If you are new to shopping at Aldi, the experience can seem quite overwhelming and rather confusing. There are many quirks and details that go into a proper Aldi’s shopping trip.
You may be wondering how a company that markets itself as a discounted grocery store has customers that walk out with pieces of furniture or electronics. Could it be similar to Costco and require a membership?
What is known for sure is that Aldi offers its customers a super unique shopping experience. Having some know-how about the store’s processes beforehand can lead to a successful first shopping trip at Aldi.
So, in this guide, we will walk you through how to shop at Aldi starting from before you head to the store to right after you check out, and more.
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How To Shop At Aldi In 2023
To make this guide as easy as possible, we’ve broken up the Aldi shopping experience into three sections. These include:
- Before shopping
Before you head over to Aldi, here’s what to know before shopping at Aldi.
Aldi has its own set of terms to describe its items and how they are priced. The more you know about these terms, the better chance you will have of finding the best discounts and deals.
“Everyday low prices” and “Everyday items”, both of which will start with a capital “E”, describe Aldi products that are always available. These are not Finds, Savers, Special Buys, or Red Hot Deals.
These products are not on sale all of the time, but they always have a low price. Sometimes, Aldi’s price for these items when not on sale is cheaper than when it is on sale at other stores.
You can expect these products to be there year round.
Aldi Finds are where the unique products come into play. These products consist of furniture, clothes, pet gear, outdoor gear, electronics, office supplies, home decor, car accessories, tools, and specialty food items.
Aldi Finds are shipped in limited quantities, and they are only shipped out once. This means once they are sold out, they are gone for good.
Aldi Savers are products in the store that are on sale. Each week, items from every section of the store will be selected, and their prices will be lowered.
Some popular items that are frequently part of Aldi Savers are $1 avocados and pineapples, as well as chicken thighs for $0.99 per pound.
Lastly, you have Red Hot Deals. These are Aldi Finds that happened to not sell out. Red Hot Deals are priced to get the product off of the shelves and out of the Aldi stores to make up space for new products.
Sometimes, you can find Red Hot Deal prices that are 70% cheaper than the original Aldi Find price.
Pick A Day And Time
The day you pick to go to Aldi makes a big difference in your shopping experience. This is especially true if you are looking to buy some unique Aldi Finds.
Wednesday is the best day to shop at Aldi. This is the day that new Aldi Savers and new Aldi Finds will be put on the shelves. It is your best chance to get limited products.
You can also go on Sunday, which is when Aldi will have its new Red Hot Deals on the shelves. This is the day you can potentially find any Aldi Finds from the previous week that did not sell out for a very low price.
Early Wednesday morning is one of the best possible times to shop at Aldi, especially if you are trying to get at the new merchandise that Aldi has just put out. Going at this time will provide you the best chance to get any new Aldi Finds that have been placed on the shelves.
If you are someone who likes to avoid crowds, it is recommended that you go 1 hour before closing. If you are planning on being super fast, you could try a half an hour before closing time, too. Do note that the Aldi opening hours can differ from location to location.
Read The Weekly Ad
Do not forget to check out the weekly ad before heading to your nearest Aldi. These are easy to come by in the store and can be found in two different ways.
Aldi tends to mail out ads a day or two before the new week of savings will start. You can check your mail for these flyers to get a glimpse at the discounts that will be waiting for you.
If physical mail isn’t your thing, you can check the weekly ads online at Aldi’s website under Weekly Specials. Here, you can check out Aldi’s current savings for the week and the savings that will be happening next week as well.
Make sure you have your location set to the right area, so that you can get the deals that will be showing up in the store that is nearest to you.
Pick Out Your Bags
At Aldi, you can either bring your own bags with you or pay for them in-store. There are a variety of bags you can choose from if you decide to buy some during your shopping trip. They are located by the check-out registers.
You could also make use of what people like to refer to as the “laundry basket method”. All you need to do is keep a bunch of simple laundry baskets in your car, take all of your items to your car in your cart, and load them into the baskets.
If none of this works for you, you can look for cardboard packaging that may be lying around. You can pack your groceries into these bins and recycle them when you are home.
