The Ultimate – Discount Grocer – Comparison Shopping Showdown!
Say “Hello” to Lidl
If you live on the east coast, you may have noticed a new store popping up: Lidl, (pronounced like “beatle,” but with an “L”).
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Based in Germany, Lidl has 10,000 stores across Europe and the United States. While I can’t find an exact number of U.S.-based stores at this time, they’re expected to have 300 by the year 2020. Which means, you may see one in your neighborhood soon.
Lidl’s stores are large and open. You are immediately greeted by a small bakery and floral section, both of which boast amazing prices! I can highly recommend the white chocolate, macadamia nut cookie ($0.52 each when you buy two).
The store also offers kiddy carts for little munchkins that want to help Mom, and a large, discount alcohol section, when Mom needs to help herself.
Lidl has a relatively large, open produce area and a small section of organic and gluten-free offerings. There are plenty of international treats to find throughout the aisles and the center of the store houses some ever interesting, super cheap finds. A few of the things I came across today included:
- Teddy Bear Knitting Kit, $4.99
- Makeup Mirror, $5.99
- Esmara (by Heidi Klum) Ladies Sandals, $14.99
- Cast Iron Roaster, $24.99
- Stereo Soundbase, $49.99
Even More Savings
You’ll occasionally stumble upon a discount coupon (it never hurts to ask the cashier if they have an extra), but you will need the app in order to get your main savings. Create your account and scan the QR code at the register when you make your purchase. There’s no selecting coupons, you automatically get every one they have available.
The store has recently implemented an extra discount if you make three $20+ purchases in a month. I hit my target today and was awarded with 30% off frozen foods for the rest of the month. Admittedly, not the greatest deal, but hopefully they will get better in the future.
It’s Not Aldi
Not to be confused with Aldi, which has been a household name in the U.S. since the 1970’s. Also founded in Germany, Aldi is now headquartered in Batavia, Illinois, and has 1,600 stores in the U.S.
I have been an avid shopper for three years now, but I recall my grandparents shopping there when I was a child. And, today, you can even take two children with you as the carts seat two munchkins easily. Just don’t forget your quarter! If you’re not aware, you’ll need that to gain access to a cart, but don’t worry, it will be returned when you return the cart.
But Aldi’s Got a Lot, Too
Aldi features a large line of organic foods called Simply Nature and they, too, are home to some gluten-free options. There stores range in size and the one I frequent most often is smaller than the local Lidl. They have tighter aisles and this one even has a police officer on duty all the time. Not really a settling experience.
Aldi, does, though, offer some interesting products. Today I found the following:
- Ladies Ultra Soft Socks, 2-pack, $3.99
- Mini Salad Growing Kit, $7.99
- “501 Screen-free Activities for Kids” Book, $11.25
- Deep Fryer, $19.99
- Sewing Machine, $39.99
Not to mention their new line of 80’s themed cheeses.
Another perk is the ability to get Kicks through the Shopkick app, and even order delivery through Instacart.
The Initial Showdown
Business Insider did a comparison of Lidl to other grocery stores in 2017, when their first U.S. store opened. They found that “Lidl is about 9% cheaper than Walmart…The price check also found that Lidl was 3% cheaper than its German rival Aldi and 16% cheaper than Food Lion. Aldi disputes the analysts’ findings, however, and said according to its own price check, Aldi is 3% cheaper than Lidl,” (Peterson, 2017).
My Background with the Stores
When we lived in Kentucky and Ohio, Aldi was my go to. It’s how I prepped and planned three weeks of freezer meals for #1’s arrival. I even tried to induce labor by grocery shopping for all those ingredients the day before I went into labor. (#1 was four days late at that point and I would have gladly gone into labor on Aldi’s floor if it meant he’d come out).
So, now that we live in North Carolina, we have both Aldi and Lidl. But the real question is, who is the ultimate discount grocer? Time to do a little comparison shopping.
Commence the Showdown
Since it’s now 2019, and that research I found is a little outdated, I decided to do a little comparison shopping of my own to determine which grocery store will actually save me the most money.
I made a short list of 10 items that I commonly put in my cart on a weekly basis. They are as follows:
- Applesauce Pouches
- Broccoli Florets
- Brown Rice
- Cheddar Cheese
- Chicken Breast
Then I grabbed my reusable bags (needed at both locations) and quarter (needed at Aldi for cart access) and headed out the door for comparison shopping.
Here’s What I Found:
|Apples (gala, 3 lb. bag)||$3.19 each||$3.29 each|
|Applesauce Pouches (4-pack)||$1.49/box||$1.89/box|
|Bread (whole wheat, sliced sandwich)||$0.89/loaf||$0.99/loaf|
|Broccoli Florets (frozen, 12 oz. bag)||$1.89*/bag||$1.09/bag|
|Brown Rice (instant, 14 oz. box)||$1.45/box||$1.49/box|
|Cheddar Cheese (mild, shredded)||$2.15 (16 oz.)||$1.99 (12 oz.)|
|Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless, sold in family packs)||$1.79/lb.||$1.89/lb.|
|Eggs (dozen, large)||$0.98||$1.15|
|Hamburger (80/20, sold in 2+ lb. packs)||$2.79/lb.||$2.79/lb.|
|Milk (gallon, 2%)||$1.52||$1.20|
*Only available in organic.
Ok, I’m not going to lie, a $0.07 difference is pretty lackluster. I was honestly expecting a much more dramatic amount. Either way, both of these stores have a lot to offer, and at extremely reasonable prices. You’d be silly to shop anywhere else.
Though, if you’re looking for the amenities of a big box grocer, I’d stick with Lidl. The bakery and floral sections alone are worth a look.
But, until Lidl makes its way out West, you may just have to be an Aldi shopper.
What are your favorite grocery stores to score huge savings at? Tell me in the comments below!
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