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Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Own Shopping Shangri La...Well, Sort Of...

            I grew up in Denver, Colorado, in a single parent home that survived on a tight budget. Now a tight budget often meant two things: first, not many fruits and veggies to go around; and second,  lots of made up recreational games…like the ahead of its time “Tennie-Golf.” (Tennie-Golf was basically a game of golf played around an apartment complex, any complex will do, with tennis balls and used tennis rackets – preferably rackets not to later be used for an actual tennis match). But don’t feel sorry for me – Tennie-Golf was awesome, I am still trying to have it made into a real sport. And a lack of fruits and veggies just meant that I could eat more donuts for breakfast – basically a win win for a teenager.  
            It’s no secret, fruits and veggies are good for the body. They provide myriad vitamins, nutrients, belly filling (and later belly emptying) fiber, and somehow make us feel like good parents when we get our kids to eat them. But the blockade to filling our cupboards with fruits and veggies is also no secret – cost. As an adult now, this cost often still deters us from lining our counters with fruits and vegetables. That is…until I discovered the magical land of inexpensive fruits and vegetables: Aldi.
            Let’s be honest, the German based supermarket Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) is no Shangri La when it comes to atmosphere. It’s awkwardly quiet when you walk in (which compounds the awkwardness I feel when my kids yell out random, slightly inappropriate things), the décor is like something out of a 7th grade math textbook, you have to loan the store 25 cents just to use a cart, and some of my friends are bothered by the somewhat dubious characters that frequent local Aldi stores (I’m not bothered by them. Of course, that probably means I am one of them). But the low cost of fruits and veggies CANNOT be beat.
            The other day at Cub Foods I saw a SALE on grapes (a SALE, mind you): $2.50/pound. That same day I purchased two pounds of grapes from Aldi for $.99/pound each. Oh snap! Cub Foods obviously wants me to purchase my grapes from Aldi. No sweat.
            At the same Cub, which I consider the middle of the road store in terms of deals (I’ll write more about different store options in a later post), I found avocadoes for $1.39 each. At Aldi, I frequently find them for less than $.99. You can also buy anti-oxidant rich pineapples at a ridiculously low price at Aldi – which can rejuvenate just about any boring smoothie out there (tomorrow’s post: my favorite smoothie recipe!)
Have you ever been to Aldi? What did you think? 
            My mom loved us when we were kids. But it’s tough to squeeze honey out of an almond, right? Which reminds me, you can also purchase almonds at Aldi for much less than anywhere else I have found. (You guessed it…more to come about the Almond, too.)
            So, until Tennie-Golf becomes a national sport and I hit the mother load for inventing it, I will see you at the local Aldi…in the produce section!


  1. Great stuff Ryan! I always wondered what Aldi was. Looking forward to more posts!

  2. Good Job Ryan - I have difficulties with Aldi's lack of customer service however realize that it comes with those price tags. I go for the fruit, milk and some specials.

  3. When you have to drive 30 minutes out-of-the-way to get to an Aldi, is it still worth the savings? I am honestly asking this! The closest one to me is about a 30 minute drive in good traffic. Having never been to one, I don't know whether to think that's awesome or not worth it!

    Love the first post, by the way! I can't wait to read more of your blog.

    P.S. Move your "Followers" above the "About Me" section. It makes it easier for people to connect - and the easier they can subscribe, the more likely they are to come back! :)

    1. Kami - good question about the 30 minute drive. What are the stores that are closest to you? Are there any other discount stores nearby? In my experience, there are "levels" of stores according to prices.

      Thanks for the feedback and suggestion! I move the "Followers" - great idea!

  4. Good blog :) Never knew u had a single parent mom like me :)

  5. I'm really looking forward to this. Thanks Ryan!

  6. I totally agree and am excited for your next post...maybe a tasty recipe??

  7. Love ALDI's. shopped there all the time in the states.

  8. I love Aldi's as well, however, in the Chicago area they are not always the cheapest when it comes to their produce. I actually paid more for cherries at Aldi's than I would've at another local grocery store. So I suppose it depends on the area and the sales of the other stores. But if you want to compare Aldi's to chain grocers like CUBS, Dominick's (Safeway), or Jewel (Alberton's) than Aldi's can be better...I'm just sayin check the weekly sales ads :)