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How to Find the Best Grocery Store by Food Category

Rebecca Lake • August 4, 2022

Tired of paying high prices for groceries? Learn how to find the best grocery store to save on food.

If you feel like grocery shopping eats up a considerable chunk of your budget, you’re in good company. 

At the low end, the typical household spends an average of $4,099 on food each year. Meanwhile, they’re spending $12,245 on average at the high end. It adds up faster than you think!

Even if you’re not dropping $1,000+ on food each month, you might be interested in where to buy cheap groceries, especially when inflation makes everything more expensive. Splitting shopping trips across multiple stores is one option for finding the best prices on different food categories. 

Here’s a closer look at the best grocery store options for saving money on food.

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What is the cheapest grocery store?

There’s no single cheapest grocery store, as large and small supermarket chains price their items differently. If you’re interested in which grocery outlet offers the most value overall, the answer might surprise you. According to global consulting firm dunnhumby, Amazon ranks first among grocery shoppers for a few metrics, including price, quality, and convenience.

When you’re researching where to buy cheap groceries, it helps to do some comparison shopping online. A quick search for “supermarket near me” should turn up all the local grocers in your area. You can spend some time on each store’s website to compare:

  • Which brand names or generic products they offer
  • How they price items across different food categories
  • What kind of sales or promotions they typically run
  • Whether the store offers a rewards or coupon program to help you save money

You can also check the store’s policies for things like price matching, rain checks, compatibility with cash back apps like Ibotta, which rewards you with cash when you shop partner supermarkets, and any fees you might pay for online ordering and pick-up. Seeing the bigger picture can help you find the best grocery store(s) to maximize savings. 

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Best grocery store for produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple of a healthy diet, but they can get expensive, especially if you prefer to buy organic products or stick with the Clean Fifteen. A farmer’s market can be an excellent option for picking up locally grown produce, but if you don’t have one nearby, you can check out these grocery stores instead.

  • Aldi. Aldi is known for its minimalist shopping experience and low prices. The store receives fresh produce daily and routinely offers specialty products as well as organic items. You just have to be fast since weekly finds and seasonal items may sell out quickly.
  • Lidl. Lidl is similar to Aldi because it offers an uncluttered grocery shopping experience. You can find fresh fruits and vegetables, including organic options, with many items selling for the same price (or less) than you’d pay at Walmart. For example, organic blueberries are priced the same at both stores.

 🔥 Chime Pro tip: Ask your produce department manager what day of the week they restock and what time of day if you want the freshest fruits and veggies.

Cheapest supermarket near me for meat and fish

Going vegetarian or vegan could save on groceries if you can cut out meat and fish. If that’s not an option for you, you could save money on meat and fish purchases by shopping at these stores.

  • Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club could be the best grocery for buying meat and fish if you’re comfortable buying them in bulk. For example, you can buy a 12-pound package of 80% lean ground beef chuck for $3.88 per pound. You can also stock up on various fresh and frozen seafood items.
  • Walmart. Walmart offers many of the same meat and fish options as Sam’s Club if you prefer not to buy in bulk. Price-wise, Walmart is a little more expensive. (For example, you’ll pay $4.43 per pound for 80% ground beef chuck.) But overall, you can find great deals on chicken, pork, beef, and seafood.

 🔥 Chime Pro tip: You’ll need to pay an annual membership fee to join Sam’s Club or another warehouse club, so consider how much you could save on groceries each year to decide if it’s worth it. 

What is the cheapest grocery store for canned goods?

Canned items are always a smart buy because they can keep for long periods. You can use staple items like canned beans, vegetables, or soups to make cheap and easy meals on a budget. 

Here are our top picks if you’re looking for the best grocery store for canned foods.

  • H-E-B. H-E-B offers a wide variety of both store brands and name-brand canned foods. Store brands will almost always be the cheapest bet, though you can see how much you’ll pay per ounce for similar items on the store website.
  • Target. Target may not be the first place you think of for grocery shopping, but they offer some surprisingly low prices for canned and packaged foods. You can find many familiar brand names here, but the best deals are usually canned items from Market Pantry and Good & Gather.

