Costco is known for their great deals on real food because you’re buying in bulk. ALDI is known for being for having incredibly low prices thanks to their private label and lack of variety.
So which is cheaper Costco or Aldi?
Readers have left comments saying they cancelled their Costco membership because they found better prices at ALDI.
I’ve also heard other readers say the opposite, that Costco beats out ALDI prices every time.
I’m still learning how to make my grocery budget work in Georgia and I’ve learned that ALDI has very low prices that seem hard to beat. (Here is my Ultimate Guide to Shopping at ADLI!)
But still, are they lower than Costco? I hit the streets this past weekend to find out the answer.
Which is Cheaper Costco or ALDI? The Rules
1. Compare the most purchased items.
I compared the same items that I purchase every month, over and over again. Yes, you’ll save a few pennies on the onsie twosie items too, but you’ll find the biggest savings when you find rock bottom prices on the items you repeatedly buy.
2. Staples only, no produce.
The price of produce alone will vary greatly from region to region, and season to season. For this reason, I chose to not include it in this comparison post.
3. Prices are still regional.
The prices below are taken as of 4/22/2016, are from the Atlanta, Georgia area and should be used as a guideline only. You may or may not find the exact prices in your area, so do your homework before you commit to one store or another.
4. Use the lowest per unit price.
Some items are offered in ounces, some in pounds. I broke it down to the lowest price per unit that is common between both items.
Which is Cheaper Costco or ALDI? Things to Consider
1. Bulk vs. Individual Items
Shopping at Costco means having to buy in bulk in order to get that price. There is no option of buying just one single item.
Shopping at ALDI means buying individual items for the price listed, and you can buy more if you’d like.
2. Organic vs. Conventional
I tried to compare the exact same item whenever possible, like organic peanut butter to organic peanut butter, in order to keep the playing field fair. If I couldn’t find an equal counterpart at the other store, I didn’t include it in this post.
The only exception to this is raisins, since it’s a popular item in many kitchens. But I also think the fact that one was NOT organic is why that store was the winner.
3. No Brand Names
ALDI has their own private label just like Costco does, so for the purpose of today’s post, I ignored brand names. I did check ingredients though, and everything listed below is 100% real food.
Which is Cheaper Costco or ALDI?
Note: Items are listed in alphabetical order.
Almonds → Costco
Aldi: $5.99/12 oz ($0.50/oz)
Costco: $15.99/2.5lb ($0.40/oz)
Applesauce → Costco
Aldi: $1.69/23oz ($0.07/oz)
Costco: $6.99/138oz ($0.05/oz)
Bacon → ALDI
Beef (ground) → Costco
Butter (unsalted) → Costco
Cashews → Costco
Aldi: $11.99/30oz ($0.40/oz)
Costco: $14.89/2.5lbs ($0.37/oz)
Cheese (blue) → Costco
Aldi: $1.99/5oz ($0.40/oz)
Costco: $4.69/lb ($0.29/oz)
Cheese (cheddar) → Costco
Aldi: $1.89/8oz ($0.24/oz)
Costco: $2.64/lb ($0.17/oz)
Cheese (fresh mozzarella) → Costco
Aldi: $2.69/8oz ($0.34/oz)
Costco: $7.49/2lb ($0.23/oz)
Cheese (parmesan) → ALDI
Aldi: $3.99/8oz ($0.50/oz)
Costco: $8.49/16oz ($0.53/oz)
Cheese (string) → Costco
Aldi: $2.79/10oz ($0.28/oz)
Costco: $8.39/48oz ($0.17/oz)
Coconut Oil → Costco
Aldi: $4.99/14oz ($0.36/oz)
Costco: $19.99/78oz ($0.26/oz)
Coffee (decaf) → Costco
Aldi: $2.69/11.3oz ($0.24/oz)
Costco: $9.49/48oz ($0.20/oz)
Cranberries (dried) → Costco
Aldi: $1.29/5oz ($0.26/oz)
Costco: $8.89/64oz ($0.14/oz)
Eggs → ALDI
Flour (all-purpose) → Costco
Costco: $5.89/25lb ($0.25/lb)
Maple Syrup (organic)→ Costco
Aldi: $6.49/16oz ($0.41/oz)
Costco: $10.49/33.8oz ($0.31/oz)
Milk → Costco
Oatmeal (rolled oats) → Costco
Aldi: $2.39/42oz (6¢/oz)
Costco: $7.69/160 oz (5¢/oz)
Peanut Butter (organic) → Costco
Aldi: $3.99/16oz ($0.25/oz)
Costco: $9.99/54oz ($0.18/oz)
Raisins → ALDI
Aldi: $2.89/20oz ($0.14/oz)
Costco: $9.30/64oz ($0.15/oz) [these were organic where ALDI were not]
Rice → Costco
Aldi: $4.89/80oz ($0.06/oz)
Costco: $15.99/25lbs ($0.04/oz)
Salmon (frozen wild caught) → ALDI
Spaghetti Pasta → ALDI
Aldi: $1.45/32 oz ($0.73/lb)
Costco: $8.99/8lbs ($1.12/lb)
Tomatoes (diced) → ALDI
Vanilla → Costco
Aldi: $2.49/2oz ($1.24/oz)
Costco: $12.99/16 oz ($0.81/oz)
Water (bottled) → Costco
Aldi: $2.29/24 bottles (10¢ each)
Costco: $3.39/40 bottles (8¢ each)
Which is Cheaper Costco or ALDI? Lessons Learned
Of the 27 items I compared, only 7 were cheaper at ALDI.
