Aldi shopping store is chain of stores first started in Southeastern Iowa in 1976. They claim their prices are the lowest around, but I was not entirely convinced. I did a quick shopping comparison to put Aldi Shopping Store prices versus Kroger Prices.
How was study was done? Un-scientifically, of course. I went in the stores and wrote on paper various randomly spotted items and their prices in the Aldi shopping store, and then I went to Kroger to match that item. Because the products were not necessarily the same unit size, I boiled the information down to price per unit in the spreadsheet found further below.
I also discounted Kroger’s prices by 4%, because you are able to use a credit card (that pays 2%) and if you utilize their gas perks, you get approximately 2% back. At Aldi shopping stores you must pay in cash or debit, and Aldi shopping stores offer no perks. The results are below. I am sorry they are hard to read, if you want the excel file click here.
I then took the average of the product sizes from both stores and multiplied it by the price per unit (for example if Aldi’s sold a 10lb bag and Kroger sold an 8lb bag, I made it appear as if you were buying 9lbs of their products at their unit prices). This was to ask, if you were to purchase one of each item, how would it compare? Results to the right.
As you can see, Aldi’s was cheaper in this non-scientific sampling by $10.35, but I want to take a closer look at these results.
There are some questions you need to ask yourself.
Does Aldi shopping store have the quality and selection that you want? Are you going to end up traveling to another store for certain items?
Are you traveling a long distance to get to your Aldi shopping store? If yes, factor in the gas and wear and tear on your car.
How big are your families needs for basic staples? Aldi shopping store had some items that were clearly price winners like bread, milk, sugar, flour, potatoes, onions, and peppers. If you are a larger family your savings might be much more relevant.
Are you good at reading labels?
On another financial blog I read, the blogger stated that the one of the better finds he found in Aldi was the frozen chicken breast in bag. If you look closely at the bags in Aldi, the bags was 2.5lbs versus a 3.0lb Kroger bag that was actually cheaper per unit (Note: this item was on sale).
Are you good at capitalizing on sales?
Kroger and other major chains can be close to the same and even better deals, but usually only if you are able to stock up during deal times. For example fresh chicken during this sampling was considerably cheaper at Kroger, but only because it was on sale.
Does Your Grocery Store Give Coupons?
I get coupons from grocery via mail that are often very good deals. The last time I received coupons I got a coupon for free peanut butter and free frozen fruit along with coupons on items that I already purchase. I would guess that I get them about once per quarter and they net me anywhere from $5 to $15 each time.
Ultimately I would argue that Aldi shopping store really is not that much better than Kroger, for me. Yes you might have to wait on sales and stock up on certain items at Kroger, but Aldi Shopping Store simply does not have the selection that I want in my grocery store and my time is valuable to me. I do not want to make two trips to two different grocery stores. I know that Aldi shopping stores usually have fairly decent selection, and that it has gotten much better in recent years, but it still is not enough.
If I was to utilize the best prices from both Kroger and Aldi shopping store, I think I could save roughly $30 a month, but it just is not worth the hassle to me. I also think I could probably save about half of that estimated $30 a month just by taking an very infrequent trip (once every 2-3 months) to Aldi’s to stock up on some of the really competitively priced items (Tortellini, Milk, Plastic Wrap, and Foil particularly) but when it comes to the normal grocery store trip, I plan on sticking to my Kroger.
I do however see that for very large families, Aldi shopping store has much more appeal. It ultimately comes down to you running the numbers and assessing what you and your family like and dislike about each grocery store. Just do not assume anything and be sure to run the numbers. Also don’t forget to not shop hungry!