By Micah Nagy
So, you like the wide variety of selection at Walmart, eh? Or the in-house Starbucks and dollar bins at the front of Target? Are you an all-natural, organic fanatic who has pledged your soul to Sprouts? Or maybe you’re a loyal Sam’s Club or Costco customer?
Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve got a few places you like to grocery shop… it kind of depends on what you’re needing, how much time you have, how much traffic there will be as to where the shopping will take place. For example, some staples in our household are apples and peanut butter (some of my favorite foods) nacho cheese Doritos and Sunny-D (some of my hubby’s favorite foods). Those are pretty much non-negotiable. When I’m thinking about making a grocery store trip soon and taking inventory of what we currently have, it’s like… “Do we have milk? Eggs? Bread? Cereal?”
Then… “Doritos? Sunny-D? Peanut butter?” And do we have a whole bag of apples or just a half of a bag left, because this is pertinent information necessary for the calculation of how long the current stock will last. You can ask my family and they will tell you. THEY GO FAST. It’s my go-to snack, and if you slap some peanut butter on it… I am just about the happiest camper around!
You know the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, it really has worked! Up until I took a job at a hospital where I see doctors all the time…. haha. (Just humor me; it’s sort of funny, right?)
As far as grocery shopping is concerned, my heart truly belongs to ALDI. I remember going there a few times with my mom growing up, but my appreciation for the store really grew when I started college at OSU in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
I moved into my dorm, got everything all set up and ready to go, and then I realized something that was missing about my mini fridge… food.
There was nothing in the fridge, or on the empty shelf that would be my makeshift pantry, for that matter.
Why did food not magically appear to fill the shelves like it did at home? Strange… I’ll have to ask my mother when I call her next, I thought to myself.
In the meantime, I set out to grocery shop, something that I hadn’t really done yet for just myself. There was a Walmart a couple of miles away, so I went and picked up what I figured I would need for the week. They rang up all of my items, and… How is it that groceries cost this much money?! Surely my parents don’t spend this much every week?? There’s got to be another way…
Then on a sunny day driving home from church, I saw one. I didn’t think a town the size of Stillwater would have one, but praise the good Lord, He had blessed the city with an ALDI! My thrifty, penny-pinching heart was so happy! The memories of my mother introducing me to this store came flooding back; she had always been so great at finding good deals, and I knew that in showing me to shop here, she had started a great tradition.
So friends, here are the reasons YOU should see for yourself why ALDI is the place to shop:
- The prices! Food is a necessity, it will be something we need for the rest of our time here on earth, but it sure ain’t cheap! EXCEPT for ALDI! You will find great prices on staples like milk, bread, etc. Cereal boxes are $1.49! My husband argues that they are smaller boxes, but I can still get 3 of them for the price of 1 box at Walmart, and get a variety, at that!
- The “Produce Picks of the Week” are awesome, because I can get yummy fruits and whatever veggies are on sale for dinners or packed lunches for work!
- Even though the selection of products is not as big as some superstores, ALDI has what I need 95% of the time. There have been only a couple of times that I needed a very specific kind of spice or cheese, and had to swing by another store to buy.
- SALES! Sometimes the frozen food section has pizzas for $2.99 or some kind of cool, frozen stir-fry for a few dollars, and I’m like, SCORE!
- The staff is super nice and helpful! Every time I’ve been there, they have such great attitudes and smiles on their faces, and that goes a long way to make the ALDI experience enjoyable.
- They are eco-friendly! They don’t supply bags, so you have to come with your own. But think about it… this saves me money as a customer because the price of the bag isn’t worked into the product prices, and it also decreases the production of plastic bags. A win-win!
- Aside from food, ALDI carries supplies for cleaning, puppies, babies, outdoor activities, gardening, decorating, exercising, holidays—the selection rotates throughout the year—so you need to catch the deals when you can! All the more reason to frequent this wonderful establishment.
- Most of the items are ALDI’s own store brand, but you can find a few fan favorites including Gatorade, Pop-Tarts, and M&M’s!
- Also, they’ve got a really great selection of organic items to choose from, and they’re usually not much more than the non-organic.
- Perhaps my favorite reason (which is sort of an I-told-you-so kind of thing, that I really shouldn’t brag about, but I definitely felt victorious in this moment) stems from the first time I took my husband with me to ALDI. We walked in with our cart, started down the aisle, and the first thing he saw were boxes of those little crackers with cheese in the middle. He said, “These are so cheap!” and grabbed a couple. Then he found snack packs of peanut butter crackers that he uses as a snack at work and said, “Wow, these are like 1/8 of the price of the cost in the vending machine at work!” and grabbed almost a whole box. As we continued through the store, the comments of amazement continued all the way up to the checkout line. Amazed with wonder at the total, he said, “This would have cost almost twice as much at another store!” I just smiled and nodded and said, “THIS is why I shop here.”
A last minute word to the wise… if you ever find yourself driving by an ALDI thinking, “I just need some milk and a couples boxes of cereal, I can carry that without any bags,” don’t trust yourself, because this is what will happen:
You will grab your milk and cereal. But then, as you head to check out, you will think of a couple other things you might need this week, like a bag of baby carrots, and then you grab a bag of sweet potatoes because they’re on sale, and before you know it, you are teetering to the check-out line, losing grip on the bunch of bananas, and letting out a huge sigh of relief as you heave everything onto the checkout line… then rest for a minute as you pull out your wallet. You smile when the cashier tells you the grand total, because it’s always less than you think it will be, but then you sigh again because you FORGOT YOUR TAKE HOME BAG and have to pile everything up again to take out to the car.
Trust me, it happens EVERY TIME I think I can get out of there with only a couple things. The deals are just TOO good.
So even though I make occasional trips to other places to get Doritos and Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter, my favorite trips are the trips to ALDI. I’ll be loyal all my life… give it a try and see why!