Where's the Cheapest Place to Buy Groceries? Trader Joe's vs. ALDI vs. Costco

We get to the bottom (line) of it.

Finding affordable groceries is becoming a bigger challenge every day with rising food prices, and it usually takes some shopping around to find the best deals. But it's another level of exhausting to check prices at multiple stores, whether you're filling up your tank with expensive gas to drive around or using up valuable hours hoofing everywhere on public transit. You might spend more money trying to find the best deals than actually saving money on them.

So, we did the hard work for you in December and went to three popular grocery stores that are known for their in-house generic brands and generally affordable prices: Trader Joe's, ALDI, and Costco. They all have locations nationwide, but these prices were gathered from stores in or near Los Angeles, California, as well as comparison to local chain Ralphs (which is owned by Kroger).

A woman pushing a grocery cart with groceries in it
Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

How We Made Our Shopping List

Everyone's kitchen staples are different, but we went with 11 popular items that many people stock their pantries with or use on a daily or weekly basis. Below, you'll see a cost comparison at Trader Joe's, ALDI, Costco, and Ralphs for: bananas, butter, eggs, a half gallon of milk, a block of cheddar cheese, boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen broccoli florets, extra virgin olive oil, all-purpose flour, granulated white sugar, and a loaf of white sandwich bread. What did we find? You may be surprised if your favorite store is actually the best bang for your buck.

Dotdash Meredith / Sabrina Tan

Bananas

The comparison: Price per pound.

  • Trader Joe's: $0.57 per pound (approximately three medium-sized bananas per pound at $0.19 each)
  • ALDI: $0.38 per pound
  • Costco: $0.66 per pound ($1.99 for a 3-pound box)
  • Ralphs: $0.69 per pound

Cheapest bananas: ALDI

Butter

The comparison: 1-pound box, unsalted or salted, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $3.99 per pound
  • ALDI: $3.85 per pound
  • Costco: $4.14 per pound
  • Ralphs: $4.99 per pound

Cheapest butter: ALDI

Eggs

The comparison: 1 dozen large white eggs, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $3.79
  • ALDI: $4.45
  • Costco: $3.41 ($6.83 for 24 large white eggs)
  • Ralphs: $4.49

Cheapest eggs: Costco

Milk

The comparison: ½ gallon whole milk, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $2.49
  • ALDI: $2.55
  • Costco: $2.35 ($9.40 for a 2-gallon box with two 1-gallon containers)
  • Ralphs: $2.69

Cheapest milk: Costco

Cheddar Cheese

The comparison: 1 block, price per ounce, generic or store brand sharp cheddar.

  • Trader Joe's: $0.26 per ounce ($2.66 for 0.62-pound block)
  • ALDI: $0.23 per ounce
  • Costco: $0.21 per ounce ($6.89 for a 2-pound/32-ounce block)
  • Ralphs: $0.51 per ounce (4.09 for 8-ounce block)

Cheapest cheddar cheese: Costco

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

The comparison: 1 package, price per pound, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $2.99 per pound
  • ALDI: $2.69 per pound
  • Costco: $3.69 per pound
  • Ralphs: $3.99 per pound

Cheapest boneless skinless chicken breasts: ALDI

Frozen Broccoli Florets

The comparison: 1 package, price per ounce, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $0.10 per ounce ($1.69 for a 16-ounce bag)
  • ALDI: $0.09 per ounce ($1.05 for a 12-ounce bag)
  • Costco: $0.18 per ounce ($11.81 for four 16-ounce bags of organic broccoli)
  • Ralphs: $0.24 per ounce ($2.89 for 12-ounce bag)

Cheapest broccoli florets: ALDI

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The comparison: 1 bottle, price per ounce, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $0.17 per ounce ($5.99 for 1 liter/33.8 ounces)
  • ALDI: $0.26 per ounce ($4.49 for 16.9 ounces)
  • Costco: $0.19 per ounce ($12.99 for 2 liters/67.6 ounces)
  • Ralphs: $0.29 per ounce ($7.49 for 25.5 ounces)

Cheapest extra virgin olive oil: Trader Joe's

All-Purpose Flour

The comparison: 1 bag, price per pound, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $0.59 per pound ($2.99 for 5-pound bag)
  • ALDI: $0.49 per pound ($2.45 for a 5-pound bag)
  • Costco: $0.50 per pound ($12.48 for 25-pound bag)
  • Ralphs: $0.79 per pound ($3.99 for 5-pound bag)

Cheapest all-purpose flour: ALDI

Granulated White Sugar

The comparison: 1 bag, price per pound, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $1.74 per pound ($3.49 for 2-pound bag, organic)
  • ALDI: $0.76 per pound ($3.05 for a 4-pound bag)
  • Costco: $0.81 per pound ($2.19 for a 25-pound bag)
  • Ralphs: $1.20 per pound ($2.39 for a 2-pound bag)

Cheapest granulated white sugar: ALDI

White Sandwich Bread

The comparison: 1 loaf, generic or store brand.

  • Trader Joe's: $1.99 per loaf (22 ounces)
  • ALDI: $1.15 per loaf (20 ounces)
  • Costco: $1.54 per loaf ($6.19 for two 48-ounce loaves)
  • Ralphs: $1.99 per loaf (20 ounces)

Cheapest white sandwich bread: ALDI

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love