Thursday, October 23, 2014

The 65 Best Things to Buy at Aldi (And 9 You Shouldn't)

Before we moved two years ago, we had a multitude of grocery stores to choose from: Giant Eagle, Food 4 Less, Walmart, and several local chain stores.  Then we moved to the country, and there are 4 stores.  Walmart, Aldi, Save A Lot, and a local store that is extremely expensive,  Save A Lot and the local chain are in my town, but thankfully Aldi is only 15 minutes away.  New to Aldi?  Read on for the best things to buy at Aldi!

My Aldi was just redone last summer, and I love it even more.  They added an entire aisle of gluten free and organic products, both of which are are at great prices.  I can feed my family organic for less than non organic at other stores!

We used to live in an area that thought Aldi was only for poor people.  I still shopped there, much to the horror of my friends.  Yes, I did convert them after they tried some of the foods!  In my new area, maybe it's because we have such a shortage of grocery stores, but Aldi is very popular.  The Amish really love Aldi, so it's common to see several Amish women doing their shopping with their buggies parked outside.  Our Aldi is always packed.

I've been shopping at Aldi for 10 years now, and I've seen the quality improve on many items.  Ten years ago, this list would have been very different.  There were some things that we did not like then, but we like their version now.  There are very, very few things that we don't buy there.

If you are new to Aldi, here's my favorite (and least favorite) things to buy there.  I tried to include prices on items, but I don't have prices for everything.  Prices can vary by store, too.  If there are a lot of grocery stores in the area, then prices will be lower because of the competition.  Here are my top 65 best things to buy at Aldi.

Pantry

Flour $1.39/5 pound bag
Sugar (brown, white, and powdered)
Taco Mix $.35
Brown Gravy Mix
Rice Mixes $.79
Macaroni and Cheese $.39 (our favorite of any brand)
Croutons $.89
Cereal (all varieties) $1.19-2.19)
Oil $2.39
Cream of Chicken, Mushroom $.59 (my favorite of any brand)
Canned Mushrooms $.59
Rice
Peanut Butter
Pasta
Alfredo Sauce $1.69
Spices, salt, pepper
Olive Oil
Syrup (their sugar-free version is very good)
Chocolate Chips $1.49
Potato Gnocchi
Oatmeal
Coffee Beans

Snacks

Saltine Crackers $.89
Peanut Butter Crackers $.89 for a pack of 6
Cheese Crackers
Animal Crackers
Fruit and Cereal Bars $1.79
Tortilla Chips $1.19
Fruit Snacks $3.69 (dye free and HFCS free)
Pudding Mix $.45 (our favorite of any brand)
Graham Crackers
Marshmallows
Salsa

Dairy

Shredded Cheese (around 25 cents per ounce)
String Cheese (our favorite of any brand)
Parmesan Cheese $2.49
Coffee Creamer $2.19 for a large container
Milk $2.79 AND it is hormone and antibiotic free!
Butter
Stick Maragine

Meat/Deli

Chicken Salad $3.69/lb
Fish (whiting, cod, catfish)
Canned Tuna
Chicken Nuggets $3.99 (these are my absolute favorite frozen nuggets!)
Fish Fillets
Whole Chicken (Price varies, but it's always 1/2 - 1/3 of what you'll pay at other stores)
Bacon
Spiral Cut Ham (better than our local meat market!)
Hamburgers

Frozen/Cold

Vegetables - any
French Fries $1.79
Shredded Hashbrowns $1.79
Waffles $1.29 for 10
Frozen Pizza
Cinnamon Rolls $1.49 (out favorite of any brand)

Fruits and Veggies

Bananas
Lettuce
Bagged Lettuce
Grapes
Potatoes
Onions (they are very potent!)
Carrots
Mushrooms
Celery

What Not to Buy

Bread - I do buy their bread if I need it, but I try not to.  We don't care for the texture.  It tastes fine, and I would buy it to make stuffing or french toast.

Refried Beans - Sorry, Aldi, but these just aren't good.  I wish they were because they are so much cheaper there, but we will pass on these.

Ground Beef - I'm not a fan of their ground beef.  I do buy local raised grass fed beef, so it's not really a fair comparison.

Applesauce - The last time I looked, it had high fructose corn syrup, so we don't buy it.  I make my own, so I don't even look at it anymore.

Potato Chips - We don't really buy many chips, but I prefers Lay's if I do get them.  I did get the kids the big bags of single serve chips for a treat for lunches, and they liked them.

Tub Margarine - It's OK.  It's not my favorite.  I'd rather pay more and get something that we like better.

Cola - We aren't fans of their cola, but we are hardcore Pepsi fans.  If you aren't brand specific, then you may like their cola.

Salad Dressings - They aren't bad, but we prefer the taste of name brand dressings.  I will buy a lot of their Italian dressing for marinades though.

Orange Juice - Theirs seemed a little watered down compared to name brands.

I will mention that there are a lot of things that I don't buy in the stores.  I don't buy many canned fruits or vegetables because I can them myself.  I have a source for local raised beef and chicken, so I don't buy that in any other stores.