I don’t know about you, but living in New York, I have become a loyal Trader Joe’s shopper, mainly because prices tend to be less steep than competitors. We, of course, have other more expensive grocery options like Whole Foods, Gristedes, and Union Market in Manhattan that carry a multitude of brands, but finding an alternate affordable option like TJ’s definitely requires a little bit of work (read: one lengthy subway ride, several bus stops, and some walking later). I traveled to Aldi Grocry Store in Harlem to see if their prices on every day items could give Trader Joe’s a run for their money (literally), and made a surprising discovery when calculating what I was spending, ounce for ounce.
Rise and Shine
If you have room in the fridge, opt for Aldi Grocery Store’s 32-ounce container and save a few cents per ounce. Greek yogurt may have more calcium and protein than regular yogurt, but it also has more fat and calories. Add fruit, nuts, and honey or agave if you want a little extra flavor in the mornings without too much extra fat.
Choose: Friendly Farms Traditional Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt: $3.89 for 32 ounces ($0.12 per ounce) at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Greek Whole Milk Plain Yogurt: $2.49 for 16 ounces ($0.15 per ounce)
A smart breakfast choice, as far as cereal goes, one cup of shredded wheat contains less than one gram of sugar and 6.1 grams of fiber, making it a high-fiber food at more than 5 grams per serving. Pick up yours at Aldi and use the money you saved to purchase fresh berries to top it off.
Choose: Simply Nature Shredded Wheat: $2.09 for 16.4 ounces ($0.12 per ounce) at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Shredded Bite Size Wheats: $2.79 for 17.2 ounces ($0.16 per ounce)
At Aldi Grocery Store, you can save 40 cents on a gallon of milk in comparison to Trader Joe’s, and if you have a milk-drinking household and go through a couple of gallons a week, you’ll be saving nearly a dollar or more.
Choose: Friendly Farms: $3.29 per gallon at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: $3.69 per gallon
The UEP certified Golden Farm Fresh Large Brown eggs were the only option to customers at the Aldi we shopped in New York. If it comes down to price, then clearly Aldi wins out in the egg category, however we prefer having the feel-good organic, cage-free, and free-range options at Trader Joe’s.
Choose: Goldhen Farm Fresh Large Brown Eggs: $1.57 for a dozen ($0.13 per egg) at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Large Brown Eggs: $2.79 for a dozen ($0.23 per egg)
Uncured bacon does not have added nitrates, but rather is still cured by using other types of natural brine or natural agents like celery powder. Both grocery stores carry uncured bacon, and Trader Joe’s version is a great choice when wanting to save some cents.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Uncured Dry Rubbed Sliced Bacon: $5.49 for 12 ounces ($0.45 per ounce) vs. Never Any Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon: $6.09 for 12 ounces ($0.50 per ounce) at Aldi
Both Aldi and Trader Joe’s stock bags of frozen fruit perfect for smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, and snacking, and with only a cent or two difference, you can’t go wrong with either brand.
Choose: Season’s Choice Berry Medley: $2.09 for 12 ounces ($0.17 per ounce) at Aldi , Trader Joe’s Berry Medley: $2.99 for 16 ounces ($0.18 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Strawberries: $1.99 for 16 ounces ($0.12 per ounce), Season’s Choice Strawberries: $2.29 for 16 ounces ($0.14 per ounce) at Aldi, Trader Joe’s Mango Chunks: $2.99 for 24 ounces ($0.12 per ounce), Season’s Choice Mango Chunks: $2.19 for 16 ounces ($0.13 per ounce) at Aldi
Oatmeal has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, a stronger immune system, and a healthy heart. So, serving up oatmeal before school to your family is not the worst idea. Stock up at Aldi and save seven cents per ounce.
Choose: Millville Rolled Oats: $2.39 for 42 ounces ($0.05 per ounce) at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats: $3.99 for 32 ounces ($0.12 per ounce)
The famously low price of bananas at Trader Joe’s makes it a go-to for many health nuts, and definitely has Aldi beat. However, if you prefer to buy organic, Aldi has got you covered with their organic bananas at only four cents more.
