Giving some love to ALDI’s

ALDI’s, short for Albrecht Discounts, is named after Karl and Theo Albrecht, the two brothers who founded the company. ALDI’s has over 8500 stores worldwide with 1400 of them being in the US with more to come.

large aldi Giving some love to ALDI’s

I’m a huge fan of shopping at ALDI’s. I’ve found that most people either love it hate it. My mom hates it but I think that’s because she couldn’t figure out the whole 25 cent cart rental thing. Another thing about ALDI’s is they don’t provide shopping free bags nor do they take credit cards, coupons, or checks. ALDI’s only accepts debit cards, cash and EBT cards(to save time and processing fees). Now they do sell shopping bags, 5 cents for paper, 10 cents for plastic and they do provide free leftover cardboard boxes, but bringing your own bags is highly encouraged. (I get mine at Publix, in my opinion, they are the cutest,most sturdy and only 99 cents..sorry, I digress). You also bag your own groceries in their huge bagging area. This may be a deal-breaker for some shoppers, especially the elderly or the handicapped but I’m sure the store attendants would help in those situations. I personally don’t mind because I can fit A LOT in my cute Publix shopping bags.
The 25 cent cart rental: as incentive to customers to return carts and to eliminate the cost of hiring cart attendants, ALDI’s charges you a 25 cent fee to rent the carts. All carts are equipped with a slot where you place your quarter and the cart is released. Once you return your cart your quarter is refunded, so technically, it’s free. It took me a few minutes to figure out the procedure but there is always someone close by to help. *Pay it Forward/Good Karma Points: leave the quarter for the next person or unlock one or two extra carts for the next customers*

Trivia Time: What other famous store do the Albrecht brothers own? Hint: 2 Buck Chuck resides there.

tb Aldi 450x300 300x200 Giving some love to ALDI’sInside the store: Most people are shocked at just how small the stores actually are. Most stores are only 4 -5 aisles in width and all of the food items with the exception of frozen foods, dairy and meats are store in their original boxes on pallets. This may sound cluttered but each aisle is wide and all items are very clearly marked. ALDI’s even carries wine and their own line of “healthy” items called Fit’n Healthy (the sugar free jam and jellies are yum). Every week there is a “Special Purchase” item that can range from bedding plants to outdoor furniture to blankets and space heaters.

Most food items are ALDI’s house brands but I have found some name brand items on occasion, such as Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and Pringles potato chips. Have I mentioned their produce yet? Ok, here’s the deal…ALDI’s has great prices on their produce and it’s usually locally grown. In fact I started going to ALDI’s because of the produce. The only thing is that normally to get the best selection you have to go either on Sunday or Monday. If you wait until later in the week or on Saturday’s usually the selection is very limited. I learned that from one of the cashiers (it pays to be friendly). From what I was told, they only get produce in once or maybe twice a week and when it’s gone it’s gone. The ALDI’s in my area are open from 12noon until 6pm on Sundays so that’s when I try to go for peak selection.

ALDI’s does have a double money back guarantee on their brand. I have had a few things that I didn’t care for, but I chose just not to repurchase those items.

A few of my purchases: Aldis Produce 300x225 Giving some love to ALDI’s
Produce: on my last visit I found strawberries for 99 cents a pint, cucumbers for 49 cents each, lettuce for 99 cents and green onions 3 bunches for $1
Frozen chicken breasts: 3 lbs for $5.99
Eggs – $1.09 a dozen
Steel Cut Oats – $1.89 for a 24 oz tub – Bob’s Red Mill costs close to $4 for a 16 oz. bag
ALDI’s brand artificial sweetener (blue packets)- $1.19 for 100 packets

So, if you have an ALDI’s in your area and haven’t checked them out, take a quarter and give them a try. You just may like (love) them as much as I do.

Answer to Trivia Question:

Trader Joe’s!

Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar Tree

dollar tree office 300x225 Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar TreeAs a good steward of my financial resources, I love getting good deals where I can. I am not “cheap” because I do spend money on the things I like, but I will seek out good deals on most purchases so that I can “spurge” on the things I really want. I am very proud to be able to say that I haven’t spent over 50 cents on dishwashing liquid or toothpaste in at least 3 years. I love using coupons and have no problem whipping them out in grocery stores, drug stores, or casual restaurants. Coupons are a great way to save on products you already use, try new products without paying full price or dine at a new restaurant at a discount.

