When I first heard about Aldi, I thought it probably wasn't worth a trip. I mean, could it really be different than other discount grocery chains with no selection and crappy toilet paper? I was a bargain-shopping, meal-planning, single mom to two young kids, so I didn't have time to waste. Then I went, and guys, I was totally hooked. Once I got past their long check-out lanes, ever-changing selection, and the fact that you have to bring your own bags, I became an Aldi mom, and learned the many things every Aldi mom knows to be true.
Now that I'm a busy mom to five children, I rely pretty heavily on Aldi and my expert-level Aldi-shopping skills. It helps me make weekly meal plans for my family, and send my kids to school with lunches they will actually eat. Most importantly, I am able to save money — well, most of the time. Sometimes I find something I didn't know I needed until I got there, and end up spending more than originally planned. But, generally speaking, Aldi moms know how to navigate the store, so they can afford to buy a last-minute bottle of half-way decent wine for themselves on their way out.
I love shopping at Aldi, and over the years I've learned a few things from Aldi and other Aldi moms that I am happy to pass on to you.
Always Check The Seasonal Aisle
Even if I'm just stopping for cheap wine or a gallon of milk, I always check the seasonal aisle. My last few trips, I found $6 chalkboard paint, $8 muslin crib sheets, $2 sippy cups, and a $30 pressure cooker (which I admittedly didn't buy, but texted to my friend who needs one). I know it's almost always worth a trip down that aisle. I mean, unless I am completely broke.
Store Brands Are Sometimes Better
While most moms know that store brand staples, like flour and eggs, are generally a smart choice. Aldi moms know that other store brand selections are awesome, too. In my experience, things like goat cheese, hummus, simmer sauces, chips, and diapers (yes, diapers), are actually better when they're the store brand than other name brands. Also, their prices are so low that it doesn't seem that it isn't risky to give them a try. While this is not true of all things — diet soda, I'm talking about you — Aldi moms know that store brand items can be super good.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Aldi moms can be kind of philosophical. It's natural to get bummed out when the store discontinues your favorite snack or wine, or the aforementioned seasonal aisle changes from week-to-week. However, I've started also recognizing that change can be good, too. I wonder what they might have today?
A "Good" Deal Isn't Always Great
Sometimes you learn the hard way that not all good deals are actually good deals. That giant bag of oranges is only worth it if you can actually eat that many oranges before they go bad. Or, in the case of Aldi produce, there's already a few bad ones in the bag before you leave the store. So yeah, check things over, use common sense, and try not to buy more than you need, which this Aldi mom knows is easier said than done.
Mean Planning Is Your Friend
Because Aldi prices seem too good to be true, it can be easy to allow the "deal-scoring" pleasure center in your brain to take over and, consequently, buy way more food than you need. I always go to Aldi with a meal plan and grocery list for my week and try to limit impulse buys to things that I actually "need," or at least really, really want.
Patience Is Key
So, when I plan a trip to Aldi I've learned that I might need some patience, in the aisles and at the checkout lane. Part of the reason why they can offer such low prices is because their stores are minimally staffed, and at certain times of day they might only have one check-out lane open. Another reason not to shop with a cranky toddler, unless you also brought snacks.
Never Shop Hungry
By adulthood, most people learn not to go grocery shopping hungry. This is even more important at Aldi, though, when you just might buy more than you can actually eat before it goes bad. Another reason why I always have snacks in my purse.
It's Good To Be Prepared
Aldi moms remember to bring their own grocery bags from home, or are prepared to buy some at the checkout when they discover they bought way more than they were planning on purchasing. The same goes for bringing a quarter to "rent" a cart for your shopping trip, which you will get back at the end when you return it.
Bad Wine Makes Great Spaghetti Sauce
Don't judge me, but I pretty much buy a new Aldi wine every time I visit the store. I've learned that a lot of them are surprisingly good. The ones that aren't make great cooking wine, summer sangria, or wine ice cubes, too. At their prices, trying new wine is not that risky, and Aldi moms are resourceful as you-know-what.
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