I had shopped at Aldi twice before this year. The first time was when I was in high school and my dad asked me to go to Aldi to get some fresh fruit and a pack of water bottles. I was beyond frustrated when I couldn’t get a shopping cart because I didn’t have a quarter with me. And then I was beyond frustrated when I didn’t have a shopping bag to put my fruit into. Overall, I hated it.
Then my second time was almost two years ago when my fiancé (now husband) suggested I do our grocery shopping there. So, I tried it again. And, I hated it, again. They didn’t carry the brands I knew and recognized. I couldn’t find a lot of what I was looking for. And, I felt like everyone around me was a trained “Aldi” shopper, and I was like an alien who didn’t know what was going on.
So, I decided I wouldn’t be an Aldi shopper.
But then January 2021 came around. And if your husband (or wife) is anything like mine then that means that January is budget season. My husband and I sat down to set-up our budget for the 2021 year. We have a lot of projects we want to knock-out this year, we want to save for a new car, and maybe have a family vacation too. So that meant I had to save money somewhere.
One of the biggest expenses we had was our grocery budget. If you know me then you know that I love to cook. And not just love to cook, but looooooooove to cook. So, I buy a lot of food because I like high quality items that I can make delicious meals out of. In December of 2020 alone I spent $600+ on groceries for just the two of us. It was insane! Not to mention, we were also spending around $70 a week on Home Chef meals in December too.
So, once again, my husband suggested that I try grocery shopping at Aldi. But, this time I was motivated. I wanted to like it. I wanted to save the money. So, I decided to challenge myself. I documented how much I spent each week on groceries at Aldi in the month of January. Then, I built a shopping cart with the same items online at Hy-Vee (where I did all my grocery shopping before) and compared prices. I couldn’t believe how much I saved the first week, and by the end of the month I had saved enough money from shopping at Aldi that it paid for a week of our groceries.
1st week savings: $46.16
2nd week savings: $14.76
3rd week savings: $52.58
4th week savings: $42.28
TOTAL JANUARY SAVINGS: $155.78
In addition to how much money I saved from shopping at Aldi, I also learned a few things.
First, Aldi does have name brand items! I was able to get some of my favorite name brand items like Cheez-Its, Hellman’s Mayonnaise, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Second, they have so many unique “Aldi finds” that you don’t see in your regular grocery store (I listed some of these items down below). And lastly, when I couldn’t find something I was looking for it forced me to think outside of the box in my cooking and find something else to try.
I also tried a lot of new items, found a few favorites, and a few duds.
Some of the items that I love that I found are kalamata olives, roasted garlic risotto, and Italian sweet cream coffee creamer. The kalamata olives are marinated in olive oil and greek seasoning for an extra punch of flavor, and they are delicious on a greek salad or alone! Another find I love is their roasted garlic risotto. I had never made risotto out of a bag before but I was pleasantly surprised! It was delicious, easy, and the perfect amount for two people. Lastly, one item I use every day is their Italian Sweet Cream coffee creamer. I had tried their almond milk coffee creamer and wasn’t a fan. But, a lot of people recommended the Italian Sweet Cream and it didn’t disappoint!
Now, there are of course some items that I didn’t love like the almond milk coffee creamer I mentioned earlier, frozen Belgian waffles, and cauliflower cheddar crackers.
If you like almond milk, then you might love this coffee creamer. It just wasn’t for me. It was thicker than most coffee creamers and didn’t seem to mix well with my coffee and would end up coating the bottom of my coffee mug instead. But the Belgian waffles, ugh, I wanted to love these waffles! But, I couldn’t, and I tried them twice to even make sure I didn’t love them. They were light and fluffy, but I could never get them hot and crunchy enough the way I like my waffles. The directions do say you can try them in the oven, which I didn’t try- I stuck to my trusty toaster. And lastly, the cauliflower cheese crackers. I actually tried these a couple years ago when I first tried Aldi and I remember how much I disliked them. But, I still see them in the store now. If you are a super healthy person then these could be your jam, but to me they were just ew. The flavor was just not there and I ended up throwing the box away.
Overall, I can now say that I’m a Aldi fan and shopper. My goal for the rest of 2021 is to continue my weekly grocery shopping at Aldi and compare prices each month to a different grocery store. For February 2021 I’m comparing prices to Price Chopper. You can follow along on my Instagram page (@homegrownhannahlynn). If you have a suggestion for a grocery store you want to see me do a price comparison to shoot me a message. I challenge you to shop at Aldi for a month and see how much money you can be saving too!