How Much Money Could You Save by Switching Grocery Stores?

Groceries are expensive. According to the USDA, as of July 2014, the average cost of food at home for a family of four (two adults plus children 6-8 and 9-11) was $150.10 per week for a thrifty plan, $197.20 for a low-cost plan, $245.70 for a moderate-cost plan, and $298.50 for a liberal plan. For many families, even the weekly cost of the thrifty plan would seem daunting.
It’s important to most families to eat a healthy diet, but it’s also important to find an affordable grocery store that provides healthy and abundant choices without sacrificing quality. There are so many s stores in America, and it can be difficult to determine which to go to. However, there are some grocery stores that are generally affordable. Here are three grocery stores you can usually find a good deal at, as well as two other types of stores to consider.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Aldi

While you may have a local grocery store that is cheap and you may occasionally find a deal at a different store than Aldi that is super cheap, in general, Aldi is often the best place to get a great deal. Earlier this year Cheapism compared prices at Aldi, Kroger, and Walmart. The study looked at 37 different grocery items, and Aldi had the lowest price (and gave consumers more than 15 percent savings over Walmart and 23 percent savings over Kroger, or 17 percent counting their sales prices).
However, Aldi often lacks the name-brand items that many customers want, and it offers a limited selection. The stores also save money by having customers pay 25 cents for their grocery carts, as well as bag their own items. As far as quality, some customers are not happy with Aldi’s product quality, but many are. In general, you are sacrificing a more customer-based shopping experience and more familiar brands, but you are saving money.
2. Walmart
Walmart is known for having low prices on everything, but it doesn’t have the same cost-cutting advantages that Aldi does. Walmart does offer a wide selection of products, and it also accepts manufacturer’s coupons and has the Walmart Ad Match Guarantee. However, according to Cheapism, some customers are not very happy with the store.
Although the prices are low, the lines are often long, the low-cost products are generally what you pay for, and sometimes customer service is lacking. However, this isn’t true at all stores. Another important point to mention is the fact that Walmart is convenient in many ways that Aldi and Kroger are not, including the fact that it has almost every product you would ever need outside of the grocery aisle, as well.

3. Kroger

Kroger in general is a great store for saving money if you choose to regularly shop there. Although Kroger came in third place, behind Walmart and Aldi, based on prices, when customers use the Kroger Plus card, they save even more. According to Cheapism, most customers are very pleased with the store-brand items that are offered, as well.
Another advantage to Kroger is that if they want to, customers can receive coupons in the mail that are specific to their own tastes and the food they buy, and sometimes these coupons include free items. Kroger also allows customers to upload coupons online. Some Kroger stores have a fuel center, and customers can save money on fuel by regularly shopping at Kroger. Although Kroger might be slightly more expensive, it does have many quality products.
4. Dollar stores
There are several different chains of dollar stores, and some of them offer every item for a dollar, while others offer several items at just a few dollars apiece. In general, grocery items are not the main focus, but stores are starting to have more options. You can find several grocery items at dollar stores, including canned and boxed items, and sometimes, a small frozen selection. Dollar stores are not always a good deal, but you can save by purchasing certain items at these stores.
Some food purchases are a good deal, but it depends on the individual item. Dollar stores do offer some name-brand items, but like Aldi, the biggest deals are often on brands you have never heard of. On the other hand, dollar stores can be a great place to purchase other items that you might normally purchase at a grocery store, for much less. They are also ideal for everyday food items, which help customers avoid trips to the grocery store when they just need a few items. Examples of dollar stores include Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General.

5. Bulk stores

The question of whether buying in bulk saves you money has long been debated. Especially when many popular bulk stores charge a membership fee, not everyone is sure that consumers save enough to make the price worth it. The answer is not always. Like the various dollar stores, there are many items you should buy in bulk if possible. According to U.S. News & World Report, you shouldn’t buy perishable items that might go bad, unnecessary items, or items you don’t have room to store.
However, there are many items that are worth purchasing in bulk, including toothpaste, trash bags, dishwasher detergent, dry rice, dry beans, dry pasta, oatmeal, laundry detergent, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, diapers, and light bulbs. Examples of popular bulk stores include Costco and Sam’s Club.
Want more great content like this? Sign up here to receive the best of Cheat Sheet delivered daily. No spam; just tailored content straight to your inbox.