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6 Places to Find Cheap, Healthy Groceries

By , SparkPeople Blogger
My sister is a thrifty shopper. She knows where to find deals and is constantly comparing prices, especially when it comes to groceries. When I mentioned that a new Aldi store opened near my house, "You have to check it out!" was her immediate response. "You'll be surprised how many healthy foods you can find there at a fraction of the cost you're paying at the regular grocery store."

Skeptically, I decided to make the trip, assuming I wouldn't find any of the foods I normally purchase and it would likely be a wasted effort. I was completely wrong. For example, the bags of nuts I buy almost every week were two dollars cheaper. The organic apples I pay $2.49/pound for were $5 for a five-pound bag.

Eating healthy on a budget doesn't have to be more expensive than a diet full of processed foods. By planning ahead and comparing prices, you can incorporate inexpensive, healthy foods into your diet for less than you might think. You've probably heard money-saving tips like "buy in bulk" and "shop in season," but are there really certain stores that provide deeper discounts than others?

Bargain Shoppers, Rejoice!

  1. Aldi       
Registered dietitian Jodi Danen frequents Aldi to find good deals on specific items.  "Aldi's pricing on things like organic milk, kefir and specialty cheese is great—along with peanut butter, bread and butter.  Aldi also offers a "Double Guarantee," meaning if you're not satisfied, they will give you a replacement product and your money back. SparkPeople member LADYREDCOMET is a regular Aldi shopper, finding that the prices are consistently 20 to 50 percent less than the grocery store in her area. "For example, I pay $1.49 for a 10-ounce bag of spinach at Aldi," she explains. "A similar (or smaller) bag is usually $2.79 to $3.29 elsewhere."
  1. Costco 
Julia Nickerson, founder of the website Savory Tooth, says that Costco is a great place to find good prices for a number of items. "They have great deals on nuts. Walnuts and pine nuts are usually quite expensive, but you can find them at a great price at Costco. I've also bought pecans, macadamia nuts and flavored almonds from them," she explains. "Costco is great for buying large and cheap bags of almond flour. They also have a lot of low-carb snacks like roasted seaweed, protein bars and cheese crisps. If you don't live near a warehouse, you can buy online from Costco's website." Costco also has a very generous return policy. If you aren't fully satisfied with your purchase, you can bring it back for a full refund.
  1. Trader Joe's      
Talk to anyone who loves frozen foods, and chances are Trader Joe's will come up. The brand known for items with cult followings (cookie butter, Everything But the Bagel seasoning) is also one of the best places to find affordable fare for your meal-planning calendar. Jamie Lopez, a registered dietitian and food blogger, loves Trader Joe's for affordable groceries and says she can buy a week's worth of food staples for around $30. "Some of the basics that are consistently cheaper at Trader Joe's include eggs, yogurt, milk, frozen goods and peanut butter," she says. Trader Joe's is a frequent stop for BATGURL250, too, who says they have cheaper organic produce. "A lot of times you can get organic apples for $0.99/pound, as opposed to $3 or more per pound at other stores. Their organic nuts are usually cheaper, and they have frozen organic produce with prices comparable to conventional frozen produce at regular grocery stores," she explains. 
  1. SuperTarget      
SparkPeople member MLAN613 finds big cost savings at SuperTarget. "I love using their Cartwheel app in combination with the RedCard. Their store brand, MarketPantry, is fairly tasty and I think they have the best deal on frozen fruit," she says.
  1. ShopRite and Wegmans              
SHERYLDS is in the habit of shopping the store circulars and stocks up when there is a good sale on items she buys regularly. "I have found that the two stores with the best prices in my area are Shoprite and Wegmans. My suggestions are to learn prices and try the store brands. I have found that the store brands are just as good as the more expensive name brands," she recommends. 
  1. Online Options
If you live in an area without a variety of stores from which to choose, don't think you're stuck with the options at your only grocery. When in doubt, head to the internet, where you can often find more variety and compare prices before buying. 

TEDDYBEARDONNA orders frequently from Vitacost because she lives in a small town without many choices. "I often get 20 percent off my order and they have specials all the time. I am gluten-free and find I save a lot by using them." Similarly, AJDOVER1 relies on Thrive Market, noting that even though there is a membership fee, the savings make it worth it. "They have a huge selection of organic foods, baking ingredients, spices, sauces, condiments, vitamins, nutritional supplements, nuts and dried fruit," she says.  Amazon's Prime Pantry offers free shipping on orders over $40 (or a flat $7.99 shipping fee on smaller orders.) Although there is an annual membership fee, this is another convenient way to purchase groceries at a reasonable cost.

Protect Your Wallet with These 4 Money-Saving Tips

  1. Buy in bulk. When you see good deals, stock up. Many fresh foods can be frozen to prevent spoilage, and packaged foods that have a long shelf-life can be stored until you're ready to eat.
  2. Shop with a list. When you go in with a plan, you're less likely to get distracted by spur-of-the-moment impulses calling your name from the "deal of the week" aisle.
  3. Know your prices. If you know a good price on the peanut butter you buy weekly, stock up when you see a sale or shop other stores to compare. You might not have the time to visit multiple stores every week, but if you've got time for just a few, it could save a lot of money in the long run.
  4. Check out the sales ahead of time. Gone are the days when you had to wait for the circular to be delivered to your house or had to pick one up when you entered the store. Now you can do that prep work ahead of time by checking out store websites (which often have digital coupons to download) for weekly deals. Many stores even have Facebook pages where they will post deals of the day or week.
Groceries are a significant part of most people's budgets, so it's worth the time to compare prices, look for deals and watch the savings add up. Do your homework and your wallet will thank you!
Where do you find the best deals on groceries? Share your finds with us!

