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.
Considering those that do not have a vehicle, like me, it would take almost 1 hour to get to a Cosco or Sam’s Club. There is a bus system in my town, so I go to a Save a Lot or Aldi’s or a GFS. For some who have absolutely no way to get there, buying a membership would be a waste. GFS is slightly comparable in bulk without a membership. You need to way the pros and cons.
I agree that everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons – it wouldn’t make sense to buy a membership to a place where you were unable to get to!
Have you tried Aldi’s salmon? That is a really great price! Canned salmon can sometimes be close to this price. It would be awesome to have a source of frozen salmon. I am pinning this list!
Yes I have, and it’s good!
Since there are only two of us retired folks in the house, we choose Aldi. Costco is abt 65 miles away and in the big city. Our summer gardens and orchard provide us with about half of our yearly requirements.
Thanks for taking the time to make the comparison!! I’ve always wondered how the two fared, side by side. It will be interesting to see what Lidl brings when they build stores in USA. They were Aldi’s competitor in Europe and we enjoyed their stores while we lived there.
I also love that Costco will take back anything for any reason. I recently bought some grapes and plums and when I got home, they were not tasty. I took them back and they refunded my money, no questions asked. That is a big perk!
I totally agree!
Aldi is even better, they have a double back policy. Meaning you get a new bag of plums and the cost of the plums refunded back to you in cash. I save every Aldi receipt until after we finish our produce, just in case.
In my opinion Costco is over hyped and they just went up on membership. The only one near me is a 45 minute drive and their parking lot looks like a wreck on the interstate. I’ll gladly pay a few dollars more to avoid the hassle at Aldi. I read where Sams came out cheaper than Costco, so how does this square with your comparisons.
Gary – I haven’t had a Sams close to me until recently and I don’t have a membership there. Of my limited experience shopping with my mother-in-law, I’ve found that Sams does have good deals, often comparable to Costco, but that Costco’s selection of meat, produce and healthy options far beats Sams Club.
I”ve heard so many good things about Aldi that I was bemoaning that there isn’t one here. This makes me feel better.
Hi Tiffany — I shop Aldi mostly for produce! Do you think it’s worth it for us (it’s just my husband and I) to shop at Costco? What about BJ’s – that’s closer for us. Just wondering if you don’t have a family if it’s worth going to club stores. Thanks!
With eggs at 39 cents a dozen.. Milk is .79 a gallon. There is no way on earth I’ve ever seen these staples this cheap anywhere. With that said we still purchase based upon sales. If Aldi has it on sale for instance chicken for .49 lb.. then I do stock up. I wish I could tell you about costco but we have sams club. There are certain items I would choose to go to sams for but I only go about every 3 months and stock up.. We have a farm so meat, poultry, etc… is fresh from us.. I do want to tell you that since Aldi’s came here 1 year ago.. I can no longer sell my eggs, meat.. eventhough its organic people just don’t seem to be able to resist Aldi.. Our Aldi is the #1 store in the country.. Perhaps thats why the fluctuation in pricing..
Food for thought. I always overspend at costco. Not intentionally. It just happens. I have learned not to browse but for example. If i buy the costco cheese sticks opposed to Aldi which are more expensive. I am spending more because my kids will inevetibaly eat more cheese sticks because they are there. If i had bought aldi cheese. It would be gone amd they would go without. So in this cae, cheaper for aldi. Or i coukd just remove the culprit of cheese sticks. But i find this with many things. The price per lb or kz might be less, but if you have more of it. It tends to be gobbled up much quicker and more often. This is my only problem with Costco. Its not their fault, but i spend more money per month just by shopping there. Even if its cheaper. Trying to get better at this.
I looked at most of your pricing.. In our area milk at aldi’s milk
is .69 a gallon.. yes a gallon.
eggs are .49 cents a dozen.
ground beef is 1.39 lb.
I can assure you that Sams club (we don’t have a costco) is not that low.
Also sometimes and this is when I stock up at Aldi’s is when there is a sale. Last week chicken legs were .49 lb.
I bought 6. But that week I won’t buy ground beef until it goes on sale. You still need to bulk up to save boat loads of money there.. I shop via their ads. then stock up.
The other thing is if your looking for organic its usually a bit more but not 3 .00 more. Northeast TX.
Unless it’s changed, BJ’s membership was significantly higher than Costco & Sams. I asked a friend, who had a BJ’s membership to check prices on some of the staples I get at Costco, and the prices seemed comparable, so I found it unlikely that I’d save enough to cover the higher membership fee.
For things that I buy, Sams & Costco are almost identical prices in things both carry. I chose Costco because it has more organic options. The only thing I buy regularly that Sams is better is white vinegar (I use it for cleaning, so go through lots of it). My parents have a Sam’s membership so I have them get it for me when I run low.
