You may not be able to find your favorites at Aldi, but you should be able to find some bargains.
The Germany-based grocery retailer says it avoids “hidden costs” by selling 90% exclusive, private-label items instead of big brands. It also keeps its stores and its selection small to improve efficiency.
That helps Aldi keep its prices competitive, even with the likes of Walmart and online retailers. Here are 15 little-known tips to make your Aldi experience even more efficient and enjoyable.
1. Check out the Aldi Finds section
Once you arrive, make a beeline for the Aldi Finds section. This aisle is updated weekly with seasonal items, from specialty snacks to pet accessories.
You can also check for current and upcoming Aldi Finds on the online flyer before you hit the store.
The items are usually available for a limited time only, so grab anything you like before it sells out.
2. Shop on Wednesdays or Sundays
If you don’t want to miss out on a great Aldi Find, try shopping on the store’s regular restocking day.
Aldi tells Delish that most of the stores get new stock on Wednesdays, including limited-time items.
Other locations are refreshed on Sundays. Ask an employee when your local store is restocked, or check when the weekly ads are published online.
3. Ask for a refund and a replacement
Trying out something new? Always keep the receipt.
If you don’t like what you bought, you can get a full refund and a replacement on most Aldi items with the store’s “Twice as Nice Guarantee” policy.
For items such as alcohol and national brands, which aren’t covered, you can still get either a refund or a replacement.
4. Look at the circulars first
Aldi products are often unique and short-lived, so it’s always a good idea to check out the online flyers before you go shopping.
The store’s website provides Weekly Ads, This Week’s Aldi Finds and Upcoming Aldi Finds for you to start building your shopping list. Keep in mind that you’ll only see products and prices advertised for your location.
You can also sign up for Aldi emails to keep you updated on new deals and items.
5. Be careful with coupons
Aldi says it doesn’t accept manufacturer coupons for any name-brand products since its items are already so cheap.
It does, however, occasionally offer its own promotions or coupons for special events. Just stay away from Aldi coupons online or on social media, which are 100% fake. Valid Aldi coupons will either be printed and distributed in stores or mailed directly to you.
Instead of coupons, you can use a free app to earn rewards points at retailers — including Aldi — when you just take a picture of your receipt. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can start working your way toward free gift cards.
6. Ask for a price adjustment
You know how you feel when you find out an item you bought a couple days ago just got marked down? It’s one of those kick-yourself moments, like if you learn you’ve been paying too much for car insurance.
But at Aldi, you can leave your kicking leg planted on the ground. If you spot a new discount, just ask the cashier for a price adjustment and get the difference refunded.
This will work only if the markdown is at the same location you originally purchased the item from. Different Aldi stores price their items differently.
7. Check out different locations
Like we said, different stores may charge different prices for the same item.
Aldi says “production and operating costs, market conditions, local regulations, consumer demand and the competitive landscape” can affect prices at each location. However, the grocer still maintains that it offers “the lowest prices in town.”
If you’d like to see how your local Aldi matches up to other stores across your state, just click on the Find a Store tab on the website, pick another nearby store and check out its Weekly Ad.
8. Save on meat on Wednesdays
Here’s another great reason to get your shopping done in the middle of the week.
Aldi’s fresh meat deals start on Wednesdays, so you could get a tray of chicken thighs or a whole rack of lamb for a discounted price. Check the flyers for this week’s deals.
Food magazine TasteofHome recommends that you head straight to the meat section in the morning — don’t wait till end of day — since the offerings sell out fast.
9. Grab the discounted baked goods
Most Aldi locations don’t have in-store bakeries, so if you want the freshest bread you’ll need to ask when they get their shipments.
However, if you’re just looking for cheaper prices, check the expiration dates. Mashed says Aldi marks its baked goods down by 50% five days before their expiration.
If you’re a carb fiend or you have a big family, feel free to grab a loaf to freeze or enjoy right away. Just don’t forget about it in the pantry and let it get moldy.
10. Go to the grand openings
Unlike all the other stores closing down this year, this discount grocer has grown to more than 2,000 locations across the U.S. and had plans to open at least 70 more by the end of 2020.
Shoppers who attend Aldi store grand openings that are promoted on the chain’s website typically get a free reusable bag, free samples and even a chance to win a $100 gift card. Plus, you’ll receive some exclusive Aldi coupons, too.
You can get free gift cards for other retailers by joining a rewards program that lets you earn them by taking surveys or watching videos on your phone.
11. Bring your own bags (and a quarter)
No, Aldi won’t bag your groceries for you. You’ll need to bring your own reusable bags from home or be forced to buy some at checkout.
The retailer says its policy helps shoppers save money and cuts down on waste.
Similarly, don’t forget to keep a quarter in your pocket so you can rent a cart. Aldi says it can keep costs lower if it doesn’t have to hire staff to retrieve the carts, and the 25-cent deposit forces customers to return it for them.
12. Download the Aldi app
There’s an easier way to stay up-to-date on Aldi offers than ritualistically checking the website.
The Aldi app keeps you posted with new products, weekly Aldi Finds and markdowns at stores near you.
You also can create your own shopping list and use the built-in QR Code Reader for extra info on special Aldi products.
13. Bypass the crowd
Aldi stores tend to be small and busy, so it might be worth paying a bit extra to skip the crowds and lines.
Most locations offer home delivery and curbside pickup with Instacart so you can order your groceries online.
Bear in mind that the online prices will likely differ from those in store “to cover the cost of personal shopping.” First-time customers, however, get free pickup on orders of $35 or more. Just use the code AldiGROCERY2020 at checkout.
14. Know the specialty labels
Aldi offers a small range of specialty products to meet consumer dietary restrictions and needs:
Simple Nature: This line covers almost 200 organic, non-GMO items, including pantry staples like cereals and fruit bars as well as fresh produce.
liveGfree: This label flags Aldi’s certified gluten-free products, which include items such as bread and pasta.
Never Any!: Aldi’s special meat product line is free of antibiotics, added hormones and animal byproducts.
Earth Grown: Vegans and vegetarians can shop these products for plant-based options such as meatless burgers.
15. Find lost manuals and warranties online
If you’ve lost your manual for that Ambiano Stick Hand Blender, don’t freak out. Just check the store website.
Click on the Warranties & Manuals page and enter the brand name or product information in the search bar.
The page will also provide you with the manufacturer’s contact information, just in case you have any concerns with the product and want to get in touch with the makers yourself.