Aldi’s: Love it or Hate it


I never considered myself to be high maintenance till I started shopping at Aldi’s.   All my friends had been going there for years and always seemed to gush about the great prices and the fact that their generic off brands were just as good if not better than name brands.   I went once but hated the fact that it didn’t have everything on my list, plus it wasn’t really on my way to or from any place (except church but Sunday after church is not a good time to go grocery shopping—believe me I know, I tried this past week)… so I got along with Shoppers and Safeway, but the grocery bill kept getting higher… I then added Walmart to my list… not close or convenient to where I live, but was saving a lot of money… and then I decided to try Aldi’s again. 

It was July.. we had just gotten back from our whirlwind trip to Florida.. I dropped the older two kids off at VBS and went to pick up our dog from my friend’s house.  She offered for me to leave the dog there a little longer and also live kid 3 and 4 and run to the store from groceries… kid free grocery shopping?  This was an offer I couldn’t refuse!  Since she lived really close to Aldi's I decided this would be the day I found out what I was missing. 

I get to the store… only to remember that they require you to deposit a quarter to get a shopping cart.  Of course I have no quarter.  No problem, I am kid free, I’ll just carry what I need in my hands.  So there I am roaming the aisles of Aldi’s awkwardly carrying my groceries, dropping things left and right when I finally get to the register and deposit my goods.  It was then that I recalled the second rule of Aldi’s… they only take cash, check, or debit card.  I had none of the above.  And so I left grumbling under my breath, dejected at having to return empty handed from my rare shopping trip alone for groceries.

It took at least a month for me to muster up the courage to return again.  This time I am SURE to bring my debit card and I even e-mail myself the pin so I won’t have to worry if I forget it.  The kids and I manage fairly well, even though I am yet again without a quarter… I had the stroller so I stuffed stuff around the baby in the umbrella stroller, found a few empty boxes in the aisle that I filled and had the kids carry drag them to the register for me.  As we pile them onto the belt the cashier tells me that next time I need to not pack the boxes before putting them on the belt.  (I guess this is rule number 3 at Aldi’s).  I don’t care though b/c I am just so happy that we are actually leaving with food this time! 

I’ve returned again about once a month since.  I kid you not I’ve still managed to show up without my quarter or my debit or my pin. I’ve had to leave my cart at the register, dig around my car and renter the store, wait in line again and check out my stuff.   The number of times I’ve gone with my quarter, debit, AND pin… is sadly far less than the number  of times I forgotten at least one of the above.

One day I did manage to score a close parking spot, I had my quarter and I had my debit card and pin number… as I triumphantly departed Aldi’s having finally followed all of its rules, I realized something.  There is one bonus of shopping at Aldi’s.  As I walked around I noticed that many of the other costumers had multiple children hanging inside, of the side of and all around their carts.  Aldi’s seems to be the only place I can shop and not get started at with huge eyes as I carry my cart bulging with food and children… Here I don’t get asked, “Is all that food for you?”  or get told, “My, you have your hands full.”  Seems Aldi’s is the place to shop when you have many small children.   Which makes sense b/c Aldi’s is significantly, SIGNIFICANTLY, cheaper for some things on your list and can save you a bundle.   A fact which draws mothers of many small children even though this poor mom has to bag her own groceries, bring her own bags (yeah right… never remembered this rule yet), return her cart to the front of the store, bring a quarter, bring the right  card, remember the pin, and after all this can’t even reward herself with a Starbucks! 


  1. Aldi's completely intimidates me. Sadly, I've never even tried to shop there because of all of the rules. Most of the stores in Germany were the same and shopping in them wasn't a pleasant experience most of the time.

    After the experiences you've had, you definitely need to reward yourself with a Starbucks!

  2. I know I need to try it, but I am totally intimidated!!! Sounds like it is worth the effort though.

  3. I'm so glad you have been won over (or at least will tolerate it)! I love how cheap Aldi is. I keep a stash of bags in my trunk, a few quarters in the front of my van, and my debit card in my wallet so that I can stop there when it is convenient. And yes, I am definitely one of those who has multiple children riding on and in the cart and a cart full to the top of everything you can imagine. I hope it keeps getting better for you!

  4. I keep a quarter in my car, it is called the aldi's quarter and it is not to be touched. I also bought 5 of there HUGE bags and with stuffed cart only use 2 or 3 so even if I don't remember to put them back in the car right away I still have some there. Those two things pretty much solved my problems when shopping at aldi's.

  5. I used to be a faithful aldi's shopper (when they were cash only!), but when I hit three kids, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle. If I do Aldi's, I always have to hit another store to finish my list. That's ok in the summer, but not so great in the winter. Just this week I was thinking that, now that I have two in school, it was time to check out Aldi's again. But I got to the store at 8:30...forgot they didn't open til 9. Whoops! :)

  6. An idea (Yea, I know, what can I say -I am a problem solver.)
    1- Get some of those large cloth grocery bags – with all that money you are saving. 8-)
    2- Take 2 small change purse – with quarters – and hang them on a couple of bags.
    3- Put ½ of the remaining bags in each of the Change Purse Bags.

    Now you have 2 sets of bags that take up no serious space.

    Idea 2
    1- Put a contact in your cellphone (give it any name).
    2- In the phone number area make up a believable number like 410-224-(4didge pin #)
    3- You can even give it a phony, but believable, address.
    4- Only you know which number is phony, but it is always with you.

    Now all you need to remember is the card.

  7. I too have the Aldi's quarter! My kids like to push the cart back in to retrieve it and they know they have to give me back my Aldi's quarter! I am a fan even though I sometimes forget my bags. I have found that when I HAVE to bring bags rather than have a choice I am much more likely to remember to bring my reusable ones - what does that say about me?! :)

  8. Guess what Aldies is the place for me. It might be different
    names but most of it is as good. love the bread put it in freezer to keep. Like most of their meat also. MGma

  9. I love Aldi's and I love that you can't remember the pin number to your debit card. The end!

  10. haha! you know I love this post! You gave such a great visual depiction of what you look like in that store and I love it! You are right that it is the ONE place that people don't stare at you with all your kids. . . and I love Nana's idea of the pin "phone number". (the reason I came to your blog just now was to find a link for the seeds worship cds- am I remembering correctly that you had a link on here?)


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