America’s Cheapest Grocery Store in 2024

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 the cheapest grocery store in 2024!

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. This means shopping for affordable groceries – wherever I can find them. Naturally, this sent me on a quest to discover the cheapest grocery store near me. Being the grocery shopping geek that I am, I wanted to crunch all the numbers and share all the results with you!

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. Meijer has 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 I do like their lower prices where you can get everything at once.

This project is my biggest grocery shopping project 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 so you can save money on your own groceries!

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: This is my fifth update in six years. I did this price comparison in 2019 for the first time, updated it in 2021 and then again in 2022 and 2023. (I skipped 2020 because, well, it was 2020 and it was hard to find everything and get accurate prices.) With the rapidly increasing inflation, I did the most recent update in April 2024 to help us all save money on our groceries. 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read more in my disclosure policy.

How did I search for the best budget grocery store?

I looked at the most popular grocery stores that had the biggest reach in the United States. Walmart is national chain that boasts 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. Big box stores (like Sam’s and Costco) product sizes vary greatly, and specialty stores (like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Winco Foods) don’t carry all the products I wanted to compare. I left those stores out of this comparison because I wanted a true comparison. For the sake of this research, Walmart, Aldi, Meijer and Kroger 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 like Peanut Butter and Ketchup
  • Baking Goods
  • Meat including Fresh Meats and Frozen
  • Frozen
  • Paper Products like Toilet Paper and other Household Items
  • 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 began comparing prices. I went through all four stores and wrote down prices for everything on my list. I also used the store apps to check some prices.

Some items were name-brand products but many were simply the cheapest generic version (of whatever private-label brands for that particular store) available. I did not include fresh produce in this price comparison since it varies so much by season.

I compared ounces to ounces. If a size was different than what was listed, I noted that on the price comparison, and chose the lowest price per ounce option as the cheapest price. I tried to stick to the same sizes as much as I was able. 

For the sake of true comparison, I used everyday prices and did NOT factor sales into this list. I simply wanted to know who had the cheapest prices. 

Please know that prices vary in different parts of the country. These prices are Northern Indiana prices as of April 2024. 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. 

There were a couple times when stores had the exact same price so multiple stores counted as the lowest price. There were also several times when multiple stores had the second lowest price, coming in close to the lowest. I counted them all, which is why it might not appear to perfectly add up. If you are a number geek like I am, then it should all make sense! 

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

2024 ResultsAldiMeijerKrogerWalmart
Lowest Price12612944
Second Lowest57540
Total Lowest131191484
Lowest Price69%7%5%24%
Second Lowest3%4%3%22%
Total Lowest72%11%8%46%

You can clearly see that Aldi has the most lowest prices and Kroger has the least. There are a few categories where all 4 stores have prices within a nickel, 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 more, even though they don’t always have everything I need.

Aldi was the cheapest in almost a third of the categories. What I found interesting was that they had the lowest prices on over 125 items but the second lowest on only 5. 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.

As for Walmart? Walmart is giving Aldi a run for their money. Many of the times when Aldi had the lowest price, Walmart was pennies behind. The advantage to Walmart is that they are a one-stop shop with everything that Aldi does not. To some people, this is worth paying a couple more cents on items to not have to go to a different store. If you regularly shop for household essentials and clothes while you are grocery shopping, you might prefer Walmart over Aldi. 

Kroger definitely has higher prices if you shop without sales! Still, Kroger has many amazing sales and great deals 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 top spot to the cheapest grocery store in 2024 is Aldi. Walmart is a runner up, with Meijer and Kroger trailing behind.

This is a great place to start, but I need to say a bit more on finding better prices.

What is the cheapest grocery store near me?

For me, the cheapest place to shop is Aldi. But what if you don’t have Aldi stores nearby?

Walmart is probably the cheapest grocery store available nationwide with overall low grocery prices. 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 affordable grocery stores near you, do your own quick price comparison at your local grocery stores. Here is how you can do this project in less than an hour.

