These days, it seems there are three grocery store chains everyone talks about: Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Aldi. But these stores can get very busy, overpriced, or difficult to get to. On a recent trip to the Midwest, however, I found an option I hadn't experienced before: Save a Lot.Aldi is Save a Lot's biggest competitor because they are both known for being discount grocery stores.Aldi opened its first store in Germany in 1961. It came to the US in 1976 when it opened a store in Iowa and has gone on to become a juggernaut in the states with over 2,000 locations.Save a Lot opened its first store in Illinois in 1977, eventually expanding throughout the Midwest and then to the East Coast. These days, it's located in over 30 states, and there are more than 1,000 locations.The smaller square footage is a trademark of Save a Lot.On average, Save a Lot stores are designed to be significantly smaller than a typical grocery store, making it easy to find the items you're looking for and to get in and out of stores quicker than large supermarkets, according to the company's website. Save a Lot's website says this is another design trick to help customers get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Although the store was mostly empty when I was perusing the aisles, I noted how easy it was to move around and not have to swerve around other customers. The aisles were also great for social distancing while shopping. Similar to Aldi stores, many of the items in the Save a Lot were stacked in shipping boxes, so employees don't have to waste time stocking shelves.On the consumer side, I realized this no-frills display made it easier to see and grab each product. The chain uses these simple displays to reduce costs.When I took a closer look, I noticed everything in the produce section was ripe, fresh, and cost less than $3. I was surprised to find ground beef that cost only $3, while it typically costs me $5 to $7 at Whole Foods. A few steps down from this section was another wall filled with deli meats. This section sold mustard, ketchup, and off-brand soda for less than $2 each. Typically, the frozen-food sections span for a couple of aisles in grocery stores, but at Save a Lot, there was only one wall. But I realized it had everything other grocery store freezer sections carry, like pizza, vegetables, popsicles, etc. Save a Lot just carried fewer options for each product. The limited options help keep Save a Lot so cheap. We carry one size and one variety of each item, Dan Kimack, the former communications manager at Save a Lot, told the Daily Press in 2003. If it's a can of whole-kernel corn, it's going to be one size and one variety, and it's going to be the most popular size and variety.Aldi is known for its private-label brands, and Save a Lot is no different. The shelves at Save a Lot were filled with brands exclusive to the company. The Save a Lot brands are named after employees who worked at the company. The McDaniel's brand of coffee, for example, honors David McDaniel, a former Save a Lot employee.A 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola only costs $1.78 at Save a Lot. For comparison, the same size soda costs $2.19 at Target.I bought J. Higgs' barbecue chips, Kiggins' cinnamon crunch cereal, and Sunny's chocolate chip cookies. Together, they cost just $5. I later tasted all three and found them to be just as delicious as the more famous brands you'd find at bigger grocery stores.The cashier handed me a plastic bag and my three items. I was then told to pack my own bags at the table by the windows.Although I could see this becoming a hassle if I did a large grocery haul, it was great for my three items because it made the check-out experience extremely fast. Most Save a Lot stores are located in underserved communities that larger grocery chains typically ignore. I'm on disability and really have to watch how I spend my money, Betty Duffey, a shopper in Tampa, Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2017. At Publix, I'd spend $200 a month for groceries. At Winn-Dixie, I'd spend probably around $150. But at Save-A-Lot, I'll spend $80 for the same amount of food.At this point, Aldi has a cult following with over 2,000 stores in the US, making it one of the most popular discount grocery stores.Save a Lot only has just over 1,000 stores in the US, but I think it has the potential to catch up with Aldi's popularity because the great deals, spacious aisles, delicious private brands, and focus on speediness is a recipe for success.