How to shop at Aldi

I love Aldi… actually my whole family does! Steve and I were spending way too much a week on groceries for just two people and we needed to find a better solution so we decided to experiment with Aldi and see what it was all about. To put it frankly, the absence of popular brand names was a bit unsettling at first (oh how brainwashed we were) but after a few visits we were converted. The shopping experience is quite different to that of Coles and Woolies so for an Aldi “virgin” it can be quite daunting. Since Steve and I consider ourselves “Pro’s” we thought we’d share a few of our tips and favourite products.
Our number one tip is buy three of the trolley coins, one for each set of car keys and one set for the center console. The next tip is to snap up two or even four of these trolley bags ($4ea), trust me you’ll thank me for it, they are the key to a smooth, seamless shopping trip. Basically they’re big, deep bags with handles that fit perfectly in the trolley. They have little velcro tabs that secure the bags to the sides and once they’re filled all you have to do is unhook the velcro, lift out of the trolley with the handles and pop in the boot. No muss, no fuss.
One of the things I love about Aldi is the layout. All the sweets and snacks are right there in front of the door so it’s really easy to walk past and not have to think about them again. Sections are grouped by meals; dinner things with dinner things, breakfast things with breakfast things etc, makes sense. They also don’t stock many (if any) variations of the same product so you spend less time umming and ahhhing. Steve, Aidan and I are usually in and out within 20-30 minutes.
I’d been trying to convert my bff to the wise ways of Aldi, especially seeing as she has one within walking distance of her house! She’s actually the one who inspired this post. I’m happy to say that Dani has recently discovered the hidden gems in the aisles and opened her eyes to all the cool stuff Aldi has to offer. Who knew Melting Moments could change a person’s mindset!
If you like Lindt chocolate you should really try this stuff, it’s so smooth and creamy…
… but if you prefer your harder varieties you’re in for a treat! Steve can’t leave Aldi without two big blocks of Hazelnut Chocolate in the trolley and my sister is quite partial to the white chocolate range and she’s super fussy about her white chocolate. The flavoured dark chocolate is pretty tasty too.
Aidan’s favourite treat is the pureed apple in little cups and I don’t mind it either. I keep them in the fridge and he has them when his teeth are bothering him or on a hot day. When I grab it out of the fridge Aidan automatically says “Ap-Pull” and it’s so cute. Aldi recently released an Apple & Strawberry puree which Aidan has given the big thumbs up.
Steve’s biggest gripe about Aldi virgins is that they don’t understand “the flow”. You see, when you walk in the front doors there is a certain way to get through the store, kind of like IKEA, you shouldn’t go “against the grain” so to speak. Your trolley should always be the left of the aisle so people can pass you easily if you don’t, expect to get several “ahem’s” and “excuse me’s” as a lot of customers only come in for a few items and fly in and out like lightening.
One of the nicest surprises I found was the skincare range, I’d seen some pieces featured in magazines and a few reviews online so I tried it… and promptly threw out everything else I owned. The make up wipes are so handy, soft and effective. The cleansing milk is the best I’ve found yet and Steve’s even a fan of the gel facial exfoliant as it doesn’t have a “girly smell”. The night moisturiser is really rich and leaves my skin nice and supple but I’ll do a more detailed review later, yup that’s how much I love it.
Once you get to the end of the first aisle you turn the corner and the center of the store is filled with big metal bins filled with a variety of discounted stock which changes weekly. This is Steve’s favourite area because you never really know what’s going to come in… ok well actually, Steve does because he’s a hardcore fan and subscribes to the e-newsletter. We’ve scored some great bargains on everything from electronics, office supplies, camping gear, kitchen stuff and even Steve’s cycling gear. We usually go on a Wednesday night at 6:30pm as they start putting out the new limited releases ready for the next day as things tend to sell so quickly… yeah we’re sneaky buggers!
Ok, so somehow you’ve made it out of the stacks of goodies and into the fresh food and cold food sections. We generally skip the fresh produce as we go to our small local grocer but they still have a pretty good, yet small selection. The mince and premium lamb sausages are our favourites but we generally go to our butcher as we like to support local small business. We really like the crumbed fish and the curly fries from the deep freezers and Aidan is a huge fan of the frozen baby peas… the ice creams are pretty nice too.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the check out… now comes the part that seems to screw with newbies the most, unpacking all your items onto the belt. Steve and I have a system, he stands at the end and puts on all the light stuff like crumpets and bread etc. I stand at the front and unload all the heavy things first and keep all the cold items grouped together. Once all the items are on the belt (and Aidan’s somehow managed to eat almost an entire punnet of blueberries whilst waiting) Steve pushes the trolley to the end of the register, we say hello to the cashier and then she and Steve start their little dance.
She grabs the items, quickly swipes and beeps, Steve picks it up swiftly and pops it straight back into the trolley bags. While they’re doing their thing I pre-swipe the card whilst others behind me start loading up their stuff. Another unwritten Aldi rule is that if someone has only a loaf of bread, bottle of milk, nappies or just a handful of items, you let them cut the line. Always.
Finally all your items are back in the bags and have been paid for. Because you have the super cool, time saving trolley bags, there’s no need to stand at the long counter (bagging area) which runs the length of the store. You’ll be met with envious gazes as you simply walk from the counter and push your trolley out the door as others mess about with plastic bags and screaming, fed up children.
Finally you’ve reached the end! All you have to do is unhook the bags, lift and put them in the boot of your car. Ok, I should mention that you’ll need some strength to get the bags out but bing-bang-boom… you’re done! I hope you liked our little guide to Aldi and maybe it’s answered a few silent questions you’ve had about how it all works but if you have any more then leave a comment and I’ll Steve will answer as best he can… is there such a thing as an “Aldi-Geek”?
What’s your favourite Aldi product?

