15 Aldi Shopping Secrets Only Die-Hard Regulars Know
All the tricks of the trade you need to know before you go.
If you haven't already heard of the discount grocer Aldi, you're about to. Over the next three years, the chain plans to open 900 new stores across the United States. And they can offer you major savings, too.
Research from the consumer experts at Clark found that by shopping at Aldi, customers can save up to 33 percent off traditional supermarket prices and up to 20 percent off Walmart prices. To help you maximize those savings even more, we've gathered the best shopping secrets only the most loyal Aldi customers know.
You can find extraordinary deals on baked goods.
Exactly five days before loaves of bread and other types of baked goods are set to expire, Aldi will mark them down to 50 percent off. That's a ton of savings if you find yourself making lots of school lunches! Even if you don't snag these breads on sale, you'll still save. Aldi's store-brand bread costs just 83 cents for a 20-ounce package, while Kroger's store-brand bread costs $1.19 for the same size, according to Go Banking Rates.
Aldi always has the best prices on produce.
Aldi typically has the cheapest produce of every other grocery retailer, according to consumer savings brand Clark. In fact, one avocado costs just 39 cents at Aldi. That's compared to most stores, where the pricey fruits will set you back a dollar. Similarly, Aldi bananas cost just 24 cents per pound, while Kroger bananas cost 55 cents per pound.
The best time to shop is Wednesday mornings.
That's when you'll find the best deals on meat and produce, writes Hip2Save. And according to Delish, it's also when most Aldi stores come out with new products. "Hump Day is typically when the Aldi Finds section gets a refresh, adding between 40 and 50 new items to your local store," they wrote after a trip to Aldi headquarters.
"These include seasonal items—like college dorm decor and school lunchboxes in the fall—as well as test products and specialty products, like flavored olive oils." One Reddit user and Aldi employee also wrote that Wednesday is typically when the stores roll out new "produce picks of the week," which means you can get a steal on certain items of produce.
Avoid the toiletries aisle.
While Aldi is great at the whole low-cost groceries thing, their deals don't extend to the toiletries aisle. Aldi rarely, if ever, puts their toiletries on sale (typically because the ones they stock are name-brand, instead of the generic brands the store specializes in), which means you're better off purchasing your personal care items at places like Walmart and Amazon that frequently offer deals and coupons on toiletries.
Go Banking Rates even found that Aldi shampoo and conditioner costs about one dollar to $2.50 more than what you'd find at other grocery stores, while toothpaste costs about a dollar more.
Aldi's refund policy is better than any other grocer's.
Unlike other large grocery chains, Aldi offers a double-back guarantee. That means they'll allow you to return any item for a replacement item as well as a refund. All you have to do is return the product packaging and any unused product to the store manager. The policy applies to any item "you are not 100% satisfied with," except for non-food Aldi Find items, alcohol, and national brands. It also only applies to quality-related issues, which means you can't return a banana yogurt because you didn't like the flavor.
You can use Checkout51 to get cash back on your purchases.
While Aldi doesn't use the more popular cashback app Ibotta, it does allow customers to use Checkout51, a cashback app that functions in the same way but incorporates Aldi purchases. Simply download the app, save your favorite offers to your shopping list, and upload a copy of your receipt. You'll earn money as you shop.
Check Reddit for product reviews.
As it happens, Aldi has its own subreddit where customers and employees alike list their product reviews and recommendations for other potential customers to reap the rewards. They also review store experiences—meaning that you'll be able to optimize your grocery shopping runs by avoiding your town's problematic locations.
You need to act on the Hot Deals quickly.
Every Sunday, Aldi's Hot Deals section is restocked with heavily discounted items—but you'll have to act on these deals within the first few days of the sale, as they sell out quickly. Get there on Sunday or Monday for the best selection.
You should always check Aldi's website for weekly specials.
Similar to other grocery chains, Aldi has regular weekly deals. In Aldi's case, most of these savings are laid out clearly on their website—along with other sales cuts that are not readily available on the paper version that the store hands out. You can also keep an eye on what's available in the Hot Deals section, as well as what the mid-week meat specials look like.
Always opt for the store-brand product when possible.
According to Taste of Home, nearly 90 percent of Aldi's name brand products are exclusive to Aldi—meaning that you won't find them at any other store. That's why they're typically offered at a fraction of the price of other grocery store chains. Not only that, but Aldi name brand products typically beat national brands in customer satisfaction and quality, according to GoBankingRates. That's especially the case with organic goods (produce, beef, milk, grains, and coffee, which are cheaper than what you'd find at Whole Foods), and gluten-free items.
You'll want to try all of Aldi's gluten-free products.
Aldi measures up to Walmart's gluten-free prowess, offering aisles full of gluten-free options for anyone looking to spiff up their diet on a budget. In fact, just this past year, Aldi was awarded the 2018 Gluten-Free Buyers Buyers Guide Award for their liveGfree line of gluten-free products. According to the guide, the best gluten-free products at Aldi are the Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese, the Cocoa Loco Baked Chewy Bars, and the Black Sesame Brown Rice Crisps offered through liveGfree line.
Always ask a manager if something is on sale.
Like many stores, the easiest way to get something at a discount is to ask. "According to an employee at Aldi, asking a manager if or when something will be marked down actually improves your chances of having the price lowered," reports Hip2Save. "Some managers will mark it down on the spot just to move the product."
It's fine to pick up an empty box to stash your groceries in.
First and foremost, first-time Aldi shoppers need to keep in mind that they'll have to bring their own bags to lug their groceries home. But if you forget, it's no biggie. Any Aldi insider could tell you that there are typically cardboard boxes strewn across the store from past shipments. Feel free to pick one up to carry your loot—or you'll be forking over seven cents for a paper bag or ten cents for a plastic one.
Their wines are totally worth it.
Grocery stores are infamous for selling underwhelming wines. But the ones at Aldi are worth trying—their $8 bottle of Exquisite Collection Cotes des Provence Rosé even nabbed a Great Value Award at the International Wine Challenge. The store also won the Product of the Year award for its $12.99 bottle of Broke Clouds Pinot Noir, from the global research agency Kantar TNS. Pick up a bottle the next time you go—the cheapest options start around $3.
Their customer service is truly unmatched.
While your local Aldi may have fewer employees than other grocery stores (that's part of the reason they're able to keep prices so low!), the people who do work there are paid well over the minimum wage and are always happy to help.
"Most companies say they're all about customer service but Aldi really is," wrote one Reddit user and Aldi employee. "Take advantage of this. If you're looking for something but can't find it, just ask. I guarantee they won't mumble and point in a direction. They'll physically take you there. If there is anything you want done or need help with (other than us bagging your groceries) we'll do it." For even more savings, learn the 27 Online Shopping Secrets So Good You'll Want to Keep them to Yourself.
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