By Mike Thayer
Are you interested in saving money without sacrificing on quality to do it?
On my list of things to do today was grocery shopping, so after enjoying some bacon and eggs for breakfast (One never wants to grocery shop on an empty stomach) I headed out to my local Aldi to pick up a few eats. It was business as usual, but on a whim while loading groceries into my truck, I decided to head over to Dillon's, THE mainstream grocery store in the Wichita area. Pulling out my grocery list for a second time, I bought all the same stuff at the 'Top Dog' store for a cost comparison.
I focused on buying the store brand (Kroger) to make things fair. I did that because I already suspected Aldi would come out cheaper, but I thought it would be close in an item-by-item comparison. And if you didn't already know it, buying the name brand in most cases is like flushing money down the toilet. No, International Delight Coffee Creamer is not the best of its kind out there. A box of off-brand toasted oats is just as good as a box of Cheerios.
Here was my shopping list:
- Coffee Creamer
- Pork Sausage
- Little Smokies
- Sliced Cheese
- Baby Carrots
- Canned Mushrooms
- Parmesan Cheese
- Tortilla Chips
My cost at Aldi: $30.46
My cost at Dillon's: $43.19
The difference is $12.73 on just 16 items and I bought the store brand stuff (whenever possible) at Dillon's! I really didn't think the total bills would have such a big gap, but there it is, in black and white. Can you imagine how much larger that gap would have been if I had bought name brand products at Dillon's? And here's the kicker, I used my Dillon's loyalty card which rewards the purchase of the store brand stuff with discounts!
"So Mike," you ask, "Were there any notable product/price differences?"
Yes there was, most all to Aldi's advantage. Check out the following examples:
- The garden salad at Aldi was 89 cents for 12 ounces. The garden salad (remember, whenever possible, everything purchased at Dillon's was their in-store Kroger brand) at Dillon's was 99 cents for 12 ounces.
- The ham lunch meat at Aldi was $2.39, the ham lunch meat at Dillon's was $2.69, same weight containers.
- A 1/2 gallon of milk at Aldi was $1.13, a 1/2 gallon at Dillon's was $1.79.
- The price for a large Haas avocado at Aldi was just 49 cents. Dillon's offered medium Haas avocados at 99 cents each. Check out the pic!
All but three items purchased at Aldi were cheaper than the same but store brand item purchased at Dillon's. The only real outlier was the steak, but only because of weight. I bought a top sirloin cut at both stores. The steak at Aldi, cost $6.97. Now marinading in the fridge, it weighed in at 1.27 pounds, or $5.49 a pound. The steak at Dillon's, also marinading in the fridge along with the Aldi steak, cost $11.83, and that's with the loyalty card discount! It weighed in at 1.48 pounds, or $9.99 a pound. How the two steaks, using the same preparation, will differ in taste is another story.....
The bottom line to this story is, I'm a fan of Aldi. They offer quality products and significant savings over a traditional, mainstream, full-service grocery store. I have no problem bagging my own groceries. I enjoy saving money for virtually the same product and that allows me to budget those savings (significant savings) into other areas of life. I don't do any regular shopping at a mainstream, full-service grocery store and if/when I do shop at one, it's just to pick up a few items as a matter of convenience or to take advantage of a coupon deal. The mainstream store in my neck of the woods just happens to be closer to where I live, than the Aldi's or the Club Membership store (Costco, my second favorite grocery store) is. So there you have it, logistics, is pretty much the ONLY reason I would shop at a place like Dillon's.
Spend Wisely My Friends.....