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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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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.
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
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