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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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I love Aldi Report
I love Aldis Report
I love Aldis Report
I love shopping at Aldi's. Prices are much cheaper there. Report
Thank you. Report
I shop at three stores mentioned and found each one to carry good products at a lower cost than most stores. Report
For an online option, I like Brandless.com. Everything is $3. This includes things like olive oil, real maple syrup, etc...You can pay a small shipping fee or get a one year membership for $36 and your shipping is free. Report
I love Aldi! Report
I love Aldi! Report
My daughter swears by Aldi! Report
Thanks! for sharing the great info. Report
I frequently buy in bulk from the big box stores and especially on sales. I have a vacuum sealer and divide the packages into serving sizes for me DH and me. This includes roasts and loins cut to the proper portions. We haven' tried Aldi's but now have one within 25 miles. Report
A lot of these places are near me and I agree with the reviews! I try to rotate where I go and stock up on what's cheaper at whichever one I'm at. Report
I moved to Miami Beach in Oct. 2017. Love the weather, lived here before knew what expect. But was disappointed that more grocery stores had not entered the market. Especially Winco. which was the best store I ever shopped in. I would almost fly to Salem, Or. and shop and ship the things back that's how much I miss that store. I found Aldi, not bad for some things. TG there is a Costco, I would die without the $4.99 chicken. Whole Foods is here too. Publix's is like Safeway, good choices , higher prices. I did get the Ad apt, so I get emails listing the weekly sales of all store. Too bad many are not in this location. Oh there is a Walmart. They have cheaper prices too. Report
My tip is use a vacuum sealer! We cook our meats in bulk and vacuum seal and freeze in portions enough for me and my husband for dinner. This cuts down on our prep time during the week and keeps the portions reasonable. We vacuum seal just about everything to keep it fresh and portioned! Report
Local farmers markets, produce stands, meat markets - I've found them ALL to have better quality and prices and the big box retailers... Report
I'll will have to look into Aldi. Report
Target is the only one on this list that is anywhere close to where I live :( Report
Thank you for your information. Report
Wow. Wichita has a lot of great places, I can't hardly keep up with comparing all the prices. So I kinda run around keeping all of them in business. We had a Costco membership when it first opened up here a couple years ago, but with the continual road construction of the two main roads at the corner where it's located, I decided to skip it a few years and wait till that all settles down - and if I need or want something, I can make arrangements with a girlfriend who has a membership and I got there with her. Otherwise - we have a Sam's club for many things (like heavy whipping cream $4.98 a quart good for low carb lifestyle)... we also have a Whole Foods, which I rarely go to (we call it "Whole Paycheck"), a Sprouts, two Nature's Grocers (Vitamin Cottage? I think? is their other name or parent owner??); we used to have a local health food chain called Whole Foods Association for 30-40 years lonnnng before Whole Foods Market was formed - and they were recently bought out and merged into another local health food market called Green Acres Market - so now we have all these local groups and they have locally produced veggies and fruits, most organically grown (wasn't until that merger took place that Whole Foods Market was allowed to open up with their name - before, they were set to put a store in but were going to call it "Bread and Circus", or some asinine name.). And the Farmers themselves come in to town usually on the weekends, some locations have them in on tuesdays or thursdays - that season is starting up or maybe just started up and will last until early to mid October. So we're really blessed here. The biggest issue is we still have neighborhoods that are "food deserts" where elderly, disabled, disenfranchised, homeless, those with transportation issues etc. etc. do not have ready access to reasonably priced foods right in their neighborhoods. There are a few programs like Plant for the Hungry or whatever, where people are encouraged to plant extra rows and donate their extra produce to this network, and they in turn, take those veggies and fruits etc and take to senior centers or homeless shelters or to "The Lord's Diner" (another food outreach ministry providing a hot meal every night to whomever needs one and shows up there.) to utilize there. Really - just need to look out for our neighbors, right? But food is available for most who are willing to make the effort to get out and find it or call or whatever. Several of the grocery stores, super Walmarts, Dillons (a Kroger affiliate) etc are doing the doorside delivery kind of service which is helping many segments of the population... and they will work with you to select the freshest produce etc that you are wanting (I've not yet tried it.). OH and we also have Aldi's - they DO have wonderful prices and selections, and food produced without all the needless chemicals and additives, so that's another big YAY. I think we have 6 or 7 scattered around the Wichita/County metro... Report
I have not been to the Aldi's here in town. Maybe I should check it out. But, I know that where I go now uses local produce often (not from Mexico, like an earlier comment pointed out) and I think that is a plus. Report
Wwe like Lidl... Report
Have shopped at most of them and am picky about quality Report
Have shopped at most of them and am picky about quality Report
72 Miles to the closest Aldi-NOT worth my time, gas, driving stress,
75 miles to the closest Costco - NOT worth my time, gas, driving stress
74 miles to the closest Trader Joes, NOT worth my time, gas and traffic Report
Just been discovering Aldis and Costco. Good prices on peppers and gluten free for my sweetie. Trader Joes good for refrigerated and frozen prepared but healthy foods. Wholefoods I find costly on everything. Report