Comments

  1. 2

    Adalita says

    I've never done Aldi and my local grocery store has one. I am a brand girl for some things and going to two shops is not practical.

  2. 3

    Amy@New Adventures says

    I so so SO wish we had an Aldi here! I live in Dubbo in Central West NSW and our closest Aldi is an hour awway – which means what we'd save on groceries we'd spend on petrol to get there! The community ( over around 40 000 people, mind you ) have been petitioning but the excuse so far is that Dubbo is too far from Sydney for a truck driver to do his run in the allowed time. I wont go into detail about rules for truck drivers ( my fiance is a courier so i have some understanding ) but suffice to say i think its a lame excuse… GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER ALDI!
    Ok, rant over….

  3. 5

    Lizzy B says

    Oh Dear God those curly fries are GOOD!!! Like, HEAVEN!!! So glad that others are aware as to their greatness as well!

    We love the american style peanut butter (crunchy, of course!!), the mineral and soda waters, the farmhouse style bread (so good!), and of course, the Moser Roth chocolate (mmmmm). We still spread our shop over Aldi, Woolies, the fruit and veg shop and the butcher, but still end up saving quite a bit each week as compared to just shopping at Woolies.

  4. 6

    tara louise says

    i love aldi too. it's also a family love affair in our family!

    i love your green bags though! i occassionaly get to use mum and dads green bags like yours, however they aren't half as pretty as your polka dotty ones! they are the greatest bags in the world. especially for aldi shopping! we generally just dig around, rearrange the shelves and grab a near empty box : )

    we still do a shop in both aldi and coles too. get as much as we can at aldi then get the rest at coles. saves us a fortune! ah, aldi is great. i just wish they would put the alcohol in the bread section like they do in the uk (they are set up basically the same in all stores over the world i've found).

    • 7

      Dave says

      It would be nice if the alcohol could be in the aisles like UK, USA, NZ etc. but hey, this Aussie. Our liquor laws come from the pub protecting dark ages which dictate the time we are allowed to make purchase. So, Aldi has to conform to our out moded, narrow mided laws!!!!

  5. 8

    Dina says

    Thank you so much! I'm a total Aldi-Virgin and had so many silent questions that I was too embarrassed to ask any of my Aldi-Geek friends. But you've answered them all! I will do a shop there now with a lot more confidence fo sure!

    Thanks!

  6. 9

    Smithy says

    Why isn't Aidan buckled into the trolley? You also forgot to mention that you have to take the trolley back at the end. The best bit if you have a toddler, NOT!

  7. 10

    Leah says

    Hi Dani,

    Where did you get those bags? they are fantastic, thanks for the unwritten rules as well… had noticed a few of them but good to see them confirmed!

    thanks,
    leah

  8. 11

    Jus says

    He probably sits still so he doesn't need to be restrained, And there are two of them, obviously, one stays with Aidan and One takes the trolley back.

  9. 12

    Amy says

    Something I've always been curious about. I am a bit of a Coles/Woolworths sucker because they do parcel pickup (love, love being able to order online, drive in, have some young, fit 17 year old load groceries into mycar, and then drive away) but it's getting more and more expensive. Defintely time to look at Aldi alternatives, I think. Thanks for the tips! :)

  10. 13

    Delightfully_yours says

    Just wanted to add that by the looks of it all Aldi's are set up the same – I have been to 3 in melbourne and ours and yours are the same set up so once you have shopped at one aldi you can do it all over the country :)

  11. 14

    Dani @ hello owl says

    It's justnotgoibg to happen. Three strikes your and your out, sorry Aldi. I just don't find the quality as good for allot of their stuff. Last tme we went brought cereal for the kids it was probably $3 cheaper than woo
    Ies but I tasted it and spat it out.

