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Money saving

11 tips to survive an Aldi or Lidl shop

Posted 23 June 2015

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Budget supermarket trips don’t need to be stressful – find out how you can come out on top.

When money’s tight, one of the first ways you’ll probably look to cut back is by doing your weekly shopping at a budget supermarket. If you’ve only ever shopped at one of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets before (that’s Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons), switching to Aldi or Lidl might be something of a culture shock, however, once you’ve been you’ll probably wish you’d tried a budget supermarket earlier!

They’re laid out a bit differently to traditional supermarkets so you’ll need to be prepared before your first trip. Worry not – here are our top tips for getting through your first Aldi or Lidl shop:

1. Pound for the trolley 

Make sure to keep a pound coin in your pocket whenever you’re doing an Aldi or Lidl shop, as you’ll need it for the trolley. If you’re likely to spend it, you can pick up a trolley token keyring from most big shops.

2. Bring your own bags 

Aldi and Lidl charge you for carrier bags and if you’re not prepared, you’ll have to make the choice between paying 10p for each bag or trying to juggle everything in your arms. Make it easier for yourself by bringing a few carrier bags with you to help you pack without the dilemma.

3. Check the deals 

One of the best things about shopping at discount supermarkets is the special deals they offer every week. Get ahead of the game by signing up to the Lidl email newsletter so you know about the Lidl Surprises for the week. For Aldi, download the app or pick up a leaflet in-store to find out about the week’s Super 6 vegetable deals.

4. Get your timing right

If you go to a budget supermarket during peak times, it’s easy to get stressed out so try and plan to go when it won’t be so packed. The busiest periods will be Friday evenings, on Thursdays and Sundays when Aldi Special Buys come out, or on Thursdays and Mondays when Lidl deals go on sale.

5. Take a list 

You NEED to plan what you’re going to buy before you go. When it’s your first time at Aldi or Lidl, it’s easy to get dazzled by the low prices and spend loads on buying stuff you don’t need just because it’s cheap.

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6. Stick to the edges

If you’re in a rush and are just popping in to get some basics, stick to the edges of the store. The middle bins in Aldi are for Special buys and household items, and for toys in Lidl, and this is where it will get the busiest.

7. Stock up on your favourites 

When there’s something you really like in stock, buy it and buy in bulk! The ranges in discount supermarkets change so often and it might not be there next week, so buy stuff that will last you a few weeks.

8. Prepare to go elsewhere 

If you’re looking for a specialised ingredient for a recipe, you might have to pick these up elsewhere. You might get lucky on an Aldi Special buy theme week but if you’re searching for a specific curry sauce or vegetable, you could be out of luck.

9. Trust the brands 

Don’t worry because you don’t recognise any of the brands. The majority of Lidl and Aldi products are made for them and most of these will be as good as or better than famous names.

10. Wait for Aldi baby events

If you’ve got kids or babies, wait for the baby and toddler events at Aldi. Mums rave about how great the Mamia range is and you can pick up cots, prams or highchairs for a purse-friendly price.

11. Move to the packing area 

When you’ve paid for your shopping (and been shocked at how much you’ve saved!), get everything into your trolley as quickly as possible. Cashiers don’t move as fast anywhere as they do in Aldi and Lidl and you’ll have to pack your bags in the bagging area away from the tills. Hang around near the till for too long and you’re likely to get a grumpy look from seasoned budget supermarket shoppers!

Do you shop at Aldi or Lidl? Let us know your tips for saving money on your groceries on our Twitter page!

by Emily Bancroft

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.