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?