LOL! I plan on checking out BJ’s and Sams in the near future and I’ll share what I find!
Interesting. I do almost all of my grocery shopping at Aldi and Costco, so I’ve comparison shopped them for staple items pretty carefully. I’m smack dab in the middle of the country, and it’s been a couple months since this was posted, but one thing that stood out to me was eggs – awhile ago, eggs were split, Costco or Aldi might have the better deal, but for probably four months now Costco has been WILDLY cheap. Like, this week eggs were 1.09/doz at Aldi – still pretty inexpensive – but under 54 cents at Costco, in the 5doz pack! For our family of six, we eat a ton of eggs (like, we’ll go through three of those five-packs over two weeks), so that’s enormous.
My comparisons do tilt more toward Aldi than yours do, though. Ground beef is $2.99 for 85-90% lean, as good or better than Costco. Chicken breasts are $1.89/lb, as is ground turkey. Produce is almost always cheaper, with a few consistent exceptions. I will be rechecking some of mine after looking at this list, though!
We dropped our Costco membership because a huge part of our weekly grocery list is fresh fruits, veggies and dairy. Even with 2 refrigerators, I cannot buy bulk everything for our family of 9 and have it fit in these two units.
The bigger bags of cheese I buy, the more cheese the kids think there is for lunch when they are the lunch makers.
There is one item we do not like from Aldi and that is the coffee.
So for me with health limitations, getting in and out of Aldi every week in 20 minutes or less–hands down Aldi is a win-win in our home. We must not be buying the same items you are as we can our homemade jams, do not buy specialty cheeses, cannot afford organic and buy many items 4 times a year from a co-op that gives us free delivery for spending $400 at once.
At least here, butter is a “flip flop” item . . . sometimes it’s cheaper at Costco, sometimes it’s cheaper at Aldi. I’d also be interested in whether the cheddar you compared was shredded or chunk? At our Aldi, shredded is actually cheaper, most places chunk is, I’m going to have to re-check that one at Aldi vs Costco.
I did a comparison between Costco and Sams a couple years ago and, for what we buy, Costco was the same or better price on everything but white vinegar. My parents have a Sam’s membership so a few time a year when we’re visiting them or they’re visiting us, I have them get us vinegar (I use it for cleaning and laundry, so we go through a lot). I did the same comparison 9 or 10 years ago and Costco and Sams were pretty much an equal spit, with each being better for some of the items I bought. In that case, I opted for Sams because I owned my own business and Sam’s business membership was a better deal than Costco’s (or either personal membership). So, while my shopping needs have probably changed some over 8 years, I think each store has “specialized” more and Costco’s specialization leans more toward the whole foods and organics that we use.
Thank you, Tiffany, for the footwork, time, and desire to share what you found. We just recently joined a new Costc about 30 minutes away. I’m an Aldi’s fan and was a bit skeptical yet fascinated by what my friends would get from Costco. Thanks were even buying things for me, like the premium vanilla ice cream (one son is allergic to artificial food coloring) and gluten-free flour. I have to confess after buying from Aldi’s for at least 14 years, I had a bit of a sticker-shock when I checked out at Costco. But, i’m always learning!
One thing I’ve learned is cheaper in stores are Bounty paper towels. Yupp, when on sale and with coupon it’s cheaper in stores than costco..that goes for kleenex tissues as well 🙂
Thanks for the tip Karen!
This is an amazing post. Thank you for making the comparisons. We choose to shop both places. I usually go to costco one week and aldi the next. I find that some snack foods for the kids are better to buy in smaller quantity. I also love the salmon from Aldi but I prefer to get eggs, milk, butter and cheese and costco.
Your blog alays impresses me, you have a great selection of useful and helpful posts!
Jamie @ Simplelivingmommy.com
This is amazing! Thank you so much for crunching the numbers and actually justifying my desire to re-enroll in a Costco membership! You’ve got really perfect timing because I’m due to have baby #2 any day now, and my toddler somehow eats as much as a grown adult (well…almost).
My biggest question is how do you survive on so little milk?! It’s kind of pathetic (and a really big expense!) But we go through a gallon every 2-3 days between my husband, toddler, and myself. It’s crazy!
Hi Jamie! We survive on little milk because we don’t drink it! We use it in coffee, sometimes for baking and to make kefir. We always drink water at our meals. 🙂
The ALDI here in my town does carry a very good selection of items I normally buy. I usually drive 45 mins to my nearest Costco to do my staple purchases. We are a family of 6 so the less shopping I have do the better and less worry about meals I have to plan. So for me Costco is my win. But then if you throw TJ’s in there I shop both places. But my family mainly eats organic and Paleo.