If you’re poor like me, every cent counts and finding the cheapest grocery stores in town is important. I decided to do a little comparative research with nearby grocery stores and let the data tell me which chain was the cheapest. I compared 29 items that I would usually buy, ranging from eggs, to chicken, to veggies, fruit, beans, pasta, etc. I recorded the prices in 5 stores- Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s. More info below, but here are the results.
- Harris Teeter is a bit more expensive but nice quality.
- Food Lion is nicely priced but a little skanky.
- Bi-Lo is expensive and silly, no thanks.
- Wal-Mart is a huge big-box mart and may rule the world one day, but you can’t ignore their low prices.
- Trader Joe’s is very competitive, a little more expensive, but all around better food.
I didn’t record the sale prices, but rather original prices. Some stores had better sales than the other. If you don’t see any data for that item, I didn’t see it at the store.
If you look closely, you may be surprised by some things. For example, I thought Bi-Lo was a cheap-o store, but in fact I thought it was overall the most expensive store. In some items like pineapples, broccoli and brown rice, Bi-Lo was almost double the price of other stores. Shame on you, Bi-Lo!
On the same note, I am usually anti-Wal-Mart as much as possible. I HATE shopping there. But seriously folks, look at the blue line in the chart. You will see that overall Wal-Mart is the cheaper alternative. Hate to say it, but if you’re broke, Wal-Mart just might be the way to go till ya’ get on your feet.
If you’re super anti-Wal-Mart, I think Food Lion is a nice choice. It was very competitive.
Let’s talk about Trader Joe’s. You may see that the purple line is higher or the same as the other lines. But note that a lot of their food is organic, like the wheat tortillas and strawberries for example (and often times better quality than crappy Food Lion). Some stuff was even cheaper than the other places! Trader Joe’s doesn’t necessarily give you a lot of options for each thing, but the quality is good, you know where it comes from, and it wasn’t that much more expensive.
|Harris Teeter||Food Lion||Bi-Lo||Wal-Mart||Trader Joe’s|
|12 Large Eggs||1.79||1.45||1.69||1.56||1.69|
|Bl Chick. Brst.||2.49||4.99||4.99||3.33||2.99|
|2 lb. Carrots||1.47||1.69||2.4||1.66||1.89|
|2 lg. Portobellos||3.49||3.29||2.99||2.88||2.49|
|Bunch of Cilantro||0.6||0.5||0.69||0.84||1.69|
|Solid Wt. Tuna||1.29||1||1.5||1.14||1.49|
|2 lb. Brown Rice||2.69||1.61||2.89||1.84||3.29|