Where to Shop

Invest Some Time in Research

Comparison shopping is a bit easier given the advent of the Internet.

With my new year’s resolution to cut my food bill, I began doing a bit of comparison shopping.  I started with a table that listed various retail sites/stores across the top – Walmart, Costco, BJ’s, Amazon, and a column called other in case I came across a great deal on something I usually kept on hand in the pantry.  In the left-hand column, I began listing some of my staples and regular purchases.  These included:

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet Paper
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Walden Farms zero calorie dressings (a newfound love of mine!)
  • Soda
  • Cereal
  • Canned diced tomatos
  • Canned beans
  • Hunts Traditional Spaghetti Sauce

I highly recommend you do the same.  My personal take-away – Walmart had some great prices that even beat the club stores on many (but, definitely not all) items.  When I factored in their store brand, I was really ahead of the game!  I had always assumed the club memberships were the most economical for everything. Never assume!

Another discovery – the Walmart grocery app.  An awesome way to get through my shopping! I can sit on the couch with my grocery list for the week in one hand, my phone in the other, and a cup of coffee to my side.  I click my way through my list, and arrange a pick up time at the store.  THEY WILL DO THE ACTUAL SHOPPING FOR ME!  No need to spend time in the store picking out the items and putting them in my cart!  What a gift of time! In addition, as I thought of things I needed throughout the week, I just added it to my pending order for the following shop.  The app tracks the list so I don’t need to keep a running paper list.   Get this – if you order something that Walmart doesn’t have, they will double your order for the substitute.  One week I scored a 5 lb. package of ground beef for the same price as the 2.4 lb. package.  Another week, when they did not have the brand of water I ordered, I received an extra case of a different brand!  Bonus: Using the Savings Catcher function of the app, I was received a 16 cents credit because after I bought my items, Walmart (not me) discovered a less expensive price elsewhere and credited my the difference! How cool is that?

I shelled out about $40 for a membership at Costco and $40 for one at BJ’s.  I just used the memberships for groceries; I never bought electronics, furniture, or other large sticker items, so I can not speak about their prices on these goods.  So, it was high time to determine if I was getting my money’s worth.

My decision is to cut the BJ’s membership, but keep my Costco card.  For some items, such as when I want to buy a large pork loin to cut up and freeze, I can get better prices there.  I also know that they sell a gallon of milk for $1 less than my local Walmart grocery store. What’s more, Costco is our go to place for filling the cars with gasoline.  When hurricane Irma hit a few months ago, Costco was actually the only retail outlet we could find that had gasoline! I noticed last year that the new set of dishes I bought on Overstock.com, were on display at Costco for about 20% less than what I paid!  Again, the lesson here, do your research!

 

Commentary

I know that some people dislike Walmart.  When I posted this on my personal Facebook page, I received a note from someone that said I should not support Walmart.  My response was why not?  Why would I choose to spend my money at a store that costs me more?  Walmart is offering me a fair deal on my goods and helping me provide for my family.  I’d rather take the savings I earn and put a portion towards the local charities I support then just throw my money away on #overpriced groceries.

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