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MITCHETR192 1/11/2021
I shop at Aldi and love most of their products and prices. I do tend to stay away from their produce, though, unless I’m using it right away. It just doesn’t seem as fresh as my other local grocery store options. Report
GOFORGIN 12/21/2020
Ok Report
WALKZWDOGZ 10/26/2020
Winco and Smart Foodservice have good prices often, but I think they're only in the Pacific Northwest. Report
Aldi fan Report
MJ7DM33 7/9/2020
Thanks Report
CECELW 7/9/2020
ive read this before on here i'm sure Report
LOSER05 7/9/2020
thanks Report
MWHIGGINS 7/9/2020
This works for non perishable items, but things like fresh seafood don't travel well Report
NANASUEH 7/9/2020
thanks Report
Huge Trader Joe's fan here !! You can not beat their prices on nuts. they have the lowest nut prices anywhere. $4.99 for a 16oz bag of walnut pieces. $4.99 for 16oz of raw almonds, $5.99 for dry roasted. And their Belgian dark chocolate is delicious. Report
MIAMI_LILLY 7/9/2020
Aldi and Trader Joe’s are the BEST 2 stores for great deals . Fun fact: they are sister companies started by 2 brothers! Report
MAREE1953 7/9/2020
I have good luck at Aldi, too. Thanks for sharing this info!! I love trying some of the unusual dressings, condiments -- shake it up! Report
NASFKAB 7/9/2020
Thank you Report
Thanks Report
ETHELMERZ 7/9/2020
Our Aldi’s always has a smell about it, not sure why. Report
EVILCECIL 6/30/2020
Good info. Thanks. Report
MUSICNUT 5/3/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
EVIE4NOW 4/17/2020
I have noticed that the longer we are in quarantine the higher the prices are getting and many shelves are empty. Thanks for some good suggestions. Report
LIDDY09 3/17/2020
Thanks Report
KAYAKPIKE 3/17/2020
Thanks for your suggestions! Report
NELLJONES 3/17/2020
With everything closing for the virus, just getting provisions overtakes price. Report
YOGA1973 3/16/2020
@GRALAN Agreed. I haven’t shopped there in years; not worth the hassle. Report
GRALAN 3/16/2020
Target likes to charge more at the register than the shelf price lists on a regular basis, I shop at the one near us because it is close and we are handicapped.

They also like to charge the same or more for an item that is supposed to be "on sale". Target and SuperTarget both engage in this process. I have pictures to document. I'm glad some folks are saving money, as I do, but there is no store I've shopped at that is so blatent about it.
Example: bought two pkg of Market Pantry Cream Cheese listed $0.89 each. At the register they charged $1.58 each.
I'm not lying. You need to check your receipts against the items you bought, sort of a reverse of what Walmart puts you through to prove you aren't stealing from them.
Yeah. It's all weird. Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/16/2020
ty Report
EMGERBER 3/16/2020
Interesting article. Report
MAREE1953 3/16/2020
I like Aldi. Our city doesn't have the other stores mentioned Report
PAMBROWN62 3/16/2020
Good tips. Report
KATHYJO56 2/8/2020
I am a dedicated Aldi shopper, for the most part. I can't always find everything that I want there, but for the most part I do. Report
This must be a very regional list, none of these stores around here. Report
I love going to Aldi. I prefer them over my local grocery store. The prices fit within my budget. Report
Thanks Report
I was introduced to Dollar Tree by a friend and because I am single, they offer single items so I'm not as wasteful/ I shop at Costco and Sam's Club when I entertain. Thank you for the other suggestions, SparkFriends. Report
Don't forget your Local Farmer's Market!!! Report
Why wasn't SAMs Club mentioned? I sure can stretch my budget shopping there !!! Report
Why wasn't SAMs Club mentioned? I sure can stretch my budget shopping there !!! Report
Thank you. I live in Québec. We do have Costco here, but not the others you mentioned. But we do have stores like Super C and Maxi where the prices are lower, and of course it comes down to checking the weekly fliers for all the specials.
I shop The Dollar Tree & 99Cent Stores in my area, then the local produce stands, & weekly there are 2 farmers markets - one at our county hospital & one at the local community college. With all that we save, hubby & I will supplement from Safeway or Lucky or Nob Hill when they run a loss leader or if we want to splurge. Normally don't waste my $$$ on organic tho ever.🐨 Report
Love aldi Report
Thank You so much for the information. Report
thank you Report
Aldi just jacked their prices after their renovations Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Costco has the best price on cashews anywhere. If you are vegan, this could mean something. A drawback to Costco is a somewhat limited selection and the fact that items can be discontinued (permanently or seasonally) very easily. But if you can find what you need there (especially non-foods) it is a great place to shop. Report
As mentioned above, Super Wal-Mart Foods is a wonderful source, too. Report
good information Report
Thanks for sharing Report
No Aldi's within a 200 mile radius, Not driving 1 1/2 hours to the closest RUDE Trader Joe's. Market Basket in New England has some good deals, due to lack of selection of stores and driving mileage, I shop local. Report
Great information! Report
Great information! Report
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