How to Cut Your Meat Budget in Half at Aldi, According to an Employee

published Mar 4, 2024
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Wilmington, DE/USA - April 6, 2019: Aldi grocery store.
Credit: Abigail McCann/Shutterstock

With the price of food fluctuating — and generally rising rather than falling — I try to save and pinch pennies whenever and wherever I can. As a savvy shopper (my favorite grocery store is Aldi, afterall), I’ve found I can meet most of my family’s grocery needs at the competitively low-priced retailer, thereby saving a lot in the process. 

Over the years I’ve reached certified Aldi-nerd status (as we fans call ourselves), and have developed a keen ability to suss out even more savings. The single best Aldi deal that many people overlook is the markdowns — especially when it comes to meat (and other perishables). Here’s how you can spot these deals on your next Aldi run. 

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

What You Should Know About Meat Markdowns at Aldi

Aldi grocery stores mark down meat and other perishable products several times a week. As these products approach their use by or freeze by dates, Aldi has to sell them more quickly to avoid having to discard them (due to food date labeling requirements, these items are often deemed ineligible for donation). If you have room in your freezer, you can even stock up and thereby reduce your future grocery bills. 

I’ve scored bacon-wrapped filets for $2 a filet, three pounds of pork chops for $5 (total!), and an 18-pound turkey for just $16 — that’s about 89 cents per pound. Oh, I also got an entire ham for less than $10. I’ve found deals on breads, bagged salads, and other produce items, but the biggest reductions I’ve found reside in the meat department.

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

The deals are marked in one of two ways. First, items will often have a big red sticker offering discounts by the dollar amount ($1 or $2 off, usually) or percentage (50% off). If you spot an item with multiple dollar-off stickers, the total number of stickers added together will be the actual price reduction. I love it when I spot more than one red sticker on a package of meat or a bag of bread. 

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

Secondly, on occasions it’s an extra-special deal, there will be a sign taped to the cooler indicating the price-per-pound markdowns. That was the case for both the turkey and the ham.

In the vast majority of cases, the markdowns are not calculated on the packages themselves. Cashiers have to manually enter the codes or the discounts. That’s why it’s important to look at your receipts after checking out. I’ve had cashiers forget to input the discount. When I politely point that out, though, they’ll either credit my card or hand me the cash difference.

Credit: Jeanette Hurt

When’s the Best Time to Shop for Discounts?

Some people swear by shopping at Aldi on Sunday nights, while others say the middle of the week is when you’ll find the best deals. (Aldi Finds drop on Wednesdays, so midweek some items routinely go on sale.) 

While the exact day of the week is up for debate, I can say the absolute best time to shop for meat markdowns is in the morning, right after the store opens. As a cashier explained to me, Aldi is not allowed to sell any products on their actual sell-by date, so the day before, a clerk comes in at 6 a.m. to mark down any products that need to sell fast. 

Although I’d never gone into Aldi that early, as I’m typically an evening or late-afternoon shopper, I followed the cashier’s advice the next day, and found ground beef, chicken thighs, and whole organic chickens that were all half-off.

To give you an idea of the savings: A five-pound organic chicken costs about $15. I bought one for $7.50 and was able to feed my family for two-and-a-half meals, plus use the bones for stock. I grabbed an extra chicken to toss into my deep freezer for future me. This was a bounty of bargains, and I vowed right then and there to make a morning Aldi run at least once a month. 

Have you spotted these markdowns at Aldi? Tell us about it in the comments below.