These Are the Cheapest and Most Expensive Places for Groceries in the U.S.

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Photo of Jessica Devenyns
14 June 2018

From inexpensive eggs in Illinois to overpriced coffee in Ohio, the prices of groceries fluctuate significantly between the two coasts.

Did you ever consider that maybe you should choose where you live based on grocery prices? Think about it: you buy groceries every week, so a difference of a dollar here and there can really add up to make a dent in your monthly bill. Seriously, depending on where you live within the states, you could be paying a difference of $8.12 a pound for a steak – and that’s without the seasoning.

According to Coupon Follow, who analyzed research based on data for 263 American cities compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) Cost of Living Index 2017, a little bit can add up to a whole lot. If you live in Manhattan, your grocery bill is going to be 140% more than the national average. In Seattle, Brooklyn, Oakland and San Francisco you will also be paying a premium just to sit down and eat at your dinner table.

On the flip side, four Texas cities including Brazoria County, Wichita Falls, Temple and McAllen, as well as Kalamazoo, Missouri, have grocery bills that are only a fraction of the national average. In Wichita Falls, Texas groceries are a bargain at only 82% of the American average.


If you scan the list of the 30 most-purchased grocery items, it may surprise you to see that what many consider an essential grocery item can make or break a budget. Take wine, for example. In Lexington, North Carolina you’ll pay an average of $10.97 more a bottle as compared to Wichita Falls, Texas. Depending on how many people you have over for dinner, that can cost a pretty penny. Bananas on the other hand only fluctuate $0.35 cents a pound between cities. Apparently everyone needs their potassium.

Hidden in this data, however, may be another story. Although food prices in the U.S. look tempting in low-cost cities like Wichita Falls and Kalamazoo, there is likely a reason for this. Smaller economic centers with less wealthy populations and limited choice are often behind these rock-bottom prices. So before you pack up and move to a location where you can pay less for a month of groceries and lodging than you did for one dinner in NYC, remember you might not have the job to justify the move.

This data only reflects prices for the continental U.S.; it does not include islands like Hawaii or Puerto Rico, where prices have skyrocketed in the past few years.