MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Kroger vs. Aldi: Which is cheaper?

Is it cheaper to shop at Aldi or Kroger? If you’ve ever wondered, read this post for the full scoop on which store is actually cheaper.

{Note from Crystal: While I love shopping at Aldi, I’m also such a fan of Kroger markdowns, so this was a fun guest post to read!}

Guest post from Heather of The Debt-Free Mama

I grew up with a mama who LOVED our local Aldi store — it’s how she stretched those dollars to feed our family of eight kids.

When my husband and I started our marriage in 2009 with $75,000 of student loans, payday loans, AND credit card debt, we were determined to pay it all off as fast as possible.

With an Aldi store right down the road from our home, it became my go-to grocery stop over the years. My husband tried to convince me to use coupons for other stores but I refused to try anything different.

Trying Out Kroger for One Month

We started 2019 with a renewed energy and focus to pay off our mortgage of $99,000 over the next five years.

However, by early February I realized I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching — I wasn’t trying new strategies to save money.

Thanks to MoneySavingMom.com’s Instagram account, I had been watching her savings at Kroger for months. So I gave in and decided to try an experiment. I told my family and friends, “Okay, I’m going shop at Kroger for one month and see if I can save money.”

The day came. I had saved digital coupons and knew I should scan the perimeter of the store for the markdowns. But I had no menu list, no shopping list. What I DID have were sweaty pits and cold hands just thinking about something different — something completely outside of my shopping comfort zone!

I Felt So Awkward!

I took a deep breath, walked into Kroger, and shopped through my Kroger coupon app.

You guys, I felt so awkward. Not to mention, it took me over an hour to shop. Plus I still spent more than I expected I would!

I went home, looked at my purchases and then scanned my pantry and freezer to see what meals I could put together for a few dinners.

I continued visiting a couple local Kroger stores 3-4 times a week for about a month. I got faster each time and more creative with our dinners.

My Best Finds at Kroger:

  • $0.29 per packet of Simple Truth organic baby food (normally $1.25)
  • $0.19 half gallon of milk (normally $1.79)
  • $0.25 pint of cottage cheese (normally $1.25)
  • $8.47 for 3.15lbs of pork chops (normally $17.29)
  • $9.34 for 2.84 lbs of beef stew (normally $17.01)
  • $.79 for a package of smoked polish sausage (normally $1.99)
  • $0.99 for dozen Simple Truth organic eggs (normally $2.79)

In my normal Aldi routine of picking meals for the week, making the list, and then buying what I needed, I kept myself to $100-$120 weekly. However I often spent extra fun money by stopping in at the Walmart next door. Browsing equaled spending more than I needed to and buying things that weren’t essential for our home.

Because I was now ONLY shopping with coupons at Kroger, I saved on our grocery budget, AND in the fun money category.

I saved $46.66 just using the digital coupons. This DOES NOT include all of the money I saved buying clearance items. We also saved in our gas category by using our Kroger points at their gas station.

I saved a total of $100 in February by trying this new technique.

I know I could save even more over time because I’d get smarter and learn how to layer coupon deals.

What I Enjoyed About This Method:

  • Finding killer deals on dairy and meat.
  • Getting creative with our meals.
  • Dinner seemed quicker to prepare because they weren’t complex recipes.
  • We got to try different items or brands because they were on sale.

What Was Challenging For Me:

  • I have a baby and a toddler with me so nothing is quick in-and-out.
  • I had to make sure I always knew what was already in my pantry and fridge.
  • I needed to make sure we ate up the produce (clearance) more quickly so it didn’t spoil.
  • I am a unit-cost shopper and often I felt like the coupon deals still weren’t a better price than the Kroger brand of the same item.

My Plan Going Forward:

Since quick in-and-out isn’t part of my life right now, I still plan to utilize my Aldi store on a regular basis. However, I have decided to adjust my meal planning routine that continues to save me money.

Instead of picking recipes for a week’s worth of dinners, I use what we already have, piece together dinners, and fill in the holes. I did this process just last night and was surprised to find that I already had the majority of four dinners on hand — I just needed an item here or there to supplement. Then I added a chunk of items for when we have guests over next Sunday.

I still plan on stopping by Kroger a couple mornings a week to snatch up the clearance meat. I will also keep an eye on their Friday/Saturday ONLY sales and buy only the items that will really benefit our family.

Lessons Learned From This Kroger Experiment:

  1. It’s okay to try new things. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s necessary for growing as an adult. You might discover you like the new thing.
  2. When you’re new at something, you aren’t going to do it perfectly. That’s okay, too.
  3. When you try a new thing in one area of your life, you become more open to trying new things in other areas of your life.