Thanks! for sharing Report
In France, we have Aldi and Lidl, both great with weekly offers too. But the local supermarkets compete with different offers at different times of year. DDT spraying only outside the US? Banned widely in Europe! Report
Thank you. Do not have Aldi's, But live very close to Costco, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. What I love is I signed up for the weekly sales ad from my favorite stores and I find I get the very best deals on air chilled chicken and shrimp at whole foods and their bacon. I buy individual packages for the needs of two people and this is enough for a month. Our grocery bill has dropped drastically since I started doing this. Plus by getting the weekly ads I compare the prices between the various stores. Report
Great ideas. Report
Great article. Report
I love love love Trader Joe's! We don't have Aldi, but I get healthy food from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Report
I love Trader Joe's, but I can't get there as often as I wish I could. We do most of our shopping at Market Basket which has the better prices compared to the other stores in the area. Report
Aldi. Have shipped there for about 20 years. Also they have a great line of gluten free products, which I need, for considerably less than regular prices. Report
I don't have most of these--just Costco. And they only have "bargains" on milk & toilet paper. :) Walmart Supercenter is our best "bargain" store! Report
Good stuff
Good information Report
Good and helpful information, SparkFriend. Report
None of these stores are within 100's of miles from me, and I have never been in any of them, the only option is Shop n Save or IGA. I usually can and freeze most of my food, including meat, veggies and fruit. Report
I usually don't go often to Costco as I do not have a membership - so usually its IGA, Co-op. Safeway (actually owned by Sobey's now in western Canada) and watch prices or (hated) Wal Mart or sometimes Real Canadian Stupidstore (sorry that's what alot of us end up calling it), Even then its NO PROMISE of getting the cheapest prices - I have to try to memorize them if I can, Even Zeller's used to have good prices in their (minuscule) food section used to have the BEST prices for peanuts and canned fish/ sardines . But they like BiWay, Woolco.WoolWorths and KMart are but MEMORIES thanks in large part to the Walton family juggernaut. Report
Well, where I live, no Aldis for 400 miles. We do have a chain called Sprouts and if you watch their ads and shop they are cheaper plus their chicken is not previously frozen or contain a lot of water. Report
In Montreal we discivered Adonis through family living in nearby Laval so we stopped in when we could. Now Toronto has two Adonis stores. Wonderful middke eastern foods plus great produce. I make regular trips to Coppa in North Toronto for fair pricing. While in Hawaii, I watch the flyers and shop the farmer’s markets. Report
I shop at Aldi, Trader Joe's, and Costco. I find the produce freshness varies from store to store. Nuts are the best price at Costco. My default supermarket is Market Basket, a local chain. I also shop at Stop & Shop, since their specials on yogurt are less than at any other stores. Yes, Aldi does have yogurt, but I don't like the taste. There is no one store that I can go to - it's a matter of knowing your prices. I do not like Wegmans, almost everything is priced higher than everywhere else. They do occasionally have specials though, so we keep an eye out for them. Report
Thanks. Report
I live in Hawaii, and yes, milk really does cost $9 a gallon at times. We have Safeway, Target, and Walmart for national chains, but no super stores. For my family (4 adults) we find it most cost effective to do most of our shopping at Costco or Sam's Club. We get all our dairy, eggs, and meat there, most canned goods, frozen foods, and some fresh produce. If we need produce that has a short shelf life or we won't be able to use the bulk amount before it goes bad, I go to one of the local independent grocers. These are places that started in communities that were considered rural and often get their produce from area farmers, so they support the communities they serve. I can usually get produce $1-3 less per pound than at the larger Local chains. Report
Ok I don’t know where you are finding these great also stores. Every fruit or vegetable I purchased at Aldo has an incredible short shelf life. I threw out more than I use. I really wanted to like Aldi. I shop Jewel or Albertsons. The fruit and vegetables are fresh and local. However do cost more Report
Love Aldi. Consistantly good product. I do avoid fresh stoned fruits as they are never ripe. They always have a a produce of the week too. Last week was asparagus for $1.29 a bag. Their plain Greek yogurt is about a buck cheaper than name brand and I prefer the taste. There cheese is cheaper than anywhere and the selection is huge. I grown my own produce and have stand during the season. Can't beat it. I am priced lower than Aldi and Wal-Mart. I want people to enjoy fresh, no pesticide, come as see where you food was grown and picked that morning options. Report
I live on a low-income and I know about Aldi's--mainly because it doesn't exist in California and I have relatives who live in the Chicago area and rave about it all the time. I would love to shop there, I hear they have a test store right now in San Francisco, but the drive is just too far for my everyday shopping needs! As for those other stores, I like the fact that Target's frozen food section (Amy's, Beyond Meat and a few others) provides a much larger selection than my local Walmart, but when it comes to price, Walmart wins. I do shop infrequently at TJ's too, can't beat their price on olive oil. But not for my everyday needs. I'll pass on CostCo (too much bulk for my small apartment) and Wegman's, which from what I can tell, is a food chain in the Southern states of this country, the US. Report
Great if you live anywhere near those places.. Report
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