The Cheapest Grocery Store

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. 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 it is a low priced option where you can get everything at once.

This project is 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. 

If you would rather watch a video to hear about this process and the results, here you go! Otherwise, keep reading below.

Note: This is my fourth update in five years. I did this price comparison in 2019 for the first time, and updated it in 2021 and then again in 2022. With the rapidly increasing inflation, I did a complete update in April 2023 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 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. Big box stores (like Sam’s and Costco) product sizes vary greatly, and specialty stores like Trader Joe’s 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 then I began comparing prices at the stores. Next, I went through the store and wrote down prices for everything on my list. I also used the store apps to check some prices.

Some products were name-brand specific but many were simply for the cheapest generic version (of whatever store brands that particular store carried) 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 lower prices. 

Please know that prices vary in different parts of the country. These prices are Northern Indiana prices as of April 2023. 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.

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

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.

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.

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 have 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.

Kroger is definitely the most expensive 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 clear winner to the cheapest grocery store in 2023 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 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 cheapest grocery store 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 who 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 fourth time I’ve done down this price comparison in the past five years. I did it in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

While prices have definitely increased in the past year, Aldi is still the winner as it was back in 2022. Here are the 2022 results. From last year to this, Aldi’s percentage increased from 66% to 69%, while Walmart’s dropped from 57% to 50%.

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.

I will always go where the prices are lowest to get the best value for my every dollar in my grocery budget. That is why I am shopping at Aldi more.

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.

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 it can 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 the prices are the lowest to save me money. 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 51 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
  • Prices from 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023
  • 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

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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46 Comments

    1. The tables are labeled…as it says just above the chart. All numbers and percentages are out of the 183 items I calculated.

  1. Good morning Kristen,
    I enjoyed your article, lot of effort on your part! The one item I did not see was QUALITY.
    I’m a 72 retired guy that enjoys grocery shopping. I have done a similar survey (not as detailed) and have found that it’s not only about price. Aldi’s “soft” dairy products (milk, cream, sour cream, yogurt etc) I will to Meijer/Walmart. Their produce is hit and miss, I don’t bother looking. Too many times there’s spoiled/moldy items in the box with the “marginal”.
    If you’re not going to use it 24 hours do not purchase it. Have you tried their meats? I gave them a chance. Not for my family. The good thing about the meat/poultry is if you don’t like it and return the product they double the purchase price for the refund. I use Aldi for canned goods, bread (great selection), crackers, cereal, cheese, snacks, etc. I also like to cruise the home goods and Aldi “finds”.

    Enjoy your article! Thanks

    PS: do a little digging on why I will no longer purchase the items I listed.

    1. Great insights, Greg! I agree with you. I skip the produce at Aldi as well. It never lasts for me. And meats? I go to Meijer or Kroger where I get a much better quality meat than at Walmart or Aldi. I agree that price is not the only important factor. Sometimes, you have to weigh in other factors as well. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your insights as well!

  2. I have learned to shop the weekly and 5X digital sales at Kroger. They also frequently have markdowns. Since my diet strongly goes in the direction of keto with a disproportionate amount spent on meat & fish, produce, and dairy I am doing better than Aldi (or Walmart, or Meijer). I brew my own kombucha and kefir and I can anticipate the sales on fruit juice and milk where I buy multiple items to last me until the next sale. Aldi rarely has lower meat prices. I basically shop the sales for my needs and avoid processed foods and sugary items. I also bake my own keto bread which, in turn, generates keto breadcrumbs. I freeze in bulk as well.

    1. Good points! I buy ahead on the Kroger sales too. They really make for some fabulous deals! As for meat, the sales at Kroger often beat Aldi for me too.

  3. Taking into account as well, the viability of travel distance and time required. It isn’t worth driving to two different stores to save 10 cents on seven items in most peoples’ opinions. Kroger knows this and thus often has the biggest and most diverse inventory…as does WallMart. This study is great, but only if you have all four options fairly close to each other. Otherwise, you’ll be shopping the way Kroger wants you to. Using coupons for items you are going to buy anyway is still a good option, and you are helped by stores like Kroger and Meijer that often mail you coupons for such items. So, the question you must ask is, “Am I willing to accept a lower quality in place of products I am comfortable in buying in order to save money?” If so, then Aldi is the way to go…keeping in mind their aforementioned limited inventory. Presently I find myself shopping at Aldi and supplementing with Kroger along with coupons.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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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