I have always been a frugal shopper. I want to stretch our grocery budget and make our dollars go as far as they can. I have always shopped the sales and ventured to different stores to find the best deals. I recently updated my food stock up list with 2019 prices and decided I needed to make a real food price list too.
After recently completing a Whole 30, I have decided to cook more from scratch and buy more real foods. I want to avoid more processed foods, even knowing at this point, we are doing a slow transition and will still buy some processed foods. I’m being honest here and realistic about what will work for our family. I am making baby steps towards a healthier family. I am eager to make some changes in our kitchen but we are still on a tight budget so I need to make every dollar count.
You see, our monthly budget is $400 for our family of 5. Our grocery budget includes food, diapers, toiletries and cleaning supplies. I completed a Whole 30 on a budget so I know with a bit of planning and creativity, I can make our budget including purchasing more real foods, too.
I recently sat down and made a list of 40 real food items that I want to purchase – from butter and milk to peanut butter without sugar and olive oil. I also included a couple fresh vegetables, even though those prices change dramatically by season. I wanted to know where I could stock up on my basic real foods at any time for the best price.
I spent the time comparing real food prices so you wouldn’t have to!
I compared prices at Aldi and Walmart, Meijer and Kroger. I also used this list to determine my stock up price. I admit that I was surprised by what I found! Aldi was the lowest price in only a third of the categories. This definitely changes the way I shop at Aldi, now that I know this.
These prices are current as of March 1, 2019, and are based on prices from Fort Wayne, Indiana. These prices are the every day (non organic) prices at each store. Your prices will vary based on location but I hope this will give you a starting place. The stock up price is subjective but those are the prices I personally watch for and deem a good price point to stock up.
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Who has the best price on real food?
Without any further ado, let’s get to it. I know you are curious! I was surprised that Aldi didn’t win more of the categories. I think it also worth that Walmart beat Meijer by only pennies several times, which is important for me because I shop at Meijer more than Walmart. Here is the lowest real food price with the store name where you can find it.
- Butter, 1 lb – Meijer – $2.59
- Cheese, 8 oz block – Walmart – $1.74
- Cream Cheese, 8 oz – Walmart – $0.80
- Eggs, 1 dozen – Walmart – $0.78 but only by a penny to Meijer’s $0.79
- Sour Cream, 16 oz, natural – Aldi – $0.99
- Milk, 1 gallon – Walmart – $1.78
- Almond milk, 64 ounce – Aldi or Meijer – $2.29
- Carrots – Aldi – $0.99 / 2 lbs
- Romaine, 3 heads – Aldi – $1.99
- Cauliflower – Walmart – $1.78
- Broccoli Crowns – Aldi or Meijer – $1.49
- Sweet Potatoes, 3 lbs – Aldi – $2.49
- Onions, 3 lbs – Meijer – $1.79
- Apples, 3 lbs – Aldi – $2.99
- Bananas, per pound – Walmart – $0.38 / per pound
- Canned Tomatoes, 15 oz – Walmart – $0.46
- Canned Tomatoes, 28 oz – Walmart – $0.87
- Canned Beans, 15 oz – Walmart – $0.54
- Canned Vegetables, 15 oz – Meijer – $0.45
- Peanut Butter, 15 oz, no sugar added – Kroger – $1.79
- Pasta, 16 oz – Aldi – $0.79
- Applesauce, 46 oz, unsweetened – Aldi – $1.89
- Green olives, 5.25 oz – Aldi – $0.99
- Black olives, 6 oz – Walmart – $1.23
- Triscuit crackers – Walmart – $2.56
- Almonds, 16 oz, raw – Aldi – $5.49
- Peanuts, 16 oz, dry roasted – Aldi – $1.89
- Sugar, 4 lbs – Walmart – $1.37
- Sugar, Powdered or Brown, 2 lbs – Walmart – $1.32
- Flour, White, 5 lbs – Walmart – $1.18
- Flour, Whole Wheat, 5 lbs – Kroger – $1.99
- Flour, White Whole Wheat, 5 lbs – Kroger – $2.69
- Olive Oil, 16.9 oz – Kroger – $2.99
- Honey, Various Sizes, Best Value – Walmart – $12.48 / 80 oz
- Pure Maple Syrup, 12 oz – Aldi – $6.89
- Oats, 42 oz – Aldi – $2.39
- Cocoa, 8 oz – Aldi – $1.79
- Coconut oil, 30 oz – Kroger – $4.99
How do I use this real food price list?
First, if you would like a printable copy of this entire spreadsheet, you can download a free pdf copy of this chart in my resource library which is free to all my newsletter subscribers. Just enter your information in the form below and I’ll send you the password for instant access to the library – where you can download this real food price list, a more expanded food price list and a 44 page ebook with even more price comparisons!
Once you have studied this price list, make a shopping plan of action. Look at the stores where you shop regularly and plan which items to buy there. If you go to Aldi weekly but Kroger once a month (or vice versa), plan accordingly so you are getting the best deals wherever you shop for real food.
Sometimes, you are going to need milk or fresh produce and won’t have time to get to the store where they are the cheapest. That’s okay and happens to all of us busy moms! However, if you can use this real food price list to plan ahead so you are stocking up at the lowest prices on most of your real food purchases, you will see a difference in your budget.
If you don’t have an Aldi close, can you make a monthly trip to do a major stock up? Is this worth your time? This is important for you consider.
Remember that this list does not include sale prices! While Kroger doesn’t seem to have many low prices, they run amazing sales where you can regularly get name brand pasta and cheese for cheaper than the regular low prices. Always watch for sales on real food!
It is worth remembering that shopping at stores like Meijer and Kroger or other grocery stores with rewards programs is beneficial. Any purchases at Meijer earn me Mperks credit, and my Kroger purchases earn me fuel points. Shopping at Walmart or Aldi doesn’t earn me any rewards. I find it worth comparing the prices with the rewards.
Don’t rule out other grocery stores for the best prices! Use this real food price list as your starting point and compare it to the other stores where you shop. Shop at Sam’s or Costco? Compare prices there too! I recently discovered that Sam’s sells 32 oz of pure maple syrup for $9.98 – which far surpasses any other store for the best price! Don’t limit yourself to only one or two stores. Go where the best deals are.
Everywhere you can save a bit of money allows you to use those pennies on a bigger real food purchase that doesn’t go on sale as often.
Where do you shop for most of your real food purchases? Do you have any other tips to help me in this journey?