With three children in our house, one of the giant sucking sounds I hear in our budget is for food.
I learned quickly is that finding the cheapest places to buy groceries in my area made a huge difference in the amount of money I had for more enjoyable purchases and investing.
Cheapest Places to Buy Groceries
Aldi is my favorite grocery store. Not only do they have super lower prices, but their stores also have a smaller footprint, and there is only one brand of each item they carry, making time in-store much shorter.
The only drawbacks to Aldi are that they have a more limited selection of items than a full-size grocery store, and they aren’t available everywhere.
Anything discount and Walmart has to be on the list. Walmart not only has low prices, but they also have more stores with groceries than anyone else.
In my comparison of Walmart vs. Aldi, they were slightly more expensive but not exceptionally so. Walmart also carries almost anything you want in groceries and everything else for that matter.
Two final considerations for Walmart are that they accept coupons and will price match other stores.
Lidl is a direct competitor to Aldi and has very similar prices. The stores have a convenient layout, and they are a little larger with more products.
Lidl hasn’t been in the USA as long as Aldi, and they currently have fewer locations.
Trader Joe’s is famous for its low prices on organic and exotic foods. They have a massive cult following.
Many people do not realize that the same family owns trader Joe’s and Aldi. If you are big on organic foods, then Trader Joe’s is a great option, though Aldi, Walmart, and others are catching up.
Costco is the king of the wholesale warehouse clubs when it comes to sales volume. They have great deals on meat and many other items.
You will need a membership or a friend who loves you enough to use their membership to make purchases for you
Wholesale clubs took off in the early ’80s, and Sam Walton would not let that market get away from him. He opened the first Sam’s in April of 1983.
Sam’s is second only to Costco and their primary competitor. They have low prices for bulk purchases, but I find the prices to be comparable to Walmart.
Bj’s is the third-largest wholesale club, and they do a great job with their pricing.
When I lived near Charlotte, NC, I had a membership. What made BJ’s particularly great for shopping was their clearance policy. I once bought a $300 printer for $75 on clearance.
Amazon is making some headway on selling groceries. They are very competitive when it comes to non-perishable goods.
Amazon also has a “subscribe and save” model where you can have grocery items shipped monthly without having to add them to your cart.
Best known for having extremely low sale prices, Shoprite has built a large following in the six states they cover.
Since Shoprite carries mostly name-brand products, you can use both manufacturer coupons and store coupons to cut your grocery expenses.
A regional chain that services the Northeast, Market Basket is a well-loved chain.
The snowbirds who move for the winter compare Market Basket favorably with Publix, a chain in the Southeast that kills it with coupons and BOGO deals.
Food4Less is a fascinating store because it is owned by Kroger, the largest non-superstore grocer in the country.
It looks like Kroger is practicing keeping up with Aldi and other small footprint low-cost stores.
Only about 100 stores for this chain, but they have been dubbed “Walmart’s Worst Nightmare”.
One exciting aspect of the stores is that they are employee-owned. That gives employees an extra reason to take extra care with making the stores pleasant and profitable.
H-E-B is a Texas-based chain with over 300 stores in Texas and northern Mexico.
I don’t know a Texan that doesn’t swear by this grocery store. It has very competitive prices, top-notch employees, and it has a large, passionate fanbase.
Woodman’s is another grocery store that follows the warehouse-style of shopping. Items are purchased in bulk, but you do not need a membership to shop.
They are only found in Wisconsin and Illinois but hope to expand.
Fareway is a regional chain that serves Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and S. Dakota. They only have 127 stores but are very popular with deal-seekers in their footprint.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Grocery Store
It doesn’t do you any good to get the cheapest groceries if you waste money and time driving a distance that counteracts the cost. Make sure you aren’t neutralizing your savings by traveling too far.
If you are willing to do the work, you can save a lot of money on groceries using coupons. Places that have favorable coupon policies can gain an advantage over other cheap grocery stores.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many grocery stores to develop or expand their ability to offer curbside pickup or grocery delivery.
If you value getting groceries delivered to your home, then you need to expect to pay slightly higher prices than if you can enter the store.
Final Thoughts on Cheap Grocery Stores
Groceries are an expense that all of us have to consider in our budgets. However, it is one area that we can all avoid overspending.
By choosing the right grocery store and having a plan, you can cut your grocery budget.