Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Lowdown on Aldi - Part 2

Today we begin the second half of “The Lowdown on Aldi” series.

Low Prices

There are several reasons Aldi prices are so low:
-Limited Selection:
Because they only stock a limited assortment, they are able to concentrate their purchasing power from suppliers, which drives down the end cost to the consumer.
-Limited Staff: I often see only 2 employees at the store – one cashier and one manager. Employees are not needed to gather carts from the parking lot, like at regular grocery stores.
-Limited Services: Aldi does not accept credit cards, which saves them the processing fees. They do not provide free grocery bags. They do not publish a store phone number, which saves them the cost of having to hire a person to answer it. Customers bag their own groceries.

These measures help Aldi cut costs and keep prices low.

Downside of Shopping Aldi

There aren’t many negatives of shopping at Aldi, in my opinion, but here are a few things to be aware of.
-Manufacturer’s coupons are not accepted at Aldi. Since the store is mostly their private label brand, there aren’t many items in the store that you would have a manufacturer’s coupon for anyway, and because the prices are so low, it doesn’t matter much that coupons are not accepted.
-Selection: The Aldi website claims that you can do 90% of your weekly shopping at their store. They sell the run-on-the-mill staple items that the majority of households purchase on a regular basis. If you’re looking for regular cow’s milk, you can choose between skim, 2%, whole, or chocolate milk. However, you won’t find lactose-free, goat, or organic milk selections there. Also, if you’re looking for a unique recipe ingredient or spice that you would find at a regular grocery store, you likely won’t find it at Aldi. They do not have a deli like a traditional grocery store, although they do have some pre-packaged deli items - lunch meats, etc. So, you will still need to do some shopping at a regular grocery store.

Why I Love Aldi (i.e. What Works for the Diva Family)

I do a lot of my shopping at Costco and Aldi. Both store concepts have limited selection, but they can save you a great deal of money. I tend to shop Costco and Aldi on a rotating basis for variety and go to a regular grocery store once a month to get the rest.

Buying different sizes of items at different types of stores can make it difficult to determine which is the better value. To make it easier, I keep a price book to track the per ounce cost of our top items. For our family, Aldi is the cheapest the majority of the time. Often Costco is comparable on an ounce-for-ounce basis, but that entails buying a larger quantity, and therefore, is only applicable to items we consume in larger quantities.

In the end, the value I get on a cart-load of quality food is what makes me love Aldi. I can fill a cart with food items to prepare a wide variety of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for well over a week for a family of four for less than $100.
In conclusion – An excerpt from the Aldi website:

Shopping Smarter:
It begins the day you decide to become a smarter shopper. The moment it occurs to you that thumbing through newspapers for sales or clipping coupons or using your preferred shopper card is costing you more in time and trouble than the money you're saving. Then it hits you. Smarter shoppers go to smarter stores.

Smarter shoppers know better than to pay extra at stores where baggers bag groceries and employees chase carts in the parking lot, or the cost of national brand marketing raises prices. They know where to buy private label brands that actually exceed the quality of national brands at a fraction of the cost.

So smarter shoppers shop where select inventory increases buying power and lowers prices, saving them up to 50% over supermarket prices. That's a smart cartful whether you're a growing family, a working single, a senior on a fixed income, or a baby boomer socking it away for retirement.

Smarter shoppers just "get it." And they get it at ALDI.

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment and share your tips about shopping at Aldi. If this series has convinced you to shop at Aldi for the first time, leave a comment sharing your experience on your first trip.

1 comment:

Mrs. Arrow said...

Never been to an Aldi, found out there was one in my new town. Will be checking it out, thanks for the heads up. Peace.