If you’re like me, you like to grocery shop on a budget. When I first started buying groceries, I didn’t have much money. In fact, $20 was usually all I had to spend per week on food.
Finding cheap grocery stores near me is what allowed me to get by back then, and what keeps me ahead of the curve now.
Through research and over ten years of experience, I’ve learned some of the best ways to save money on groceries. This includes finding an affordable grocery store that fits your needs, plus knowing the right tools to use to cut costs.
If you need to save money at the store, this guide provides several top choices.
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Cheapest Grocery Stores to Shop at
It is not always easy to find a favorite supermarket that’s also affordable. Some may have good prices, but not have good quality. Others may have good service, but not the best deals.
When ranking stores, we used the Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index (RPI) as a guide.
It ranks stores in the following areas:
- Customer Service
If you’re looking for a low-cost store, here are some of the top choices.
Aldi is a terrific discount grocery store to consider. I love Aldi for the fact that they offer cheap produce, organic options, and some awesome gourmet cheeses, wine, and seafood.
If you have champagne taste but a beer budget, Aldi is a terrific choice.
Everything they do is to cut costs while passing on the savings to their customers and paying their employees a higher wage.
This arrangement means they only sell popular products that have been loaded directly onto shelves while still in warehouse packaging.
You need to insert a quarter into their carts in order to use one (don’t worry, you get the quarter back once you return the cart). Additionally, you also bag your own groceries, so don’t forget reusable bags.
However, if you can get past those little inconveniences, you could save up to 40 percent off of regular grocery store prices. I’ve been shopping at Aldi for years, and it helps us spend less on groceries.
If you have a larger family, or eat a lot of the same foods and want the convenience of always having them around, Costco is for you. The membership store costs $60 annually to join.
However, the savings that Costco will offer you is worth that and more.
Costco doesn’t make much money from the food you purchase. Their prices are affordable. The store also offers plenty of gluten-free and organic food choices, if that’s important to you.
In addition to groceries, you can buy countless other things at locations, including:
- Travel packages
In many cases, you can save significant money buying an item at Costco. If you have a growing family and live near a store, they’re worth checking out.
*Related: Do you like Sam’s Club? Read our review of Costco vs. Sam’s Club to see which is best for you.*
You may believe that Walmart is the cheapest place to buy groceries. That’s not usually the case, but it is possible to find good deals there.
Walmart is often one of the only stores available in rural areas or food deserts, and it has fantastic prices on staples, fruits, veggies, and more.
When I can’t find something at Aldi, I can usually find it at Walmart. My family eats mostly vegan/vegetarian, and items like tofu, beans, legumes, and vegan alternatives.
These items are generally much cheaper at Walmart versus some of the health food stores near us.
Along with the cheaper items, you can also save money by shopping on the Walmart grocery app or website. Shopping online can limit impulse purchases, and it’s convenient because you can set a time to go pick up the groceries.
4. Dollar General
Dollar General is another discount grocery store that is typically available in smaller towns and rural areas. Because of this, it is often one of the only stores those residents can use.
Dollar General isn’t usually the best choice if you want lots of fresh food. However, it’s suitable for staples and household goods. Where Dollar General shines is the selection they offer beyond groceries.
Expect to find items from the following categories at Dollar General:
- Beauty products
- Cleaning supplies
- Office supplies
Unlike other dollar stores, Dollar General allows you to use coupons for even more savings.
Food4Less is a grocery store that sells food at hugely discounted prices. You can also combine coupons and digital coupons to save, as well as get points towards gas just by shopping with them.
Food4Less is available in many cities and states, so you may be lucky to have one nearby.
If you aren’t near a store, you can order staples like nut butters and toilet paper from them and have the items shipped directly to your home.
Oh, how I miss H-E-B! As a southern gal, I loved going into the store and admiring all of the aisles with delicious foods, including prepared items and baked goods.
H-E-B stores are located only in Texas, so this store will not work for everyone.
However, if you’re lucky enough to have an H-E-B near you, it’s an excellent option to save money on groceries. You can save and clip their email and digital couples.
You can get online deals shipped directly to your door or make a menu on their app based on the items on sale. H-E-B also allows you to order groceries online and pick them up curbside to keep from impulse shopping.
While they partner with several other grocery chains, Kroger branded stores are only available in ten States. If you have one near you, you’re in luck.
Kroger operates under different names, depending on where you live. If you have the following stores in your area, they are Kroger-backed:
- Fred Meyer
- King Sooper
Kroger stores have some of the best sales on meat and produce that you’ll find, and it’s easy to find deals on their website. You can find weekly deals, digital coupons, and fuel reward options directly on their site.
They also give you the option to have groceries delivered to your door.
Lidl is Aldi’s biggest competitor, and it makes sense as to why. Similar to Aldi, Lidl has rock bottom prices on many of their items every week (like grapes for only $0.79 a pound).
Unlike Aldi, Lidl doesn’t require a quarter to use their carts, it has a fresh bakery, and it carries store brands along with name brands. However, they don’t supply bags or pack your groceries for you.
Lidl is currently available on the East Coast and expanding quickly. So, keep an eye out for this growing store.
WinCo is an employee-owned company that has stores on the West Coast and some southern states like Arizona and Texas.
If you aren’t familiar with WinCo, they have some awesome perks, including discounts on bulk items and marked down items (with the little green tags).
Like some of the other stores on this list, you have to bag your groceries at WinCo. But you’ll also be able to score some great deals, so it’s worth it.
The store tries to be as eco-friendly as possible, which is a huge perk for the earth lovers shopping.
10. Market Basket
Market Basket is only available in parts of New England, so consider yourself lucky if you live near one. This store believes strongly in the power of community, so you won’t find self-checkout lanes.
By running a lean ship (they didn’t have a website until 2017, for example), they sell fresh produce, superb deli meats, and more for a fraction of the cost.
However, a nice perk of their site is that they allow you to create a digital shopping list to help you at the store.
11. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s is a popular grocer, with a devoted following. This store is a single person’s dream, since you pay per piece of fruit or vegetable and only get what you need.
If you’re a busy family, you’ll love their store brands of all of the frozen goodies that are frugal and healthy (like their reduced guilt mac and cheese).
They also have beautiful bouquets of flowers for less than $5 each, and mini carts so you can shop with your kids.
Trader Joe’s is an affordable grocery store that makes shopping fun, and you’ll find brands you won’t find at other major stores.
SuperValu has been in business for over 100 years. You may not recognize the name, but this retail and wholesale giant is the parent of operates several chains, including:
- Cub Foods
- County Market
- Festival Foods
- Shoppers Food & Pharmacy
- SuperValu Pharmacies
In total, SuperValu operates over 3,000 locations nationwide, according to its site. If you’re looking for a cheap grocery store near you, SuperValu is worth seeking out to save money.
13. Walmart Neighborhood Market
Walmart Neighborhood Market is a bit different that a standard Walmart. Unlike regular Walmart locations, the neighborhood market stores only carry groceries.
Because of this, they’re able to cut prices a bit, and that saves you even more money. If you have both Walmart options near you, try comparing the prices of their items.
You may notice that you get more for less at the Walmart Neighborhood Market.
Best Apps to Save Money on Groceries
Going to an affordable grocery store is only one part of the solution to save money. The other part is to use apps that provide a rebate on the items you purchase.
Think of these as digital coupons. You can use these apps directly from your phone. Some have offers you can use at the store, while others allow you to earn cash back by scanning receipts.
Not every app will work at all stores. However, many will work at most, if not all, of the grocery stores on our list. Here are some of the top apps to use to save money at the store.
Ibotta is an excellent app to receive cash back on items that you already purchase, like bread, eggs, and snacks. All you have to do is add them to your basket on the app, buy them, then scan your receipt.
Ibotta will then give you any available rebates. You can redeem earnings via PayPal once you reach $20. The app even gives you $5 when you make your first qualifying purchase.
Not only does Ibotta work at the store, but it also works at 350+ online retailers, including:
- Sam’s Club
If you like to earn money on your shopping, Ibotta is worth considering. Read our guide on the top money saving websites to learn how it compares to other apps.
Do you like to buy specific brands? If so, Fetch Rewards is a helpful rebate app to use.
Many cash back apps allow you to save on generics, but that’s not the case with Fetch Rewards. Fetch Rewards pays you ten points for each dollar you spend on a brand name item.
You can redeem these points for cash or gift cards.
The best part of the Fetch Rewards app is its low redemption requirement. You need just $3 in your account to redeem earnings.
Use the code FETCH2K to receive a free $2 when you open an account!
Other Ways to Grocery Shop on A Budget
Shopping at discount grocery stores is an excellent way to save money. However, there are other ways to trim your bill. Here are a few different ways to save money at the grocery store:
Have a Meal Plan
A meal plan is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. Americans waste 40 percent of their food per year, according to the USDA.
For many families, this results in hundreds of dollars going into the trash each year.
Meal planning is a terrific way to mitigate this cost. Start by planning out meals for a week and go from there.
If you don’t know how to start, a service like $5 Meal Plan is an excellent resource to use.
Avoid Snacks and Processed Foods
Processed foods seem cheaper, but they can sneakily add up in cost. That’s also not to mention the long-term impact of eating a lot of processed or boxed food.
Processed foods are fine in moderation but look for suitable alternatives to save money and improve your health.
Shopping at sales is a no-brainer, but it’s an easy ways to save money at the grocery store. However, if you don’t need an item, or can’t see yourself using it, a sale item is not worth the purchase.
Leftovers aren’t always fun to eat, but it’s one of the best ways to lower your grocery bill. Instead of tossing leftovers, freeze them and use them for a meal a few weeks from now.
If you use the above ideas with shopping at affordable grocery stores, you can save good money for other needs in your budget.
As you can see, there are numerous cheap grocery stores to shop at to save money. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to buy low-quality food to fill your pantry.
Most stores allow you to buy brands you know and enjoy for less. With minimal effort, you can reduce your grocery bill without sacrificing quality.
How much is your weekly grocery bill?
Kim Suazo has been a freelance writer and business owner for over four years. When she's not writing for Frugal Rules, you can find her on other publications like Chime, Discovery, and Due. She also owns her own websites The Entrepremomer and Part-Time Profit, where she teaches overworked moms how to streamline their new businesses so they can scale without a team.