The 10 Cheapest Places to Buy Groceries
Grocery shopping can get expensive and overwhelming, especially if you are trying to stick to a budget. Additionally, the selection of food items can vary widely from store to store, so you may be unknowingly paying more for food than you should be. However, there are ways to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your groceries. To help you stick to your budget, below is a list of grocery stores with affordable products, along with resources to help you save even more on your grocery bill.
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Aldi is a German grocery store that prides itself on affordable products for its customers. A typical Aldi is about the same size as a Trader Joe’s, meaning the store offers a smaller product selection than other stores.
However, Aldi features private-label options at a lower price than average and offers delivery through their site online. The chain relies on in-house brands that consistently beat name-brand products. For instance, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios roughly costs $3.49 a box while the similar store brand at Aldi costs roughly $1.39 a box.
Aldi has 2,014 stores nationwide with the majority of stores in the Midwest and on the East Coast. A unique feature of the discount grocery store is their cart rental system. Unlike most stores, shoppers cannot grab a cart from the entrance; instead, you must insert a quarter to unlock the cart. At the end of your shopping experience, you can get your quarter back when you return the cart. This way, the company does not need extra employees to gather the carts from the parking lot.
While Aldi’s products may be more affordable than name-brand selections, shoppers might not find everything on their grocery list at Aldi’s. The store offers a limited selection of products, which means shoppers may have to go elsewhere for specific items. However, Aldi is a fair choice for those who are not loyal to brand-name products.
Costco is best known for its bulk groceries and food samples available on almost every aisle. To shop at Costco, you must first become a member, which starts at $60 a year for a Gold Star membership. For $120, shoppers can level up to Gold Star Executive and start earning 2% back on purchases at Costco.
It’s important to note that you must show your member ID when you enter the store and at the checkout line or risk not being able to purchase your items. Costco has a total of 785 warehouses around the world, offers standard and two-day delivery through the store, and partners with Instacart for same-day delivery.
Costco sells just about everything, from TVs to dog food, meat to dry goods, and even eye exams and glasses. The store also sells the Kirkland brand, which is typically more affordable than other name-brand products. To save money at Costco, shoppers should look at the price per ounce or pound to ensure they are getting a good deal.
For instance, three loaves of bread on average costs around $14.07, however, at Costco, they would cost $6.99. Similarly, 50 diapers would cost around $12.49 at an average superstore while they cost around $8.77 at Costco.
Not only does Costco allow you to buy in bulk, but it also has a generous return policy with its products. Costco allows members to return any product regardless of cost, condition, or deadline. Batteries, electronics, diamonds, and tires are all returnable at the store, and it will even refund membership fees for dissatisfied customers. For those with large families or those that eat through food fast enough, Costco is a great choice to keep the pantry full.
Fareway Meat and Grocery claims they have the freshest grocery items at affordable prices. The 123 stores are located in the Midwest, including Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including:
Shoppers can pick out meat packages and side dishes online, as well as request help from an in-store dietician as they navigate the store. In addition to these unique services, Fareway offers weekly grocery store ads, sales and promotions. Shoppers can look up the weekly prices that coincide with the store in their area before going in to shop.
While shoppers cannot get their produce or dry goods delivered, they can get their meat delivered to their home from the Meat Market. However, Fareway may be looking into grocery delivery in the future.
4. Food 4 Less
Food 4 Less is owned by Kroger, which is the fifth-largest retailer in the world and the largest supermarket in America. Although there are only 50 Food 4 Less locations nationwide, it offers an abundant online shopping experience for its customers.
The website allows shoppers to create an account and type in their zip code to determine whether they can get their groceries delivered. Food 4 Less offers shipping on dry goods, pantry staples, and bulk groceries right to your door, as well as same-day delivery for online groceries.
Food 4 Less also offers a discount on groceries for those who are living on a tight budget. For example, seedless watermelon at Food 4 Less is sold at $2.99 while other stores sell it for $4.99. Similarly, shoppers can save $0.40 on green bell peppers at Food 4 Less. Additionally, shoppers can save even more money by learning how to coupon. Food 4 Less offers an array of digital coupons that can help shoppers reduce their grocery budgets.
By shopping online, customers are able to shop for groceries by diet, take stock of their savings, and create a shopping and meal planning list. By using the shopper’s zip code, the online store applies coupons that coincide with the nearest store. Orders of $35 trigger free shipping. For shoppers who like to shop online, Food 4 Less is a good choice.
H-E-B is a large grocer located in Texas and Northeast Mexico, with more than 340 stores in total. The original H-E-B stores offer typical grocery services while the H-E-B Plus stores offer home goods like coolers, smokers, and electronics. Customers can also experience the ease of online shopping and take advantage of H-E-B’s delivery and curbside pickup.
The Texas chain also provides its in-store brand, which is more affordable compared to name-brand products. The H-E-B brand milk costs $1.94 for a half-gallon while a half-gallon of Horizon milk costs $4.00. By shopping H-E-B’s brand, shoppers can save some money on their grocery bills. Additionally, the store offers a weekly ad as well as coupons that can be used online or in-store.
