Wondering what you can expect from Aldi’s new competitor in town? I tried Lidl for the first time, so keep reading to see how it compares to our favorite budget-friendly grocery store!
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My all-time favorite grocery store, Aldi, has some new competition in town!
Lidl, which is a German discount grocery store, recently made its US debut here on the East Coast. It was just my luck that a store opened right across the street from my local Aldi. As you can imagine, I was eager to give it a try!
By the way, Lidl rhymes with “needle,” just so we’re clear. 🙂
Being the Aldi fan that I am, I had some high expectations for Lidl. I expected an efficient store layout, minimum options for similar products (fewer choices equals less time shopping), and a low grocery bill.
I was pleasantly surprised that I got all that and more!
What to Expect From Lidl
Here are a few things you can expect when you visit a Lidl store.
Leave your quarter in your wallet
As you probably already know, when you shop at Aldi, you have to use a quarter to unlock a shopping cart.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aldi, you get your quarter back when you return the cart.
At Lidl, the shopping carts are just like the shopping carts at any other grocery store. No quarter required. You grab one on your way into the store, and you put it back in the return beside the building or in one of the returns in the parking lot.
This may sound silly, but I was overly impressed with the shopping cart I used. It was so smooth!
I’m sure the shopping carts will become wobbly and more difficult to maneuver as time goes on, but it was very nice using a new, undamaged cart for my first trip to Lidl.
Expect a little more variety
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety in the produce section! Lidl had butternut squash, spaghetti squash, eggplant, seeded and seedless grapes in three different colors, etc.
I’ve seen many of the same items in Aldi before, but never all at the same time.
If you feel like you eat the same fruits and veggies all the time, then you’ll appreciate having more produce to choose from.
The variety didn’t end with the produce section. I saw more options for categories such as candy, ice cream, meat, beauty items, and paper products. Neither Josh nor I drink alcohol, but I did see a huge selection of wines (and on pretty displays, I might add!).
Check out the bakery for some fresh goodies
I didn’t need any bakery items on this shopping trip, but I did notice that Lidl has its own bakery. And there were even real people working back there!
If you frequently need baked goods, you’ll appreciate this feature.
Enjoy the music while you shop
Have you ever heard music playing in your local grocery store? Now that I sit and think about it, I can’t recall ever hearing music in Aldi, Food Lion, Ingles, Harris Teeter, Publix, or BI-LO.
But you’ve probably heard music when shopping at other retailers. Many stores employ this tactic because it puts shoppers in a better mood. Better mood equals more spending! So why should grocery stores be any different?
Lidl has apparently caught on to this phenomenon because my local store had some catchy songs playing the whole time I was there.
If you’ve ever read my About Me page, then you know that I almost always have some sort of music playing in the background. Being able to listen to some of my favorite songs (hello, Goo Goo Dolls!) while grocery shopping made my heart happy.
Get picky with your produce
At Aldi, much of the produce is already bagged for you (lemons, limes, apples, etc.). But at Lidl, you have more control over the produce you buy.
Some things are still in bags (Roma tomatoes, organic apples, plums, etc.), but others aren’t. I was able to select the specific limes I wanted, and since I only needed a few of them, I didn’t have to pay more for limes I didn’t need. I was also able to pick out a big bunch of curly kale instead of buying pre-bagged kale.
I’ve never minded pre-bagged produce, but it was nice to pick out the exact pieces of produce I wanted and the number of each one that I needed.
Grab a few more brand-names
Lidl had more brand-name items than Aldi typically has. I saw real-deal Frosted Flakes next to Lidl’s frosted flakes. I also saw Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
I’m not sure if these are staple items that Lidl always carries or if they were rare finds like what you see in Aldi. Either way, I saw a noticeable difference in the amount of brand-name items.
Peruse the middle aisles for…underwear? And leopard print heels??
You know the middle aisles in Aldi where you can find all sorts of seasonal and specialty items?
I’ve found hanging flower baskets, refrigerator organizers, cookbooks, chair cushions, and tons of other household goods that are surprisingly well-made! I’m always eager to see the new things Aldi has to offer.
If you like that sort of thing too, then you’ll love Lidl’s specialty aisles. My local store has about twice the amount of space dedicated to these items as my local Aldi.
I saw Heidi Klum’s Esmara clothing line made exclusively for Lidl. I’m not one to buy things without trying them on first, but the clothes were definitely fashionable.
Sweaters, dresses, pants, leggings, camisoles, blouses, and coats were all there, packaged neatly and stacked in bins. I also saw black ankle booties and leopard print, pointed-toe heels. You could even get your bras and underwear there too!
Aside from clothing, Lidl also had typical household items like you’d normally find at Aldi. Bath mats, towels, shower organizers, bathroom scales, and kitchen utensils were some of the things I saw on this particular shopping trip.
Prepare for a surprisingly low grocery bill
Since Josh and I follow a mostly plant-based diet, I’m constantly on the lookout for affordable produce. I also prefer to buy organic and non-GMO when possible and practical.
When we made our lifestyle change, I quickly realized just how expensive these items can be! Seriously, we could not afford this healthier lifestyle without Aldi.
With that being said, I really hoped Lidl would live up to its name as Aldi’s competitor. I’ll take all the discount grocery stores I can get!
And Lidl didn’t disappoint.
When I got to the checkout, I honestly had no idea how much my bill would be. I didn’t calculate my total while shopping because I was more interested in learning about the store. I expected my bill to be around $50-60 for a week’s worth of groceries.
My total was $36.62. The cashier had used a $5 off coupon, so the bill was probably around $40 originally. But still! That’s a pretty sweet deal!
I also received another coupon for $5 off my next purchase of $30 or more.
I haven’t done a price comparison between Lidl and Aldi, but I’ve heard other people say that Lidl is slightly more expensive.
Based on this shopping trip alone, I couldn’t tell a big difference between the two stores. Some items may have been a little more, but I ended up spending roughly the same amount that I normally spend for a week’s worth of groceries.
Bring your own bags and bag your own groceries
If you’re familiar with Aldi, then you probably already know the drill here. You can either bring your own bags (these are my all-time favorite!) or buy reusable ones from Lidl.
You also bag your own groceries, although Lidl doesn’t have the same bagging area as Aldi.
At Aldi, you typically take your shopping cart to the back wall where you can bag your groceries without holding up the checkout line. At Lidl, there is no such designated area.
Instead, each checkout line (at my local store, anyway) has two conveyor belts. The cashier puts all of your groceries on the first belt so you can bag your groceries while he or she scans your remaining items.
If the cashier finishes your transaction before you’ve bagged all of your groceries, there’s no need to rush. He or she will simply put the next customer’s items on the second belt so they don’t get mixed in with yours.
In this way, the cashier can wait on the next person, and you won’t feel like you’re holding up the line.
Yes, Lidl may be a smidge more expensive than Aldi. However, I’ll definitely go back to take advantage of the variety it has to offer.
First impressions are a big deal, and I was overly impressed with my first Lidl shopping experience. I highly recommend you check them out if you have a store nearby!
Other Posts You May Enjoy
- 3 Grocery Shopping Tricks You Need to Try This Weekend
- Meal Planning Made Simple (free printable!)
- How to Afford a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget
- Cheap Healthy Food: Affordable Options for the Savvy Budgeter
What about you? What do you think of Aldi’s new competitor, Lidl?
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