This experiment started out as a challenge to save money for our family. While I did do that, the real value came when I opened up to other new things in my life. I hope that reading about my experience encourages you to try a new method in saving money for you and your family.

You never know. You might just LOVE it!

Heather Burgette inspires and educates women to boss their dollars, everything from budgeting to saving and investing. Heather shares her own journey of paying off debt at The Debt-Free Mama.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

28 Comments

  • Tonya says:

    Hi

    I was trying to watch your cooking video with the bread and eggs recipe. There were 11 video ads that popped up and interrupted the video. I finally became so discouraged that I gave up. You might want to try watching the cooking video as well. Please try to cut it down to 1 video ad. Thanks.

    • All of the cooking videos are available on Facebook without ads. 🙂

      https://www.facebook.com/pg/MoneySavingMom/videos/?ref=page_internal

      The video ads here in the posts and on the sidebar help cover the very expensive costs of running a site that has the kind of traffic we do (it costs us thousands and thousands of dollars every month just for the technology), but feel free to head over to Facebook anytime you want to watch my videos without ads. The videos here are just to help cover the website costs. I hope that helps and thank you for reading here!

  • Jessica says:

    I really really wish we had a Kroger here in town so I could pop in every day to check for markdowns. As it stands we have Walmart & 2 small local (read more expensive) stores. As much as I love to support small businesses, we’re having to go into super shoestring mode. So I take one day every 2 weeks, when the kids are both in school, and drive 30 minutes south to do all our shopping at Kroger, Aldi, & Sam’s. I’m starting to wonder how much this really saves though because of the gas it takes to get there…

    • Jessica, that’s a really good point. I have 2 Kroger stores and 2 Aldi stores within 5 miles of my house. I think every person has to consider what makes the most sense for their situation.

    • Sara Evans says:

      If you are doing it every 2 weeks I would say it’s worth it. You are going to more than one store making it more worth while. Also, look at doing other errands first. I have to drive to get to stores other than Kroger (25 minutes). I plan a whole day around it.

  • Kathleen says:

    When is the best time to shop at Kroger for the markdowns?

    • I’ve found that it really depends from store to store. I’d recommend asking your produce manager/meat/dairy manager and also try going on different times/days to see if you notice a pattern.

    • Amber says:

      I’ve found Monday/ Tuesday mornings (before sales switch on Wed) to be the best time, and also Thursday mornings

  • Shannon Ryder says:

    I worked for Kroger for 9 years. It honestly depends on the store. Some people at my store did Mark downs first thing in the morning, like meat and bakery to see what new items needed to be put out, some people didn’t do Mark downs until the end of thier shift so it would be cleared out by the next morning. Always ask a working when they do them, or if you see something close dated (with in 2-3 days) and ask if they will mark it down. They normally do!!

  • jennifer says:

    So what is it about Aldi that makes it quicker for in/out trips? Is it just because you know the layout better? Not familiar with either store.

    • Need Anap says:

      Probably partly because Aldi doesn’t accept coupons so you don’t have to worry about those. Plus Kroger does a lot of buy 5 save $5 type of sales so you have to keep track of counting items. Just my $.02.

    • Part of the ease of getting in and out for me is that Aldi doesn’t have different brands/choices. You just get one option of most items.

    • HEATHER BURGETTE says:

      They are smaller stores and easy to get to know once you go often enough. I know mine well enough that I can make my list based on the aisles and order of products.

    • Susan Cullen says:

      In my case, Aldi is a small store with just five aisles so it’s so much easier to navigate. I don’t get overwhelmed. The wal-mart and stop and shop in my area are twenty aisles. So much more real estate. I don’t need a big store. I don’t need a choice of 15 kinds of bbq sauce. I also really appreciate buying milk for $1.43 instead of $3.99 so Aldi is my best choice.

    • Sabrina says:

      Aldi has a smaller footprint, less stock and it’s the same basic layout from store to store. Plus no apps to fiddle with.

      Aldi is made simple. Plus the workers do checkout fast.

  • Beth says:

    I hate shopping and have a 5 year old, a toddler, and a 7 month old. You couldn’t pay me to take them shopping two and three times a week. 🙂 I use a similar meal planning concept but do it for a month. I have a deep freezer which makes it easier to buy that much food. I’ve been doing this since December and it’s worked well. I make pickup orders for Sam’s and Walmart and also shop at Kroger and Aldi. The planning part probably takes 3 hours although I’m getting faster. The shopping haul takes about three hours (stores are nearby). If we run out or I forget something we wait until our quick mid month trip to Aldi for milk and some produce or we do without until the next month. Because I’m only going once a month my husband watches the kids for me. I do miss out on some sales and mark downs but it’s worth the time saved at this point in our lives. Figuring out your priorities and resources is important. I love your comments about trying something new.