Now, that’s not to say ALDI is “expensive” – oh no, it’s still very affordable. But when you think about the specific items you buy on a monthly basis, you’ll save more if you shop at Costco instead of only shopping at ALDI.
Curious if ALDI can beat out Walmart? Check out this comparison!
How much will you save?
If everything above was on my shopping list, and I could only buy the quantity offered at Costco (just to keep things consistent here), I’d spend $289.53 at ALDI. If I bought these same items at Costco, I’d spend $212.85.
You’ll save $76.68 (26%) by shopping at Costco instead of ALDI.
Considering my grocery budget is just $330 each month, this is tremendous savings! I don’t have enough wiggle room to toss aside $75+ dollars each month – do you?
Of course this lesson should be applied broadly to your own shopping routines. Do you often shop at one store for convenience instead of another that you know costs less? Or maybe it’s Publix versus Kroger.
I have no doubt that if you took an hour to list the top 20 items you buy every month and compare prices side by side at each store, you’d be amazed to see how much money you could save by consistently shopping the more affordable store. This is one of the principles I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp that’s helping families save hundreds on their groceries every month.
Shopping local is sometimes preferred, but don’t forget that online shopping can help you gain amazing savings too.
for $100 I can get 6 or 7 things at costco, or 20 things at aldi, plus i’ve been pretty disappointed with costco produce. Walking around the giant warehouse is also not on my list of things to do, the regular person vibe at aldi is more my style. Now that aldi has pick-up, a few hours after placing my order on the app, it’s made shopping that much easier. I don’t like eating the same thing over and over, i like to try different things all the time.
Thanks for posting this. I shopped at Aldi Medford (Boston) and Costco Everett (close to the Aldi — both are a 20 minute drive with traffic from downtown Boston where I live). I’m vegan and found the selection of products significantly less at Aldi when ignoring meat and dairy products. If I remove them from your comparison, then Costco wins on pricing per weight each time. I was hoping to find German chocolates and other German products at Aldi, but I must have overlooked them unless they were out of them. I’ll give that Aldi one more try, but even looking at pasta, spaghetti sauces, salsa, oatmeal, tortillas. vegetables, fruits, etc. I’m not sure that Aldi will be less expensive than Costco. Thanks again for your great post!
I appreciated this review/comparison. My main interest in a Costco Membership is for the Food Court and cheap lunches. I have heard many good things about their rotisserie chickens being flavorful and large. And at $5.00 beat my local grocers price of $8.00. I think Walmart price is now $7.00. I discovered many years ago, the rotisserie chicken while it seemed a good price compared to getting a whole bird and roasting it yourself, comparing sizes of chickens, it is not the deal it seems. The net weight on the cooked birds are 32 oz. While an uncooked bird is in the 56 – 64 oz range. If on sale could be purchased for nearly the same price. Don’t get me wrong, the rotisserie chickens are good and provide a great convenience value. As an older, single person, I can’t use a 25lb of all purpose flour, even though it is $.25/lb compared to a 1 lb bag at Aldi for $1.39. Costco selling an 8 lb. box of Pasta at $1.12 lb. is insanely expensive when considering the large package size. Pasta is frequently on sale at $1.00 for 1 lb. box around here. I recently passed on a sale of 80/20 ground beef at $2.99/lb. for a 5 lb. package and opted to just get it at Aldi in an approx. 2.25 package at $3.99 lb. when needed. Though more expensive per lb. it’s better than the $5.99 lb. I paid for a 1 lb. package a few weeks ago. I need a new computer and possibly new tires by fall, so maybe a Costco Membership will pay for itself this year. And I can try them fat chickens !!!!! Thanks for this research/review.
