coin slot on shopping cart
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
January 31, 2024 ·  4 min read

Here’s What to Do If You Forget Your Quarter for Aldi Shopping Carts

Because many people use debit and credit cards to pay for groceries, loose change is becoming less common. However, many grocery carts require a coin in order to attain them. At Aldi, you need a quarter to pull out a cart. That leaves to the harried search through pockets and wallets for coins. Some people keep a quarter in their purses or car specifically for this purpose. However, if you’re in need of an Aldi shopping cart and you don’t have a quarter, there are still some ways to get around it.

What To Do If You Don’t Have Change For Aldi Shopping Carts

If you’re stuck outside of Aldi with no change for a shopping cart, you have two easy solutions. One, you could go inside and get change from a cashier. You could even ask to borrow a quarter and return it after you return the cart. However, this may not be ideal if the cashier is busy with a long line.

However, the second solution is a little more ingenious. Instead of a coin, insert your house key into the cart. Depending on the shape of the head of the key, it could be the perfect coin replacement. Plus, it’s a much larger incentive to return the cart properly since you can’t abandon a house key as easily as a quarter.

aldi shopping cart hack - inserting a key
Image Credit: Taste of Home

Speaking of incentives, the reason shopping carts at Aldi and other grocery stores require coins is to stop people from stealing carts. Essentially, it’s an accountability system. Plus, it saves Aldi and the customers money, as the chain shore spokesperson said,

This 25 cent deposit ultimately saves our customers money because we don’t have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts.” [1]

Read: Deli Worker Faced Criminal Charges for Allegedly Eating $9,200 Worth of Deli Meat

Why Don’t People Return Their Carts?

In an article in Scientific American, Krystal D’Costa delves into why people don’t return their shopping carts. Instead, they leave them in a nearby parking spot or push them against the curb. During busy hours, this could cause mayhem in the parking lot. Therefore, supermarkets like Aldi try to make returning shopping carts as simple as possible. Some build cart receptacles throughout the parking lot and employees bring these carts to the front of the store for new shoppers to use. Plus, they use the coin “rental” system. However, there are several reasons why a person will leave their carts stranded. These includes:

  • They have a child in the car they don’t want to leave unattended.
  • Bad weather
  • They have a disability that prevents them from moving easily.
  • The receptacle is too far from their parking spot.
  • They leave the cart for someone else to use.
  • They believe that it’s someone else’s job to fetch the stranded carts.

People who leave their carts stranded may put them away properly if motivated by social pressure. Or they will not return the cart because they prioritize their own goals — such as staying dry or getting home quickly — over the societal norm. Of course, not every abandoned cart represents a selfish person but it’s still societally viewed that way. as such. Some people are motivated to return their carts purely because they don’t want to appear uncourteous. [2] Of course, the discussion is far from simple, however, until returning shopping carts become universal, Aldi and other chains will continue to require a quarter — or a key.

Read: This Grocery Store Sells Healthy Fresh Foods for the Price of Junk Food

Tips For Shopping at Aldi

An article on Cooking Light asked Aldi employees how to get the most out of their shop. You already know to use your house key for the shopping cart, so here are a few more ways to get the bang for your buck.

  1. Grab a handbill on your way in. It’ll tell you the Hot Deals for the week, including savings for meat, produce, and seasonal items. Keep in mind, the sales are updated every Wednesday. 
  2. Shop on Wedesday. Affordable seasonal products are stocked for the week on this day.
  3. Check the guiding signs. The signs in the aisles can guide you to certain product categories, speeding up your shop. Plus, signs like Aldi Finds, Red Hot Specials, Seasonal Items, etc. indicate sales.
  4. Ask employees. Aldi employees tend to also be Aldi shoppers. Meaning they’re familiar with the products and they could give good recommendations. So if you need to find a particular item or you want an opinion on a new product, ask away.
  5. Behind Aldi’s business model. Aldi is able to decrease prices because they decrease labor costs. This includes shorter store hours, requires customers to bag their own purchases, has fewer workers at a time, and requiring a quarter for shopping carts, for instance. [3]

Keep Reading: ALDI to Have All Reusable, Recyclable, or Compostable Packaging by 2025


  1. “This Aldi Cart Hack Allows You to Shop, Even If You Forget a Quarter.Taste of Home. Hannah Twietmeyer. August 25, 2021
  2. “Why Don’t People Return Their Shopping Carts?Scientific American. Krystal D’Costa. April 26, 2017
  3. “10 Shopping Secrets and Hacks From ALDI Employees.” Cooking Light. Holley Grainger, MS, RD. April 16, 2019