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 your local grocery store and the grocery chains nearest you. Quick tip. Many grocery stores now 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. Aldi uses Instacart to fulfill online orders so prices online are slightly higher than in store. If you want a true price comparison, go in person to Aldi to compare prices. 

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

Here’s a printable price book form you can use if you want to do your own price comparison.

How have prices increased at the grocery store?

This is now the fifth time I’ve done down this price comparison in the past six years. I did it in 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

While prices have definitely increased in the past year, Aldi is still the winner as it was back in 2023. Walmart’s lowest prices continued to drop while Aldi’s continued to increase.

2023 ResultsAldiMeijerKrogerWalmart
Lowest Price124121048
Second Lowest314944
Total Lowest127261992
Lowest Price68%7%5%26%
Second Lowest1%8%5%24%
Total Lowest69%14%10%50%

Here are the 2022 price results from the previous year.

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

If you are curious, here are the 2021 price 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. This is a huge difference from what we see now!

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

What can we take away from this? It is important to continually monitor prices because they do change. 

When I started this comparison Aldi had the lowest prices at 33%, and now has increased to 72%! On the flip side, Walmart was originally the lowest prices with 72% but that number has dropped to 46%. Those are big changes. 

Remember, these price comparisons do not factor in sales. Shopping at different grocery stores to take advantage of sales is a great way to save money. Some of my favorite grocery stores are the more expensive ones, because they do have great sales that allow me to stock up at great prices. 

For me, I check the weekly ads and shop the amazing sales at Kroger because their sale food 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 it can and should influence how we shop. 

After this price comparison, 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 Aldi your go-to grocery store. But if you really want to save money? Start shopping at more than one store. 

Knowing the cheap prices on the staples you buy, allows you to stock up your pantry staples, knowing these are the lowest food costs available. The best way to use this information is to combine every day cheap food items with great sale purchases. Stacking every day low prices with amazing sales is a great way to stretch your food budget.

My plan? I plan to grocery shop at Aldi more regularly, stocking up on their cheap groceries, and supplement with sales at Kroger. I will occasionally shop the meat sales (especially ground beef!) 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. I will shop where I can get the best value for every dollar. Fortunately, I have all these stores very close to me, allowing me to take advantage of the different deals.

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 on sale 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 different 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 42 page printable PDF 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
  • Stock Up Prices (Category)
  • Stock Up Prices (Alphabetical) – My Favorite List!
  • Best Places to Buy (Category)
  • Best Places to Buy (Alphabetical)
  • Aldi Shopping List
  • Meijer Shopping List
  • Kroger Shopping List
  • Walmart Shopping List

I hope this price comparison helps you save money next time you are shopping! Will it change where you shop? What is the cheapest grocery store near you? 

I hope this price comparison helps you save money next time you are shopping! Will it change where you shop? What is the cheapest grocery store near you? 

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48 Comments

  1. Did you use store brands or national brands for your prices? Some store brands aren’t as good as the national brands, in quality or taste.

    1. It is a combination of both. There are some name brands included, and I list those in my full list, as well as generics. I am loyal to a couple name brands myself, but often go with generics to save money.

  2. Our Aldi here is disgusting, I won’t go in there again ever! It is not very clean. The Walmart doesn’t have much at any given point, so Meijer is our choice. I might pay a little more, but I know I’m getting fresh, quality food. And they are better stocked, so we make one trip. We also stick to sales, use their customer loyalty discounts and gas discounts and have found that to be a better overall deal for the money.

  3. This list did not include several chains out here in the mid-Atlantic area such as BJ’s or Costco but their sizes are often different from grocery stories. But I shop at the Shop-Rite and the Acme too. The Shop-rite prices are generally the best for over-all shopping but the Acme prices are generally higher but it has a more convenient location for small pickups and has good salads. I have been to our local Aldi’s but could not find brown mustard (like Gulden’s). And I found that over half the store was devoted to non-food items. It is an older store. They have a new chain that started up called Lyda’s (or something like it.) They claim to have the best prices but I have not been to one because so far there isn’t one near me. There is also not a Walmart near me with a full grocery line in it. However, we do go to the Walmart in Kingston, ONT, CAN when we are at our cabin up there. And I think it is very nice. You wrote a great article but it is like the compasions in Consumer Reports where the reports are for brands I wouldn’t consider or even be able to find so I don’t have model I can look for such as a vacuum cleaner.

