Simply put, you’re going to want to head to Aldi when it comes to serious bargains. It’s becoming the United States’ third largest grocer by store count and, in fact, the chain store is becoming so massively successful, thanks to its eye-popping prices, that it’s projected to take over Walmart by 2022. However, don’t assume every one of those items is worth your time. Here are the best and worst bargains you’ll find at Aldi.
1. Best: European Chocolate
Aldi isn’t a business that was born and built in America, but actually across the Atlantic in Germany. Being European, this means that any Aldi location has a fine assortment of European chocolates on hand. And as wonderful as Hershey’s are, let’s face it: Europe knows how to make some exceptional chocolates.
Not only do they come in abundance at Aldi, but they come at a super low price, much lower than you’d ever expect. When Aldi shoppers hit the candy aisle, they aren’t just going to see one European brand stuffed between Mars bars and Snickers, but they’ll be met with a wide variety of tantalizing chocolates they’ve likely never had the chance to savor.
2. Worst: Aldi’s Generic Cereals
While Aldi stores come with an array of deals, you won’t be finding much when you dip into that cereal aisle. While they do sell all the brands that you know and love, throughout most of the section you’ll be met with cheap knock-off brands of your favorite cereals.
While the colorful boxes may tempt you with their bright packaging and familiarity, these aren’t the brands that you were looking for, no matter the price. The quality and taste will speak for themselves. Forbes Magazine said it best when they said, “You can often find better deals on name-brand cereals at your local store when combining coupons and sales.”
3. Best: Pure Maple Syrup
Once you take a trip to Aldi and behold their sinfully sweet pure maple syrup, you’ll never let Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth into your pantry again. While those thick, chemical-filled syrups are bound to bring a sense of childhood nostalgia to even the most discerning taste buds, Aldi offers syrup that is 100% pure quality.
Not only is it organic, not only does it taste amazing, but it also comes at a super low price. Maple syrup’s price tag has generally prevented customers from buying it pure, yet Aldi shoppers are saying bye to the days when they need to top their pancakes with artificial sweetness.
4. Worst: Aldi Soda
Generic and cheap Cola brands are always a disappointment. Everyone has been let down by drinking a cup of Shasta back in the ’90s, and one can only expect the same from Aldi’s generic Cola brand. Believe it or not, Aldi’s Cola can actually be quite the temptation to dodge.
While you can buy a 12-pack of Aldi’s generic brand for under three dollars, a 12-pack of Coca Cola will be a few dollars more. We understand someone trying to pinch pennies will take this sad pack and think they’re getting a deal. However, once they take that first drink and experience that tasteless liquid rushing down their throat, they’ll know that Aldi had gotten the best of them.
5. Best: Seasonal Gear
If you’re looking for great deals at Aldi, one aisle that should never be avoided is their seasonal department. When the merriment of the winter holiday season is upon us, you’ll find amazing deals on lights and other decorations to get your home into the spirit. The same goes for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween.
However, the real gems start popping up during the spring and summer season, when you’ll find deals of another kind. They’ll be serving up great deals on all sorts of camping equipment. If you’re an outdoors fanatic, your mind will be blown by the treasures before you. Forget about Walmart and Target when it comes to getting your camping gear, you are far better off sticking to Aldi.
6. Worst: Fresh Produce
When in the mood for a good apple or banana, you might want to think twice before driving to your local Aldi. Buying produce there can almost be compared to a game of Russian roulette. You never know what you’re going to get.
While the produce sitting on top of the pile might look somewhat edible, shoppers say there is a fine chance that the fruit might be rotten on the bottom half. Furthermore, the fruit under it can be completely gone. Consider heading over to Albertson’s if you want to get a fine piece of produce. If Aldi’s is your only option, make sure you give each piece of produce a fine look over.
7. Best: Gluten-Free Products
If you find yourself plagued with terrible food allergies or have a number of limiting dietary restrictions, Aldi might be the best place for you to shop. They have a huge variety of gluten-free items that are actually pretty darn tasty, helping those of us with more sensitive stomachs still enjoy our meals to the fullest.
Aldi isn’t just selling a variety of other brands, but they also have their own brand called LiveGFree. The brand comes with a load of frozen foods and baking mixes. With Aldi’s gluten-free brand, you never have to feel like you’re missing out. From pizza to the sweetest of treats, Aldi will deliver all your gluten-free needs.
8. Worst: Toilet Paper
While Aldi might come across to most shoppers as some magical land of bargains and deals, some items just don’t deliver, and Aldi’s toilet paper and paper towels are perfect examples of this. While they aren’t exactly low-quality when compared to brands like Sharman or Brawny, they aren’t really delivering anything more.
One can even go as far as saying that Aldi’s toilet paper is overpriced when compared to what you can find at other stores. Insider reported during an interview, “Once you stack frequent shopper discounts or manufacturer coupons on top of those low prices, the big chains sometimes come out ahead.”
