this was definitely the highlight… putting the quarter in the cart holder, and pushing the button to retrieve the cart. Upon return, I delighted in pushing the “machine” back together to obtain my quarter back.Â They save you money by saving the environment- cool huh?
Now, depending on your ALDI, you may experience different products in different aisles.Â I currently frequent the E14th St. location here in the DSM, but have also wandered to all metro locations.Â My favorite used to be 86th St. (Urbandale), and if I’m ever near Jordan Creek, I hit the Mills Civic location.Â There is another on the south side that I typically don’t get to, and another that is a short jaunt away in Ames.Â And coming soon (but not soon enough) you guessed it, an ALDI right here in ANKENY!
Okay, so let’s get down to business.
Here is where I find snacks, baking supplies, chips, and dressings.Â Things that are notably cheaper here than other stores:
*flour, sugar, raisins (in little boxes and big canister), mini chips
*They also have excellent baking mixes:Â the cranberry-orange muffin mix is excellent, as well as the apple muffin mix
*Boxed other mixes- they almost always have a specialty dark chocolate brownie mix of some sort, or things like s’mores brownies that are fun to grab too
*APPLESAUCE POUCHES (for kids- they are cheaper here than anywhere else and come in lots of flavors Apple/Strawberry, Apple/Mixed fruit- you get the idea)
*Veggie Straws, Vegetable and Sweet potato chips- the vegetable
are my absolute favorite- sweet & salty and delicious!
*Kettle chips- love when they have fun flavors, like honey mustard, salt & vinegar, etc… Check out this balsamic vinegar variety!
*Beer and wine- not SUPER cheap, but fairly cheap and tastes like some of your favs… the fake corona is great, as well as their “specialty” wine of the week.
*BARS- they have your basic granola bars, but they also have protein bars, and yogurt dipped granola bars, Fiber One bars, and more
*Kids snacky stuff, like peanut butter crackers, pretzels, dippers with cheese, etc.
*Cookies- If you are a cookie lover, and you love girl scout cookies, ALDI has you covered.Â They have almost identical Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, and the Dipped Peanut Butter cookies for a buck and some change.Â It takes will power for me to just NOT buy them ð
*Salad Dressing- these are in aisle 1, but also in their limited tim
e stuff.Â I like the limited time ones because they always have new unique flavors.Â My current favorites are their poppyseed, which is super sweet and tasty, and their ranch with chevre- it’s SO good.
*Ketchup, mustard, pickles, and olives are other “snags” in this aisle that are typically cheaper or equivalent to store prices.
At the end of aisle 1 in this particular location, they also have coffee essentials.Â The only coffee I’ve purchased from ALDI are their seasonal fun flavors, which I always enjoy ð
*Milk- ALWAYS cheaper *limited %s
available in half gallons, but they have all %s in the whole gallons
*Almond Milk:Â they have chocolate and vanilla
*GREEK Yogurt:Â I purchase the plain flavor to turn into dips and eat with Indian food/make salad dressings and smoothies, AND we buy the individual cups for lunch/breakfast, etc.
If you are a greek yogurt lover like me, you will know they can run close to $1/each.Â At ALDI, they are $.69 and often times on sale for less.Â They always have a couple seasonal flavors that aren’t low fat, but fun to grab nonetheless.
*I personally LOVE their pineapple yogurt, and even use it as a wheat cracker dip.Â They also have:Â peach, blueberry, raspberry, black cherry, and strawberry.Â They also have a tropical fruit in a 100 calorie option.
*Shredded Cheese- they have most flavors and some come in their “fit and active” brand.
*Eggs, egg sub, and egg whites… always cheaper here
*Yogurt drink for the kiddos and plain yogurt; yogurt squeezies & large greek vanilla and plain
*FRESH SALSA!!Â I like the medium, but they do have hot and mild, and every now and then, they’ll have some pico or a seasonal flavor to try!
Spinach and salad mixes:Â I love when their baby spinach in the plastic box goes on sale because it keeps FOREVER, and it’s yummy.Â I also like the arugula mix, but their spinach is under $2.Â Other stores have sales that compare, but I like knowing that their price is consistently the same.
*baggie o’carrots- sometimes only $.49, but always under $1
*jalapenos- super duper cheap right now
*zucchini & squash pack
*4 corns- they are really good and already husked
*mushrooms AND portabella slices for making individual pizzas
*cucumbers and mini cucumbers
*snap and other peas
*potatoes and mini potato mixes
*cauliflower, broccoli, mini peppers, regular peppers
Really, if you like veggies, they have a lot of options- both fresh and frozen, as well as the organic varietals.Â Good stuff.
They have a meat department where I have purchased:Â ribs, chicken wings (be ready to cut tendons), chicken, fish, ground beef, and seasonal items like corned beef.Â I don’t purchase anything too regularly in this department because I do like Fareway’s meats best and Hy-Vee’s brats, but I tend to grab whatever happens to be on sale that day (look for big RED $2/$3 off stickers).Â Then, I just make sure to use it or freeze it asap!