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Thank you for taking the time to share your research with us!!! This is a great post. 🙂
ANIL N. HEENDENIYA
Great post–thank you for taking the time to compare “apples to apples” across a spectrum.
I agree with Costco’s position, but as a single guy, I’d waste some perishables that would go bad before I could finish them. In that regard, Costco’s better for families than singles. However, I do eat lots of salad, so it’s a good savings there. On another note, I’ve found the milk at my nearby Aldi’s has frequently gone bad rather quickly. Then I noticed there’s often a delay at Aldi’s in stocking the milk inside the refrigerated section, and have seen (through the glass in the stock room) carts of milk behind the refrigerator still waiting to be moved into the refrigerated section. i haven’t bought any milk there since.
Thanks again for your post!
Karen @ Team Crumbs
You’re very welcome! Thank you for sharing with us!
You can’t just compare price and weight. You have to actually try an item.
Costco’s cashew’s, for example, are more expensive than Aldi’s, but they are
substantially larger. Hence the quality issue can only be determined by trying
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
How does the cost of a Costco membership factor in though? I’ve never taken the plunge because of the cost of just being allowed to shop there.
If you don’t buy there often, perhaps because of distance, it may not be worth the
price of membership. However, we have bought comptuters, TVs, tires, food, clothes
and wine at Costco, and the pricing is lower and the quality is higher than most
comparable stores. Our local Alid’s renovated last month and they have upgraded
many of their items to resemble their sister-store, Trader Joe’s (both German owned),
but despite the improvements, a one-stop-shopper will find many more things at
Costco than at Aldi’s.
I guess I need to check out Costco’s prices again! I don’t have a Costco close to me so membership and gas will also have to be factored in. I didn’t think it had many of the Staples, but that must be Sam’s that didn’t have the staples!
Fantastic write up. Thanks! I’m disappointed it took me this long to take Costco seriously. Better late than never.
Kyare - Team Crumbs
KC, glad you enjoyed this review!
Sorry but this was a poor comparision. Notice the OP didnot compare produce? Of course not because Aldi rules in produce. About 2/3rd of my grocery bill is fresh produce….yes, I said 67%. Costco is for people eating the SAD (Standard American Diet). For those of us who choose to be healthy…..Costco doesn’t pay off.
Hey Phil – I didn’t compare produce because it varies GREATLY from region to region. My grocery bill is also majority produce (we’re around 80% right now) and we can save quite a bit shopping at Costco. 🙂
With a family of only 2, and a small house with little storage, Aldi’s is the clear winner for us. Our freezer is what’s attached to our refrigerator so I will buy and freeze items, but I have to be very conscious of how much space is available. I figure that I’m not buying more house to be a warehouse for our grocery needs, that would up our housing costs significantly and more than negate any grocery savings. Now I realize that doesn’t apply to most of you who already have a house, and many of you have large families who would use up the staples much faster than we would so the comparison becomes more complex. But for us we need to maximize our space and that also means not overdoing the food storage! I enjoyed the read and understanding the insight. I do have a friend wha has a Costco membership and would love to buy some of the items she does regularly, but we’d never use up the quantities we’d need to purchase before they went bad. (most of my wish list items would be perishables!) So if you have the space, great, but for us I spend far less at Aldi’s than the name brand grocery store in our neighborhood. So being able to buy in reasonable quantities makes Aldi’s the winner and it still saves me greatly on our food bill. Thanks for a great post on how you do your comparison shopping!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us Sherry! ♥
I’m alone myself, and the local Costco is 30 miles away. We just recently got an Aldi so I’ll be able to comparison shop when the new Costco is built in our town. The new Costco will be a quick trip from my home, compared to the Aldi. Should be fun. I’m saving up!!
I agree 100% with you. I need reasonable quantities and buy tons of fresh produce. Aldi gives me both. The nearest Costco is a 45 minute drive. I love Aldi’s salmon (BAP), fresh, never frozen and NO BONES. The price is excellent. I’ve compared to our local fish monger whose freshness and price cannot compete.
Co-op shopping is the way to go at Costco if you don’t have a large family. Group up and do one shop getting the staples you all need and split the items up. Requires some calculator skills to split the bill and sometimes some ziplocks. But a little cooperation is all it takes to deal with Costco quantity.