The Cheapest Grocery Store

Wondering what is the cheapest grocery store near me? Which grocery store will save you the most money? Take a look at this massive price comparison of four of the biggest grocery store chains to see how they rank. Let’s find out what is the cheapest grocery store?

I have always been a frugal shopper who loves shopping for the best deals. As a one-income growing family, I need to stretch our pennies. I recently noticed that some of my favorite grocery stores didn’t seem as cheap as they used to be. Naturally, this sent me on a quest to discover the cheapest grocery store near me.

Because I am a frugal grocery shopper, I am regularly asked questions like…

  • Is Walmart or Aldi cheaper?
  • Is Meijer cheaper than Kroger?
  • Is Kroger cheaper than Walmart?
  • Is Aldi cheaper than Kroger?
  • Is Walmart cheaper than Kroger?
  • And of course, is Aldi cheaper than Walmart?

This are all good questions that I want to answer!

I live in northern Indiana so compared Meijer and Kroger to Aldi and Walmart. I like Meijer for their amazing meat sales. I like Aldi for the quick and frugal shopping experience. I absolutely love the sales at Kroger! And Walmart? Walmart isn’t my favorite grocery store to shop but it is a low priced option where you can get everything at once.

This project might be one of my biggest grocery shopping projects yet and I was honestly amazed at what I discovered in my search for the cheapest grocery store. I am so excited to share all the details with you here today!

Settle in. Get ready. There are a lot of details and prices and statistics coming at you! Ready? Let me tell you how I found the cheapest grocery store. 

Note: I did this price comparison in 2019 for the first time, and updated it in 2021. With the rapidly increasing inflation, I did a complete update in May 2022 to help us all save money on our groceries.

How did I search for the cheapest grocery store?

I looked at the stores that had the biggest reach. Walmart is national chain that boosts low prices. Is Walmart really the lowest? Aldi claims to beat Walmart but do they really? Meijer and Kroger are considered higher end grocery stores, but they have a large reach with great sales. For the sake of this price comparison, these were the four stores I chose to compare.

I started by making a list of the most common grocery items any household would use. Then, I added some more specific items that our family uses regularly. Finally, I asked the Joyfully Thriving Facebook page for their feedback and got a lot of great requests for items to add to the list.

I wanted a fair representation of various areas of the grocery store so I focused on 10 different shopping categories. The categories I used were:

  • Dairy
  • Pantry
  • Canned Goods
  • Condiments
  • Baking Goods
  • Meat
  • Frozen
  • Paper
  • Personal Products
  • Diapers

I came up with a list of 183 items in 10 categories that I compared at all 4 stores. 

I made a huge spreadsheet with all the grocery items and then I began comparing prices at the stores. I went through the store and wrote down prices for everything on my list. Some products were name-brand specific but many were simply for the cheapest generic version available at the store. I did not include fresh produce in this price comparison since it varies so much by season.

For the sake of true comparison, I used everyday prices and did not factor sales into this list.

Please know that prices vary in different parts of the country. These prices are Northern Indiana prices as of May 2022. Wherever you live, I still believe you can use these results to help you save money on your grocery bill.

What are the cheapest grocery store results?

After multiple store shopping trips and researching through various store apps, my list was finally done. Once I found the price totals, I went through and started comparing price to see which was the cheapest grocery store.

First, I went through and highlighted the absolute lowest price for every item. If there was a store that tied on the price, both those stores were highlighted.

As I was comparing results, I realized that several stores were within pennies of each other. If you were already shopping at one store, it makes sense to pick up other items that are still a good deal. Keeping that in mind, I went back through the lists and highlighted every price that was within 5 cents of the lowest price. This gave them a mark for the second lowest price.

Then, I tallied up the totals – both in numbers and percentages (out of 183). Here is what I found.

2022 ResultsAldiMeijerKrogerWalmart
Lowest Price115221768
Second Lowest1414637
Total Lowest1213623105
Lowest Price63%12%9%37%
Second Lowest3%8%3%20%
Total Lowest66%20%12%57%

As you can see, Aldi had the most lowest prices and Kroger had the least. There were a few categories where all 4 stores have prices within a dime, but only a few.

Aldi had the lowest prices on two-thirds of the items on my master comparison list. That is a lot! This is making me start shopping there, even though they don’t always have everything I need.

Years ago, Meijer used to be my go-to store to stock up at everything at a low price – but not anymore! I was truly surprised by how few of the lowest prices Meijer had. Meijer really does not have the best deals on very many things at all.

Aldi was the cheapest in almost a third of the categories. What I found interesting was that they had the lowest prices on over 100 items but the second lowest on only 14. If Aldi is not the lowest price, they really aren’t in the running at all for being the cheapest. Also, since Aldi does not carry everything, there were several items on the list that could not be compared at Aldi.

Kroger is definitely the most expensive if you shop without sales! Still, Kroger has many amazing sales which beat Aldi’s every day low prices. This chart does not take sales into account so it is difficult to see that represented. Kroger also has gas rewards and more digital coupons, both of which Aldi and Walmart do not. That definitely is worth considering when you are comparing prices.

What is the cheapest grocery store? 

If you are going by the everyday low prices at the store, the clear winner to the cheapest grocery store in 2022 is Aldi. Walmart is a runner up, with Meijer and Kroger trailing behind.

But maybe you are still wondering this…

What is the cheapest grocery store near me?

For me, the cheapest grocery store is Aldi. But what if you don’t have an Aldi nearby?

Walmart is probably the cheapest grocery store available nationwide. I say probably, because Walmart does not have sales, so that is a factor because sale shopping can save you a lot of money on groceries.

To find the cheapest grocery store near you, do your own quick price comparison at your local grocery stores.

Start by making a list of 20 to 25 items you buy on a regular basis. I don’t recommend doing more than this at the beginning because I don’t want you to be overwhelmed. (Trust me. 183 items is A LOT!) Pick the top 2 dozen items you use every week and start there.

Then, make a list of the grocery stores nearest to you. Be sure to include the places where you shop regular as well as those you haven’t shopped at recently. Maybe you will be surprised by your findings!

Next, take your list and price those 25 products at the different grocery stores. Quick tip. Many grocery stores have great websites or apps where you can view the prices from the comfort of your own home. For Aldi, unfortunately, you have to venture into the store to see the actual prices.

Once you have compared prices at your closest stores, hopefully it will be clear what is the cheapest grocery store near you. I’d love to know in the comments what you found to be your cheapest grocery store!

How have prices increased at the grocery store?

This is the third time I’ve done down this price comparison. I did it in 2019 and 2021. Here are the results from 2021. While prices have definitely increased in the past year, Aldi is still the winner as it was back in 2021. Here are the 2021 results.

2021 ResultsAldiMeijerKrogerWalmart
Lowest Price114151652
Second Lowest412445
Total Lowest118272097
Lowest Price62%8%9%28%
Second Lowest2%7%2%25%
Total Lowest64%15%11%53%

I did the original research in 2019 when Walmart was the cheapest. Here are the 2019 results.

 2019 ResultsAldiMeijerKrogerWalmart
  Lowest Price56152697
  Second Lowest3111632
  Total Lowest592642129
  Lowest Price31%8%15%54%
  Second Lowest2%6%9%18%
  Total Lowest33%15%24%72%

I will always go where the prices are lowest to stretch our money the farthest. That is why I am shopping at Aldi more.

At the same time, with gas prices increasing as much as they are, we need to be smart shoppers. Gone are the days of running to one store just because. We need to combine errands and be wise about how we shop.

For me, I shop the amazing sales at Kroger because their sale prices usually beat the every day low price at Aldi and Walmart. Then, I do a stock up trip once or twice a month at Aldi where prices are the lowest to fill in the gaps. This is what it currently looks like for me, but I am constantly reevaluating to be a smart shopper.

How do I use this information to grocery shop?

It’s good to know what is the cheapest grocery store because now it can influence how we shop. 

Now, I have a list of what I should buy at Aldi and what items I should buy elsewhere. I also used these prices to create a stock-up list of the best prices for each item – so you can watch for sales at any store to beat those every day prices. (That list is included in my printable grocery ebook. See below for more on that.)

If you are going to mainly shop at one store – make it Aldi.

My plan? I plan to go back to shopping at Aldi more regularly and supplement with sales at Kroger – and occasionally the meat sales at Meijer. Walmart will still be my go to when I need a low price pick-up because their prices are close to Aldi on quite a few things.

It’s funny, because when I did this research for the first time, I switched from being an Aldi shopper to a Walmart shopper – to save money. Now? I’m switching back because I am a frugal shopper. I will shop where the prices are the lowest to save me money.

I will also be using the store apps more regularly to check prices. That is incredibly helpful and convenient! I’ve already done it a couple times in the aisle of Kroger to compare prices at Walmart to see which if I should buy it at Kroger or wait until Walmart. It’s gone both ways but sometimes the price difference is quite substantial!

Want more information on the cheapest grocery store?

Want to see all the actual numbers and compare the prices yourself?

I compiled way too much information to share in one blog post. This blog post is already quite long, but there is still more I could share. If you want a copy of all my charts with prices and statistics, you are welcome to it! I compiled all my research into a 45 page printable ebook – with lots of detailed lists!

