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My weekly shopping bills are literally cut in half! I'm a Lidl convert!
Member Name: debbie41176
Advantages: Amazing savings on my weekly shop! Tried lots of lovely new brands I'd have otherwise not known of.
Disadvantages: The choice in some areas is quite basic, such as with the fresh meat section.
WHY I SWITCHED TO LIDL
My partner and I are frantically trying to save at the moment, and one of my concerns was the money we spend on groceries each week. Usually £65 a week, not including food and litter for our cats!
We have a Lidl near us, and gradually started buying some of our groceries there. Now we do the full weekly shop in Lidl each week.
"We are a successful chain of grocery stores, expanding strongly throughout Europe and beyond its borders.
Simplicity is the cornerstone of our success, and the benchmark for all our operations and work processes. We buy and sell with the aim of offering our customers everyday top quality products at the lowest possible price."
The stores are popping up all over the UK, so if you live in or near a bit town or city, chances are you'll be within driving distance of a store.
THE WEEKLY SHOP FROM START TO FINISH
Firstly, remember to have a pound coin to hand if you want a trolley! Same as some other supermarkets (Morrisons) but unlike others (Tesco). I personally don't mind this since it saves the carpark and parking spaces being full of abandoned trollies! And obviously you get your pound back at the end of your shop :P
Lidl's is well set out, and everything is 'where it should be'. The fresh stuff all together, frozen stuff all together and so on. A lot of people assume it's a bit of a mish mash in a cheaper supermarket like Lidl, but not at all!
If you go with a basic list of things you need for your weekly shop, there's no reason why you won't be able to find everything you need. In some cases you'll get the same brands you get elsewhere, and on other cases you'll have to improvise with brands you'll be unfamiliar with.
Fruit & Vegetables:
I find Lidl brilliant for fruit and vegetables, but there are a few things I couldn't find on my first few shops. I actually thought they didn't stock broccoli or cauliflower but I'd actually been looking where all the loose vegetables were, when it had been in the fridge section the whole time. So yes, Lidl is great for all your fresh produce. Very reasonably priced, great selection and everything I've had has been lovely. I'm particularly fond of their huge, juice avocados at the moment, and their selection of Mediterranean veg such as courgettes and aubergines. All great sizes and juicy and tasty!
For fresh meat, Lidl has all your basics, but nothing too fancy. Whereas in Tesco, you can chose from hundreds of types of chicken escallops and kievs, different flavoured breasts, thighs, wings, and whatever else, in Lidl it's all basic. Good. But basic. If you're looking for quick and simple meal solutions you won't really find much variety in the fresh meat section. If you like to create your own dishes from scratch or like your meat plain, then you'll be fine. I've never had a problem finding my essentials such as steak mince, pork chops, chicken breasts, braising steak.. so yep, all the basics but nothing fancy.
Lidl does have a great deli section though, and although you might have reservations about the different brands (like me!), my other half finds great things to have for his packed lunches here! They do all sorts of different cold meats for sandwiches, lots of different pasta salads / potato salads, and a whole host of other deli bits. The ham in particular is very good value for money. Great big packs of good quality meat for 99p! They also have a family sized lasagne in this section of the store that I adore. It's the best ready made lasagne I've ever tried! Only a couple of pounds too!
Random non-food items:
One of my favourite parts of the store is the section of random non food bits in the middle! You can find everything here from a bathroom cabinet to a motorcycle helmet! We've bought both these things in the past and couldn't have got a cheaper deal elsewhere. Definitely worth keeping your eyes peeled in this section because the stock is ever changing and you'll never know what you might find!
Stock Cupboard Essentials:
You'll find a lot of your brands elsewhere in the store, and for example, you can get your Heinz ketchup no problem, your Kingsmill loaves, your Robinson's squash and so on. A lot of these items will have good offers on and you can get them cheaper than in any of the other supermarkets. We've also tried a lot of brands we've never heard of before and had some brilliant pesto and other pasta sauces, curry sauces and other things like these.
In the crisps and snacks sections we've been happy to try other brands and have been impressed by every single item. In some cases I'm more wary of trying things I've never had before. I was wary of the probiotic yogurts from a different brand, but forced myself to try them and they were fine! I need to be a bit braver!
Their frozen section is definitely worth a browse and you can get some real bargains here too. We get pizzas for 99p that are big and tasty, and also packs of 2 thin pizzas for £1.99 that are delicious and have lovely toppings. You can find all the usual items in the frozen section, so no need to have to go elsewhere (unless you're after something VERY specific of course).
Cheeses, butter, eggs, all these things are available too with a great variety. I can still get my free range organic eggs, which are still reasonably priced (although obviously cheaper than their battery eggs).
Toiletries & Household:
They have a great selection of all the household non food bits too, you can get everything that you'd get in any other supermarket such as toiletries (some brands you know, some you won't), cleaning products, loo rolls, etc.
When I did my first full weekly shop for me and my partner at Lidl, it came to £35! At Tesco the previous week it had come to £65. Admittedly, we'd had to switch brands on around a third of our purchases, but we still had the same amounts and the same types of things.
I was so shocked and amazed that I didn't mind paying the 3p each for carrier bags :P You might just decide to take your own bags for life and save a few extra pennies though!
So I'm now a Lidl convert and won't weekly shop anywhere else if I can help it. If there are a few bits I need from elsewhere I can pop into a big Tesco store midweek and get them for a few pounds extra. This doesn't bother me in the slightest though because I'd forget something every week anyway and have to pop into another shop.
Lidl is a 5 out of 5 for me because of all the pleasant surprises in the way of new brands, and because of the amazingly huge weekly saving I'm getting each week!
Summary: Huge savings to be had and a great range of brands you know and brands you don't!