One of my favorite ways to save is shopping at my local dollar stores. If you haven’t checked out your local dollar store lately you may be losing out on substantial savings. In my area, Dollar Tree is the most popular but I know there are others. I have found several products cheaper there than at most chain stores. Sometimes, items can be cheaper when purchased in larger quantities at stores such as Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s, I may not have the budget or the storage space for large quantities, so the dollar store is a good option for me. Also, the Dollar Trees in my area accept manufacturers coupons, so extra savings both for myself and to supplement my special project.

Here are some of my favorite items. Please remember that stock varies from store to store so these things may not be available at every store.

gift bags 150x150 Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar TreeGift bags and tissue paper: Dollar Tree sells 50 sheets per pack of white, color and glitter tissue paper and a variety of gift bags. Some of gift bags are a little cheesy looking but I have found some really cute ones there. If I can’t find a printed one I like, I can’t go wrong with a solid color bag and some colorful tissue paper. Dollar Tree also has a nice selection of bows and ribbons as well.
Gladware Storage Containers: Dollar Tree sells the real deal Gladware plastic containers in a variety of sizes as well as the RubberMaid version. These aren’t the cheap ones that the lids never fit again after a cycle in the dishwasher.
Dishwashing liquid and cleaning supplies: Dollar Tree carries several name brand cleaning products such as Spic ‘n Span, Comet, Clorox, Dawn etc. One of my all-time favorite finds is Fabuloso. I love, love, love, the smell of this product!!FABULOSO 300x300 150x150 Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar Tree
Silk flowers: I always purchase silk flowers here for when I’m visiting the graves of loved ones in the cemetery. I like to keep nice looking flowers in those vases, and it can get expensive. For $10-$12, I can get keep all vases full of pretty nice looking flowers.
Plant containers/Gardening Supplies: I’ve purchased gardening gloves, potting soil, cute planter and small gardening tools from Dollar Tree. I mostly have indoor plants so these are perfect and are way cheaper than places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and even Walmart.
Dried spices and sea salt: I found the same size container and brand of sea salt being sold at Walmart for $2.12 at the Dollar Tree.
Greeting cards, blank note cards, and thank you cards
mg 4792 150x150 Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar TreeHeavy duty aluminum foil: I’ve found Reynolds’s Wrap Heavy duty foil at Dollar Tree on numerous occasions. I love the Reynolds’s individual sheets. I only stay with this brand. I have purchased other brands at the quality wasn’t nearly as good.

One thing to keep in mind though, is not everything at dollar stores are a bargain.

School supplies: If you plan and stock up for the year at back to school sales, you can actually make your dollar go a whole lot further. Most discount stores have HUGE back to school sales where basics such as paper, binders, pens, pencils, folders etc. can be found for well under $1. Pens, crayons, and glue are usually priced anywhere from 10-25 cents during these sales.
Inexpensive shampoos and conditioners: The Dollar Tree stores in my area seem to Old Suave 150x150 Making My Dollah Hollah at Dollar Treecarry brands such as VO5, Suave, and White Rain as their standard inventory. If you watch your local sales papers, these products can often be found on sale at stores such as CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid etc. for around 75 cents a bottle. If you use these brands, stock up while they are on sale and save even more.
Paper plates: In my experience, the quality of these items has been really poor. It really isn’t a bargain if it takes 3-4 plates to hold your food without collapsing. Same, with plastic forks and spoons. If they break under the weight of soft serve ice cream, it isn’t a bargain.
Garbage bags: I have also found these to be of poor quality. Having to double bag isn’t a bargain.
Over the Counter Medicines/Vitamins/Supplements: Read the labels. Most of these items are made in China and do not adhere to the same FDA requirements as the United States. These items may be fine, but I’d rather not take the chance.
Toothpastes: Same reason as above. I have found both Colgate and Crest at Dollar Tree but upon further inspection of the label found them to be made in China.
Electrical products: Extension cords, lamps and other items may have fake UL safety labels.

The dollar stores of today are generally neat, nicely organized and offer a variety of products that are found in grocery, discount and drugstores. Some of the larger dollar stores even have produce and frozen food at a fraction of the cost. I encourage you to give them a look. I think you’ll like what you see.