It is so easy to save on groceries if you're willing to change where you shop. Since the 1970s, a German grocer called Aldi has been in America, at first in a few communities and now in 31 states. Aldi recently even opened its first store in New York City!
Shoppers can save up to 40% off traditional supermarket prices at Aldi. But beware that there are tradeoffs for that savings:
- Small stores. Aldi stores are about the size of a neighborhood chain drugstore with small aisles. Less real estate means less overhead and more savings for you.
- Focus on private labels. There's only a tiny selection of products because of the emphasis on store brands. You don't have 10 kinds of butter, for example. There may only be 1 or 2 kinds available. Forget about the paradox of choice.
- Schedule conflicts. They have limited hours and long lines.
- No bags, but there are cart rentals. There are no grocery bags and you have to rent a cart for 25 cents, which you get back when you return it to the corral. That reduces the cost of having to pay somebody to round up carts in the parking lot and it reduces accidental dents to your car when carts roll around the parking lot.
- Limited payment options. Many Aldi locations only take cash, while other may accept select debit cards. No credit cards!
The selection is just large enough that a dedicated Aldi shopper could make this their only supermarket. But again, shopping at Aldi is an acquired taste. Both Christa and Kim, 2 of the producers on my show, tried Aldi once and hated it. But I love the savings. And I've never tasted one of their products and felt it was awful, so I'll keep going back.