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Shopping at Aldi can save you a serious amount of money
Member Name: claire405
Date: 06/01/13, updated on 06/01/13 (283 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap and good quality.
Disadvantages: No deli counter. No multi-buy deals or loyalty scheme.
I've recently been trying to cut back on all my expenses and decided that switching to a cheaper no-frills supermarket could be the way forward. We decided Aldi would be the supermarket of choice because it is the closest to us.
We switched from Sainsbury's to Aldi a few months ago. Whilst most items seemed to be cheaper, it was hard to tell whether or not we were saving a significant amount of money. My other half and I have always played the guess the total game as our groceries are going through the checkout. We used to be quite good at this when we shopped at Sainsbury's, but since switching to Aldi, our guesses have been coming out too high every time - a good indication that Aldi is cheaper. However, this isn't a very accurate way of comparing, so I decided to do a straight comparison of the 2 supermarkets... and then got a little carried away by including Tesco and Asda as well. Just don't judge me for this, I obviously have too much time on my hands...
After one of our standard weekly shops at Aldi, which included a range of fresh meats, vegetables, bread and confectionery, the total bill for 33 items came to £44.45. When I got home, I took the receipt, logged onto Sainsbury's online and placed all the items in the shopping basket. Obviously, there were some substitutions due to availability and different sized packs. Also, Aldi sell mostly their own brands. To make up for this, I chose the cheapest version of everything for the Sainsbury's shop. Anyway, the same items from Sainsbury's came to £67.00. That means we saved £23.54 by shopping at Aldi this week. This equates to around £100 per month and there's only 2 of us! I knew we were saving money, but I was very surprised by how much. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I repeated the same thing for Tesco and Asda. Tesco came to £66.41 (£21.96 more than Aldi) and Asda came to £54.59 (£10.04 more than Aldi). For the record, Tesco has the most user-friendly online shopping site.
Below are some prices of some items from the different supermarkets.
MEDIUM WHOLE CHCKEN
2l SEMI-SKIMMED MILK (calculated from the price per pint at Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco)
Sainsbury's 2 for £1.50
HOVIS THICK SLICED BREAD
30 METRE KITCHEN FOIL
Sainsbury's £5.46 (174% more expensive than Aldi!)
Asda £3.98 (this one was actually 40 metre, so better vaule than it seems)
There a few other things about Aldi that I thought deserved a special mention:
In my opinion, the quality and range of pre-packed ham and other cold meats is far better at Aldi than it is at the other supermarkets. The quality of the packaging is also much better quality. Another thing I have noticed is that when you keep unopened packets in the fridge for a couple of weeks, you don't get anywhere near as much water collecting at the bottom of the packet. I suspect the Aldi cooked meats don't have as much water injected into them as the other supermarkets.
The last few times we did our shop at Sainsbury's before changing to Aldi, we noticed that the vegetables often already looked a bit old before we even put them in the trolley and they'd only last a few days in the cupboard when we got home. This isn't the case when you go to Aldi; everything looks much fresher.
Aldi have the brilliant LACURA range of beauty products. These are often getting star recommendations in beauty magazines. Things like foundation, mascara, anti-aging creams and eye-creams are around £2-£3 and I think they are just as good as the expesive brands.
Aldi have weekly "Special Buys", in what I call "The Random Stuff Aisle". These change every week and when they're gone they're gone. These items can be anything from a tool set to a ski coat. They usually represent excellent vaule for money. A lot of my sportier friends swear by their cycle and sportswear. My best bargain has been a cycle helmet for £9.99 a few months ago.
THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
This is probably the main disadvantage of Aldi. The ambience isn't as nice as the other supermarketsand it has a bargain supermarket feel to it and you have to pay for carrier bags, but I can live with that. There's a bit of an ettiquette at the checkout. There's nowhere for things to go after they've been scanned, so you have to be ready to bag your items as they come through, especially as the checkout staff can, to put it politely, be very enthusiastic about keeping the process as brisk as possible. The best thing to do is put your trolley at the end of the counter with your bags open and lined up inside, then you can dump the stuff straight into them. The other option is to put everything back into the trolley unbagged then retreat to the window sill/shelf at the back of the store to bag them up at your own pace with all the other newbies.
In summary, there is a lot of money to be saved if you shop at Aldi and you don't have to compromise on quality. In fact, the kitchen foil gave the biggest saving and is very thick good catering quality stuff.
Summary: Cheap and cheerful.