🔥 Chime Pro tip: Buying canned goods from the dollar store might seem like a no-brainer way to save but be sure to compare prices first, as grocery stores can sometimes be quite a bit cheaper. 

Best grocery store for dairy and eggs

Milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs might be staples of your diet, but they can also be some of the most expensive. If you can’t live without your ice cream fix or creamer for your coffee, here’s where to buy cheap groceries in the dairy category.

  • Grocery Outlet. Grocery Outlet is a bargain market that stocks its shelves with items purchased at a steep discount off the wholesale price. That’s how the supermarket can offer dairy products and other items at 40% to 70% less than what other stores charge.
  • Market Basket. If you have a Market Basket supermarket near you, you could scoop up deals on yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, and other dairy products. You’ll want to check the weekly ad to see what’s on sale, though the store brand items are usually a safe bet for savings. 

🔥 Chime Pro tip: If you don’t have time to hit the grocery store, you might be able to find great sales on milk and other dairy products at your local pharmacy, like Walgreen’s. 

Cheapest grocery store for bread and grains

Bread, cereal, pasta, and rice can be more affordable than other grocery items, but where you buy them still matters for saving the most money. You could learn to make your own bread or pasta at home, but let’s be real: we don’t all have the time (or the patience) for that. You can try shopping at the following grocery stores for those items instead.

  • Kroger. The best bread deals at Kroger are store-brand basics, like white bread and wheat bread. You can also find low prices on things like bagels, cereal, and basic pasta. There’s also another reason to consider shopping at Kroger. You can use your store loyalty card to earn points on Kroger Fuel Center purchases, which you can redeem for discounts on gas.
  • Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s could be the best grocery store if you’re looking for variety. You can find the usual suspects, like classic white sandwich bread, alongside vegan, gluten-free, and specialty options.

🔥 Chime Pro tip: Keeping a price book for your preferred grocery stores can make it easier to track the sales cycles for things like cereal, pasta, and rice.

What is a cheap supermarket near me for alcohol?

If your grocery budget includes wine or beer, where you buy it can make a difference in the price you pay. You could shop at a beer and wine retailer, but you might be able to find better bargains at these grocery stores instead.

  • Walmart. Walmart offers a wide selection of beer, wine, wine coolers, and mixers. You can even find a decent range of champagnes here if you want to celebrate a special occasion without going broke.
  • Publix. If you’re a wine enthusiast, Publix could be the best grocery store for making those purchases. The supermarket offers a wine discount program, which can help you save. You’ll get a 5% discount when you purchase four to seven bottles of wine and 10% off when you buy eight bottles or more. You don’t need special coupons or membership cards to take advantage of the savings. 

🔥 Chime Pro tip: If you’re interested in buying beer or wine on Amazon, you’re limited to non-alcoholic versions. 

What is the best grocery store for toiletries and household items?

Aside from food, other things might be essential to your grocery list. Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and beauty products are just a few things you might need to buy. These stores could be good options for purchasing those items in bulk.

  • Costco. Costco is another wholesale club that’s similar to Sam’s Club. You’ll need to pay a membership fee, but it could be worth it if you’re interested in saving money on things like toilet paper, laundry soap, cat litter, or cleaning supplies. 
  • BJ’s. BJ’s is also a warehouse club that offers household items at discounted prices. You can shop in stores or have items delivered to your home, and some of the best deals include pet items, trash bags, and air fresheners.

🔥 Chime Pro tip: Before shopping at any wholesale or warehouse club, consider whether you’ll use the things you’re buying; otherwise, they could go to waste. 

Final thoughts

Shopping for groceries might be one of your least-favorite chores. And it can be even more stressful when you’re dealing with rising prices. 

Scoping out the various supermarkets near you can help you to find the best prices for the grocery items you buy regularly. When planning your shopping trip, don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas if you’re driving. It might not make sense to go across town to save $5 on groceries if it’s going to cost you $10 in gas, for instance. 

Also, consider the merits of online ordering and pick up or delivery. Pickup is preferable since you typically won’t pay a fee to use the service. And grocery shopping online can keep you from adding to your bill with impulse buys for items that weren’t on your list. 

Keep your grocery bills low without sacrificing quality with our grocery list ranked by inflation.

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