Shoppers can also use the H-E-B store app to shop, clip coupons, and schedule delivery or curbside pickup orders. The app can also help you find items in certain stores so you don’t have to waste time looking for them. If they are in a store, customers can use the app to scan an item’s barcode and find coupons they might have missed online.
Lidl boasts high-quality products at low prices for its customers. They pride themselves on revolutionizing grocery shopping by curating products and creating an efficient shopping experience.
About 80% of the available products are the Lidl private label, which means that most products are more affordable. Lidl aims to surprise their customers with an assortment of products that changes weekly. Originating in Germany, Lidl now operates over 11,000 stores in 32 countries. Lidl is currently only available on the East Coast and does not offer shipping to homes outside a certain area.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of one pound of ground beef is $4.64 as of August 2020. Lidl offers ground beef at $3.99 per pound, providing a savings of almost a dollar per pound. The grocer also provides an array of deals for shoppers, including weekend deals, deals by department, and seasonal deals. While the store does offer coupons, they are not always available, so it’s important to check online before heading out to a store.
For serious shoppers, Lidl created an app to help customers save even more money. Once downloaded, shoppers can earn exclusive rewards for their grocery runs. When it’s time to checkout, you can scan the Lidl app to receive points. After completing the game’s requirements, you can see your reward and redeem it for new purchases.
Every month provides a new opportunity to save, so shoppers should check in with the app periodically. Lidl grocery stores are a great choice for shoppers who don’t like to spend a lot of time grocery shopping and like to earn rewards for shopping.
7. Market Basket
Market Basket, a grocer that has 82 stores throughout New England, provides a streamlined shopping experience with affordable products. Weekly advertised features are on the end caps of the aisle for easy access. All products, whether they are gluten-free, organic, or non-GMO, are stored together so shoppers can find the product they want in one spot.
Market Basket also sells a variety of sizes and flavors in many items to appeal to a wide variety of shoppers. Their private-label program provides shoppers with affordable prices without skimping on quality.
Although you cannot shop online for groceries, you can view their weekly flyer to strategize your next grocery shopping trip. Each week, Market Basket will post a new flyer with new deals that will help save you money on your next grocery bill.
They also provide a shopping list tool that customers can utilize while they look through the weekly flyer, and they can print or email it to themselves for easy access while shopping. While Market Basket is not as high-tech as some of the other grocery stores, it does offer a simple and traditional way to grocery shop.
8. Trader Joe’s
After realizing convenience stores were not satisfying the customer demand, the founder of Trader Joe’s opened the first store in California. Now, with over 500 stores in 42 states, Trader Joe’s focuses on affordable, quality products for its customers.
They buy directly from suppliers to keep prices low and keep track of which products are selling well. If a product is not selling well, they discontinue it and make room for other products that are in demand. Trader Joe’s also focuses on their private label products, which helps cut many fees and lowers prices for shoppers.
Trader Joe’s prides itself on being a friendly, neighborhood grocery store. With that value in mind, they offer recipes and weekly ads to help shoppers meal plan and save on their grocery bill. Additionally, Trader Joe’s employees are typically welcoming and helpful, which can add to the shopping experience.
Although you cannot shop online, you can still find many resources on Trader Joe’s website, such as food items that coincide with dietary restrictions. Customers are able to find foods that are vegan, kosher, and gluten-free. The grocer also posts new products as well as a weekly flyer that showcases products. Additionally, shoppers can create an online shopping list on the Trader Joe’s site and print it out for easy access.
Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the world, with approximately 11,500 stores in 27 countries and a highly successful e-commerce website. With their updated mobile app, shopping at Walmart is easier than ever.
Customers can shop for clothes, groceries, household supplies, pet supplies, auto parts, toys, beauty, and more from the comfort of their home or in-store. Walmart also offers delivery and store pick-up on a variety of products including groceries. By scheduling a pick-up time with the app or online, customers can shop for groceries online and pick up the groceries when it’s most convenient.
Everyday low prices are the core of Walmart’s business strategy, and they offer that value through three types of stores:
- Walmart Supercenter: This type of store offers a one-stop shopping experience by combining grocery stores with electronics, clothing, home furnishings, and outdoor recreation.
- Walmart Discount Store: This store offers products such as electronics, apparel, toys, home furnishing, health and beauty, and hardware.
- Walmart Neighborhood Market: These are smaller stores for smaller communities; they offer affordable groceries and pharmacies as well as household items and beauty aids.
WinCo, formerly Waremart, is an employee-owned company that has 129 stores in Idaho, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Since employees own the company, they have a personal incentive to work hard and ensure that WinCo is successful.
Having an employee-owned company also allows the store to have lower prices, as well as other quirks including:
- Requiring you to bagging your own groceries;
- Staying open 24 hours;
- Not accepting credit cards.
These unique resources enable WinCo to offer lower prices to customers in a variety of ways; for instance, only accepting debit cards means there is no credit card fee. Besides low prices, Winco also offers shopper tips, recipes, and digital coupons to help shoppers save even more money on their grocery bills.
Grocery shopping can easily cut into your budget if you’re not careful, but by shopping at one of the stores above and utilizing their resources, you can stick to your budget without compromising on groceries.
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