Choose: Trader Joe’s: $0.19 each banana, Aldi Organic Bananas: $0.69 per pound, or about 3 bananas ($0.23 per banana)
Bagels make for a quick and easy breakfast and don’t require much preparation. Save a few cents on the Everything bagels at Aldi, which are a bit more exciting than plain. Trust.
Choose: L’Oven Fresh Everything Bagels: $1.99 for 20 ounces ($0.09 per ounce) at Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Everything Bagels: $2.29 for 18 ounces ($0.12 per ounce)
Lunch and Snacks
With a negligible difference in price, you can’t go wrong with a loaf of Whole Wheat bread from either grocer. Buy two loaves to save yourself a trip, and tuck one away in the freezer.
Choose: L’Oven Fresh Whole Wheat Bread: $1.49 for 20 ounces ($0.07 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Harvest Whole Wheat Bread: $1.99 for 24 ounces ($0.08 per ounce)
If you have a family of sandwich eaters at home, then Aldi’s Fit Active branded turkey is the way to go, saving you ten cents per ounce.
Choose: Fit Active Roasted Turkey Breast: $2.59 for 8 ounces ($0.32 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Oven Roasted Turkey Breast: $2.99 for 7 ounces ($042 per ounce)
Aldi is your best bet when it comes to sliced cheese for sandwiches or when you have a hankering for a grilled cheese (us, like every day). However, you’ll find us at Trader Joe’s in front of their impressive cheese section when we need an affordable brie, goat, or hard cheese for snacking or hosting a party.
Choose: Happy Farms Deli Sliced Sharp Cheddar: $2.19 for 8 ounces ($0.27 per ounce),Trader Joe’s Sliced Sharp Cheddar: $3.99 for 12 ounces ($0.33 per ounce), Fit & Active American Singles: $1.85 for 10.67 ounces ($0.17 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Organic American Slices: $3.99 for 8 ounces ($0.49 per ounce)
It’s difficult to beat the pricing of fresh fruit at Trader Joe’s, but it’s even harder to find organic fruit in the store. Fruit and berries soak in pesticides, so you should invest in organic produce whenever possible. Aldi offers a large selection of organic fruits, and you’re not spending that much more for the peace of mind.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Mandarins: $2.99 for 2 pounds ($1.49 per pound), Aldi Organic Mandarins: $4.99 for 2 pounds ($2.49 per pound), Aldi Organic Gala Apples: $4.49 for 3 pounds, or about 9 apples ($0.49 each), Trader Joe’s Organic Gala Apples: $0.69 each, Trader Joe’s Avocados: $3.49 pack of 4, Aldi Organic Avocados: $3.99 pack of 4
A serving of this dip offers a good dose of protein, heart-healthy fats, and dietary fiber, but be careful of mindless snacking, as it’s easy to go from a couple of tablespoons to binging through an entire container.
Choose: Little Salad Bar Classic Hummus: $1.99 for 10 ounces ($0.19 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Smooth and Creamy Classic Hummus: $2.99 for 10 ounces ($0.29 per ounce)
Both Aldi and Trader Joe’s carry an array of high quality nuts (although TJ’s has more variety), and their cashews even out to the same price per ounce, so there is no need for indecisiveness.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Raw Cashew Pieces: $6.99 for 16 ounces ($0.43 per ounce), Specially Selected Unsalted Whole Cashews: $13.19 for 30 ounces ($0.43 per ounce)
These bars practically have the same name, so let personal preference be the deciding factor. The chocolate, pretzel, and almond bars at Aldi are a whole thirteen cents cheaper to its competitor’s bars at TJ’s, which get their sweetness from an almond butter and Greek yogurt coating. Semi-healthier, no?
