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What To Buy (and not buy) at Aldi

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Instead of “What To Buy At Aldi”, it would probably be more appropriate to title this “What I Buy (and don’t buy) at Aldi” because my preferences are just that…preferences. You might like something that I hated, and vice versa.

But, many of you have asked for me to share my likes and dislikes at Aldi, so I’m posting a list for you. You have to be promise to not be crabby with me if you find you dislike a product I like, though. I will not be held liable. 😉

Happily, when you shop at Aldi you can buy with confidence because anything you buy at Aldi is double guaranteed. This means you can take back any product, get your money refunded, and get a replacement product with no hassle.

To make it easy for me to keep track of things, I’m going to assemble this list in an order that follows the layout of my store, at least for the most part.

Chocolate/Candy

Buy:
Everything. This is almost all name brand, but cheaper than other stores. Sonia is highly partial to the Happy Cola.

Don’t Buy:
N/A.

Snacks

Buy:
Pretzels, cheese crackers, animal crackers, whale crackers (like Goldfish crackers), graham crackers, nuts, and dried fruit. These snacks are all Aldi brand, but they’re really good! I don’t buy a lot of chips, but the ones we’ve tried have been good, especially the blue corn tortilla chips.

Don’t Buy:
Club/Ritz knock-offs, and saltines. I wouldn’t necessarily say you shouldn’t buy these, but you should know they’re not exactly like the real thing. My kids will eat them, but my husband and I aren’t fans. However, if you need them for a crumb coating or for another recipe use, they should be fine.

Edit: Lately the Ritz knock-offs have been much improved. In fact, Mr. FG likes them as well as real Ritz crackers.

Cereal/Grains

Buy:
Regular or Quick Oatmeal. It’s a great price, is fairly unprocessed, and produces very little trash. Love it.

Don’t Buy:
Cereal. The box or two we’ve tried has been good, but I can almost always beat Aldi’s cereal prices by watching sales and using coupons at another store. If this is not the case in your area, you might want to give Aldi’s cereal a try.

Edit: I haven’t been couponing as much of late, so we have been eating Aldi’s corn chex and bran flakes cereals, along with their raisin bran crunch cereal.

Baking Ingredients

Buy:
Sugar, cooking oil, powdered sugar, and brown sugar.

Don’t Buy:
Unsweetened cocoa powder. I hated it, but I know some people love it. Chocolate is very much a preference thing. I also don’t buy my flour there because I must have Gold Medal unbleached (I’m picky about my flour!).

Dairy Products

Buy:
Milk, butter, cottage cheese, cheese blocks, cream cheese, and cream. The prices are excellent on all of these items. They usually have a good price on eggs, but I’m fortunate enough to buy them locally which means I don’t need to buy them at Aldi.

Don’t Buy:

N/A. I had a bad experience with the sour cream initially (it was grainy), but I gave it another try and it’s been fine. Yay!

Produce

Buy:
Everything!

I know some people have had a terrible experience with the produce at Aldi, but I have to say that the produce at my Aldi has almost always been great (click here to see a bunch of photos of our Aldi produce).

In fact, it’s better than the produce at other grocery stores, and it’s usually way cheaper. I buy spinach, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, tomatoes (these do vary week to week…if they look bad I don’t buy them), pineapple, cucumbers, berries, melons, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, oranges, grapes, grapefruit (the grapefruit are SO good!) and pears.

Aldi’s produce is not all organic, but it is often seasonal.

For example, Aldi doesn’t carry raspberries and blueberries in the middle of winter, for example, and they don’t carry grapefruit in the summer. Strawberries, blueberries, and melons are usually only available when they’re in season (presumably because that’s when Aldi can get them cheaply) and grapefruit are available in the winter.

Honestly, I think my family eats more produce now that I shop at Aldi…a lot of produce that was prohibitively expensive at other grocery stores are now well within the affordable range for us, and organic or not, eating more produce can’t be a bad thing healthwise.

Don’t Buy:
N/A. I’ve not had a bad produce experience at Aldi thus far.

Canned/Jarred Foods

Buy:
I don’t buy a lot of this type of food, but I’ve liked everything I bought so far. I buy tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, mandarin oranges, black beans, canned peaches, and pumpkin when it’s available.

Don’t Buy:
N/A. I haven’t had a bad canned product yet.

Unrefrigerated Grocery Items

Buy:
Macaroni and cheese (I shamelessly feed this to my kids when my husband and I have the occasional date night!), flour tortillas, and pasta.

Don’t Buy:
Dried Tortellini. This was a temporarily stocked item, but it was terrible. I cooked it and cooked it and it wouldn’t soften.

Meat

Buy:
Lunch meat, pepperoni, and bacon. These are all good quality and they’re usually much cheaper than they are at a regular grocery store.

Don’t Buy:
Pretty much everything else. I say this not because the quality is so bad, but because the prices are usually not that great. I can almost always beat Aldi’s meat prices by watching sales at a regular grocery store.

Paper Products

Buy:
The upscale toilet paper and paper towels. These are well-priced and of good quality.

Don’t Buy:
The bargain-priced paper products. They work in a pinch, but they’re really not that great.

Toiletries

Buy:
Shampoo, toothpaste, and feminine supplies.

Don’t Buy:
I haven’t had a bad toiletry item from Aldi yet, but there are some items they just don’t carry, like easy-glide floss and gel deodorant.

Frozen Foods

Buy:
Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, rasberries), OJ concentrate, corn, fish, ice cream novelties. Ooh, and the eclairs/cream puffs are tasty too. 😉

Don’t Buy:
Ice cream (the quarts, not the novelties). It’s just not up to par in our opinion.

Beverages

Buy:

Sparkling juice. We buy this for special occasions, like Christmas, and Aldi’s sparkling juice is really good and really cheap. I’ve occasionally bought fruit juice there too and it’s been good.

Don’t Buy:

N/A. I haven’t bought any bad beverages, though admittedly my experience with this is limited, as I don’t buy a lot of juice or soda.

Incidentally, if you’re super serious about saving money on your groceries, stop buying beverages and drink water instead. It’s nigh onto free and drinking it instead of other beverages is likely to have a positive effect on your health.

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So, there you have it!

I should add that this list is not at all comprehensive…Aldi carries a LOT more items than the ones listed here, but most of them are just things that I don’t buy, like frozen dinners, frozen breakfasts, canned soups, snack cakes, prepared cookies, bread and rolls, sausage, bologna, coffee, refrigerated roll/biscuit/pie dough, breakfast tarts, granola bars, and oatmeal packets.

These things might be tasty, but I don’t have any personal experience with them, so maybe my Aldi-shopping readers can report on the quality or lack thereof when it comes to these items.

Also, I’d be interested to hear what other Aldi shoppers love or hate, so please chime in! 🙂

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