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How To Save Money on Groceries by Shopping at Discount Stores

Updated on November 18, 2015

Where Do You Do Your Food Shopping?

Most people do the bulk of their food shopping at the grocery store. This is the most expensive place to buy fruit, vegetables, meat, bread and just about everything else.

The least expensive means of buying food, unless you belong to a co-op, is usually at a local discount or over-stock store.

These types of outlets are now found all over the country. The German-based Aldi, for instance, is a discount chain that offers high-quality food at very low prices because it aggressively reins in all the fluff, and, instead, focuses on just putting food on its shelves. Employees don't even bother unpacking the boxes because time equals money and the company doesn't want to spend it. The costs are passed along to the consumer, because you'll often find food there for about half as much as you'd spend at the supermarket.

An Aldi in Ohio


Aldi Can Save You a Lot of Money

Most items sold at the grocery store are also sold at Aldi. However, you won't find a very big selection. Aldi generally only carries one brand of each item, and it's usually one of its own labels. One exception is the cereal aisle. There are dozens of different types of "Millville" cereals.

Aldi likes to advertise that it's private label products are manufactured by well-known food supplies. If this cereal is not made by General Mills, the "Millville" label, at least, leads you to believe it might be.

I've done some comparison shopping and at Aldi, and you can almost always do better, price wise, than at the grocery store. It's amazing how far $40-50 will get you at Aldi. I now try to buy most of my produce there because they have some organic items.

Right now Aldihas 1,200 stores in the United States and plans to build many more. If you don't have one near your house at the moment, you might sometime in the future.

Aldi doesn't take coupons. But that's not a problem because most of its low-priced food is not name brand, so coupons wouldn't work anyway.

The Dollar Tree Store Concept has Spread Across America


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The Dollar Tree Store

There are now more than 4,700 Dollar Tree stores throughout the United States and Canada. Sometimes they are called Dollar Bills stores, but the company behind them, as well as the concept, is the same.

Everything in the store sells for $1. Most stores now feature at least a couple aisles of food. You an also find soap, toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes and toilet paper. In addition to the non-perishable items, and bread, there is a frozen food section and a dairy case. A wide range of items are available, including frozen fruit and fish. Sometimes you can even find a little bit of organic food at Dollar Tree stores.

This might not be the healthiest way to eat, but, if you had to, in a pinch or in the midst of a financial crisis, you could find enough items to make complete meals by shopping exclusively at Dollar Tree.

A Comparison of Three Big Discount Chains that Sell Food

Ocean State
Dollar Tree
Currently Aldi is found primarily east of the Mississippi. But it is adding new stores quickly
Ocean State is based in Rhode Island, with stores in New England and New York
There are now more than 4,700 Dollar Tree stores in the United States and Canada
Coupons not accepted
Coupons accepted
Coupons accepted
Has some organic items
Stocks many organic items
Sells a few organic items

Snack Foods at Ocean State Job Lot

The food section at Ocean State Job Lot, a discounter with about 100 stores located in New England and in New York state, seems to be ever expanding.

That might be because so many people are doing their grocery shopping there. Non-perishable items, such as peanut butter, jelly, canned goods, cereal, cookies, crackers, coffee, tea, pasta, cooking oil and snack foods are priced so low that it's worth taking the extra time to go there to buy them.

What's especially nice is the wide variety of gluten-free and organic items Ocean State stocks. Buying these in the grocery store, or at the health food store, would be prohibitive for the average family.

Ocean State accepts manufacturers coupons, many of which are found online. You'll need a computer printer to access them.

Basic All-in-One Printer for Coupons

One Shopper Explores Aldi

Big Lots

Big Lots is a discount chain of more than 1,400 outlets scattered through the lower 48 states and in Canada as well. For at least a decade it has carried food that includes gourmet imported items as well as name-brands.

Oftentimes you can find very good prices, compared to what you'd spend at a regular grocery store. The type of items (non perishables) are similar to what you'd find at Ocean State Job Lot. Much of what's available depends upon what's in stock. Since Big Lots sells overstock and close-out items, you can't depend upon your favorite foods being available.

If you see something you like, at a good price, you need to buy it as if you'll never see it again, at least not at Big Lots. Because you probably won't.

Part of the fun of shopping at discounters, in addition to enjoying the huge savings they offer, is the fact that you never know what you're going to find. So every shopping trip is an adventure.

Read About Dangers in Our Food Supply

GMOs at Discount Stores

Genetically modified ingredients are now found in most all processed and packaged foods sold throughout the United States, including the above-mentioned discounter stores. Unfortunately, these items do not have to be labeled. If you'd like to avoid genetically modified foods, buy items that carry the USDA Organic label, or look for products that clearly state on the package they contain no GMOs.


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  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    I tend to shop Aldi and Ocean State a lot more than Big Lots. But I have found some amazing deals there as well.