By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How much do you spend each week at the supermarket?  The average family can spend $150 or more.  But depending on where you shop, you could be shelling out thousands of dollars more each year that you have to.  3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has the meat and potatoes on supermarket prices and shows where you can save big.

Filling up a grocery cart these days can cost big bucks.  But your dollar could go further depending on where you shop.  In fact an average family could save between $1,300 and $2,000, just by switching supermarkets.

Armed with identical shopping lists, researchers from Delaware Valley Consumers’ Checkbook visited supermarkets across our region.  Acme, Shop Rite, Giant, Wegmans and others.  They compared prices on 151 items including fresh produce, fresh meat, national brand prepared foods and dairy products.  That full basket of 151 items would cost $134 when purchased at Whole Foods, but $78 at Bottom Dollar.

In fact when it comes to offering consistently low prices Checkbook says Bottom Dollar comes out on top.  Checkbook Executive Editor Kevin Brasler says, “Bottom Dollar’s focus is trying to sell discounted groceries.”  While Bottom Dollar District Manager Mike Brennan says, “When the customers come in it’s not going to take very long for them to see how much of a value we are.”   Depending on location, Bottom Dollar has up to 85-hundred items to choose from.  Less than the average 38,000 items carried by most supermarkets.

Wal-Mart came in second place for pricing and hold on to your shopping cart, Wegmans came in third!  According to Brasler, “It is a remarkable place in a sense that it offers very high quality on everything and very low prices.”

All three chains, Bottom Dollar, Wal-Mart and Wegmans offer significant grocery savings on a daily basis.  Brasler says, “Their marketing strategy is to offer low prices on almost everything.”

While other supermarkets are more likely to attract customers with sales.  According to Brasler, “Big chains like Acme, and Pathmark, and Giant, ShopRite also,  really pull consumers in with sale prices.”  But their prices on other items can be high and can even vary from location to location.  Brasler says, “The thing with ShopRite and Giant is, prices vary depending on which store you shop.

In the Delaware Valley, Checkbook finds that Giant, Food Lion, ShopRite, Redner’s, Target and Weis are in the middle of the pack, but still have prices that are lower than average.

That’s not the case however with Pathmark and Super Fresh where prices were found to be higher than average.  While Whole Foods and Acme are at the bottom of the list.  Shoppers there are paying the most.  In fact Checkbook says switching from Acme to Bottom Dollar could save you up to 25 percent on your grocery bill, or around $2,000 dollars a year.  Brasler says, “This is an easy way to save a lot of money by just changing your store you shop.”

Buying in bulk at warehouse clubs offers significant savings too.  Just be sure you don’t buy stuff that will go bad before you use it.   Checkbook found Aldi had steep savings too,  although they offer a much more limited selection.

You can review Checkbooks price survey and supermarket quality ratings for FREE through Monday, November 18th.  Just click this link: