Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wegmans vs. Aldi: Battle of the Grocery Stores

Now, I know some people will dither with the title of this post. Why? Because, they argue, Wegman’s is not just a “grocery store” -- it’s an experience. 
Well, yes, indeed it is. And for the record, I cannot imagine a time when I will not shop at Wegmans.   But I’ve been saving a lot of money at Aldi lately, so I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of each store to really see if it’s worth it to go to both stores every week.  Below are items that I have bought at both stores in the past month.  This price comparison does NOT take into account coupons, because most of these items are pantry staples and it is unusual to find coupons for many of them on a regular basis.
Cheaper at Aldi
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Deli Meat
  • Deli Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Baking Supplies (flour, oil)
  • Herbs & Spices
  • Oatmeal
  • Crackers
Cheaper at Wegmans:
  • Pretzels
  • Pasta
  • American Cheese Slices
Same at both:
  • Block Cheese
  • String Cheese

From this comparison, it certainly looks as if Aldi is the winner, doesn’t it? There are four pretty big caveats, though.
1. This list only compares “like” items.  There are some products, like bread and rolls, that I won’t buy at Aldi because I haven’t found any without HFCS added.

2. This doesn’t take into account items that are easy to use coupons on, like cereal. You can find cereal at Aldi for $1.89/box, which is $.10 cheaper than Wegmans’ store brand cereal, but at Wegmans I have used coupons to get cereal for $1.50 or less a box. 

3. Aldi is something of a wild card -- almost every time I’ve been there I’ve found a few national brand products at deeply discounted prices. Of course, I just got lucky that I happened to be there that day and found those items.

4. Fruit and vegetable prices are always MUCH cheaper at Aldi. But at least 50% of the time, they just don’t seem as fresh and good-looking as Wegmans’ produce, and I like that Wegmans has local sources for much of their in-season produce.
Final Thoughts
Based on my recent receipts at both Aldi and Wegmans, I save between $5 and $10 a week by shopping at Aldi.  This is enough for me to keep going there, especially since it’s only about a mile away from my Wegmans and it’s not another inconvenient trip to get there. However, I think the best strategy will be to stock up on what I need at Aldi every other week -- that way I can save a little time, and also make sure I have the items I know will be cheaper at Aldi.

I'm curious to hear what others do. Do you shop at 2 or more stores every week?

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At July 5, 2011 at 11:49 AM , Blogger amuhleisen said...

My last 2 big shopping trips I've been going to both Tops and Wegmans. We have a "thing" for Wegman's produce. It just seems like the freshest. Plus my husband loves a specific turkey they carry there. We also like that their chicken breast is $1.99/lb for the year. Being on weight watchers I also like the big packs of 95/5 ground beef at Wegmans. Plus Skinny Cow ice cream is cheaper there than at Tops. But Tops usually has good sales on other things so I've been getting their sale items or other things if they are cheaper then at Wegmans. I don't know why we don't go to Aldi we just don't. I think I just got into my Tops/Wegmans comfot zone. So this week I spent $82.32 (saved 10.92) at Wegmans, and $97.36 (saved 60.87) at Tops.

At July 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

I've just gotten into Tops a little as well for the same reasons you state -- because they sometimes have really great cheap/free coupon deals.
I agree -- you can't live without ice cream. :)

At July 12, 2011 at 9:10 PM , Blogger JRFrugalMom said...

I have come to the same conclusion about Aldi, and I try to make it there at least once every two weeks.

I buy most of my produce at Aldi, and I usually save between $10 and $20 on each trip.

Thank you for participating in last week’s Wednesday Window @ Frugality Is Free. I hope you’ll stop by to link up your favorite blog post this week as well.


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