When I started college, I learned hard and fast the value of yummy, quality food; how to budget; and just how much I appreciate my mom doing the grocery shopping. While I’ve always loved the ambience of Trader Joe’s, I found a new love for food shopping when a roommate introduced me to the European low-budget grocer ALDI. (Which, coincidentally, is kind of like Trader Joe’s cousin company?)

Since then, I’ve made it a personal mission to show everyone around me the ALDI light — particularly my fellow broke, hungry, and newly-adulting college friends.

When I first started shopping on my own, I often caught myself debating if I really should be spending a couple extra dollars on organic produce or quality cuts of meat. Luckily, ALDI doesn’t make you choose: the store’s mission is to “provide a faster, easier, and smarter way to save money on high quality groceries and more.”

Plus, ALDI claims to be the no. 1 ranked grocer in the United States for sustainability — higher than Whole Foods, Kroger, and yes, even TJs.

While I’ve noticed their produce peaks faster than major grocery stores (you know, the ones that sell a pint of raspberries for $7), you can’t argue with organic fruit at half the price. I was shocked when I spent $56 for two weeks worth of food (not including pantry staples) on my first shopping trip at ALDI, especially when I got a very similar haul at ShopRite for $92 two weeks before.

Not only are their prices for name-brand products competitive, ALDI also has some SLAPPIN’ dupe products for significantly less — think their version of RX Bars, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Pringles chips, Takis, Sparkling ICE, and more.

As someone who believes that chips and salsa is a criminally underrated snack, I can confirm that ALDI's version of Tostito's Scoops! are interchangeable with the original, if not a little crunchier, which I prefer for dipping!

When given both a name-brand Double-Stuf Oreo and the Benton Double-Filled Chocolate Sandwich creme cookies from ALDI, my five-year-old cousin didn’t know the difference, and my mom, aunt, and I almost preferred the texture of the Benton store brand.

Kennedy Dierks

When we tried the Benton Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookies, my family and I were immediately surprised by how similar they were to our favorite Girl Scout cookie, Samoas.

Kennedy Dierks

We're also stoked that, thanks to ALDI, Girl Scout Cookie Season is officially year-round with Lemonades and Tagalong dupes.

If dupes aren’t your thing, though, ALDI offers plenty of fan-favorite name-brand products.

These products (like Pop Tarts, La Croix sparkling water, Perfect Snacks, General Mills cereal, and Coca-Cola products) can be found at a slightly higher cost than their in-house brands dupes, but still cheaper than many major grocery stores.

Kennedy Dierks

I was amazed by the name-brand products at ALDI, and their prices. ALDI was on top of the autumn game with Limited-Edition Oreos and Seasonal Nestle Tollhouse products, and also flexed some of the lowest prices I’ve ever seen for GT’s Kombucha and Health Ade. Plus, I didn’t feel like they were skimping with less-than desirable flavors (hello, Trilogy!!).

Kennedy Dierks

Furthermore, ALDI is on top of the food and lifestyle trends and dietary needs, whether it be dairy-free, Keto-friendly, gluten-free, or vegan.

While I don’t love diet culture, I do absolutely LOVE ALDI-brand Mama Cozzi’s frozen cauliflower crust pizza when I’m looking for a lighter dinner. Plus, they offer a wide range of snacks that fit all dietary needs, from gluten-free General Tso’s Chicken Nuggets, bagels, and brownie mix; to vegetarian chickenless tenders or breakfast “sausage” patties; to dairy-free ice cream.

In addition to amazing groceries, ALDI also offers a variety of home goods that are trendy, adorable, and most of all, affordable.

Think cozy scented candles, fire pitskitchen appliances, high-tech drinkware, plants, seasonal décor, even an Air Fryer.

Hopefully, this is more than enough reason to check out your local ALDI grocer. If you do, two tricks of the trade:

First, you bag your groceries yourself. The cashiers are pro at moving you through the checkout line, but they put groceries directly from the belt back into the cart. Once you pay, stores have a convenient little counter area where you can bag your groceries. (If you forget your own bags, ALDI has adorable plastic and reusable bags for purchase.)

Last but not least, bring a quarter with you! By inserting a quarter, you unlock the shopping cart you can use for the trip. 

Don't worry, it doesn't cost a quarter. You’ll get your coin back when you lock your cart back up after your ALDI adventure.

I'll see ya in the aisles* of ALDI!

Kennedy Dierks

*Spilled Tikka Masala Sauce (hopefully) not included.