  4. In San Antonio TX we only have Walmart and HEB. Kroger and Albertsons tried but no one beats HEB so, they gave up. Walmart doesn’t carry the selection HEB does.
    Love HEB!

  5. I shop at Walmart and Meijer and I agree Walmart has the lowest daily prices. Meijer’s sale prices normally beat Walmart’s daily prices. I would say I’m 80 20 in favor of Walmart but I load up when Meijers has their better sales. For some reason or other, I have a photographic memory when it comes to prices. So it’s easy for me when it comes to shopping. I’ve always considered Kroger a rip-off. I like ALDI because they have items no one else

    1. I agree, Walmart is better than Aldis in other ways, I think that more (W) products (granted, not all, just more than) are produced in USA rather than in Germany and other foreign countries.

    2. I have a Safeway (Kroger) closest and then Walmart. I shop both for different items. I try to buy bult at Walmart or Sams (the Walmart website is a good source for searching for frozen, canned, and nonperishable items that you can use off-brand names, such as TP, PT, emergency food items, pet foods, and even some female hygiene items. I do have a Sams Club near me that I occassionally do stock-up trips. I do buy some meats, coffees and cereal items at Walmart, but the vast majority of produce, fresh meats/fish, and certain refreshments/alcohols I buy at Safeway (Kroger). Here in CO on the Front Range, the prices are comparable for better quality items and short trips for immediate needs. Plus, with Safeway (and Kum & Go), I collect points which allows me to accumulate gas points; I recently paid nearly $.40 off per gallon of gas at Safeway! I’ve also been getting my individual coffees at either Safeway or Kum & Go so as to accumulate these gas point savings. It means less impromptu or spontaneous stops and spending, but I’m OK with that.

    1. Right now, it just includes Kroger, Meijer, Walmart and Aldi – the most common stores. Perhaps in the future, I will have more stores. We shall see! 🙂

      1. Thank you for this information!! This matched my findings for Central New York exactly! We don’t have your grocery stores, but the most common in my area, Price Chopper, is ofter much higher than Aldi’s or Walmart on most things. In addition, they have switched to clipless coupons exclusively, you must download them to your card and if it doesn’t come off as it should they can’t help you in the store, you have to call corporate. (That fact alone does not help me want to shop there!) Aldi’s is where we do most of our shopping with mostly Walmart for the stuff we can’t get at Aldi’s, and this time of year our local farmers market for fresh vegetables.

        1. You are truly welcome, Barb! And that is interesting to hear that it matches your findings as well. Digital coupons are nice sometimes, but if they don’t come off, that is certainly a hassle. I’m going to be joining you in doing more of my shopping at Aldi again, because every little bit of savings adds up!

  6. I agree Walmart is cheapest on many items, however I would never buy fresh vegetables or fresh meat from Walmart. I have had too many problems with both of these items. They do not understand what fresh means.

    1. I agree! I buy some fruits there, but buy my meats at Kroger and Meijer – as compared to Walmart. I can get better sales on fresher meats at those two stores. For stocking up on staples, Walmart remains my cheap go-to.

    2. I agree. I buy most of my fresh produce & meat from Safeway here on the Front Range in CO. I reserve most buying from Walmart/Sams for nonperishables and paper items like TP/PT. It works for me. And I get gas savings at Safeway, Sams Club, and Kum & Go.

  7. Great info. I would also share that I can get through Aldi in less than 20 minutes with my list, so it will remain my go-to store for now.

  8. This is such a great list! I always wondered where to find the cheapest items and love how you broke everything down for us. I am becoming more and more of a Walmart shopper, although like you, it’s more for the prices than the experience!

    Walmart also offers an additional perk for those who RV: You can stay overnight one night in their parking lot for free. We always pick up a few things as our way of saying thank you. While it’s louder than most campgrounds, you can’t beat free when you are in a pinch!

