It Turns Out You Don’t Need a Quarter for Aldi’s Shopping Carts — Not If You Have This on Hand!

updated Jan 25, 2024
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Aldi shopping carts under sign that says "quarter in quarter back"
Credit: Kristina Vanni

Aldi is legendary when it comes to great prices on groceries, but the store is also known for something else: the cart system. If you have ever been to an Aldi, you are aware that this German supermarket chain follows the European system when it comes to their carts. There is a lock attached to the handlebar of each cart, and you need to insert a quarter into the slot to release the lock. Once you are done with your shopping, simply return the cart to the corral at the front of the store, insert the chain from the cart in front of yours, and the quarter is released back to you. The system keeps the parking lot tidy and is one of the many ways the store keeps costs down, as they don’t have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts. 

I figured it would be easy to keep a designated “Aldi quarter” in my coat pocket or maybe the cup holder of the car, but that wasn’t the case. After one too many trips when I realized too late that I didn’t have a quarter on me, I started hunting for solutions to the Aldi quarter problem. In this day and age, I so rarely carry cash and there is definitely not any loose change clanging around in my pocket!

My “Aldi Quarter” Cart Solution

I wanted something that I could attach to a keychain so it would be impossible to forget when out running errands. I soon discovered that I might not be alone in my “Aldi quarter” stress, as there are actually several items out there that can help you keep a quarter on hand. There are small pouches that can hold a quarter that you can attach to your keychain, even ones that can profess your love for Aldi

In the end, I chose an option that actually allows you to forgo the quarter all together. I bought this small aluminum trolley token keyring that just happens to be the exact shape and size of a quarter and fits perfectly into the Aldi cart system. 

Credit: Kristina Vanni

Because I am often holding my daughter in one arm and releasing the cart with the other, I wanted something that I wouldn’t fumble with and drop. I also read some reviews that it was sometimes difficult to get the quarter out of some of the pouch options. I liked that this keyring option was slim and unobtrusive when attached to my car keys. Plus, my keys will always be dangling right there on the front handle bar of my cart, so there’s no way I am going to lose my keys while shopping. 

This solution is under $7 on Amazon and it comes in a pack of two, so my husband and I both keep one on our key chains. Now we are ready for an Aldi trip anytime, without any quarter anxiety. 

This article originally published in May 2023.