Find A Quarter
If you are heading to Aldi to do some serious shopping, then you will need a quarter to get a cart. Aldi uses a cart rental system, so there is no need to hire extra staff to get the carts from the parking lot.
If you forget your quarter, you can ask a nice stranger to let you borrow one. You can also try to ask an employee. Otherwise, you will be stuck carrying as much as you can in your arms throughout the store.
Now that you’re ready to visit your local Aldi, here’s what you need to keep in mind when you arrive.
Get Your Cart
As said above, make sure to bring a quarter with you so you can rent a cart. Otherwise, you will have to carry everything in your arms. The carts can be found at the entry to your Aldi store.
You will put the quarter in the slot on the right hand side of the cart. When you hear a click, the cart has been unlocked.
As you are putting the items you want into your cart, try to get them all into the main basket. This is due to the way check out is handled, which we will cover later.
Each Aldi store has almost the same layout to it, so you do not need to stress too much about where the best deals can be found. The aisles might be switched around a bit depending on the store you are visiting and if there is Aldi alcohol being sold there or not.
With that being said, Aldi Finds will always be in the middle of the store. All other sections of the store will surround the area where Aldi Finds is, so head straight there if you are looking for discounts on unique items.
Aldi has quite a variety of products that you might not expect from a store that boasts that they only sell the “essentials”.
Keep in mind that Aldi rotates its stock. This means newer products are put in the back or underneath if stacked, and older products are put in the front or on top.
Does Aldi Have Public Restrooms?
If you are in the middle of an Aldi shopping trip and feel the need to go to the toilet, do not fret. Aldi has bathrooms in all of its United States stores.
These restrooms are normally located by the front of the store. They can also be found at the far end, away from the entrance. Lastly, they might be near the frozen section.
Just make sure to remember where your cart is as you will not be able to take it with you into the restroom.
Checking out at Aldi is fairly different than checking out at other stores. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect.
Cart Position During Check-Out
It may sound silly, but where you stand by your cart when checking out at Aldi really matters. The reason for this is that your groceries will actually end up going into the cart of the person in front of you. Then the person behind you will have their groceries put in your empty cart.
For this reason, you will want to stand at the front of your cart when placing all of your items onto the conveyor belt for scanning. Then you will want to pull the cart behind you as you move forward. This is why we mentioned previously that you should put all of your items into the main basket of your cart.
Checking out this way makes for a super fast and efficient process. Once you’re done placing your groceries on the conveyor belt, make sure to get your bags and put them in the new cart.
How To Pay
Aldi takes a wide variety of payment options, so you don’t need to worry about what card to use. To put your mind at ease though, here is a list of the methods of payments that are accepted at Aldi: cash, debit cards, the four major credit cards, EBT, SNAP, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and gift cards.
As you can see, you really do not have to worry about what to use when paying at Aldi. With that being said, Aldi does not accept checks or WIC.
Bagging Your Items
At Aldi, you will have to bag your own groceries. This keeps the costs of running the store low, which in turn keeps prices of products low for you and other customers.
You will want to head over to the separate bagging area to move out of the way of other people that need to check out. Also make sure to try and spread out, so that the exits aren’t clogged up for people that are trying to leave.
Return Your Cart
You are almost done. You just need to return your cart to where you got it from. But first, you will want to load your groceries into your car. Then, you just bring your cart back up to the front so that you can get your quarter back.
This is a very effective way for Aldi to avoid needing to hire extra staff to collect carts from the parking lot. There is rarely a stray cart left out of place at Aldi because people don’t like to leave their quarters for someone else to pick up.
With that out of the way, you can pat yourself on the back, because you have successfully completed your first shopping trip to Aldi.
Shopping at Aldi can seem a little odd at first and will definitely take some getting used to. From the cart rental system to the separate bagging area, it can all appear a bit overwhelming at first.
Don’t worry though, you will get the hang of it in no time. Plus, the savings you will get while shopping at Aldi make it all worth it.
Remember, if you need help during your shopping trip, all you need to do is ask. Aldi employees are there to help you and guide you through the store.