Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Costo vs. Aldis: In which I am nerdy and maybe tacky...

*Blogger has decided it thinks paragraphs are too fancy for it's blogs so instead of paragraphs I will put a ~ symbol. Oi ve. To some folks thinking a lot about money is tacky. They think it unseemly to always be going after a bargain. Not refined perhaps. They take pride in not shopping at the big W or not wading through "other people's junk" at garage sales or thrift stores. ~To others it is practically a religion. They spend enormous amounts of time clipping coupons and perusing the ads to find the very very cheapest place to buy their beans that week. They then diligently spend time soaking said beans so as to not have to spend the money on canned beans. They go after pennies on the dollar and it hurts them to not get a deal. ~I have absolutely no shame - no shame whatsoever - about filling my house with "other people's junk." It is frequently an upgrade from my own junk. And I have no qualms about checking out with a cart full of Cheerios because they are on a once a year sale. ~On the other hand, I do not find couponing to be worth the time investment on my part. I am interested in large savings with a minimal output of my time. For me, efficiency is the name of the game. Efficient use of my time and money. ~I recently spent some time on a food buying efficiency project which may be handy for some other families out there. If you think this sort of project is tacky then you can just stop reading now because this is not the post for you. It's seriously nitty gritty and it's boring unless you have, for some reason, been looking for this information. I know I was. :) ~On to the details: We go on a giant shopping trip once a month to both places and then a quick one half way through the month to replenish our milk. We buy ten gallons of milk twice a month (20 total) and freeze half of the them each visit. We get most of our produce on these two trips but will also supplement with fruit on sale from the grocery stores if we run out. ~Here's my Aldi's vs. Costco cost comparison. The first 4 pages are the prices that I have collected (it is by no means exhaustive) and my shopping list is the last page. Frequently I only recorded the cheaper price. If it's on the list and there's only one price listed that is the cheaper price - if there is only an asterisk that also denotes the cheaper price. There are a couple of exceptions. We buy Costco milk (which is .50/gallon more then Aldis) in spite of the possibility of saving $10/month by going with Aldis. For whatever reason the Love-gullets are not huge fans of Aldi's milk. The brown sugar price is actually the same but I can't use the brown sugar fast enough if I buy it from Costco so I go with the smaller bag at Aldis. I go with natural peanut butter so we get that at Costco because Aldi's doesn't carry it, though their peanut butter is much cheaper. We buy Huggies diapers from AmazonMom and they are .01/diaper cheaper then Costco, I didn't compare then to Aldi's diapers price-wise or otherwise. We do a lot of steam-in-bag frozen veggies. I stock up on those at 10/10 sales at the regular grocery. We get our eggs local from a farm or grocery so I didn't compare those prices. Meats I find much cheaper to stock up on when grocery stores have sales then buying them at either place. All the prices are taken from the Maryland Costco and Aldis so if you live elsewhere then things may differ. Also the shopping list is arranged according to my own local stores. ~So, while it's really just designed with our own needs in mind and is always a work in progress, I hope it helps someone else too.


  1. LEX! As of late I have fallen in love with using ~ in my notes. I realized the number of straight dashes - that I use and came to the conclusion that I want my life to be a little more ~ and a little less -

    What great and yet similar minds we have.
    ~James~Your Brother~I Love you~

  2. Wow. This is so totally awesome. You should have a section in your blog for tools like this. No Aldi's in Waco, but I do make my monthly trip up to Dallas for just that purpose!

  3. I find this funny after the couponing discussion today! You know you can freeze brown sugar in ziplocks and it stays good forever! At least during the holiday baking season it's worth getting he Costco bag.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I came across it while doing a search for price compare of Aldi and Costco. I have been fiercely loyal to Costco for many years, but our cash flow (with me out of a work and a newborn) just can't handle the huge outlays of Costco trips... I have been investigating switching to Aldi for a lot of my shopping and was curious as to how prices and value compare, so this list is a great jumping off point. Having shopped both places, what is your opinion on Aldi's quality of items compared to those that you currently purchase/have purchased at Costco? In other words, has Aldi's quality (as well as a cheaper price point) won you over enough to switch from a Costco product? That's my current dilemma - to switch from a system that I know and trust so well with Costco and go out on a limb with Aldi items to save who knows how much money??

  5. Hi Ellen, I know what you mean about looking for a starting point, I couldn't find one so I had to make one!
    Overall, I'd say that Costco quality is always very good and Aldis is always fine. There's been nothing that I've been thrilled with or disappointed in.
    I think the dairy at Aldis is a great deal (although cheese is cheaper at Costco, but hard to use all of it without freezing some) and the quality is great. My kids won't eat any other kind of yogurt now.
    The cereal alone is worth the trip to me. We eat a lot of it and could never afford Costco to begin with. I think that for generic it's really good quality, at least it's very much to my taste (although my husband is not a fan of their rice krispie version).
    I don't buy meat from either place, I find the local sales a better deal so we just freeze meat when we get it. So sadly I can't testify to the quality of Aldis - you might have to experiment with that yourself (then write back here to share!).
    The other thing I think is a great deal is their snack products (, pretzels, chips, nuts). The chips are so-so but I shouldn't be eating many anyway so I don't mind). Cookies, crackers...all of that I switched to Aldis for and am perfectly happy. I would never go back now.
    Also in frozen convenience foods like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, etc. I think Aldis is comparable.
    I'm very happy with Aldis deli section too. We get hummus and guacomole and lunch meat there. It's more convenient then buying giant Costco versions and scarfing hummus all month.
    I stick with Costco for cheese, cleaning supplies, sausage (the only meat I buy there) paper products, milk (but I may be switching...I don't think it really does upset our tummys I think we just had a stomach bug) wipes, vitamins, granola bars, meatballs, honey and syrup, oils). But the details are on the list.
    That is not to deny that Costco has great quality of those other things it's just that I'm not privileged enough to enjoy all of that :). Aldis satisfies me for the most part. Hope that helps, Lmk what you decide to do and any tips that you might have, I'll update the post with them.

    I still stick with Costco for any produce (that we can use up before it spoils)

  6. Thanks so much for your input. I am going to do some Aldi price/quality comparisons coming up very soon, I'll let you know what I find out. I'm already thinking that things like crackers/chips/etc. would be a good thing to purchase at Aldi. We have a family that LOVES to party, so those items would be helpful to get cheaper.
    I'm also already thinking that if Aldi (I haven't been there in a while) has canned beans/tomatoes/sauce, etc. for making chili, its bound to be cheaper than Costco...

    For a while I 'tried' to be on an organic, fancy-schmancy type eating plan, but soon realized that to enjoy other areas of our life, I needed to give up that exhausing, never-ending critical thinking that comes with that lifestyle. I just am trying to do the best I can to eat whole, healthy foods that cost less, with a few treats scattered in between.