Sunday, April 15, 2012

Walmart vs. Grocery Stores

Many people shop at Walmart for all of their grocery needs...I used to as well. Many new couponers shop at Walmart for all their grocery needs...I used to as well. One of the things that we have to learn as couponers is that Walmart is not always the best place to use coupons to buy groceries. Sure, they allow overage and an unlimited number of coupons, but do they ALWAYS have the lowest prices? No. There are many different grocery stores out there to choose from, Piggly Wiggly, Kroger, Meijer, County Market, etc. and their stores have sales cycles. A box of cereal may cost $4 at Kroger and $3 at Walmart, BUT that same box of cereal on sale may cost $1.99 or $2.49...which is LOWER than the everyday Walmart price. So say I have a $1/1 coupon for brand X cereal at Walmart it would cost you $2 (33% savings) and only $0.99 at Kroger (66% savings compared to Walmarts price). So now where do you think te place to grocery shop is?

You'll notice that in my "Weekly Shopping Trip" posts, that the majority of my grocery shopping is either at Kroger or Walgreens...and the same items come from Walmart every week.  This is because I have learned over the past year that Walmart does not always have the lowest price!  So, I have made note of the items I'm going to buy every week, whether they're on sale or not, or whether I have a coupon or not (such as bread and bagels) and have found that it is cheaper at Walmart UNLESS Kroger has that rare sale on my bread and bagels.  So, recently I have been trying to "stock up" on bread and bagels so I don't have to go to Walmart every week....because let's face it, 3 grocery stops in one morning is a lot.  But I do it, because I get the best deals that way, and it's all done in one trip (for the most part).

Also, the great thing about my grocery store, Kroger, is that they double coupons up to $0.60 face value...which means a $0.60/1 coupon (=$1.20/1) is better than a $0.75/1 coupon.  Now, not all stores do this, and it does depend on where you live, BUT if you're one of the lucky ones like me, then you'll know that shopping at Kroger can result in way better prices than shown in that example up top.

Walmart "ups":

Only $0.22/roll (great stock up price on TP!)

  • Great Value items at decent prices
  • Meat is generally a good price
  • They have everything you can think of for sale in the store!
  • Unlimited coupons allowed (as long as you are following the writing on the coupon itself)
  • Overage allowed on coupons (two-thumbs up here!)
Walmart "downs"
  • No real sales
  • No doubling coupons
  • Can be aggravating to price match
Grocery store "ups"
Great stock up price for cereal -- note this is the Store Brand cereal
  • Sales cycles 
    • Can lead to great stock up prices when paired with a coupon
  • May double (or triple) coupons
  • Better customer service
Grocery store "downs"
  • Sales cycles
    • Have to have an idea when items will go on sale again so that you can stock up on enough items
  • May limit the number of coupons you use
  • Every day prices are more expensive
  • Have less varieties to choose from

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