On a Budget? These Low-Cost Grocery Stores Offer Great Deals

Need help choosing a grocery store that offers low prices on your favorite items? Check out this list of some of the most affordable grocery stores throughout the nation.

The little deals you get on your groceries at different stores add up. It’s certainly worth it to choose a grocery store that offers low prices for your favorite items. Many places carry the exact same products but at wildly different prices. In addition, the generic store brands–even at discount grocery stores–are usually as good as the “real” thing. In some cases, they might actually be the real thing, just sold under a generic name.

This is why it’s a good idea to research the prices at your local grocery store chains and figure out the best places to find each item on your list. It really helps to go to low-cost grocery stores that trade in frills for low prices.

These are some of the best low-cost grocery stores across the nation!

ALDI

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German-based grocery chain ALDI has over 10,000 stores in 20 different countries. Folks who have lived near an ALDI are familiar with their incredibly low prices and amazing selections. You can get stellar deals on fresh produce and meat, pantry staples, and snacks there. However, make sure you bring your own shopping bags (or plan to buy them from the store) and a quarter to unlock a shopping cart.

Don’t miss the limited-time deals, either! ALDI offers special buys on name brands and a wide variety of household goods, garden items, toys, and even clothes. Those specials can sell out quick, so make sure to check your local ALDI’s flyer for upcoming deals.

ALDI now accepts all four major credit cards in the U.S., but they used to only take cash. They even accept Apple Pay now, which has helped them to keep up with their evolving customer base. ALDI is all about getting rid of the frills and offering a straightforward, low-cost grocery shopping experience.

Trader Joe’s

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Trader Joe’s was founded by Joe Coulombe in Pasadena, CA, in 1967. However, Theo Albrecht of ALDI owned Trader Joe’s until he passed away in 2010, and the company is now owned by his heirs. The ALDI and Trader Joe’s businesses function independently, but they both offer fantastic deals!

BusinessWeek reported in 2004 that between 1990 and 2001, Trader Joe’s had expanded its number of stores by at least five times. The chain’s profits, meanwhile, grew ten times. By 2016, Fortune was reporting that estimated sales per square foot in every Trader Joe’s averaged out to about $1,750. That’s more than twice the sales generated by Whole Foods.

From seasonal limited products to perennial favorites, Trader Joe’s has something for everyone. Check out their “Fearless Flyer” for upcoming deals, recipes, and more! The quirky chain is a great place to buy fresh flowers and live plants at a major discount, so why not treat yourself on your next visit?

Publix

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Publix is an employee-owned American supermarket chain that has its headquarters in Lakeland, FL. The store was founded by George W. Jenkins, a former clerk at Piggly Wiggly, in 1930. Jenkins was responsible for building Florida’s very first supermarket on a former orange grove in 1940.

Publix now has a presence in other states like Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. There are about 1,270 total Publix supermarkets in operation, and their revenue was about $38.1 billion in 2019. Only employees can buy stock in the company, so Publix ownership is split between about 197,000 workers throughout the southeast.

The grocery chain is well known in the Southeast for their outstanding bakery–seriously, the in-house breads and cakes are so good–as well as their friendly service. Don’t forget to stop by and try one of their legendary fresh-made subs for lunch!

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Wegmans

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Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. was founded by two brothers named John and Walter Wegman. Originally, their store was named the Rochester Fruit and Vegetable Company because they were located in Rochester, NY, where their headquarters still reside. The establishment was founded in 1916 as a humble and basic store.

Flash forward to 1965, when the company began to expand beyond Rochester. The chain was doing so well throughout New York that they were able to open their first store in Pennsylvania in 1993. Now, Wegmans has locations in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina as well.

Wegmans is not your typical low-cost grocery store, but you can find more upscale items here at a lower cost than you would at places like Whole Foods or Randalls. They’re also noted for their happy employees and loyal customer base.

Wegmans has also joined the grocery store trend of offering basic products under a “Wegmans” brand name. These items can be purchased at a lower cost than their name-brand competitors. In 2019, the company’s revenue was about $9.7 billion, which is a testament to its enormous popularity.

