Is The Hassle of Wal-Mart Worth The Savings?

Wal-Mart Supercenter, Miles CityGrowing up, Super Wal-Marts did not exist! *GASP*! It was not until my later teen years until I remember going to a Super Wal-Mart. My mom always shopped at the traditional local grocery store, or as my grandpa says, “the gettin’ place”. From what I can remember, the only thing my mom occasionally did buy from Wal-Mart were clothes for my brother and I.

My mom always said…even to this day… she hates the crowds and the overall experience of the super sized big box store. I don’t remember the last time she stepped foot in one. As I get older, my opinion gets closer to siding with my mom, but yet Super Wal-Mart is still our main store of choice for pretty much everything.

Pros Of Shopping at Wal-Mart

Since Wal-Mart is basically the biggest super store that exists, they are able to offer very competitive prices on their merchandise. For the frugal person and family, this makes staying within budget much easier.

One of our favorite features of grocery shopping here are the big, bold, price per ounce tags. This information easily allows you to compare different brands, varieties and sizes of a product. This makes it ridiculously easy for us to find the most cost effective food choice.

A Simple Example

You need to buy a couple cans of tomato sauce. There are several different name brands, as well as the good ol’ Great Value (Wal-Mart) brand. On top of deciding on brand, you have different size cans. On initial thought, buying two of the big cans would be cheaper than buying 3 or 4 of the regular size cans.

However, if you look at the price per ounce tag, you see that the big can is 22 cents per ounce. For the regular size can it is 15 cents per ounce. So in reality, it actually cost more to buy two big cans of sauce versus 4 cans of the regular size.

My husband and I check the price per ounce tages for almost every grocery item we buy. This can be a bit of a hassle at first if you have never done it, but it can really save you a good chunk of change over time.

I very rarely shop for groceries anywhere but Wal-Mart, but I am pretty sure other grocery stores offer this same feature. The big difference is Wal-Mart makes it incredibly easy to see this feature, where as the other stores you have to get up close and squint to see it.

Cons Of Shopping at Wal-Mart

Line at WalMart on Christmas Eve - Edmond, OklahomaCrowds, crowds, crowds!!! No matter how hard I try, there is no such thing as a quick in and out stop. Most of the time you have to park in the back of the lot, then depending on what you need trek to the back of the store then find a sorta short line to check out. We generally use the self check out because I was a grocery cashier for 4 years back in high school. If we don’t self-check, I have horrible luck getting stuck behind a complicated transaction.

A newer problem at Wal-Mart is it seems that they are always out of stock of the item we want. It seems that our local Wal-Mart is always out of a couple of our regular weekly items, one of which is frozen broccoli florets. Broccoli is almost an every dinner staple in our house, and it really throws a kink in things when they are out.

Finally, Mom and Pop stores are losing business.  This has been a nationally recognized issue since the beginning of big box stores, and the only reason some people refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. The disappearing family businesses are something that really bothers me.

So Why Do We Shop Wal-Mart?

We still shop at Wal-Mart because we are very focused on maintaining frugality and getting ahead in our finances. At this point in our life, we can’t really afford to pay higher prices for the things we need, and Wal-Mart is a resource that allows us to easily stay within our defined budget. Later down the road, when we really get ahead financially, I see us shopping at the local store and not the big box store.

Are you a Wal-Mart shopper or do you boycott it all together? What are some other pros and cons that I missed?


  1. Things in WalMart are sooo so cheap. I really only go early in the morning when no one is there! The crowds are crazy!

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