In the U.S., food shopping options and locations can vary based on where you live. To save money, it may be worth the time to travel further to a store with better prices and food selection. Sometimes, you may need to visit several types of stores to find the items you want. If you have a smartphone or access to a computer, you can use a map application like Google Maps to find locations where food is sold.
These are common types of places in the U.S. to buy food:
- Supermarkets are usually the best option for buying almost any type of food at good prices. Weekly sales and coupons are published on supermarkets’ websites, phone apps, and newspaper flyers at the store. These stores often feature “international aisles,” where you might find food traditional to your country.
- Big-box stores are very big stores that sell food and just about anything else you might need, such as household goods or clothes. Often (though not always) the stores can be difficult to access using public transportation, but prices will be among the best you can find. Walmart and Target are examples of box stores that sell food.
- Corner stores and convenience store chains are small neighborhood shops that sell necessities but usually charge higher prices because they are convenient and sometimes stay open 24 hours a day. Corner stores can be useful if you need several items or ingredients for a meal, but you should not use them for regular shopping.
- Specialty stores sell food, often specific to certain countries, cultures, or cuisines. You may find a specialty store near you that sells hard-to-find ingredients for meals and recipes popular in your country. Other specialty stores sell only certain types of food like cheese, spices, fish, meat, or sweets.
- Farmers markets are designated areas in towns or cities where farmers sell fresh fruits and vegetables. These markets are typically set up on a specific day of the week during growing seasons. In some warmer climates, farmers markets are open year-round. Though sometimes a little more expensive, these markets are a great place to get healthy, fresh, locally grown food. You can search online or ask a trusted community member if a farmers market operates near you.
Remember: It’s always good to be aware of the food shopping options in your community. This knowledge can save you money and increase the quality of the food you purchase. With advice from your caseworker and neighbors, you can identify local stores and markets appropriate for your budget and diet.