Market Basket

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Market Basket stores are located in a few places across the country, but the first one was founded in 1917 by Greek immigrants Arthur and Efrosini Demoulas. They called their store DeMoulas Market, and they specialized in fresh lamb. 

After World War II, the brothers were able to expand the stores due to a growing customer base. By 1956, their sales had reached about $900,000 per year. That’s a huge leap, considering their early annual sales were closer to $2,000.

Eventually, the Demoulas began opening stores under various names. Thus, Market Basket was introduced to the world. As of 2021, there are more than 85 Market Baskets in New England. 

Consumer Reports ranked Market Basket as #2 in a list of the best U.S. supermarkets in 2017. They were beat out only by Wegmans. This is pretty impressive for a store founded in 1913, and one that didn’t even have a social media presence until late 2017!

WinCo Foods

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WinCo Foods was founded in 1967 by Ralph Ward and Bud Williams. The original vision for the store, which at the time was called “Waremart,” was a no-frills, warehouse-style shopping experience. Obviously, “Waremart” sounds a lot like a certain big-box store, so it’s not the best branding.

It wasn’t until 1999 that Waremart changed its name to “WinCo Foods,” with WinCo standing for “Winning Company.” There are now about 131 WinCo locations in operation in various states such as Utah, Washington, Montana, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas.

The company has an employee stock ownership plan that makes it an employee-owned company, just like Publix. Many WinCo locations are able to purchase their products directly from local farms and factories. This allows them to offer better prices than even Walmart, depending on the product you’re looking for. If you’re living near a WinCo Foods, make sure you check it out to see what deals they offer in your area. 

Fareway

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Fareway Stores, Inc. is a family-owned business headquartered in Boone, Iowa. This grocery store chain employs over 11,000 people in about 124 locations throughout the Midwest. Fareway has stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri.

Fareway is a more traditional grocery store compared to ALDI, but it’s not at all what you’d call fancy. They’re not going to upcharge you here; they offer a great selection of items for totally reasonable prices.

The company demonstrates real compassion for people, which is reflected in the way they treat their employees. For example, Fareway is one of the top ten employers in the state of Iowa. They are closed on Sundays and all major holidays–-an excellent perk for their employees. However, when they’re in operation, some Fareway stores will open as early as 6 a.m. and close as late as 11 p.m. This offers customers a lot more flexibility than most grocery stores do.

Fareway is also one of the few companies in the United States that offer employee benefits that address student loan debt. Only about four percent of companies across the country offer such benefits to their employees. Combined with their great prices, this all means one can really feel good about shopping at a Fareway! 

Woodman’s

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John Woodman founded Woodman’s Markets in 1919 in Janesville, Wisconsin. The original market was nothing more than a produce stand. Today, the company employs more than 2,000 people and earns about $2 billion in revenue.

Woodman’s runs a relatively small operation, allowing them to offer fantastic prices to their customer base. They have opened about 15 stores throughout Wisconsin and Illinois since the late 1970s. 

Woodman’s utilizes a bulk purchasing model, which allows them to lower their prices far more than most grocery stores can. Oh, and every location is open 24 hours a day. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Lidl

Wroclaw, Poland - NOV 11, 2019: LIDL supermarket in Poland. Lidl is a German global discount supermarket chain. From 2018 in Poland shops are closed most Sundays.
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A relative newcomer to the United States, Lidl is another back-to-basics grocery chain from Germany. By running a lean operational model and offering mostly store brands, Lidl keeps prices low. Just be aware that you’ll need to bring your own bags or buy them from the store–and bag your own groceries, too.

That doesn’t mean the quality suffers, though! Lidl is one of the best places to buy bulk produce and meat at a bargain, along with dirt-cheap milk and eggs. And don’t even get me started on their bakery! Unlike most no-frills bakery chains, Lidl bakes a wide variety of pastries, breads, and cookies in-house every day.

Like ALDI, Lidl offers a rotating selection of housewares, clothes, and seasonal items. Check the store circular to see the upcoming deals and plan your visit. The store’s selection of seasonal plants is outstanding!

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