    • Jana P. says:

      This is a great point about how we have to do what is best for our families at the time, but then remember that in a few years, these habits might need to be changed. I have three kids close together in age, so there were many years that I would only do the big shopping trips that you are currently doing. Now that my kids are teens and other situations in our life have changed, several smaller trips a week actually work better for us. I am still wrapping my head around this since I was so ingrained to the practice that “I couldn’t make multiple trips to the store”. It is a great idea to always be evaluating what might work best and not be afraid to try something new.

    • Sab says:

      Good to try new stuff. I do shop with 3+ kids but Aldi makes it easy. But I always wonder how the 1x shoppers do about produce. We eat a lot of fresh/froz produce so that 1x thing doesn’t work. It’s useful to get creative and cook with what’s there.

      • Beth says:

        A lot of one time shoppers actually make one big haul and then another small stop later in the month. I usually make a short stop for milk and produce later in the month. I have a deep freezer so I can buy lots of frozen veggies at the beginning of the month. I try to get my kids to eat the more perishable fruits first and then save the apples and applesauce for the end of the month. Same with veggies – fresh at the beginning and frozen toward the end.

  • Diane says:

    I have 4 small kids and won’t take them shopping either. We mostly shop at aldi with one of us at home with the kids. Time is very valuable and you’re probably saving by not going often.

  • Bonnie says:

    I have shopped both a long time; there is a Kroger 5 min from my house (but it’s small & limited variety), as well as 2 others, 1 west side and 1 east side 0f town from me – about 15 min either way; Aldi about 15 min. My concern was when you said you are visiting a couple stores 2-3 x a week . . . thinking cost effective? There are some things I get at Aldi, knowing a better deal than at Kroger, BUT Kroger has some pretty competitive items, esp with their Kroger brand, digital coupons and when I know I’m close to another 10 cents off for gas, (it’s up to $2.85 here in Bton IN!) *really don’t like the buy 5 or 6 things to get a deal at Kroger any more . . . only husband & I at home, family doesn’t live close, so I’m an Ad shopper, with Fresh Thyme and Lucky’s in town, I see what they have, usually just 1-2 things & more deals on meat I go for. I hear you have to be at Kroger early morning for deals, not doing it. All 4 kids grown and used to feed a family of 4 for $100 or less a week, by bargain/coupon shopping in another area, that the store price matched others. I like a good deal/bargain like anyone else, so you have to pick your battles & keep your eyes open for them! Good luck and happy shopping. B

  • Laurie Villotta says:

    I used to be a die hard Aldi shopper. But when I realized my Kroger a few steps from my front door I have not turned back. I am not coupon girl, but do like digital coupons and downloads. Our markdowns are always first thing in the morning so on my day off you can find me there. I also love their pick up service. I just order online and pick up when my order is ready. Even nicer everything is linked to my card so I get all the same deals that I would get in store. My Kroger has excellent fruit and veggies. The last time I did pick up they were out of some things. They gave me rain checks and also a $15 gift card for the inconvience. I would have loved this service when my kids were little. I am surprised those with little ones do not use this service more often.

  • Marie says:

    I’ve been going to get the markdowns on Monday mornings I have off from work (once a month or so). My husband will run out on Fridays for milk if we run out. This has made meal planning and saving money so much easier!

  • Berkey says:

    Around me, the Aldi’s are smaller and the Kroger is bigger, so I always defer there. With that being said, there’s some great tips here, and I may try to get that clearance meat on a morning before I host a weekend bbq with friends.

  • Anna Rose says:

    For me, Crystal’s Kroger markdown wins became my inspiration to look for clearance at my favorite Aldi. (I used to get whiny in my head about it because I really don’t like going to Kroger.) I’ve bought 10-cent greek yogurt, half-hams for $5, family pack skinless-boneless chicken breast for $1, 55-cent cinnamon raisin bread and lots more, 25-cent 40pack box of gummy snacks.

    Every week I find something comparable to Crystal’s score except for salads and avocados- I’ve never seen produce marked down at Aldi.

  • Jonny says:

    I think this depends on the types of foods your are buying as well. I only have jewel osco, local shops, Aldi, & Walmart available to me. I do better with Aldi & local meat/fresh market. I cook from scratch & so I use very few convenience or processed foods so the bulk of my items come from Aldi. My nearest Kroger is may 45 miles away but Kroger also owns Food 4 Less and Mariano’s. I am not fond of Food 4 Less but I do like Mariano’s but it’s hi end so only shop there for gourmet items. Also BigLots is good for basic spices. Last Amazon I sent often good for some bulk spices that are not stocked in stores in my area.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *