August 14, 2016
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Grocery shopping takes a huge dent out of our budget. It’s not uncommon for a family of four to spend a couple hundred bucks a week on milk, eggs, produce, meat and other essentials. Unfortunately, prices seem to keep rising, while incomes are staying roughly the same.
The good news is that some grocery stores feel our pain and are doing their part to keep costs low. This means they’re passing the savings on to you. But not all grocery stores are created equal. Some have low prices and a limited selection, while others have a wider selection of products but charge higher prices. While many factors determine where a person shops, the most important factor is low prices. So where should you shop to get the best deals? Here are the six cheapest grocery stores, according to a survey by Consumer Reports.
Of course, the smartest and easiest way to save on groceries is by subscribing to our coupons, discounts and promos! We'll always give you the latest information about sales and coupons galore! Check out Aldi, Trader Joe's, Costco, and Winco Foods for tons of deals.
Aldi. Aldi has a reputation for being the low price leader. A shopping comparison showed that Aldi’s prices were 22% cheaper than Walmart’s. The chain, which operates in 34 states, offers low prices by cutting back on name brands and variety. In fact, Aldi offers only 1,400 items, while most stores offer 30,000 or more. This may seem like a disadvantage, but the reality is that few options means less decisions and a decreased opportunity to make unplanned purchases. Aldi also saves money by making customers bag their own groceries and use bags from home. Customers must also deposit a quarter to get a shopping cart, but the money is returned when the cart is put away properly, eliminating the need for employees to run and get carts. There are currently 1,500 Aldi stores across the country, with 500 more planned by 2018.
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- Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is actually owned by the same company that owns Aldi. Both made it on this list because they are dedicated to affordability. Like Aldi, Trader Joe’s has very few name brands and focuses more on store labels. The store only sells about 4,000 items. The main difference is that Trader Joe’s offers a wide variety of specialty foods. Trader Joe’s has 453 locations in 45 states, with most stores located in California. Trader Joe’s has the highest sales per square foot of any grocery store in the country.
Related news: Trader Joe's Has a Try Before You Buy Policy and We Love It
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- Fareway. Fareway stores are located in the Midwest. This small chain has only 107 stores, but offers a lot in terms of low prices. Fareway offers more selection that Aldi, but less than a typical grocery store. The produce section is a little lacking, but better than Aldi. The discount grocer resonates with hard-working folks in the Midwest who understand the value of a dollar.
Image source: Fareway.com
- Market Basket. Market Basket was opened in 1917 by two Greek immigrants. The store has 75 locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Known for its low prices, the chain is about 20% lower than most competitors. Market Basket has no in-store pharmacies or loyalty cards. Market basket does focus on customer service and doesn’t have self-checkout lanes for of this reason.
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- Costco. As the largest warehouse club in the United States, Costco offers a limited inventory of products at low prices. Once known as Price Club, Costco is found in nearly 700 locations across the United States. The store is always changing up its inventory, so it’s important to get an item while you can. If you miss out, the item is discontinued or sold on a seasonal basis. Besides food, Costco sells a variety of other items, including art, books, furniture, home appliances, tires, clothing and computers. It even sells offbeat items such as caskets and hot tubs. The store also offers auto and optical services. The downside to shopping at Costco is that items are typically sold in bulk, so make sure you have the space for 100 rolls of toilet paper and 10 boxes of cereal.
Related news: 15 Costco Shopping Hacks Every Shopper Needs to Know
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- Winco Foods. This small chain has 107 stores in the western United States and Pacific Northwest. Winco Foods keeps prices low by buying directly from manufacturers and farmers, this eliminating the middle man. The store also cuts costs by making customers bag their own groceries, not accepting credit cards and operating simple stores without any frills.
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Unfortunately, the stores listed above may not be located near you. If that’s the case, you’ll need to shop at multiple stores to get a feel for which store gives you more for your money. Sometimes the stores with the lowest prices don’t have a lot of variety, so based on your preferences and the level of convenience you desire, you might be more comfortable shopping at a store that’s middle of the road and offers decent prices and selection.