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Short on time or money? Try no-frills Aldi

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If you've never shopped at Aldi, now's the time to try it out as the holidays approach.

Strapped for cash or strapped for time -- two of the hottest commodities around the holidays -- Aldi is a viable alternative.

The prices at Aldi, a German grocer with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill., are low. In fact, if you're not hung up on buying national brands, prices on Aldi-brand products frequently beat the after-coupon price on similar name-brand items at the major supermarkets. Even after double coupons.

And it doesn't take long to shop at Aldi. The stores are small by U.S. supermarket standards, saving you time roaming the aisles puzzling over what brand or size of flour or sugar to purchase. There is only one brand.

And then there are the produce deals. How does a 99-cent fresh whole pineapple sound?

As a trade-off, don't expect fancy displays or service. Aldi stores operate with bare-bones staff and sell mostly store-brands stacked inside the cardboard boxes they were shipped in.

You bag your own groceries -- with your own bags -- or pay for Aldi bags. And you have to fork out a quarter for a cart. If you don't return it, you forfeit your 25 cents, though I've never seen a stray cart in an Aldi parking lot.

Also, don't expect to pay with credit. Aldi accepts cash or debit cards only. Leave your coupons at home. Aldi doesn't accept them.

This week, there are some especially good deals on produce at Aldi, including those 99-cent pineapples. Only the sweet potatoes are a better deal elsewhere.

Take a look:

Celery: 69 cents per bunch.

Cranberries: 99 cents for a 12-ounce bag. Cheapest price I've seen.

Pineapple: 99 cents each!

Sweet potatoes: 99 cents for a three-pound bag. Lowes Foods and Food Lion have these for 27 cents per pound.

Broccoli: 99 cents for a 14-ounce package.

Russet potatoes: $1.69 for a 10-pound bag!

Other good deals:

Cranberry sauce (14 oz.): 89 cents.

Gravy (12 oz.): 89 cents.

Green beans (14.5 oz.): 49 cents.

Broth (14 oz.): 49 cents.

Cream soups (10.5-11.25 oz.): 59 cents.

Chocolate morsels (11-12 oz.): $1.29! Cheapest price I've seen.

Graham cracker pie crusts: 99 cents.

Ready-made pie crusts (2 count): $1.99.

Cheese blocks (8 oz.): $1.49.

Apple pie filling (21 oz.): $1.49.

Canned pumpkin (15 oz.): 99 cents! Cheapest price I've seen anywhere.

Plastic wrap (200 feet): $1.49.

Christmas cactus: $3.99.

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Last updated: Sunday, Oct. 6. | How to read this | View full page