10 Things You Should Know Before Shopping at Aldi

Aldis shop
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Aldi is a German-based grocery store chain that has quickly become a favorite alternative to other US discounters like Walmart.

The chain is known to carry its own brand name, which is generally less expensive than but comparable to national brand names. In fact, over 90% of the products at Aldi are exclusive to retailers.

Here are a few things to know before you go.

Bring a quarter

Aldi shopping cart
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Unless you find a shopping cart in the parking lot, you’ll need a quarter to “rent” your shopping cart.

To keep costs down, Aldi doesn’t have employees picking up the carts from the parking lot, so the carts are chained together in the front of the store and released when you slide a quarter into the handle. Customers must return their own cart to get a quarter back after shopping.

Don’t forget your bag

woman with groceries
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Another way Aldi is reducing costs is by not providing free bags for customers’ groceries at checkout. Retailers have both disposable and reusable bags available for purchase. Sometimes empty boxes are available for free, such as at a warehouse club, but not always.

So unless you’re willing to pay for a bag every time you shop at Aldi, the only way to ensure you have something to take home is to bring your own.

Get ready to be your own bagger

Aldi payment channel
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There are no baggers at Aldi, so be prepared to pack your groceries during or after being scanned.

Cashiers will load your items into empty carts at the end of their line, so if you’re fast or have someone else with you, you can pocket them at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll pull the cart aside to pack everything into bags before leaving the store and then return the shopping cart outside.

Aldi does not take manufacturer coupons

Coupon collection

Aldi does not accept manufacturer coupons and rarely offers store coupons. The retailer explains on its website:

“We pride ourselves on making grocery shopping smart, fast, and easy. ALDI shoppers don’t need to cut through coupons to find the best deals because we offer the lowest prices on groceries every day. However from time to time, we may offer regional promotions or coupons related to an event, such as the Grand Opening of ALDI stores. Keep an eye on your mailbox or in store for special promotions near you.

Get a refund and a replacement if you are not satisfied

Aldi's meat and cheese aisle
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Under the Aldi’s Twice as Nice Guarantee, which applies to Aldi’s exclusive food products, you can get a refund and replacement if you are not satisfied with the quality of an item.

Note that you must take the product packaging and any leftovers back to the store. You must also carry a receipt to receive a refund in the original form of payment; otherwise, you will receive store credit.

For other types of items, and for Aldi exclusive food items that you return for reasons unrelated to quality, you will be offered a refund or replacement.

Look for local and organic produce

Aldi production department
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Aldi has a variety of local and organic products at discounted prices. You can also find pre-packaged products.

Indeed, fresh produce is one of the purchases cited in “My 10 Favorite Things to Buy at Aldi”.

It’s not just organic products

Aldi's Simply Nature organic non-GMO granola bars
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Aldi also carries many other organic products for discount grocery stores. In fact, he owns an entire brand—Simply Nature—with organic and non-GMO foods.

“We are also continuously expanding our organic selection to meet customer demand,” the retailer says on its website.

Check out discounted household supplies

Cleaning supplies at Aldi
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You might be surprised by the range of non-grocery items available at Aldi, such as cleaning supplies and pet food, considering the store is relatively small. While you may find better prices for items like toilet paper or paper towels in bulk at a warehouse club, Aldi has a large selection of home goods and personal care items at significant discounts.

Don’t miss the ‘hallway of shame’

Aldi Find sign
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The central aisle of Aldi’s store, nicknamed “Lorong Shame” by its fans, has a lot more to offer than just food. The merchandise includes a variety of household items, such as beds and organizing containers, at deeply discounted prices. These finds, which Aldi calls Aldi Finds, generally change every Wednesday.

At my local Aldi, I absolutely admit to finding reasonably priced organic beef and some unnecessary but very cute cardboard cat houses. Other great Aldi finds I’ve seen include inexpensive soy-based candles and Disney children’s books for well below the suggested retail price.

Take a walk down the aisle or visit the Aldi website to see current and upcoming Aldi Finds in your area.

You can also drink beer

Beer at Aldi
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Many Aldis stock beer and wine in addition to groceries and goods, although the sale of alcohol is not permitted in grocery stores by law in some cities and states.

Use the Aldi store locator to check the availability of alcohol at a specific location near you.

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