10 Important Tips for Shopping at Aldi for Thanksgiving and Beyond

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

If you’re considering Aldi as a place to do some or even all of your Thanksgiving shopping, there are a few key elements you need to be aware of. We covered some tips in our first look at Aldi, but when it comes to a big shop, there are even more details to know about. Here are 10 important tips to keep in mind.

1. Shop early.

Since Aldi stocks a limited inventory, do your Thanksgiving shopping early. If your schedule allows, plan to shop when the store opens. In the morning, you’ll find fewer shoppers in the aisles and fully stocked shelves.

2. Check the store hours.

Check your local store hours. Most Aldi stores open later and close earlier than traditional grocery stores.

3. Don’t assume Aldi’s prices are cheaper.

Most grocery stores offer sales on Thanksgiving essentials during the month of November. Those sales usually hit their peak about two weeks before Thanksgiving.

While Aldi offers low prices on many items, they might not beat another store’s sale. It’s worth taking the time to compare Aldi’s prices with other stores to make sure you’re getting the very best prices. You can find the Aldi sale flyer both online and in stores.

4. Don’t call ahead.

Aldi doesn’t list phone numbers for individual stores. This means you can’t call ahead to check store hours or see if something is in stock.

If you happen to leave something at the store, like your wallet or phone, while shopping, you can call their 800-number. A phone operator will take your message and contact the store on your behalf. Even in cases like this, you won’t talk to the store directly.

5. Have a backup plan.

If you can’t find everything you need at Aldi, have a backup plan — especially for turkey. Aldi’s supply runs notoriously low. Keep your eye on the sales at other stores in case you need to head there after Aldi.

6. Bring a quarter.

The carts at Aldi are tethered together. To free one for shopping, you need a quarter. (This gets refunded when you return the cart.) If you want to make someone’s day, give them your cart. It’ll cost you 25 cents, but the joy you’ll bring to someone’s day makes it worth it.

7. Bring bags and boxes.

Aldi does not provide free shopping bags of any type. If you need a bag, you have to pay for it. Bring your own bags — and boxes for heavy items — and you’re all set.

8. Pay and walk away.

You won’t find a bagger at Aldi. You have to pack your own groceries. Don’t do this at the checkout. After the clerk scans your items, he or she will put them into a waiting cart. You pay and then bag your own groceries on a counter at the front of the store.

9. Get wine (if you can).

Many Aldi stores carry a small selection of wine at really low prices. Remember to shop early if you need to buy enough wine for a large Thanksgiving gathering. (The website lists which store carry wine.)

10. Return items if you’re not happy.

If you aren’t happy with a purchase, you can return it. Aldi offers a “double guarantee.” They replace the product and refund the original purchase price. As with most return policies, there are exclusions, for items such as alcohol and non-food items.