Is it possible to save money at the discount supermarkets?
Aldi and Lidl are the leading global discount supermarkets but since they are already the cheapest, we’ll delve deeper to discover if there are any hacks for saving you even more money.
Sign up to Lidl Plus
Aldi does not have a loyalty scheme at this time, but Lidl has a great one called Lidl Plus that can save you up to 10% on your shop.
Download and scan the app every time you shop and your spending is tracked. Once you spend £50, you usually get a free bakery item. Spend £100 and you’ll pick up another treat – for me this month is a yoghurt or dessert. Spend £150 and you can pick up another free item – this time a cleaning product. Spend a cumulative total of £250 in a month and you’ll get 10% off your next shop.
Top tip: if you earn a free bakery item, then use it on a loaf of bread to get the most value from it. You’ll find a list of what’s included in this coupon if you open it in the app and scroll to the ‘items included’ section.
Activate Lidl offers in the app
Another part of the Lidl Plus scheme are weekly coupons and offers that’ll give you money off. It’s usually a percentage off, but it can also be multibuy savings. You’ll need to activate these and then scan the app to get the discounts.
Look out too for other offers, such as bigger coupons off total spends, or competitions such as a recent one where one in 10 customers won a £10 off voucher. We’ll share really good promotions in our Loyalty Scheme Deals page.
Get “happy hour” discounts on Lidl bakery
Every Monday to Saturday at Lidl you can save 30% on in-store baked goods after 7pm. You’ll need to activate the coupon in the Lidl Plus app.
Look out for money off coupons in newspapers
Both Aldi and Lidl offer occasional money off coupons in national newspapers, such as £5 off a £25 spend or even £10 off a £40 spend. We’ll update you on our supermarket deals page when these offers are back.
Shop Lidl’s Pick of the Week
Each Thursday, there’s a new variety of fruit, vegetable, meat and fish products with up to 30% off. Positioned on the end of the aisle they’re easy to spot in-store and there’s always a great selection to choose from.
Buy Aldi’s Super 6 and Super Weekly Offers
Each week, Aldi has six different fruits and vegetables that are on offer at a very low price and Super Weekly Offers where you’ll find meat and fish on offer too.
Also,look out for their value range called Everyday Essentials, where you’ll find a variety of products from wonky blueberries to tin foil, all at a super ‘no-frills’ price.
Grab a ‘Too Good To Go’ box at Aldi
You can now use the surplus food app Too Good To Go to get a grocery surprise bag from Aldi. For just £3.30, you can get a minimum of £10 worth of products nearing their use by or best before dates.
Aldi states that the surprise bags can contain anything from fruit and veg to dairy products, meats and snacks. Aldi surprise bags are available on the app from the day before collection.
Find a ‘Waste Not’ fruit and veg box at Lidl
Lidl sells boxes of imperfect fruit and vegetables for just £1.50 for approximately five kilograms. Usually, they are put out daily near the tills first thing in the morning, so you may need to be an early shopper to grab one.
Shop in the morning for reductions
Both Aldi and Lidl reduce products throughout the day but unlike other supermarkets, you’ll often find the reduced section stocked in the morning with up to 75% off. And it’s not the usual yellow reduction sticker you need to find. In Aldi, it’s a red sticker you need to look out for and in Lidl it’s orange.
Additionally in Lidl, if the products haven’t sold by lunchtime, you’ll often find them further reduced with a green sticker and prices down to as little as 20p.
Reduced items are less abundant than other supermarkets but you’ll find a small reduced section at the end of a fridge in both supermarkets. If you do find some bargains, then don’t forget you can freeze a lot of them. To learn more, check out our guide on freezing food.
Beware the temptation of the ‘middle aisle’
Ok, we all love a middle aisle – random products you can’t help but impulse buy, but if you’re trying to save money, don’t be tempted unless that product was on your shopping list – which is unlikely when it comes to the middle aisle – I mean, did you really have a screw driver set on your grocery shopping list?
Now I’m not saying you can’t pick up a bargain in the middle aisles, in fact the prices are surprisingly low for what you’re getting, but the products in them are there to entice you, so stay strong and move that trolley on!
Buy Aldi special buys online
If you can’t find those special buys in-store (released every Thursday and Sunday), then it might be available online. In fact, they’re often listed online and in the magazine a few days ahead, so if you’re quick you can snap one up before everyone else.
Prep for Middle of Lidl offers
Likewise, the Lidl website will tell you what offers are coming up. Though you can’t buy online it does let you prepare by researching whether it’s actually a good price or decent product – and avoid those impulse purchases you later regret.
Can you do an entire shop at Lidl or Aldi?
Both supermarkets stock nearly everything you could need in a weekly shop but as they have very few brands and limited ranges, you may not be able to buy your favourites. They both tend to be smaller stores as this saves them money on running costs, so expect far fewer products available.
Also, some products are not quite up to the quality of branded or other supermarket products. This is of course a personal opinion, and everyone has their own preferences.
What I tend to do is pop to a larger supermarket for the products I just don’t like at Aldi or Lidl (I’m not a fan of their chicken breasts or cooked meats), then I pop in on my way home to pick up my favourite products like loo rolls, juice, smoothies, yoghurts, pasta, rice and organic milk. Oh and I mustn’t forget their skin on fries which are delicious and half the price of McCain’s!
There is nothing stopping you from doing a complete shop at Aldi or Lidl, and doing so would save you money on your weekly grocery shop. It can be hit or miss with some products but that’s to be expected at the price they are offered at.
So what is the cheapest UK supermarket?
In the Which? basket shop survey, Aldi was the cheapest supermarket every month in 2023 except October, when Lidl narrowly overtook it to claim the title.That said, the price of a basket shop differs by very little between these two discount retailers, so whichever you choose, Aldi or Lidl, you know you’ll be getting your shopping for less than you would at the other big supermarkets.
If you shop regularly at Lidl and reach the £250 monthly spending threshold on the Lidl Plus app, then you’ll get an additional 10% off your next shop which would in theory, make it cheaper than Aldi and therefore, the UK’s cheapest supermarket.