Seven secrets for brilliant bargains at Aldi and Lidl
Now that Lidl has overtaken Waitrose to become the UK's seventh biggest supermarket, Aldi and Lidl have bagged 7% and 5.2% of the grocery market respectively.
If you're yet to discover the joys of the discounters, and fancy dipping your toe in the waters, there are seven excellent ways to bag an incredible bargain.
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Fans of the discounters will never shop anywhere else, and boast enormous savings. If you're open to trying new things, and have a flexible diet, then joining them could be the biggest boost to your household finances for years.
If you're not sure however, there are seven routes in, so you can pop in for a smaller shop, and guarantee a huge discount on some brilliant products.
1. Start with the basics
The discounters will usually undercut the big four on the basics, where it's impossible to tell the produce from one shop from another. It means it's the only sensible place to buy things like milk, eggs, salt, and pepper.
2. Check out the weekly 'fresh' deals
Aldi has a 'super 6' in the fruit and vegetable aisle and the meat department, while Lidl has the Pick of the Week. You can get some huge bargains on seasonal produce, which can dramatically undercut the big four. Of course, if they have a glut, the big four will make price cuts too, so check mysupermarket.com to be on the safe side.
3. Try the 'posh ranges'
Aldi has 'Specially Selected' and Lidl has the 'Delux' range. They include everything from smoked salmon to lobster and Parma ham to hand-cooked crisps, and have been designed to offer high-end food at a knock-down price. They're a great entry point for anyone who is worried that the discounters might be a bit low brow for their gastronomic needs.
4. Consider the bakery
The stores with in-store bakeries should be your early morning destination for breakfast in bed. Fancy croissants from the high street can set you back £1 each, from Tesco the freshly baked ones will cost 70p, but in Lidl they are 35p - and are still warm and fresh. Likewise a fresh sandwich baguette will cost 45p from Tesco, and while you can currently get four for £1 - they're just 19p in Lidl.
5. Keep an eye on awards
Aldi in particular has been winning a raft of awards for everything from whisky and gin to Nespresso compatible coffee pods. This year's Grocer own-brand awards produced wins for everything from bacon and cheddar to fudge and pizza. If you want to start by trying one or two items, these would be the best place to start.
6. Pick up your booze
The discounters regularly win awards for their own-brand booze, but the wine in general is worth checking out at the discounters too. As part of their drive to appeal to posher shoppers, they stock a range of wines at all sorts of different price points, which have won a number of high end awards and plaudits from wine writers.
If you don't know where to start, look out for the Decanter and International Wine Challenge rosettes on the bottles.
7. Stay on top of the 'Special Buys'
Aldi and Lidl both offer these: the random non-grocery items that come and go a couple of times a week. It's worth checking online or in the in-store magazines for forthcoming deals, because some of the brilliant buys fly off the shelves incredibly fast. The £29.99 inflatable pool, for example, was the hit of the summer, and went in seconds.
Of course, once you have come for the bargains, nobody will blame you for trying a handful of other items while you're there. Who knows, within a few months, you too might become a die-hard fan, sacrificing brands, accepting an element of compromise over choice, and counting the fortune you have saved from your new frugal shopping habits.