When you walk through the doors of Walmart, don’t assume that everything is a good deal. Don’t ignore your frugal sub-conscience.
Don’t let their low price guarantee fool you and don’t throw caution to the wind because you’ll fill your cart with overpriced items. That guarantee only applies to advertised items. What about the hundreds of other items on the shelves?
Remember, you’re in Walmart, and they’re experts at marketing to consumers. Use your constructive knowledge when choosing a supermarket chain to grace with your hard-earned money.
Marketing 101: All stores draw you in with their sale ads, and these low-priced items are known as “loss leaders.” The loss leaders are designed to get you into the store in hopes that you’ll fill your cart with higher priced items. Savvy shoppers know better.
According to GroceryPriceMonitor.com, no one store is the price leader, so it’s important to conduct price comparison. Walmart is very competitive with their pricing, but not on everything.
Want proof? On September 1, the folks at Grocery Price Monitor compared prices on 166 commonly purchased items at four super markets in the Atlanta area – Aldi, Kroger, Publix, and Walmart. Walmart had the lowest price on 77 of those items, but many times Walmart had the higher price. Apparently in Florida, there are constant price battles between the Florida Publix and Walmart chains, so they may be the exception.
Ready to take a look at some eye-opening, fascinating, money saving numbers?
Take a look at this Walmart price comparison.
Red Delicious Apples, 3 lb. bag
Baby Carrots, 1 lb. bag
Russet Potatoes, 5 lb. bag
Asparagus, per lb.
Chicken Thighs, per lb.
Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns, store brand
Milk, 1 gallon, store brand
Orange Juice, store brand
Cottage Cheese, store brand
Ice Cream, store brand
Frozen Cheese Pizza, store brand
If you bought all of these items at Walmart, you would pay $31.52. If you shopped at all four stores for these items, you would pay $24.24. That’s a savings of $7.28 on just a handful of items! Imagine how the savings would add up for your entire grocery list x 52 weeks! Of course, it’s probably not realistic to shop four stores each week, as one-stop shopping and same-store sales are the name of the game. However, if you could shop just two stores a week the average savings is about $20! Let’s do the math…$20 week x 52 weeks = $1040 a year!
WOW…that was an eye-opener, but who has time to drive all over town comparing prices?
If you live in the Atlanta area, let Grocery Price Monitor do it for you! Every week they walk the aisles and post prices on commonly purchased items at Aldi, Kroger, Publix and Walmart. Why buy Apples at Kroger when you can save $3.50 at Aldi? Apples are apples, right? Sign-up for a free 14-day trial of Grocery Price Monitor, and if you love it, use coupon code: TBD2 to save $2 off the monthly membership.
If you don’t live in the Atlanta area, I’ll let you know when Grocery Price Monitor expands to other markets. In the meantime, study the grocery ads and start a price book of the 20 items you normally buy along with the price you pay each week. After about a month, you’ll be the smartest shopper in the store because you’ll know how to spot a deal.
Other Supermarket Chains and Grocery Store Hacks
What about coupons? Comparing prices is proof that you don’t have to use coupons to save big at the grocery, BUT you could save even more by comparing prices and using coupons. Consider coupons the icing on the cake!
There are also lots of other super markets, depending on your geographical location. Don’t forget to compare Publix stores and Walmart prices with Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie stores, Wegmans, and employee-owned company structures (like a Co-op) that offer cheaper prices and regular deals. Shop at your neighborhood market when possible and support local farmers and businesses.
How Can They Afford the Low Prices?
While grocery store options like Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club are pretty reasonable, businesses like Walmart and Publix super markets cut their costs in other ways. These businesses cut costs by employing mainly part-time employees. Part-time workers aren’t eligible for the same benefits, saving costs for the head company. So while it seems like everyone is getting a good deal, chances are that’s not the case.
Part-time workers in supermarkets and big box stores are common occupations with high turnover rates (so if you’ve ever questioned why customer service isn’t so great, that’s why). They also sign on to an anti-corruption policy, so don’t try and bribe anyone to get you extra deals.
As previously mentioned, loss leaders are meant to draw people into the store. They may not make money on the sale item, but make more money on things you will buy during your trip that you wouldn’t otherwise be purchasing from them. Some stores even mark up the prices of items that are typically sold with the sale item to make up the difference.
The moral of this story? It pays to know your prices.