Shopping for the Perfect Health Diet at Walmart

The Results Are In.

English: Walmart Home Office, the headquarters...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Our total grocery spending for September was $1078.  (This includes diapers, paper products, cleaning supplies, and over-the-counter medications.)   I made all of our main, weekly grocery shopping trips at Walmart
  • This is a slight increase from our August total of $1059, when I did the bulk of our shopping at Aldi.
  • Factoring in the $22.40 required for gasoline to shop at Aldi that month, however, the total was $1081, which means . . . .

My grocery costs were basically the same at Aldi as at Walmart.

  • Our 12-month average before I started this experiment was $1188.  Wal-mart always has been my primary grocery store in theory, but I had slipped into shopping more and more at the closer, more expensive “regular” grocery store.

Shopping at Aldi and Walmart resulted in a net savings of $107-110 per month, or about 9% of our average monthly grocery expenditure.  

  • During both months, we made smaller trips to other stores as needed.  In August, these smaller trips added up to a full 50% of our grocery bill.  I attribute this to Aldi having a smaller selection.  In September, our smaller trips to other stores were only 20% of the total.

My spreadsheet has prices for various items at Walmart, Aldi, and our local grocery store (Martin’s).   You can see it here: grocery price spreadsheet.

Advantages of shopping at Walmart:

  • It is in near to our house,
  • It has low prices, and
  • It has everything.

Disadvantages of shopping at Walmart:

  • It has everything.  I can’t seem to walk out of Wally World without spending $230.  Why $230?  I don’t know, but the total is usually $230-something.  Our non-grocery household expenditures were $250 more the month I shopped at Walmart than when I shopped at Aldi.  Coincidence?  Probably not.  But there are so many other factors involved here that I’m not including this in my analysis now.
  • Okay, it doesn’t have everything.  I still have to go to other stores for items like rice syrup.
  • Also . . . I hate it.

Man, I really hate shopping at Walmart.  It’s huge.  It’s ugly.  It’s depressing.  I know I’m being classist here, but the general population there . . . you know . . . .  (As Pat put it, “We always see people we know at Target, but we don’t see as many people we know at Walmart.”  Yeah.)

Sometimes we went together as a family on the weekend.  This works, but Walmart is such a crowded, depressing place to be on the weekend.  It’s not so bad on weekday mornings, but that entails my taking the girls on my own.  That never, ever ends well.  And Walmart at night, after the girls are in bed, is a very scary place.

But a slightly more pleasant grocery shopping experience is not worth $1300 a year to me.

My plan going forward: Regular weekly trips to Walmart, plus one monthly trip to Aldi for items like maple syrup, frozen blueberries, and cheese, that consistently are cheaper at Aldi.  I’ll also try to make a monthly trip to the nearest grocery outlet (over 30 minutes away).  It has great prices but its selection varies widely.

What about you: where do you do your grocery shopping?  And if you follow a whole foods/ paleo/ GAPS/ Perfect Health Diet type of diet, how do you keep costs down?

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6 thoughts on “Shopping for the Perfect Health Diet at Walmart

  1. We used to only shop at Walmart when we lived in Albany, but then we moved here and the nearest Walmart is a half hour away. I have to admit, I was glad when we had to start shopping somewhere else because Walmart is such a damn depressing place! But, we do spend so much more money everywhere else. After two years here I’ve finally found a system that works well for us for the grocery shopping. I get all my meat, paper goods and cleaning products at Costco about once every two or three weeks and my weekly shopping I do at Trader Joe’s which is the same company as Aldi, did you know? My downfall with TJ’s is all the delicious extras and seasonal stuff. I’m such a sucker!

  2. Wow, good for you, Laura, for doing a shopping comparison! I most def. agree about Walmart, and find the same thing when I’ve shopped there at night. I do most of our shopping at Wegmans- I had always assumed it was expensive and stocked mostly specialty foods but have found many of their prices to be lower than other grocery stores near us and find everything I need. Other things like diapers, detergent and some foods I buy at Costco. And I’m with Ellen about TJs- when I go there the seasonal goodies are so hard to resist!

  3. This is interesting. I think so much of food prices varies by area of the country or even state. Our food bill has actually dropped a lot since moving to VA, but we are on the coast, so I think the cost of living is a bit cheaper. Anyway, lately I’ve been doing most of my shopping at Food Lion..they are the cheapest (cheaper than Wal-Mart even) and they are super closer to my house . They don’t have a super great variety though. I basically get meat/dairy/staples/produce there. I actually found an awesome deal on grass-fed beef there a few weeks back and totally stocked up Since we are gluten-free, I shop Amazon.com (we have Prime, so free shipping) and get GF flour and pasta in bulk.

    Everyone i know swears by Costco so I keep toying with getting a membership, but never actually have because I’m not convinced it saves money and Costco is a bit further away and honestly I’m lazy when it comes to shopping. I drive all over the place for all sorts of things that I really balk at driving a long distance for shipping when I can go just 1.5 miles up the road.

    • I’ve avoided Costco for mostly the same reasons. . . . I order diapers and paper products and a lot of other household items through Amazon. (I included that in my monthly totals.) I don’t know that Amazon has the absolute lowest prices, but before I found myself making extra trips to the store b/c I didn’t realize we were running out of TP or whatever. And each additional trip to the store usually means an additional impulse buy.

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