We are broke around these parts. Real, real broke. I've sliced and diced that budget to the point where every penny is accounted for, and the only wiggle room we have is in food. I don't know about you, but food is not some place I like to skimp, so the wiggle room is in fact more of a tremor than an actual booty shake.
Despite our pea-sized town, we have an Aldi. I had never shopped there until a few months ago. I knew it was a grocery store, but after an ill-fated exploratory trip 2 years ago in Michigan, I was not interested. This occurred shortly after I got laid off, and my head was spinning with notions of bankruptcy and homelessness. I knew Aldi was a grocery discounter, but didn't understand the premise. When I walked through the doors, I didn't get why I had to pay a quarter for a cart. I didn't recognize the brands, and I didn't see anything familiar about the names. The prices were low, but I didn't believe there could be decent quality for such low dollars. Then. Then! Some creepy guy kept following me around the store, standing too close and making my very uncomfortable. I bought nothing, and fled as quickly as I could.
Because I love my dollars and cents, I decided to give Aldi another try. I did a little online research and discovered that Aldi is owned by the same German company that owns Trader Joe's. I also started watching the promo flyers that came in the mail. The prices were good. Really, really good. My first trip was brief - as it should be for a store that is about 1/8 the size of a normal grocery. I shopped, I cooked, I sampled. And it is good. Not perfect, but now that I am averaging a 20% savings, I am all on board with Aldi. I think this about sums it up: Aldi is the German Ikea of Food.
And as a favor to the Germans, here is a suggested disclaimer:
Aldi - we sell food, and a few other random things. You're not going to recognize the brand names on 90% of what we carry, but it won't really matter because our prices are so low. And yeah, our stuff is pretty tasty, too. So what if we don't carry 45 different kinds of soup? We DO carry the 4 flavors you buy every time you shop. You're still going to have to go somewhere else if you want a random item like buttermilk or cilantro. But you'll do it with a smile because you just saved another $25 this week. PS: our Candy Cane Chocolate Sandwich Cremes taste just like the ones at Trader Joe's and our Belgian Truffles are amazing. Your waistline won't thank us, but your wallet will.