Choose: Millville Sweet and Salty Nut: $1.89 for 6 bars ($0.31 each), Trader Joe’s Sweet and Salty: $2.69 for 6 bars ($0.44 each)
Since Aldi doesn’t sell pasta in bulk like other grocery retailers (hey, Costco), pantry space is a non-issue here. Choose Trader Joe’s organic pasta and save seven cents per ounce. And, pick up your pasta sauce at TJ’s since their organic sauce is basically the same price, ounce for ounce, as Aldi’s.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Fusilli or Penne: $1.99 for 16 ounces ($0.12 per ounce), LiveGfree Organic Gluten Free Brown Rice Quinoa Fusilli or Penne: $3.09 for 16 ounces ($0.19 per ounce), Simply Nature Organic Tomato Basil: $2.39 for 25 ounces ($0.09 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil: $2.49 for 25 ounces ($0.09 per ounce)
When buying veggie burgers at the grocery store, look for burgers with fewer than ten grams of protein, because these patties are packed with vegetables and whole grains, while veggie burgers with more than ten grams of protein normally contain mostly soy protein with very little real vegetables or whole grains.
Choose: Earth Grown Black Bean/Chipotle Veggie Burger: $2.69 for 10 ounces, pack of four ($0.26 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers with Black Beans & Roasted Corn: $3.69 for 12 ounces, pack of four ($0.30 per ounce)
When buying chicken in bulk, opt for the frozen chicken breasts at Aldi to save on price. Although, if you prefer to buy organic, TJ’s offers organic chicken breasts in their cooler section that you don’t have to worry about thawing if you’re planning dinner for that night.
Choose: Kirkwood Chicken Breasts: $6.19 for 48 ounces ($0.12 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: $6.99 for 40 ounces ($0.17 per ounce)
You can save over a dollar on salmon at Trader Joe’s as opposed to Aldi, and buy tuna at about the same price per ounce, so dedicate TJ’s as your “fish market.”
Choose: Trader Joe’s Wild Sockeye Salmon: $10.99 per pound, Specially Selected Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon: $12.19 per pound, Specially Selected Ahi Tuna Steaks: $5.79 for 12 ounces ($0.48 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Ahi Tuna Fillets: $7.99 per pound ($0.49 per ounce)
It’s your best guess on which grocer to choose for frozen vegetables. Either Trader Joe’s or Aldi have decent prices for picking up a bag of mixed veggies or brussel sprouts.
Choose: Trader Joe’s True Belgium Brussel Sprouts: $0.99 for 16 ounces ($0.06 per ounce),Season’s Choice Baby Brussel Sprouts: $1.29 for 12 ounces ($0.10 per ounce), Season’s Choice California Medley: $1.19 for 12 ounces ($0.09 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome Vegetable Medley: $1.99 for 16 ounces ($0.12 per ounce)
A healthy dinner side staple, Aldi’s organic quinoa will save you over fifteen cents per ounce, and at double the quantity of TJ’s, there’s no need to worry about this grain going rancid in your pantry.
Choose: Simply Nature Organic: $3.49 for 16 ounces ($0.21 per ounce), Trader Joe’s Organic: $2.99 for 8 ounces ($0.37 per ounce)
For the Pantry
Both Aldi and Trader Joe’s carry organic peanut butter, great for mixing into smoothies or accompanying vegetables for snacking. At almost the same price per ounce, you can choose to shop at either store.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy: $3.49 for 16 ounces ($0.21 per ounce)
Simply Nature Organic Creamy: $3.59 for 16 ounces ($0.22 per ounce)
TJ’s wins out on the pricing for Almond butter, great on toast or for when you need to sweeten your oatmeal or overnight oats.
Choose: Trader Joe’s Creamy: $5.99 for 16 ounces ($0.37 per ounce)
Simply Nature Creamy: $5.19 for 12 ounces ($0.43 per ounce)
The only organic olive oil we found at Aldi was over ten cents cheaper per ounce than the least expensive organic option at Trader Joe’s. Save yourself $1.50 on a bottle of organic olive oil and shop it at Aldi.
Choose: Simply Nature Organic Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $3.99 for 16.9 ounces ($0.23 per ounce)
Trader Joe’s Spanish Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $5.49 for 16.9 ounces ($0.32 per ounce)
This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.