One of ALDI's special offers this Saturday is a box of 25 resealable sandwich bags for $1.99. Resealable bags are handy for organising odds and ends in your desk as well as for office snacks, but is this really such a special deal?
The price works out to 8 cents a bag for the Goliath-brand large sandwich bags (a pack of 20 "storage bags" is being sold for the same price; I'm comparing the sandwich bags as that's closer to a standard size). How does that weigh up against other supermarkets?
Ultimately, it depends how many you buy and whether you need that bigger size. At Woolworths, a 25-pack of Hercules large sandwich bags is $2.46, which comes in at 10 cents a bag — more than the ALDI deal, but not by a massive amount. If you can settle for a smaller resealable sandwich bag, you can have 40 for $2.46, which is just above 6 cents each. Even better is the Coles 50-pack for $2, which comes in at just 4 cents each.
I'm highlighting this largely because there seems to be an assumption amongst some shoppers that ALDI pricing is invariably cheaper than anywhere else. There are plenty of items where ALDI is very competitive, and many people argue that its goods in individual categories are better quality than its rivals. That's a judgement you need to make for yourself product-by-product, but as we've seen before, ALDI is not necessarily any cheaper than its supermarket rivals.
This deal is another example of that, and proof of the most important principle in living a frugal life: it pays to shop around and know what you need. It's also a reminder that just because something is a "sale" item, it isn't necessarily the cheapest or most suitable version of that product.