    1. Thank you, Kalyn! I wanted it to be helpful so every one could compare prices and make their own shopping decisions. Like you, I’m one of those shoppers who draws the final line at prices. 🙂 And for that reason, I’m learning to take advantage of Walmart prices. That is an amazing Walmart perk for RV travelers! And since Walmarts are every where, it is nice to know you can always find a free place to stay when you need one!

  9. I’m not surprised by meijer! I only go there for convenience to my house and if it’s on sale.

    I have been noticing Aldi prices going up but it’s quick and convenient sometimes. Didn’t think wAlmart would beat them that much.

    1. Oh, convenience is a big factor – and sometimes, it is definitely worth paying a bit more for the convenience of shopping! I do that too. Aldi’s prices have been creeping up for awhile now, but like you, I didn’t think Walmart would beat them that much!

    1. You know…maybe? I definitely miss their fresh tortillas! 🙂 However, since I have started shopping on my own, I have never had access to an HEB so I learned to compare prices at different stores. I would like to go do a price comparison of HEB with some other stores to see how they compare. Still, I believe there are good deals to be found at every grocery store if you shop the sales and watch for deals!

  10. Walmart is not my go to store the closest is about 20 minutes from my house. Kroger is because of the sales plus it is less than 3 minutes from home. Aldi is at least a 45min to 1hr drive for me so not worth my time. There are certain items that we purchase at Walmart. Most of those items we purchase 2 or 3 at a time to keep from having to go there. I usually purchase OJ, Sour Cream, Yogurt, Health & Beauty items at Walmart. I don’t purchase fruit or veg Kroger has much better quality. I also don’t purchase meat, I get that at a small family owned market that has a full time butcher to butcher the cuts free of charge. Plus the quality of their meat beats out everyone else including the closest meat market. If you don’t take the Kroger sales into consideration Walmart is cheaper however when you do take them I save more shopping at Kroger than anywhere else.

    1. You shop much like I do, Rebecca! 🙂 The Kroger sales truly are amazing and make it a great place to shop. When you add in their digital coupons and gas rewards, which I try to maximize now, it makes Kroger very comparable to Walmart. Like you, I try to stock up on certain things at Walmart but don’t see myself going there every week either. Kroger is just around the corner from me as well so it is very handy, and probably the place where I do most of my shopping too!

  11. I noticed Aldi prices were going up and don’t shop Meijer because I noticed their prices are way out of line. I love Kroger specials and if it is something I use I always get the item/s there. Who could pass up a huge package of Kroger paper towels priced at $9.99 for free???? I was bless to get that coupon sent to me and I sure did load that one!!! We have been shopping Walmart more and more. They don’t have the selection that other stores have, but the prices are good. Thanks for doing this Kristen.

    1. They started to remodel the Aldi’s that are the city closest to my town and I stopped in just to check out the new look. I had been a previous Aldi shopper before I moved to my town and I noticed that the prices were much higher than pre-remodel. Guess the consumers get to pay for the remodel.

  12. When Walmart first came to California I didn’t want to shop there because of hearing bad things about the place. When I thought about it I realized their employee benefits are at least as good if not better than similar retailers so I felt better about trying it out. When they expanded to include full grocery stores I went on in and was impressed and amazed. I do about 90% of my shopping there now because I feel like their prices are fair.

    One thing I resent about the grocery stores is how you have to buy certain quantities of things to get a good price. I find that ridiculous and is another reason I appreciate WalMart.

    Aldi has been here for a couple of years but I don’t shop there as they seem to sell mostly off brands and it’s funny because I like the Great Value brand from WalMart but they price the brand names fairly too. At Aldi it seems like brand names are priced as high as legacy grocers.

    1. I agree, Shelz. I think Walmart has very fair prices – and like you, I really like the Great Value brand. It amazes me how many people don’t like to buy generic but it really is a great source of savings! And yes, Aldi name brands are just as high as grocery stores, because they pride themselves more on their generics. You do have to watch grocery store purchases because some require you to buy multiples for the sale price. Thankfully, I think more stores are going away from that model but it still happens.

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