I Finally Tried Aldi. Here’s What I Loved (and Hated) About the Store

The average American family with two children spends between $885 and $1,056 per month on groceries. What if someone told you that you could cut that bill by 21%? Doing so would save a family of four more than $2,000 a year on food, and it’s exactly what an ambitious German grocery store is promising.

The budget supermarket chain Aldi is making a big play for your food dollars, and it plans to win you over with ultra-low prices on everything from milk to meat. It sounds great, but can Aldi really deliver on its promise to deliver quality foods at budget prices? We decided to find out.

My first trip to Aldi

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The exterior of an Aldi store in Chula Vista, California. | Megan Elliott/The Cheat Sheet

Like many people, I’d never set foot in Aldi. It wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. There was a store in my Midwestern hometown, but we never shopped there. In the 1980s and 1990s, Aldi had a reputation as a strictly bare bones operation. I’d never been inside, but I envisioned dimly lit aisles and dusty packages of off-brand products. I wasn’t even sure whether it sold fresh produce. Fair or not, Aldi just didn’t have the best reputation.

Well, I finally went to an Aldi, and I’m here to tell you that my ideas about the store were all wrong. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by nearly every aspect of my visit, but I came away wishing there were one closer to my house, so I could make it part of my regular shopping routine.

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