So, in my quest to become a cheapskate, I’ve tried a few Aldi products.
Having pretty-much restricted myself to Aldi products made in Australia (food miles, though it’s something of a generalisation), and ruled-out some categories I’ve been warned about (fresh fruit and veg, meat), here’s what I’ve found so far:
The Weetbix clone — I’m a Weetbix snob. I have in the past rejected Vita Brits for being un-Weetbix-like. The Aldi version is close, but… not the same, somehow. The consistency is different. I’ve gone back to buying real Weetbix, which when on-sale isn’t too much more expensive than the Aldi version.
Light milk — as I noted previously, the Aldi milk is a fair bit cheaper than other brands. I’m not that keen on 2 litre milk bottles; they’re especially awkward for pouring small amounts, unlike the 1 litre cartons. But in any case I’ve started buying the Safeway brand milk as it’s more convenient than trying to get to Aldi every week. (An article a couple of months ago noted that milk prices are slowly dropping.)
Yoghurt (plain) — there’s something not quite right about this. It seems too watery. Will go back to the Jalna etc. Not much price difference anyway.
Homestyle mixed grain bread — Great, close enough to Helga’s, though the first loaf I bought included about 4 slices that had a noticeable hole in them, and it’s worth hunting around in the rack to find one with the latest possible expiry date. Other than that no complaints. Slices are a good size for jaffles.
The Sultana Bran clone — the “bran” isn’t really bran, it’s small flakes of wheat. So probably not as healthy. This isn’t a staple in our house, so just buying the real stuff when it’s on sale (and the price isn’t much different) is probably sufficient.
Long life juice — seems about the same to me, though the flavours are limited.
Tomato paste — fine, does the job, and unlike the Leggos stuff, it’s in a clearly recyclable glass jar. Not available in reduced-salt though.
Passata — great.
Recycled toilet paper — seems a little thinner and slightly more ragged than the Safe brand, but works fine. The savings aren’t compelling on this one, mind you, at about 6 cents difference per roll.
Muesli — good. Tasty.
Diced peaches in juice — good, yummy.
Hillcrest nut (Muesli-ish) bars — not that brilliant, at least not compared to the Carmans or Be Natural (a Kelloggs brand) meusli bars. I’ll wait for those to be on sale.
Bramwells Honey — sameish as the name brands.
As for non-grocery items, some cool cheap stuff shows up from time to time. But I’m very wary of Aldi’s consumer electronics, which seem to have a very mixed track record. Fine, they’ll replace anything that breaks down, but I’d rather stick to name brands and avoid the hassle in the first place. (My Pioneer DV-344 DVD player is still going strong after six years, for instance.)