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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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GOALKEN 10/6/2019
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GEORGE815 9/5/2019
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MINION89 8/13/2019
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SUNSET09 7/19/2019
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
CMRKSU12 7/19/2019
Don't forget your Local Farmer's Market!!! Report
SAL1512 7/19/2019
Why wasn't SAMs Club mentioned? I sure can stretch my budget shopping there !!! Report
SAL1512 7/19/2019
Why wasn't SAMs Club mentioned? I sure can stretch my budget shopping there !!! Report
SIEGRID 7/16/2019
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.
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KOALA_BEAR 6/27/2019
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
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BLINGBLING88 6/11/2019
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SXB990 2/21/2019
Love aldi Report
PATRICIAANN46 11/21/2018
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
Definitely like Costco but not aldi Report
...love, love, love Aldi... they still have good prices... but they will sell out...my solution, take the Aldi ad to Walmart and they will price match most of Aldi's and other grocery store food items...
05/13/18 Report
Must give Aldi a try! Report
Must give Aldi a try! Report
Thanks! Report
None of these stores are anywhere around me, or even in the closest larger town 90 miles south of me. There is always an assumption here that we all live in cities with tons of shopping. Report
I was just Aldi's. Hubby is doing Keto and I found much better prices on coconut oil and stuff he's eating. Fresh veggie selection is slim but we're lucky to have a vegetable market near us. We've stopped buying prepared foods, and that has cut down our bill a lot. Report
Thanks. Report
Great information for when you live anywhere near these shops. Report
none of the stores are with in a 200 mile radius of me so i shop the local stores the butcher shop help at the community garden and get some fresh produce there to order on line is just not good here if it even gets to you it is often times ruined not a good rep there but thank you for the suggestions for when I am out of town Report
I certainly wouldn't consider Trader Joe's inexpensive! They are more expensive than the regular grocery store. Aldi's has good deals on nuts, milk, eggs, etc., but I find that the produce is usually old or moldy, at least at the store by me. Report
Thanks helpful information Report
Great blog. Very good information! Thanks so much! Report
Healthful Report
I will check out Aldi. Thank you. Report
Thank you for the wonderful ideas! Report
I shop at Aldi s with my Dad. They have some good gluten free items. Report
Aldi is a good alternative if you check the produce origins. Most of their procuce is imported from Chile, Mexico, Vietnam,etc which sprays DDT on their produce, a known carcinogen. The U.S. and Europe have banned DDT, so insist on getting the growing origins of produce, NOT the distribution sight. IF they do not know, put it back on the shelf. They will get the message if you ask enough.
Their Fit and Active brand has less sodium, fats, etc. Report
Grocery Outlet in my small town is full of bargains. Specialty and Organic items as well as average groceries. Report
I loved shopping at Aldi's when I was in Illinois, don't have Aldi's here in Colorado. I don't know of any stores that are comparable to it here. Thank you for sharing this article. Report
We use Lidl and Costco Report
I have a Walmart that is close..... a Super 1 Foods that is in my town. Sadly the others are too far away if I know where one is. I did find there were some bargains at the Just a Dollar. Who would have thunk it! HEE Hee.
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