What lists are included in the ebook? 

  • Master Price Comparison (with all 4 stores and their prices)
  • Lowest and Second Lowest Prices
  • Prices from 2019 and 2021
  • Stock Up Prices (Category)
  • Stock Up Prices (Alphabetical)
  • Best Places to Buy (Category)
  • Best Places to Buy (Alphabetical)
  • Aldi Shopping List
  • Meijer Shopping List
  • Kroger Shopping List
  • Walmart Shopping List

Just enter your email in the box below, and I’ll send you a download link to the whole pdf file right away! It will also add you to my weekly newsletter list, so I can share other grocery saving tips and findings with you!

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    1. Hi, Daniel! No, I have not, as Costco is exclusive to members and does not publically share prices on their website. It is similar to Sams but I can’t give you an exact comparison. As for Trader Joe’s, as a speciality store, it does not have all the items available to do a true cost comparison. If I ever add those two stores to my price comparison, I will let you know!

    1. While I agree that Meijer has good sales that Walmart does not have (and I shop those regularly!), if you are comparing every day prices – without sales – Walmart near us always beats Meijer.

    2. Yes. This was true where I lived in Chicagoland. Also when I lived there & in West Michigan, Meijer was known more as a mid-range price store. Both areas had other stores that were known to have higher prices. I live in FL now & sure miss Meijer! They are an awesome one stop place, had vitamins B1G1 often, sales like that you don’t typically see at grocery stores. Between that sort of sales, their coupons & loyalty program, I paid about the same as Aldi for total groceries but had more product choices. I even used to get toys & clothes there! I have scored $3 pants for my kids, $15 Sketchers with sale & coupon combined, etc. Sometimes I could even get a nice toy almost free when combining a coupon with clearance. Also they were practically next door to Walmart, so they definitely competed & Meijer gas price was the best in the neighborhood. I would just go to Aldi once per month to stock up on stuff that was always cheapest there.

  1. I find your article very interessting I think that two years has made a major change in pricing. We only have two local stores Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General Market. The PIG is very overpriced since we are in a tourist area . Walmart(s) are about an hour away ( 4 within 15 minutes of each other) and are among at least six other grocery stores in that area. Currently the closest Aldi’s is in another state several hours away.
    Aldis in past home locations has always been lower than Walmart on everything they sell.. Walmarts in those locations refused to match any Aldi’s Ads even years ago.. Every where prices have sky rocketed and most stores have large gaps on shelves. We hope to get an Aldi’s near Walmart here soon.
    Walmart used to brag 90+ % US made goods they are currently under 5% US or North America made. We haven’t found a Walmart with good produce anywhere. It just doesn’t stay fresh for even a couple of days. The closest ones to us have now priced themselves higher than several Grocery chains. The only advantage shopping Walmart is being able to get a larger selection of types of things in one trip.They also have lots of missing items.Now waiting until we have a appointment in that area and going store to store for sales and selecting on sale items to eat rather than preferred items is our only way to save in the Florida panhandle especially right now. When we travel to see relatives we buy tons of staples at Aldi’s to bring home. Several articles have rated Aldis brand products and COSCO products as high or higher than name brand products. That is certainly not all of them.but makes them worth trying. They also seem to have less pricing errors than Walmart.

  2. I have to wholeheartedly agree! I DO want to point out, however, that Dollar Tree has some pretty amazing deals on non-perishable grocery items (my local DTs do not have any fresh produce, but for a dollar, their pasta is always more than a pound; 2 pounds of dried beans/peas/lentils, etc…). I am fortunate that, approximately half an hour from my home town, there is an Aldi, a Dollar Tree, AND a Walmart all within the same “shopping center” footprint. Locally, we have a smaller Wal-Mart. BUT, our local Kwik Trip (which is a gas station/convenience store) can NOT be beat for onions/potatoes/bananas ($.38/pound), and rotating sales (i.e., ground chuck – $2.98/lb, butter – $1.99/lb, bread – $.50/1-lb loaf, 5-oz beef sirloin fillets 3-for-$5, bacon-wrapped 6-oz pork sirloin fillets at $1.99/ea), etc. Plus, they are 100% sustainable (i.e., recycle their own plastic to make their own milk jugs, have their own bakery, farms, profit-share for even their part-time employees, and treat their employees beautifully!). It is an AMAZING corporation!!

    1. Great tips, Chrissie! I was not aware of those Kwik Trip deals, as we don’t have one nearby – but this is really good to know. It just goes to show that you can find good deals in many different places – when you look for the deals! 🙂

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