Tips for Shopping and Saving Money at Aldi


Each week, Columbia SC Moms Blog features ways for you to save money in our Sunday Saver series.

Aldi has awesome prices and great products – definitely worth checking out!

Looking for a way to save money on your grocery bill but don’t want to clip coupons? Try shopping at Aldi!

Aldi is a German grocery store chain with four (soon to be five) locations in the Columbia area. (There’s also locations in Sumter and Aiken.) They have awesome prices, great quality food and a few practices you won’t find at other grocery and retail stores around town.

Find out all you need to know before shopping the store, as well as my family’s top 10 “must-have” items on our Aldi’s shopping list.

Things to Know Before Shopping Aldi:

  • Aldi keeps their costs low by having smaller stores and little to no merchandising of items on shelves. There are no fancy displays. Boxes are cut open and items are simply stacked on shelves.
  • Most everything is Aldi branded products. I don’t buy all of my family’s groceries at Aldi, but there are certain items that are really good buys, so I shop there about once every three weeks or so.
  • They don’t employee baggers, so be prepared to load up and carry out the items you buy. On that same note, they do not provide shopping bags either, so be sure to bring your own or purchase them at the register. (There have been times I forgot my bags and was able to use an empty produce box at the store, but it’s not always a sure bet.)
  • You must “rent” your shopping cart for a quarter (bring your spare change or be prepared to only buy what you can carry in your arms), but the good news is you get your quarter back when you return your cart to the designated area — pretty smart actually — there are no stray carts filling up the park lot or posing the risk of denting your car.
  • They only accept debit, EBT, and cash (no credit cards).
  • A great bonus to shopping at Aldi is their double guarantee. If you aren’t pleased with an item you’ve purchased, simply return it, and Aldi will refund your money and give you a replacement.

“Must Have” Items on my Aldi’s Shopping List:

1. Produce

Most produce at Aldi is a terrific price. I have found locally grown Cottle Farm’s strawberries, bananas for $.44/pound, and great deals on red, orange and yellow peppers. On my last shopping trip, I picked up a fresh pineapple for $1.19. They also sell “Artisanal Lettuce” in a clamshell package, and these baby lettuce heads are great additions to salads.

A note about produce: The prices are so good that items disappear quickly.When something is at a terrific price during the week at Aldi, be prepared to come back more than once during the week if you really want an item.

You will not find a better price on real maple syrup anywhere.
You won’t find a better price on real maple syrup anywhere.

2. Maple Syrup

We ditched “pancake syrup” a couple of years ago, and real maple syrup is expensive. Aldi has the best price on maple syrup around. My children do not pour it on their own pancakes/waffles. I make pancakes or waffles a couple of times a month and when used conservatively, a bottle of maple syrup will last our family of five several months.

3. Zipper Bags

When I have the opportunity, I buy meat in bulk and freeze it in meal sized portions. (Our upright freezer was a great investment!) Aldi’s zipper freezer bags are comparable to name brand bags and are superior to several other house brands that I’ve tried.

4. Canned Goods

During the winter, when it seems there is no good produce to be found at the store, we buy canned peaches and pears by the dozen. These make a quick breakfast for my boys. Their selection of canned beans is also priced well and good quality.

5. Milk and Eggs

Let’s face it, milk and eggs are staples. Gallons of milk at Aldi are $3.79, which is as good of a price as anywhere these days. Eggs are consistently priced lower than any grocery store (including the grocery section of Walmart).

6.  Lunchbox/Kids Snacks

Quick snacks?  Aldi has a great selection at a great price.
Quick snacks? Aldi has a great selection at a great price.

Aldi’s version of goldfish crackers are shaped like penguins, and they are lighter and crispier than the name brand. (Cheaper too!) Aldi also carries a couple of varieties of fruit snacks, as well as granola bars and individually packaged raisins and applesauces. We always have a bag of their pretzels ready for snacks. They also carry a “Fit & Active” line that includes reduced calorie products, which are so good you might find yourself buying an extra box just for you!

7. Cheese, Butter and Other Refrigerated Items

Block cheese is a great buy at Aldi! Sure, if you wait for a good sale, you can find it cheaper at the grocery store, but if you need it now, then $1.79 is a great price. It’s good quality too. Aldi also carries a selection of specialty cheeses and items like hummus in their refrigerated section. There’s always something new to try. Most recently I found goat cheese with blueberries.

8. Coffee

If you are brand loyal, then you will not want to shop for coffee at Aldi, but if you are willing to try something new, you might just find that you like their house brand of coffee. They have k-cups and regular canned coffee. Bonus: If you like canned coffee, the container can be cleaned out and used to store things after you scoop your last cup.

9. Unusual Items

Because the square footage of the store is so small, Aldi’s inventory is always slightly different. I’ve found Halloween shaped pasta (which made a great salad before trick or treating!), a Monster’s University cookie kit, and Taco Bell taco kits. There is always something new to find at Aldi; including awesome European treats around the holidays. (Their soft gingerbread cookies are delicious!)

I can't have the real thing right now, so finding this Aldi "special buy" was terrific!
I can’t have the real thing right now, so finding this Aldi “special buy” was terrific!

10. Seasonal items

You’ll find summertime fare if you shop now, including pool floats and grill accessories. Back to school items will soon stock the shelves. Around the holidays, there’s a good selection of food gifts and other treats. The packaging is great as well, you’d never guess it was bought at bargain prices (and it’s delicious too!). I’ve even seen kids’ kitchen play sets!

Are you an Aldi shopper? What are some of your family’s must-have purchases?

Disclaimer: Columbia SC Moms Blog was not compensated in any way for this post. We just genuinely LOVE this business and wanted to share the word with our wonderful readers.




    • The bags are a superior quality for the price. I never have to worry about them leaking, unlike the ones I have gotten from Target (love Target! Just not their zip loc bags!)

  1. In addition to the great points you mentioned, (we’ll have to check out the bags and syrup), I love their variety of three ounce chocolate bars for $1.99, and their prices on frozen fish, especially wild caught salmon. Their price on some organic cereals is not bad, and they have a great low carb bread. We also like their twelve grain bread andEnglish muffins.


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