I have been a frugal grocery shopper and avid coupon user for about 8 years. Living in the Pittsburgh area, the stores that I frequently visit include Giant Eagle, Shop n Save, Bottom Dollar, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and Aldi. Aldi has become a favorite over the past few years. Although they do not accept coupons, it’s still a wonderful store to find pantry staples, produce, meat and dairy at low prices. What I love about Aldi is the fact that their prices are low enough that you won’t miss using your coupons.
Most of us coupon users know that there are items in the grocery store that hardly ever get a coupon printed for it, specifically produce and meat. My husband and I like to eat well, but eat cheap. I don’t skimp on buying meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m not the type of shopper that buys processed and frozen foods just because it’s cheap with a coupon. That’s where Aldi comes in. After my trips to Giant Eagle or Walmart, where I buy the items I want to with coupons, I head to Aldi to pick up everything else I need.
Here are a few examples of the items I buy from Aldi that you may find are worth your time to head there and buy too. Keep in mind that my prices are based off of Pittsburgh area Aldi stores, and may be different in your particular store. Check out their weekly ad that begins every Wednesday for the special buys and good sales. I also want to note that I do not work for Aldi or am affiliated with them or any grocery store in any way. This is solely my opinion and experience as a shopper.
This is my #1 reason for stepping foot inside Aldi. My favorite items to buy include the 8 oz package of fresh whole mushrooms, 1 pound bag of baby carrots, 2 pack of bell peppers, 3 pound bag of onions, bananas, potatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes…the choices continue. You won’t find the vast variety of produce like you would in Giant Eagle or Whole Foods, but Aldi carries the most common types. There have been weeks when baby carrots were as low as 49 cents per bag!
I have found that my husband and I are not big fans of Aldi’s strawberries, and that continues to be 1 item that I buy organic from Whole Foods. Even though the strawberries are super cheap during the in-season months, they just don’t taste the same or hold up nearly as long in the fridge as the organic. But, the money you save on other produce from Aldi might allow you to fit in organic strawberries into your budget. That’s how I justify my organic food buying.
Aside from buying spices from Dollar Tree, I also buy spices from Aldi. I go through a lot of garlic powder in my house, as well as salt and pepper. The prices are right around a buck, depending on what you buy. I could never see myself buying McCormick spices for over $4 each, even with a coupon. It still doesn’t beat Aldi’s prices. And I am not partial to brands. I will pick generic for this category. Generic spices taste just as fresh as name brands. I also pick up packets of chili seasoning, taco seasoning and gravy mix, which are always really cheap.
3. Ground Turkey
I do buy meat from Aldi if it’s a great price. I have found that Fit & Active has ground turkey for only $2.99 per 1 lb package. Ground turkey has a lot of uses, such as turkey burgers and substitutions for beef in dishes like chili and sloppy joes. I compare the $2.99 price tag to Giant Eagle’s ground turkey price of $4.99. Even if it’s on sale for $3.99, Aldi still has them beat, and I do not taste any difference in quality.
4. Bread & Buns
My husband and I brown bag it every day for work, to save on lunch costs. Therefore, we go through a good amount of bread per week. When I can, I try to shop at the Schwebel’s bakery outlet, but it’s far and not as convenient as Aldi for me. The Italian style Lov’n Fresh loaf of bread is $1.29, which is comparable to the ‘Taliano brand in flavor. I also enjoy buying wheat bread from Aldi. I love that Aldi also carries hamburger and hot dog buns for 89 cents each, as well as croissants, bagels and garlic bread. All of the above items are always fresh and taste great. I don’t always find a worthwhile coupon for the bread I like to buy from Giant Eagle or Walmart, so this is usually a consistent buy from Aldi.
5. Pasta Sauce
Reggano has a few different flavors of jarred pasta sauce that I like to buy, for only 99 cents each! There are always coupons floating around for Ragu and Prego, but I don’t care for those brands so that is why I shop for basic sauce at Aldi. I use the Reggano sauce as a base, then add my own meat, sausage and spices to it. This is a great idea when I make my own homemade lasagna, or if I am in need of a basic sauce to make hot sausages in. I buy the cheaper, basic sauce when it is not the focal point of the meal. For use in a dish such as spaghetti or baked ziti, where the sauce’s taste really matters, I normally choose a pricier brand.
6. Baking Supplies
I love to stock up on brown sugar, flour, vegetable and olive oil, corn muffin mix, butter, eggs, and refrigerated pie crusts from Aldi. They also carry shredded coconut, walnuts, chocolate chips and other specialty items needed for baking.
Even though snacks and processed foods are at the top of the list for manufacturer’s coupons, I still have a select few snack items I buy at Aldi. Tortilla chips, potato chips and buttery round crackers (like Ritz) to name a couple. A bag of round tortilla chips is around $1.19. If you buy Tostitos or a name brand, even on sale, Aldi still beats the price. I hardly ever get coupons for chips, and when I do, it’s for varieties that I don’t like or need. I like to buy buttery round crackers from Aldi because I use a lot of them. I have a recipe that I use them in, where I crush the crackers, bread chicken breasts with the cracker crumbs, and bake them. At name brand Ritz prices, even at $2.50 per box on sale or with a coupon, I couldn’t afford to keep up with buying 1 box per month. I love Aldi’s potato chips, especially the wavy variety. Great with French onion dip. Aldi is the store I plan on buying a lot of my snack foods for football season!
To round off my list of Aldi buys, I wanted to add items that I would not recommend buying from Aldi, especially if you are into coupons like me. I have a year supply of toothpaste, paper towels, laundry detergent, razors and dryer sheets, all name brands, from coupons. There is no need to buy any of the generic items in these categories from Aldi. Keep an eye out at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid for good sales, which allow you to earn rewards back on your next shopping visit. Target also allows you to stack manufacturer’s coupons with their own store coupons, which can get you a lot of great, low prices, especially when part of a gift card promotion.
I also would not purchase dog/cat treats or food from Aldi. This may be just my opinion, but I am a strong believer in feeding your pet a higher quality food. I personally buy my dogs’ organic food from Petco where I earn 5% back on every $100 I spend there. The prices of these products at Aldi low, but at least choose to buy Purina products from Walmart or Target, which almost 99% of the time, send coupons for their food and treats.
I know grocery shopping and couponing can take a significant amount of time away from your life, but it’s also the easiest way to cut back on frivolous spending. Aldi has helped me do that for my own budget, in addition to coupon use at other stores. Start adding Aldi into your grocery shopping store lineup. Feel free to add your great finds at Aldi to the comments section below!