Here at A Thrifty Mrs we’ve never had a set way of doing our food shopping and even when we do fall into an easy pattern, it ends up changing after a couple of months for one reason or another. Until recently we’d been shopping at either Sainsbury’s or Morrisons for the bulk of our food, buying cleaning products at cheap-y local shops and having the bulk of our fruit and veg delivered by a local box scheme. It had been working well enough however the price of our weekly shop was slowly creeping up and up and we decided we’d try to do something about it.
Around about the same time Aldi got in contact to ask if I shopped with them and offered me £50 in vouchers to see if we could do our weekly shop for less than usual. Because there are two of us £50 tends to be our very top limit for a weekly food expenditure so I knew we’d be able to spend less than the voucher but I was interested to see exactly what £50 could buy us in Aldi.
Our nearest Aldi is close by and is somewhere we stop in to pick up sandwich meats, chocolate and booze but never really much else. My mother in law is a big fan and often picks up some bargains, I’d always meant to give it a go with our weekly shop but never really got round to it just because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get everything I needed in one shop.
The £50 bought about 3 weeks worth of shopping (excluding the bulk of vegetables because we have those delivered and had already paid for 6 months). Enough to feed 2 people 3 meals a day, to buy items like washing powder which we only buy every 3 months and also to accommodate the great many guests who stay over night or just pop in for lunch. We of course bought extras like milk, bread and butter but for the most part we spent that £50 and stuck to it. We calculated the cost as we went round the shop, ticking things off our meal plan and shopping list and it came in at £49(something), I did keep the receipt but because I wanted to wait and try everything before blogging about it, the receipt has managed to disappear off into the sunset.
Concerns I had about shopping in Aldi
– Can I buy free range or organic meat and eggs?
– Would I be able to buy branded items?
– Could I trust things like washing powder?
– Do Aldi sell Fairtrade?
I’m not a snob but those were my genuine concerns and I suppose the reason I put off doing a full shop in Aldi for so many years.
– Can I buy free range or organic meat and eggs?
I was pleased to note I could buy free range eggs and meat. The chicken wasn’t organic but I’m happy to buy free range, especially when it is only £4.99. We froze a lot of the meat we bought in order for it to last and when we did cook it found it to be tasty, value for money and not packed full of that leaky-water gunk. We didn’t buy a lot of meat, simply because we couldn’t find free range versions of everything, whilst I’m not really forceful about only getting free range meat I like to try my very best.
- Would I be able to buy branded items?
We very rarely buy branded items but the one thing we insist on is HP brown sauce – anything else would just be wrong. So I was pleased to find it on the shelf, all brown and yummy. To be honest we don’t eat a lot of branded food so if you’re very specific about what you do eat it would be worth checking it out yourself.
- Could I trust things like washing powder?
I’m funny with washing powder, I don’t buy the most expensive or anything like that but I know what I like and I like what I like. I use washing powder to make my own washing detergent (it stretches it a whole lot further) and don’t like too strong a scent. I chose the £2.49 Almat Non Bio powder and I’m a convert. Even on its own (emergancy wash before making my own) it buffered out mud and grime from Mr Thrifty’s sports kit and the smell wasn’t overpowering at all. Total bargain product.
- Do Aldi sell Fairtrade?
Yes! I first noticed they sold Fairtrade when I spotted the bananas (although I do mark them down a little there because I see no need whatsoever for bananas to be packaged in plastic), we went back to the tea section to see if they sell Fairtrade and indeed they do, which pleased tea drinker extrodinaire Mr Thrifty no end.
What I’m never too keen on experience wise is the whole throw-it-in-your-trolley-or-pack-it-faster-than-lightening thing but hey, I suppose having few staff working quickly keeps costs down? But as someone with a disability I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them on my own. Aldi staff have always been super friendly and helpful whenever I’ve approached them though.
Items I wouldn’t recommend? Their fruit juice apart from their higher end orange juice which is insanely tasty. We weren’t very keen on their frozen potato wedges either but our three year old friend loved them.
Items I recommend? Their sandwich meats, cheeses, part baked bread, crisps, bread sticks, chocolate, flour, chicken, bananas, frozen pizzas, crackers and the booze – we like all of it. I don’t care how bad that booze part makes me sound.
All in all I’m impressed and not just because we got a load of free food. I’m impressed because I honestly didn’t think we’d be able to do our food shopping there in its entirety. Sure we didn’t get the majority of our fruit and veg there but what we did try and based on the prices I think we may make a switch when our subscription to the veg box ends. Aldi is now our current supermarket of thrifty choice and we’re pretty pleased for now.
I’m sure lots of you are Aldi old timers, so I want to know what are your product love and loathes?
Thank you to Aldi for providing the vouchers.
EDIT – The comments on this post are awesome so make sure to check them out for some savvy Aldi buys. TTFN,
P.S. I really like that they charge for bags, I think every supermarket should be made to do it.