OK, this one’s a bit personal for me.
The economy has really taken a toll on my family. Husband and I have been through two layoffs, wage freezes, eliminations of bonuses, reduction of benefits and the cost of living continues to rage onward and upward. Without launching a full-blown PowerPoint presentation on the details, I’ll just tell you this… we’ve had a 32% decrease in income since 2005.
So, what does this have to do with food? Aside from the obvious lessons we’ve learned about priorities and money management, I’ve discovered a new way to feed my family. I shop at Aldi. If you don’t have an Aldi in your area, well, I hate it for you because here’s the truth: the good Lord and Aldi have been what’s kept food on our table.
I’ve never sat down and done the math, but by my best estimate, I save about 40% shopping at Aldi instead of traditional grocery stores. You can go to their website for an explanation of all the ways they pass savings to shoppers but I’ll hit a few highlights here.
2. It’s cash or debit card only. They don’t have to pay percentages to credit card companies, processing fees to manage checks or incur loss due to insufficient funds.
4. The store, while very clean and modern, isn’t decked out in expensive displays and shelving. Most items are stocked in boxes on pallets in neat rows.
In addition to a few esthetic differences, one of the biggest things you’ll notice is that there are no name brands (though sometimes they have name brand promotional items in stock). There is only one selection for whatever it is that you’re buying so if you’re looking for yellow mustard, there will only be one kind and one size. There won’t be a dozen different brands and assorted sized and bottle types.
Do I care? Hell no. You now why? Because their products are GOOD. I’ve heard (and I don’t know this for sure) that all of their products are produced by the same manufacturers that we pay premium prices for.
Sometimes I run in to people I know when I’m at Aldi and I get the same reaction every time – “YOU shop at Aldi?!” I sure do.
There are only a few items that I shop elsewhere for and those are about my specific preferences. I have a feeling that Aldi’s peanut butter is just like Skippy or Peter Pan but I’m a JIF girl so I don’t love their peanut butter (though I will use it to bake with in a quick minute!). I’m sure we each have little preferences for certain brand products but for the most part, I’m very satisfied with 99% of their products.
I’m not getting paid or getting any kickbacks to write this. Though, Aldi, if you’re listening, some store vouchers would be AMAZEBALLS! Also? Can you please start selling cocoa (year-round instead of only during holiday season), green onions and a multi-cleaner (like Pine-Sol or Mr. Clean)? Thankyouverymuch.
And I can't tell you about Aldi without telling you how much a love all the people that work at the West Columbia, South Carolina store. They are lightening-fast and always so friendly (especially Dee!). It must be a good company to work for because they keep their employees. The same gang has been working at mine since I started shopping there seven years ago. They know me and I know them and I love that.
To give you a little taste (all kinds of puns intended) of Aldi, I’m going to tell you a little about one of the products we buy regularly: The 16” Take & Bake Pizza. I may even start doing this from time to time to feature some of my favorite items and staples there. But who knows… y’all know how easily distracted I am!
|this thing is HUGE, y'all|
Price: $5.99 (in my market, anyway)
Servings: 14 pieces– One pizza feeds my family of two adults and three onions. That’s $1.20 per head, y’all.
Description: My favorite part about these pizzas (aside form the price) is the crust. It’s dusted with cornmeal and has this snappy, crunchy, chewy thing going on that’s just a party for your mouth. The sauce is great. The cheese is great. The pepperoni is great. Don’t let the picture fool you… aside from the pepperoni slices on top, under the cheese are bits of pepperoni which almost yield a ground meat texture which is really, really just lovely.