*I do regularly pick up their chicken brats.Â These come in a spinach and cheese flavor that is delightful, as well chipotle and other assorted flavors.
*Bacon– I’ve bought the refrigerated regular kind, the turkey bacon, and the pre-cooked bacon, and guess what? ALL good!Â My mom even asked where we got our specialty, thick bacon… ALDI of course ð
*waffles- I like fit & active whole wheat
*veggies- They have cauliflower rice!Â They also have fried rice and other fun mixes of vegetables.
*fit and active “hot pockets”- Chris lived on these for a while ð
*coconut shrimp, crab rangoons, and egg rolls
*PIZZA- they have GRAB & GO for like $4.99 for a HUGE pizza, and they have TONS of super fun frozen flavors, like margherita and GYRO.
My “go-tos” for fruit include green apples, bananas, and blueberries.Â I can count on the blueberries always being significantly cheaper than other stores.Â I also buy *when I don’t have in my garden* tomatoes- they have a lovely little mix of multi-colored cherry tomatoes that I love, love, love.
But really, if fruit is your thing- I’m sure they’ve got it- and cheaper than wherever.Â They tend to run seasonal items like watermelons or plums, but almost always have grapes, kiwis, pears, oranges (or cuties), berries of some sort, and more!Â They also offer frozen, bagged fruit if you’re into that sort of thing!
Canned goods, etc.
OMG- who likes aloe vera drink?Â I know with my current weight loss endeavor, they include a shot of aloe with my protein smoothie.Â Instead of purchasing in bulk
from them, I buy a bottle at ALDI and drink throughout the week.Â It is located with their Mexican goods.Â I also like the whole wheat, fit & active wraps in this section, as well as the tomato/chiles mix and black beans.
*I regularly buy anything you’d normally pick up canned here, such as tomato soup, tuna, green beans, and mixed fruit.
They always have a fun seasonal pasta mix, like easter bunny eggs or halloween ghosts that I love getting for the kids- along with some pasta sauce or pesto sauce, and their turkey pepperoni.Â The kids love it!
*Love their diapers!!
*Baggies- all sizes, freezer bags and more
Paper plates- yes, I keep them on hand when we need a night off from rinsing, etc.
***They have everything from dish soap to deodorant and everything in between!
****Check their weekly #ALDIAD for specialty items of the week.Â I’ve gotten an over the sink strainer, dog beds, mini garbage cans for bathrooms, plants, a blueberry tree, and a water table.Â It usually has a theme- like seasonal summer items- and after they have been out a while, they clearance them out.
Just last week, for example, they had full body sleeping bags for $4.99!!Â I didn’t buy one because I don’t know if I’ll ever go camping again because of my crap back, but man, I really wanted to!!
Breads & Pastries:
Here’s the down and dirty- ALDI bread is cheaper and they also have gluten-free options that I haven’t personally tried.Â My favorites:
*Skinnies for lunch sandwiches
*Brioche buns for burgers in the summer
They also have a variety of beautiful mini cakes, donuts, and pastries.Â I *really* enjoy their pre-made cinnamon rolls.Â They aren’t fluffy, but the frosting is tasty and the cinnamon is, well cinnamony.Â They have a balanced fee
l, for a cinnamon roll.Â I have bought boxes of their “fresh” cookies to give as gifts for a fraction of the price at the store, for gourmet cookies with large chocolatey chunks.
And… they always have #seasonalstuff
Cheese and stuff:
Lunch meats- not fresh from the deli, but their pre-packed is a better deal than other places
String cheese- twisted flavors, fit & active, and regular
Hummus- I LOVE their hummus options- and they always have fun *limited edition* flavors, such as cucumber dill and their olive mix.
Want to have a #gourmetparty?Â Believe me, I do.Â And when I do actually have a party, I hit up ALDI for my party needs. Here are some of my ALDI secrets for partying like a pro (or a 30 something mom who wants some cheap gourmet items for a night “in” with friends ð
*proscuito and cheese pinwheel
*Goat CHEESE (with cranberries at Christmas or cinnamon or my current fava-flav is the herb blend)
*pre-sliced summer sausage
*other gourmet cheeses- like sriracha cheddar or Irish cheddar- oh yeah!
*naan bread for dipping or pita bites, french bread or seasonal c
*sauces, oils & vinegars, OLIVES!!, specialty dips/guacamole
I have seen everything from #seasonalmums to #lawnchairs to #beachtowels in the rand-O aisle at ALDI.
*Flower bouquets- they always have for $3.99
*Wine and CHOCOLATES- the dark chocolate salted caramels I got there and gourmet peanut butter cups were to die for!!
New FAV item:
Flavored waters in cucumber, lavender and vanilla- it’s carbonated, low cal/carb and still really delicious… It’s a great change from beer, etc.
I love ALDI, and if you aren’t a name brand person, I think you will too.Â Even if you are, give it a try… try one thing, try 5.Â I promise you won’t regret spending the minimal amount you spend on some new stuff to pack your pantry!
Also- I love giving guided tours… if that’s something you require, hit me up ð
As always, thanks for reading!!