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Walmart vs. Super Market vs. Commissary

Does Wal-Mart really have “everyday low prices?” Is the Commissary “worth the trip?”  Where did I put my keys?  Read on and find out.

         
  Grocery StoreSMACKDOWNBracket  
         
    Wal-Mart       
      Wal-Mart    
    Super Market      
        Commissary  
    Commissary      
      Commissary    
    Super Market      
         

I went out today with the objective of finding out if I was doing my grocery shopping in the right place.  I took a shopping list with a wide variety of items to three stores: Wal-Mart, United (Local Altus, OK super market), and our base commissary.  It doesn’t take much to see which store was the clear winner:

 #1 Wal-Mart vs.
 #2 Super Market
 #1 Commissary vs.
 #2 Super Market 
 #1 Wal-Mart vs.
 #2 Commissary 
  Store #1 Bill   $182.42   $154.64   $193.14
  Store #2 Bill   $218.77   $209.98   $168.79
  $$$ Difference   $36.35   $55.35   $24.36
  % Difference   17%   26%   13%
  Winners!    WAL-MART     COMMISSARY     COMMISSARY 

A couple of things I noticed:

1.  This test is great for figuring out where to go for a one stop shop.  But if you have time, and time is money, then for a couple of ‘big ticket’ items that you buy frequently it may be worth your while to make a few special trips.  I don’t have kids, but I checked out the cost of diapers anyways.  First of all, you’re welcome.  Second of all, Wal-Mart had the absolute, by far, lowest prices on diapers (check out the list if you don’t believe me) and a few other things. 

2.  Wal-Mart and the Super Market have the potential to save a little bit more if you are willing to buy store brands.

2b. Wal-Mart carries anything and everything from cell phone plans to Home Insurance. If time is a concern, it’s worth mentioning they are a one stop shop for most shopping trips.

3.  For fun, yes this is my idea of fun, I decided to check out Walgreen’s and the Dollar Store (I didn’t include them in the bracket because they were nowhere near competitive).  Now, I don’t recommend either of these options because they have such a small selection but I did have some interesting findings:

For the products that they do have, the Dollar Store does about average.  However, they had the most expensive Tide detergent at $16.80 (Wal-Mart $10.48, Commissary $10.99).  I was surprised.

On average Walgreen’s prices were 20% more than the higher of Wal-Mart and the Commissary.  The prices for basic 100 ct. Tylenol were: Walgreen’s $8.79, Wal-Mart $6.37, the Commissary didn’t have it.  So the drug store doesn’t even have cheaper drugs.

Despite their crappy prices, both Walgreen’s and the Dollar Store actually had customers there, purchasing the very products I was looking at.  It’s amazing how far a little shopping awareness can take you.

Download the list for yourself and try this experiment in your area!

Download Grocery List

 

Every area has different grocery quirks.  Go ahead, share some of yours.


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