I should start by saying this post is in no way sponsored by Aldi. I haven’t been paid or given any freebies at all (although maybe I should, come to think of it!).
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d be trying to reduce our weekly food shop. Christmas is coming and, although the goose might be getting fat, my bank account is looking distinctly scrawny.
Well today is payday and my mum kindly gave me a lift to Aldi. I love Aldi. I used to live two minutes’ walk from our nearest store and often popped in there for odd bits and pieces. Now we live much further away. I do make a special trip there very occasionally if they have something particular in stock that I want. Our garden water butt is from there. And last week they had a lot of lovely yarn that I NEEEEEEEEEEDED to buy:
Anyway, I was curious to see if I could do a whole week’s shopping there (minus our meat, which I buy monthly from the butcher). It’s not a huge store and choice can be limited. I’m not fussy about brand names. I’ll quite happily buy the cheapest own brand of most things (with a few exceptions). But I do sometimes need particular ingredients for things or the kids ask for a certain snack for their lunches. Would Aldi have everything on my list for this week or would I end up having to do an extra shop elsewhere?
I was really surprised! I got pretty much everything I needed, with a few extra treats for the weekend. Where they didn’t have the exact thing I wanted, they did have some close alternatives that I could use instead. I wanted a tin of lentils and a tin of mixed beans. Instead I made do with a tin of kidney beans and one of chickpeas. I was pleased to see they were packed in water, with no added salt or sugar like some budget brands.
The range of fresh fruit and vegetables was really impressive. They had everything I wanted to buy – onions, spuds, cauliflower, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, butternut squash and swede. When it comes to restocking the fruit bowl, I like to see what looks good or what’s on offer. I already had some apples and oranges at home, so chose a lovely punnet of plums and some grapes.
I noticed they stock a lot of “lookalike” products – own brand groceries with packaging that is deliberately very similar to big name brands. So at least the customer knows what they should be getting, I guess. I was particularly pleased to find yoghurt coated dried fruit. This is one of my toddler’s favourite snacks.
I’m fussy about cereal and found the selection quite limited. I ended up buying honey nut cornflakes; not my preferred choice but it’ll do. I’m also very particular about yoghurts. I like to get the girls either Rachel’s or Plum branded pots, because they are sweetened with fruit juice rather than refined sugar and they don’t contain any nasty artificial sweeteners. I didn’t expect Aldi to have anything close to this so I compromised by getting their double pack of fromage frais. A bit like Petit Filous but only 84p for 12 little pots. It does have sugar listed on the ingredients but also contains real fruit puree and no sweeteners.
I fully expected our shopping to be cheaper than my usual online food shop. After all, we all know that Aldi is cheap and Ocado isn’t (despite being slightly in love with their outstanding customer service). But I wasn’t fully prepared for the final bill – £39.94. That’s AMAZING! I’ve been struggling to keep our normal shop below £80. In fact, my last Ocado delivery was £94.03 (not including the Smart Pass I pay for every six months). Aldi came in at less than HALF the cost! A week of food and groceries for a family of four, coming in at ten pounds per head. Incredible!
They weren’t on my list this week but I did notice that my preferred brand of shampoo and conditioner wasn’t stocked. Neither was the eco-friendly brand of bedtime pull-ups I buy for my youngest. But at under forty quid, I can afford to do a separate midweek top-up shop at another store and still save money!
So what’s the catch? Without my mum, it takes two buses to get there and then I’d have to try to get the week’s shopping home again with a buggy and a toddler in tow. The bus stop is right outside the shop and only a five-minute walk from my house at the other end. But how do you push a trolley AND a buggy around a supermarket?! Maybe I could take the sling carrier instead? But carrying the shopping as well as a nearly-three-year-old?! Crikey. I guess I could take The Husband and brave it on a Saturday with an extra pair of hands to help. But it’ll certainly be easier to go it alone when the youngest one starts nursery in January…