The Cheapest Grocery Store in America Might Surprise You

Two women smile as they shop for produce at a grocery store.
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Finding enough room in the budget to buy your own groceries can feel like an exercise in futility lately. Just when you think you’ve carved out even to feed the family, your local grocery chain raises prices again.

Pinning down low prices on everyday purchases like pantry staples and perishables like fresh meats can be tricky. But if you’re trying to stick to a grocery budget, it’s essential that you know where to find cheap prices before you go to the grocery store.

That’s why we set out to determine which national grocery chain sells the most affordable groceries — and the answer just might surprise you.

How We Determined the Best Budget Grocery Store

While America has many favorite grocery stores, it won’t surprise you to learn that they aren’t always offering the lowest prices. According to a recent survey from YouGov, the most popular grocery store in the United States is actually 7-Eleven. Apparently, when you’re hungry for Doritos at 1 a.m., you’re just grateful for whatever is open.

To determine which store sells groceries at lower prices, we eliminated regional chains that didn’t have stores in major parts of the country and bulk warehouses. That left us with the following five popular chains that sell groceries for cheap.

  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walmart
  • Aldi
  • Target
  • Kroger

And while many may have a particular store they prefer to shop at for various reasons, we zeroed in on stores that claim to keep prices low for a wide array of grocery items.

Which Grocery Stores Have the Cheapest Prices?

To determine which of the many grocery stores can consistently help you save money, we started comparing prices on the most common foods Americans put in their shopping carts.

Because the name-brand products on your shopping list typically cost the same from store to store, we focused on store-brand food prices to get a picture of which stores sell the cheapest groceries. And we skipped household products like cleaning supplies, toilet paper and laundry detergents that might be offered at a lower cost in bulk or online.

This is what we found when we looked in late June 2023.

And the cheapest grocery store is ...

Aldi Walmart Target Kroger Trader Joe’s

White bread, 20 oz. — $1.45





Brown eggs, 1 dozen — $2.85





Whole milk, half gallon — $2.25





Ground beef, 1 lbs. — $4.39





Creamy peanut butter, 16 oz. — $1.99





Banana — 18 cents

27 cents

39 cents

17 cents

19 cents

Baby carrots, 24 oz. — $2.18





Total — $15.29





Contenders for the Cheapest Grocery Stores in 2023

Trader Joe’s

It’s probably not a shock to see that Trader Joe’s is the most expensive store on our list for groceries. Still, if you’re looking for high-quality food, organic produce or gluten-free products, it’s hard to beat Trader Joe’s prices compared to other chains like Whole Foods. Just don’t forget to bring your own bags.

Pro Tip

These are some of the best things to buy at Trader Joe's, including cult favorites, like cheese puffs.


You’d expect Walmart, home of rollback prices, to beat out other smaller grocery chains. And this national behemoth almost manages it with the second lowest grocery prices. What Walmart doesn’t quite earn in big savings, it makes up in transportation costs since you’re likely to have a big blue store somewhere close by.


You might think of Target as a place suburbanites spend their hours shopping for housewares, but this national chain is one of the largest grocery stores in the country. While Target doesn’t offer the cheapest price on every grocery category, it does offer the chance to cram low-cost cosmetics and clothing into your grocery cart, too.

Pro Tip

There are discounts to be found at Target. Here’s what you need to know to save every day at Target.


This national grocery chain also encompasses Ralphs, Smith’s and other popular regional stores, so it has a sizable footprint if you’re looking for a go-to grocery store. Kroger doesn’t have the lowest prices on groceries, although the weekly ads have great sales on store and name brands.

The Cheapest Grocery Store: Aldi

If you haven’t heard of Aldi, you’re missing out on one of the lowest-cost grocery stores in the country. While you won’t find the same products crowding the shelves as you do in other grocery stores, you will discover startlingly good deals on produce, fresh meat and more.

The only downside is you’ll have to bus your own cart back into the store, but it’s a small price to pay for better prices.

Check here to find an Aldi store near you.

The Cheapest Grocery Store by Region: East Coast

If you live on the East Coast, shop Lidl or Market Basket grocery stores.

Some regional grocery stores have dramatically different prices because they are sourcing certain products locally. Lidl is another German grocery store that’s largely available on the Eastern seaboard while Market Basket is a New England staple.

The Cheapest Grocery Store by Region: West Coast

If you live on the West Coast, shop WinCo or Food 4 Less.

WinCo Foods is similar to Sam’s Club and Costco in that they sell in bulk but typically work directly with farmers and other manufacturers. While WinCo doesn’t charge membership fees, they also don’t accept credit cards, so you’ll have to rely on a debit card, cash or check.

Food 4 Less has a similar warehouse-style approach where you bag your own groceries. If you like spicy food, don’t miss out on the Mexican deli and meat departments.

Overspending on groceries? See the most common grocery shopping mistakes that can cost big money at checkout.

7 Grocery Shopping Tips to Find Affordable Groceries Near You

1. Shop Fresh Produce at the Farmers Market or CSA

Some of the best prices on produce don’t come from the store. Keep an eye out for local roadside fruit and farmer’s stands, shop the weekend farmers market or get a box from your local CSA.

Pro Tip

Don’t toss it in the cart until you check our list of how to save money on produce.

2. Check Weekly Ads to Find Cheap Groceries

Shop the sales to snag special prices, promotions and seasonal incentives. Most grocery store websites now have an online signup to receive their ads and weekly circular in your email inbox.

3. Don’t Forget Dollar Stores and Other Discount Stores

Certainly, you shouldn’t buy all your groceries at the dollar store. But some prices on shelf-stable foods and household essentials can’t be beat, so swing by and cross a few things off your shopping list.

Pro Tip

Not all dollar stores are created equal. See which one offers the lowest prices on groceries.

4. Use Coupons to Lower Your Grocery Bill

Clipping coupons is a way of life for thrifty folks, and they’re not wrong. Scan the weekly ads for coupons, check your store account or pop on over to manufacturer websites for savings on name brands you purchase often.

5. Pick Store Brands at Major Grocery Chains

While most can’t distinguish between store and name brands blindfolded, you can certainly tell the difference from the price tag. Stick to store brands as much as possible to keep grocery costs low.

6. Think Outside the Traditional Grocery Store

If you need large, affordable quantities of ginger or sesame seeds, your local Asian supermarket should be your first stop. Need a bunch of canned goods? Swing by a grocery outlet that offers dented cans at a discount.

7. Consider Buying in Bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco

And last but not least, consider buying in bulk if it makes sense for your family. Certainly, some of the best prices per item come from buying larger quantities at these warehouses, but the membership fees can be a barrier for your budget.

Not sure if a Costco membership will pay off? We did the math so you don’t have to. See when a membership is worth the cost and when to skip it.

Kaz Weida is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering saving money and budgeting. As a journalist, she has written about a wide array of topics including finance, health, politics, education and technology for the last decade.