Why I Love Aldi — Tips for First-Time Shoppers

Our family loves Aldi and we are so lucky that here in Lake County we have nine locations to choose from. Recently, Aldi announced plans to spend $1.6 billion to enhance and renovate 1,300 stores, two of which were recently renovated in Lake County: the Volo and Round Lake Beach locations. The updates are gorgeous (even though I need to get used to the new layout) but it will help you if you are a newbie to Aldi because it is an easier layout for brand new shoppers. Never been to an Aldi before? Here’s why I love Aldi and why you will too!

tips for shopping aldi

1. You won’t find brand names very often at Aldi, but their store brands are just as good. I have done secret taste tests in my home and my kids have no idea that what they were eating was the store brand. I don’t know about you, but for some reason my kids don’t like eating off-brands and I feel like most kids are like this, especially once they start school. Gently explain to them that there is no difference and if they want to go to college someday, we are not paying full price for Ritz crackers.

Tip — Buy the Aldi brand Girl Scout Cookies. You won’t ever know the difference AND they are offered year-round.

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2. They don’t have a pharmacy, meat counter or Starbucks inside the stores. To me, this is a good thing because when I have distractions, I buy more than I need. I go into Aldi with my list, get what I need and some things I don’t but I won’t walk out of there with items like a sign that says FARMHOUSE or talking toilet paper.

Tip — Aldi sells select toiletries and paper products. I have used the paper towel, toilet paper, facial tissues and napkins since last summer and they are better than the generic offerings at the big box stores.

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3. You save big bucks. At first, I thought it was a fluke. Then each visit I was noticing that I was saving half of what I would have spent at the big box stores. There are times I have left the store and RAN to my car because I thought they missed something or thought maybe they mischarged me. You will fall in love with the savings and that is what will keep you coming back.

Tip — If you know of a grand opening or grand re-opening in your area, hit those stores as they will offer special off coupons to bring new customers in.

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4. None of the products Aldi carries contain MSG. That is huge for a big part of the population and was initially why I started shopping there to begin with. They also offer the best choice of gluten-free products as well.

Tip — It is the only place that offers soup without MSG.  That is huge for us soup-lovers (don’t judge, I love canned soup).

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5. Aldi and Trader Joe’s are brother and sister. They are both owned by the same German company, so occasionally you might see some Trader Joe products mixed in. Very occasionally. But you will notice similarities in the store, the layout and even products if you are a loyal Trader Joe’s shopper.

Tip — Bananas at Trader Joe’s are cheaper and better. If you need bananas, maybe skip Aldi. But the rest of their produce is top of the line and cheaper than most grocery stores.

shopping Aldi

6. Aldi has sales too. A lot of shoppers think Aldi doesn’t have sales, but indeed they do. They price cut weekly on popular items which makes their low prices even lower.

Tip — Aldi has weekly ads, so make sure you pick one up on the way into the store if you don’t already receive them in your mailbox.

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7. You will also find home decor, auto repair merchandise, baby items and even more. Selection varies by store, but you can find lots of great items for your home at Aldi. One year my friend bought a slip and slide there for half the price. I have an adorable basket I bought for our dog toys there for over half-off what I had seen for the same basket at Meijer.

Tip — Starting in September, Aldi carries pumpkins for $2.99 each and they are bigger than what you find at the pumpkin farms.

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8. Shopping hours are limited, so if you are used to shopping at odd hours, it will take some getting used to. Most stores open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

Tip — Go early if you can, or during lunch hour, as it gets very busy and hard to navigate during the peak hours.

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9. Bring a quarter so you can get a shopping cart. Otherwise, you will be holding all of your items in your hands and trust me, you won’t have room. It costs a quarter so you are forced to bring your cart back to the corral as they don’t have employees to do that for you. The more money they save on labor, the more money you save. And it just proves how humans are motivated by monetary rewards.

Tip — Keep a quarter in your car at all times. Then keep a backup quarter in your wallet. When I shared my car with our oldest daughter who is a teenager, I would constantly be battling her because she took my quarter. Those who shop at Aldi regularly will understand this with all their being. KEEP A QUARTER NEAR.

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10. We are lucky enough to have plenty of locations in Lake County. See the list below and happy shopping!

Image source Aldi Multimedia Library

Aldi Lake County Locations
Check the store locator for specific location hours.


1390 Deep Lake Rd.

Buffalo Grove 
1202 W. Dundee Rd.

Lake Zurich
981 S. Rand Rd.

730 S. Route 83

Park City 
3331 Belvidere Rd.

Round Lake Beach 
74 W. Rollins Rd.

27415 Hartigan Rd.

1620 N. Lewis Ave.

2861 Sheridan Rd.

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I am very curious — what is your favorite item to get at Aldi? Share with us in the comments! 




About Kari Wagner Hoban 36 Articles
Kari loves to write and take photos, not necessarily in that order. Her journey started in 2010 when she sat down to write a few words on a private blog. She pressed “public” a few weeks later and the rest is history. Kari loves making people laugh, being real, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She also really loves her dog Buddy and fish Lucy. When she is not busy writing or going through the Starbucks drive thru, you can find her talking to her plants Zoe, Evie and Albert. She didn’t name Evie. Her nine year old did. But she's totally an Edna so that’s what Kari calls her when her nine year old isn’t home.

1 Comment

  1. There’s also an Aldi in Vernon Hills on Milwaukee Avenue. One of our favorite items is their frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken. Better than Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken!

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