Pilgrimage to Aldi

Like reading Marcus Aurelius and switching to Mint Mobile, a pilgrimage to Aldi is effectively a rite of passage in the financial independence (FI) community.

So when a store opened up just a few miles away, I had to give it a try.

Shopping at Aldi near me
Shopping at Aldi near me

If you haven’t been, Aldi has its own ways that might be helpful to know before arrival.

The first is that the shopping carts require quarters. Fortunately, a cart had been returned with the quarter still lodged in the slot, and we were able to grab it.

Once inside, we scurried around the store squealing with joy about the newness of it all. The place itself reminded us of Europe, and I’ve not thought much about Europe since 2019. I remembered what it felt like to go into a grocery store, often in an indoor shopping mall, and “hack” water (buy big bottles of water and pour them in smaller bottles to save money).

(I didn’t call it “hacking” in 2019 before I jumped on the FI bandwagon. Lots of “hacking” in the community.)

Anyway, the aisles are reminiscent of Costco’s, as the products are still in their shipping boxes, and that’s fine. Many are Aldi’s own brands, and some are labels you recognize. Look for the Live GFree line if you’re gluten free. Here’s a list of gluten free foods at Aldi.

Aldi aisle

Checkout requires self-packing to save time and cost. No problem, I love bagging groceries and have a strategy outlined in this post here. But the cashier temporarily left once it was our turn, and we waited for some time.

We ate the gluten free sesame chips in the car on the way home because I was feeling woozy. They were oily. Here are some thoughts on the rest of what we bought:

Organic eggs, almond milk, CastleRock cold cuts, tilapia, yogurt, mustard, ketchup, frozen fruit, gluten free bagels: Just as good as Wegmans. And cheap.

Pork Carnitas: eh. Pass.

Frozen gluten free General Tso’s chicken: yikes. Not good.

Ultimately, our cart amounted to just under $100. The pilgrimage was complete.

And then we went back to Wegmans the next day. 🙂

What do you think of Aldi?

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Thanks for reading! If you liked this post about making a pilgrimage to Aldi, you might like this one on dancing in the aisles.

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