9. Best: Specialty Cheese
Toss those Kraft singles aside. If you want quality cheese for an amazing price, leave Walmart behind and head to Aldi. Their fine selection of specialty cheeses are beyond anything you’ll find at your local supermarkets, and are giving us all the best Europe has to offer.
Aldi’s fine selection of specialty cheeses have what it takes to bring to life the taste buds of even the most serious cheese fanatic. Best of all, this sensational smorgasbord comes at a very low price. With Aldi cheeses, no longer will you have to settle for mediocre grilled cheese sandwiches. One cheese that is highly recommended is their garlic cheese wedge.
10. Worst: Frozen Sushi
One shouldn’t buy frozen sushi at Aldi — or anywhere else, for that matter. Sushi is meant to be eaten fresh at Japanese restaurants and nowhere else. Frozen sushi looks like a slew of regrets waiting to happen. However, if you simply must buy frozen sushi, you might want to consider going to a different market.
According to Aldi Nerd, who was interviewed on the site Cheapism.com, he wouldn’t eat Aldi sushi unless he had to. He said, “If I lived somewhere rural where sushi joints were few and far between and I had a serious hankering for it, I may buy this. But I live less than a mile from a really delicious sushi restaurant and the frozen Fusia just doesn’t compare.”
11. Best: Bread
Bread bargains reign supreme when it comes to doing your shopping at Aldi. It isn’t even just their run-of-the-mill loaves. Most of their bread products in general sell for amazing prices, and that means bagels, baguettes, English muffins, and wheat bread.
The website Kiplinger says, “You can snag a 20-ounce loaf of Aldi’s L’oven Fresh white bread for just 85 cents. That same size loaf of bread at Walmart sells for 88 cents under the Great Value store brand. Giant was offering a 22-ounce loaf of its store-brand white bread for $1.89.” Bakeries can bite the dust, Aldi is definitely sporting the best buys in terms of bread.
12. Worst: Small Appliances
When it comes to presentation, Aldi gets an A+. That said, not everything that glitters is gold. When shoppers find themselves faced with a wall of wondrous small appliances at Aldi, they’ll be blown away. Customers are bound to be impressed not just by the prices, but by the way they’re beautifully boxed.
That said, Aldi’s small appliances have been receiving extremely mixed reviews. While some seem pretty happy with the products, others have nothing but complaints. One Reddit user wrote, “I bought the Ambiano single-serve coffee pot to replace a Keurig that died. WORST COFFEEPOT EVER! From the beginning, it blew out the k-cup (many different brands) and had coffee grounds over the counter, cup and coffee machine every time.”
13. Best: Spices
When thinking about spices, Stonemill isn’t exactly a brand that comes to mind. That said, it’s a brand that you’re going to want to become acquainted with. The spices are easily as good as any name brand, and they’re only 95 cents a container.
That said, Aldi’s spice offerings do lack a fair amount of options. Don’t go in there and expect to find anything exotic or unique. But if you’re after the basic spices to be found in just about anyone’s kitchen, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Aldi. With their seasonings, you can make even the blandest meal taste come alive.
14. Worst: Aldi’s Cheap Coffee
Sometimes it feels like there is nothing more enjoyable than a good cup of coffee in the morning. If that sentiment means anything to you, consider avoiding the coffee at Aldi. While the price and the variety of flavors are sure to be a temptation, this coffee ultimately will only serve to disappoint you and give your morning a sad start.
The name of Aldi’s brand is Daily Basics, and lives up to its name as being quite…well, basic. While it is 17 cents an ounce, you can get much higher quality coffee at just about any other market on your block. Aldi is pretty amazing overall, but nonetheless, you’re advised to avoid their coffee at all costs.
15. Best: Canned Goods
Whether bulking up on vegetables and legumes or preparing for impending disaster, folks of all walks of life rely on canned goods. While they’re a hit at every market, Aldi shines an even brighter light on the beloved pantry staples. Canned foods are already usually on the cheap side, but Aldi in particular sells them at an extremely discounted price.
Aldi is the perfect place to go if you prefer buying your canned goods in bulk, or if you’re buying them for some kind of school canned food drives. One of the biggest advantages of buying canned goods at Aldi’s is the variety, as they are cheaply selling everything from canned beef to delicious applesauce.
16. Worst: Meat
When it comes to most things in life, you get precisely what you pay for. Big bucks means big quality and a couple dollars and dimes means low quality. The meat selections at Aldi’s are the perfect testament to this adage, and it has become common knowledge at this point.
If you’re in the market for cheap beef, chicken, or fish, Aldi certainly has plenty of it for you — and while their cuts aren’t inedible, they’ve garnered a reputation as being rather lackluster. Those low prices might look attractive, but you can buy better cuts at a reasonable price almost everywhere else.
17. Best: Baking Products
The critics are out: Aldi’s baking products are stellar and totally worth a few purchases. If you’re a big fan of baked goods and wowing your friends and families with delicious cakes and pies, it’s high time to dash on over to your local Aldi.
Taking a trip down the baking aisle, you’ll find all the necessities to make a great cake. In addition to their pre-baked delights, all the ingredients that you might need to make your own creations are set at dizzyingly low prices. In any other big department store, you’ll end up forking over nearly double the amount for the same products.