    I will go back for the melting moments but the rest can stay :p

  12. 15

    Kate says

    How funny the unwritten rules must apply for all Aldi stores : ) I miss Aldi we only have woolies and its expensive! Nappies and baby wipes are good too not that you need them. Oh and the ice cream sandwiches oh and the butter chicken frozen meals. Oh dear!
    P.S. If you find an empty box that can be used instead of a bag, easy to get it in and out of the car and can be used for craft activities after : )

  13. 16

    Rosie says

    I don't like the big trolley bags and prefer to put everything in separate bags but then again I am anal about grouping things like trolley packing and, things in groups on the belt and in bags. I must be the only person not envious of others going out to the car park and not using the bagging area.

    • 17

      says

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  14. 18

    Rach says

    we don't have aldi over here in the west and not sure they will ever make the journey across – like alot of companies – oh well guess they don't think we "need" cheap groceries over here.

    we used to shop at aldi sometimes back home in england and while it was ok, it wasn't great – maybe it's improved? back then, they didn't have scanners and the rate those checkout chicks used to manually punch in the price of each item and get you through the checkout – brakeneck speed i tell ya!

  15. 19

    Dorothy says

    I love how quickly you get in and out, especially when everyone follows the "rules'. It is definitely cheaper and just as good quality, if not better, than the branded groceries. There are still a few things I go to Coles/Woolies for, but Aldi is brilliant for your basics and chocolate…

    • 20

      says

      Hmm ..Great write-up, I’m regular vitsior of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular vitsior for a lengthy time. There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go. by Tennessee Williams .

  16. 22

    meaghan says

    I love the Aldi laundry liquid, baby wipes and the night cream! I have 2 near me but I dont go as often as I should because you ALWAYS have atleast a 10 – 15 min wait at the registers.. For some reason they only like to have 1 open..

  17. 23

    Mandy says

    I have a love/hate relationship with Aldi. I really pick and choose my products as not all are great. What i really love is all the weird and wonderful things they have in that middle section. A friend of mine bought a unicycle!!!!! How bizarre is that?

  18. 25

    Danimezza says

    lol Rosie, I'm anal too which is why I put everything on the belt, not Steve. They are grouped so when I unpack them it's easier. All the cold stuff stays together :)

    • 28

      says

      The museum was oriagnilly formed by a group of railfans who bought the trolley cars using their own money. The open car in your picture was privately owned by one of the members. Apparently, the guy decided to move to another state (I think PA) and start a small museum operation with this car. It left the museum and I think it wound up in storage somewhere. As far as I know, it hasn’t been used since. I started operating trolleys at the museum a few years after the open car left. The veteran members told me the car was a real blast to run. It did have occasional derailment problems because the single truck with narrow streetcar wheels didn’t traverse steam railroad switch frogs very well. Years later, passengers would still ask me where the “open car” was. It was a shame it had to go, but situations like this one are common in the rail museum subculture.

    • 29

      says

      It was wonderful to meet you too! I am so glad we taeemd up for this, made it a lot more fun to do. And yes, doing it for one day is much harder than if you went 5 days and/or pooled with friends. It is so humbling to see that the apple was a lifesaver for you.And also take note, they will take donations till August, so we have lots of time!

  19. 31

    Danimezza says

    The buckles on the trolleys were broken, we put in a complaint that day to get them fixed as we've had the same issue the least couple of weeks. I think kids ruined them with lighters. Aidan's good and doesn't climb out but Steve and I always go together so someone is always with him. Safety first :)

  20. 33

    Danimezza says

    They have alcohol sections in Victoria apparently :) We supplement our shopping at coles too, there are just some things you can't get at Aldi.

  21. 37

    Tamara Rodgers says

    I've never tried the skin care – I have funny skin, that reacts to a lot of stuff, so I haven't been game! Might give it a go though – hell, at that price, if it doesn't work for me I'm not losing anything am I?

