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3 Traps to Avoid When Shopping at Aldi

Steer clear of these to make the most of your shopping experience. 

Key points

  • Aldi’s inventory tends to be limited, and the brands you see one week may not be available for long.
  • You’ll also need to put down a modest deposit to use a shopping cart.

Grocery costs are probably one of the biggest expenses in your household budget. You may not spend as much on food as you do on your mortgage payment, but you probably spend a bundle — especially if you have a larger family to feed. 

That’s why it pays to find ways to load up on groceries while keeping your credit card bills to a minimum. And shopping at Aldi could be a great way to do just that. 

Aldi is known as a discount grocer, so you might spend less on the food you buy there than a chain like Kroger or ShopRite. But if you’re going to start shopping at Aldi, there are certain pitfalls you should really take care to avoid, like these.

1. Assuming you’ll find everything you need

Aldi may have low-cost groceries, but it doesn’t necessarily have the most broad or consistent selection. If you’re intent on finding a certain type of pasta, for example, then Aldi may not be your best bet, because while it might have penne in stock, if you need spaghetti, you may be out of luck. 

2. Falling in love with off-brand products

More than 90% of the goods you’ll find at Aldi are private label brands, as opposed to the national brands you commonly see advertised on TV. But because Aldi is constantly rotating its product line, you may not find the same brands in store week after week. This could be a problem if you have family members who are picky eaters, because if they fall in love with a certain product, you may not be able to find it again.

If you do come across a product you enjoy at Aldi, you may want to make a repeat trip to the store a day or so after and stock up. If you wait too long, you might actually never see the item in question again.

One of the ways Aldi saves on costs — and then passes that savings along to consumers in the form of cheaper groceries — is by not hiring extra workers to round up shopping carts after customers are done with them. Rather, Aldi relies on customers to return those carts themselves.

But as we all know, people don’t always do the courteous thing. So Aldi effectively forces you to do so or otherwise pay the price. 

To access a shopping cart at Aldi, you need to put down a $0.25 deposit. You’ll then get your money back once you return your cart to its proper location. But if you fail to bring your quarter, you might have to do your grocery shopping without a cart. And if you’re buying a lot of things, that won’t be easy. 

Aldi can be a great place to shop. It can also be a lifeline for families on a tight budget. But do your best to avoid these traps in the course of buying your groceries there.

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