18. Worst: Toiletries
Upon first look at Aldi’s toiletry aisle, it will appear quite impressive, as they have a fine array of shampoos, soaps, and conditioners in a variety of scents and styles. The prices are even pretty manageable. However, one might want to think twice before filling their cart with those bulk bottles of Pantene.
While the deal may look nice, one Reddit user made a fine point when they said, “For instance, we saw that a liter-size bottle of Aldi’s Dentiguard mouthwash was 10 cents more than Target’s store brand, Up & Up. Throw in Target’s better selection, frequent sales, and REDcard discounts, and it makes more sense to stock up there.”
19. Worst: Chips
When all is said and done, no pantry or kitchen should be without a bag of potato chips. You never can know when a craving could hit, so you might as well be prepared. However, when it comes to filling your shopping cart with your favorite kinds of chips, you might want to leave Aldi in your rear-view mirror.
Most people want to dig into a bag of Lay’s, Cheetos, or even Doritos. You might feel a bit let down, as you won’t find those brands at Aldi. Instead, you’ll have to settle for their less than stellar Clancy’s brand. While some might shrug it off as chips being chips, you’ll definitely taste the difference once you start digging in.
20. Best: Mayonnaise
When it comes to condiments, mayonnaise is the king of the hill. You can dip French fries into it, mix tuna with it, or just use it as spread on a sandwich. The possibilities are endless. However, when it comes to quality, it all comes down to the brand. Some brands aren’t making their mayonnaise with love.
With that in mind, the brand that you’ll find at Aldi is pretty spot on. Burman’s mayonnaise isn’t just delicious; it’s a downright bargain. One of these tubs costs about $1.89. One can almost guarantee a bottle of Kraft’s mayonnaise is going to be selling for double that price anywhere else.
21. Worst: Butter
You don’t want to find yourself cooking in the kitchen and discover that you have no butter in your fridge. It just adds that special something to a variety of dishes and formats of cooking, and a fine array of meals are lost without butter or just significantly less tasty. That said, you must be careful about where you buy your butter.
Understandably, you can buy butter at a pretty low cost at Aldi. However, chances are, you’re not going to enjoy the taste. Most people who have bought Aldi’s butter have been let down by it. At the end of the day, save your meal and slam down a few more pennies for a better stick of butter.
22. Best: Milk
Milk is a must for the masses. Whether for the young or old, milk remains one of the most popular drinks in the United States, still a staple in fridges across the entire country. When it comes to purchasing milk, Aldi is definitely the superstore that you’re going to want to go to.
One might consider going to Walmart instead. However, that wouldn’t be a good move. They sell a gallon of milk for about $2.53. Or, one might favor a trip to Giant over Walmart, but you’ll have to fork over $3.29 for a gallon of milk. At Aldi, a gallon of milk will only cost you $2.48 for a gallon of Friendly Farms milk.
23. Worst: Yogurt
Statistics have shown that most people prefer big name brand yogurts over Aldi’s in-house brands. It makes sense when one considers the amount of times Dannon and Yoplait had really steered them down a rather bland path (spoiler: they probably won’t). Sadly, Aldi’s yogurt kind of falls flat in terms of taste.
There is a subreddit dedicated to Aldi’s yogurt, and its contents have revealed a lot of unhappy customers. One Reddit user wrote, “I have tried the yogurt at Aldi and I wasn’t a fan, I didn’t like the kids “gogurt” replica either, it tasted too sweet. I prefer the Chobani Greek yogurt over Aldi’s.”
24. Best: Raspberry Lemon Spiked Lemonade
One of the reasons Aldi is so popular with the masses is because of its unique take on things. Consider “Aldi’s Finds”, a feature which introduces Aldi shoppers to amazing limited and seasonal releases. One of the most recent gems to come out of “Aldi’s Finds” is Raspberry Lemon Spiked Lemonade.
Tasty and guaranteed to leave you in a good mood, this amazing drink is perfect for when you’re maxing and relaxing poolside on a nice summer day. A six pack of this naughty beverage will only cost someone $6.99. While the price may seem steep, fans swear it’s well worth forking over the pennies.
25. Best: Take-A-Bake Pizza
One of the best things you can buy at Aldi is their Take-A-Bake Pizza. While obviously frozen pizza can never really match the pies that come out of your neighborhood’s family pizzeria, Aldi will give even those institutions a run for their money.
Aldi’s Mama Cozi pizzas cost anywhere between $4 and $6.99, and each pizza is 16 inches. That’s much larger than the pizzas that you can find at Pizza Hut or Domino’s. A reviewer with the Kitchn wrote, “Unlike most frozen pizzas, these once-frozen-now-refrigerated pizzas don’t taste like freezer-burned cardboard. The toppings really cover every inch and they taste pretty close to fresh.”
This story was originally published on Finance101: Deal or No Deal: These Are The Best and Worst Bargains You Can Find At Aldi
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