Shopping at Aldi can be a profoundly liberating experience – no stressing over which brand’s frosted mini-wheats to buy! No more deep wallet gouges every time you get groceries! But if you’re new to the experience, it can seem confusing and pretty frustrating.
You do not imagine things; Aldi does it a little differently than their competitors, and it can take some time to learn the ins and outs of shopping there.
Luckily, we’ve done our homework and put in the legwork for you – here are 17 Aldi tips and hacks that the Aldi pros use!
17 Aldi Tips & Hacks That Aldi Pros Use
1. Check The Circular (Or Aldi Website) First
The Aldi circular is available both in physical form and digital. The physical ad comes in your mail (look for it Monday or Tuesday, ahead of Aldi’s new week, which starts on Wednesday); the digital version can be found here.
You’ll find a list of all the new Aldi Savers (their version of “on-sale” items) for Everyday products, plus the Aldi Finds.
2. Keep Your Quarters Close
To become a regular Aldi shopper, you’ll need to keep your quarters close and on hand to rent a cart.
One great way is with an Aldi quarter-keeper.
A few times a year, Aldi releases new keychains, called quarter keepers, which are adorably shaped like different items – a glass of wine, a piece of watermelon – and come with a pocket that fits your Aldi shopping cart quarter.
3. Deal Hunting? Shop On Wednesdays And Sundays
Wednesdays at Aldi are known universally as the best days to hit the store, especially in the morning as soon as they open, when the store is freshly restocked.
Since this is the day the new Aldi Savers start, you can find great discounts on everyday grocery items.
Sundays are significant because old Aldi Finds that are still hanging around get deeply discounted – sometimes as much as 70 percent off.
These are called Hot Deals and have special shelf tags (more on those later).
4. Stick With A-List
I cannot stress this enough: If you are trying to shop on a budget, make a list and resolve to stick to it!
Because of their low prices on everything, it’s easy to grab an extra bag of chips here, an extra garden hose there, and suddenly your bill is doubled.
5. Stock Up On Steep Meat Discounts
Occasionally you might hit the store at just the right time and find the meat section awash in discounts. These are limited and tend to run out quickly as more shoppers notice.
If you arrive at the meat aisle and see a bunch of discounts, fill your cart, and plan to make room in your freezer. When Aldi slashes prices on their meat, you’re getting an insane deal.
6. Know Your Tags
Some people get upset when they shop at Aldi because they buy something once and then never see it again. A savvy Aldi shopper knows that different shelf tags offer clues on the permanence of an item.
Aldi Mamma on YouTube posted an excellent video that breaks down the different tags.
Yellow tags mean it’s an Aldi Everyday item. This is a core staple that stays on the shelves, year in and year out.
Green tags dot the produce aisle.
White and red tags mark the beloved Aldi Finds goods. These are the limited-edition products that are gone when they sell out – no new shipments will be arriving.
White and black tags also identify Aldi Finds; they read “Limited time, premium buy” and are most common in the freezer aisle (namely the floor cooler). They can also be applied to name-brand items, white and red Aldi Finds that the store wants to move out.
Unfortunately, these items are also considered done once they run out.
The final type of tags you will see in Aldi are blue tags, which indicate that an item is new (“New at Aldi” they’ll read) or what’s known as a “seasonal favorite.” Seasonal favorites tend to return, whether once a year or occasionally more often.
7. Be Wary Of Name Brands
Obviously, there are no qualms about the quality of Aldi’s brand-name goods, but sometimes the prices can be beaten by competitors like Walmart.
Take, for example, Cheez-Its, which Aldi sells for 28 cents per ounce. This is bested by Walmart, which sells a box for 23 cents an ounce.
This isn’t always the case, but if your goal is to save the most with each grocery haul, it can help to be wary of the brand-name items and do some research.
8. Check Your Mail
Not only does the circular come in the mail, sometimes – very rarely, but sometimes! – that circular comes with a coupon at the top. Expect something like $5 off a purchase of $30 or more.
9. Skip The Personal Hygiene Section
It’s not so much that the prices are bad, but the selection is very limited. For example, Aldi is not the place to go if you’re a woman in need of tampons.
Everything is very basic, so if you’re particular about what kind of toothpaste or body wash you use, Aldi isn’t going to cut it.
To learn more, you can also see our other posts on what not to buy from Aldi.
10. Instacart For Convenience – Not Savings
Aldi’s partnership with Instacart is fantastic – convenient, intuitive, and always improving. That said if you’re on a budget and it’s essential to stick to that budget, skip Instacart.
Prices are slightly inflated, plus you have delivery/pick-up fees and a tip for the driver.
However, if you’ve got a little leeway money-wise but less time, Instacart is an awesome option.
11. Grab Special-Diet Foods For Way Less
Gluten-free? Vegan? Organic-or-bust? Aldi has you covered with a surprisingly good variety of special-diet foods at Aldi low prices.
If you were skipping Aldi because you thought their selection wasn’t great, think again (and they’re expanding these lines regularly!).
12. Decorate On A Budget
Aldi shoppers love seasonal goods, especially around the major holidays like Halloween and Christmas.
What they know that you might not is that Aldi Finds around these times include really adorable and high-quality decorations for your home.
Past items include door signs and mats, festive garlands, lights, pet costumes, table runners and placemats, and wall hangings.
13. Shop With Confidence
The next time something from Aldi doesn’t quite meet your expectations, you should absolutely take advantage of the Twice As Nice guarantee. This policy dictates that if anything displeases you, you get a refund and a replacement.
And guess what – Aldi employees aren’t going to balk at your return or make it a hassle, so don’t feel bad about getting that refund and replacement!
Shop with the confidence of knowing that anything less-than-stellar will be compensated at your instigation.
14. Bring Your Bags
If you want to save even more money on your next Aldi haul, bring your bags.
While Aldi does have bags at the store, you have to buy them for a few cents each. Do better for your budget and the environment with reusables.
15. Eat Luxe With The Specially Selected Label
I love the Specially Selected label; some of my favorite Aldi products come from this line, including the crab and shrimp ravioli, the raw honey, and the lattice-cut kettle chips.
These are high-end dupes of items you’d find in fancy markets and shops, and they are awesome.
16. Don’t Hold Up The Checkout Line
Prepare for the checkout line like you would any timed test. Have your payment ready to go because the cashier is going to fly through your items.
Don’t try to bag anything at check-out; that’s what the bagging station tables are for.
17. Avoid Crowds By Shopping At This Time
If the thought of maneuvering those enormous carts through crowds holds no appeal and you have some flexibility with your schedule, I have found that the best time to shop in peace is about an hour before close.
This holds true in my small city, where we have three stores within a 10-mile radius, but it’s worth a shot in yours, too. One caveat, though – shopping that late can mean that the shelves are pretty picked over. The calm can be worth it, though.
It’s no exaggeration to say that shopping at Aldi can be a life-changing experience, and the more you do it, the more knowledgeable you become – and therefore the better your savings, both in terms of money and time.
Let these Aldi hacks and tips guide your way, and in no time, you’ll be an Aldi pro yourself.