  22. 38

    Keena says

    i love the middle part! their laundry stuff is good! ive always thought their hand creams and make up stuff would suck, but sounds like i should give them a try!

    fave has to be the chocolate.. their belgian chocolates are so cheap and yummy! but as a lactose intolerant person, their dark chocolate with mint is yummy and lactose free!

    their hot dogs are also not bad for hot dogs, and also wheat free!

    ps. ive only just started reading blogs pretty recently, and yours is my fave so far :)

  23. 39

    Cinda says

    I went to Aldi for the first time last year. I was back for a holiday to visit my mum and I have to say Aldi was a complete shock to the system. No frills. We got there and shock #1. Coins for a trolley. #2. No brands that I was familiar with but mind you I haven't been back to Sydney for 2 years. #3. No bags. It was so surprising to see other people looking around for boxes to put groceries in. But anyway I kind of like finding new stuff and didn't mind going there for a change.
    Thanks for the detailed pics. It really brings back memories.

  24. 40

    Becclark7 says

    Yep we have lotsa alcohol! Apparently the beer is really good. (Ew, all beer is disgusting as far as i'm concerned!)

    • 41

      says

      Hiya ..Nice read, I just passed this onto a freind who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! They may forget what you said, but they will never forge

  25. 44

    Danimezza says

    That's what I thought too and it paid off for me. A lot of products tend to dry my skin out but these are nice and rich. I am doing a more detailed post on the skincare because I like it so much and use it everyday. It's nice not to have to go to myer or DJ.

  26. 45

    Danimezza says

    aww thank you Keena x
    We like the hotdogs too, that's usually what we'd have for dinner the night we did shopping as it was quick and easy but now we have Aidan we like more balanced meals lol. I'm partial to the dark mint choc and I stock up on the imported ones I like when they get instore as I never know when they'll be in again.

  27. 46

    Sarah C says

    My mother and rest of family moved to Tassie in 2002. To this day she tells everyone the only thing she misses from Sydney is Aldi…she neglects to inform them that her eldest child and only daughter still lives in Sydney :P

  28. 47

    Polly says

    Middle section is also good for any Brides- to-be – Aldi often has packs of bridal magazines or wedding planners in the middle section. Sure, they are usually last months magazine, but at half the price of one, you can usually get a 2 or 3 pack of magazines.

    I also love the white coconut chocolate. Yum.

  29. 52

    Good Golly Miss Holly! says

    Love Aldi!

    We save so much on the essentials like bread, milk, nappies, wipes, tinned tomatoes, tuna, etc. Am definitely going to give the skincare products a go now too!

  30. 53

    Anonymous says

    The trick to getting the best out of your grocery shopping is to go to a shopping centre with a Coles or Woolies AND an Aldi store. I go to Chadstone in Melbourne which has all three! I go to Coles first where I get a trolley using the Coles token they gave me, I buy the brand name products that I like (hopely they're on special) and then I continue my shopping at Aldi where I get most of my fruit and vegetables, milk, bread, wine and lots of nuts! Even my wife now shops there once she realised the savings… BUT, I must say, customer service is very poor. A bit of a shock after Coles & Woolies as there's no suggestion box, no service counter, no phone number on products, in summary I get the feeling Aldi is not interested in complaints!

  31. 54

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  32. 55

    says

    Thanks for the tip on the moisturiser. I have often wondered…

    I like the fact that their organic range is actually affordable.

    And where did you get those trolley bags? Totally green with envy :-) x

  33. 56

    Mike says

    Brit speak in Aldi…funny….Trolly (Cart)…Boot (Trunk)…Punnet (?)…but in the US, every Aldi virgin gets all bent out of shape they have to deposit a quarter (that they get back at the end) into the cart. I found milk and cheese to be both cheaper and better quality than major markets, veggies cheaper too…usually better quality, and pizza better than most frozen variety…espeically take-n-bake. I do about 70% of my grocery shopping at Aldi. It’s getting pricy compared to their beginning days…but still cheaper.

  34. 57

    says

    I found your post because I googled “aldi unspoken rules” after a terrifying register experience today (my first ever time there). I don’t know what was worst out the things I did wrong – the fact I stepped out of line for a second to grab some dog food 1m away, or that I didn’t realise you pack your OWN bags – or that I had a woolies branded cloth bag, or that I paid with a credit card and put it away before he’d checked the signature (and he WANTED to see that signature) or that I fumbled for about 20 seconds trying to get a plastic sealed lettuce into a non complying cloth bag while about 11 other items sat there. The register guy and the woman behind me just stood there GLARING at me which made me mentally more and more hysterical and unable to get said non compliant lettuce into non helpful cloth woolies bag. I mean sure I’ll be back, but I’ll be like George in Seinfeld when he visits Soup Nazi’s kitchen. Eyes to the front, no small talk, no fumbling, just efficiency and robot like precision.

  35. 59

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