Hang with me.
Let's start with what greets me as I walk into the discount behemoth.
I appreciate that Wal-Mart has a recycle bin for their plastic bags. If you (like me) are going to use those white plastic baggies, the least we can do is to recycle them and The Mart makes it easy to do this. The bonus is you get to say hello to the little elderly greeter.
For those of us who are trying to stretch that grocery dollar as far as it will go, generic items are an enormous help. Wal-Mart's store brands, Great Value and Parent's Choice, are great options for the comparable branded items. I have used a Great Value or Parent's Choice substitute on almost every item available that I purchase and I have yet to be truly disappointed. In all honesty, if they weren't in the tell-tale white box with blue lettering, I wouldn't recognize the difference. In the other stores that I shop, there are store brands also but not nearly to the extent that Wal-Mart provides. I realize this is a strategic marketing move that Wal-Mart has made to entice frugal shoppers but at least I know that I took the bait.
My favorite thing about Wal-Mart, however, is the fact that they include the price per ounce on every single one of their shelf labels. I learned early on in my study to become a Cheap Mama that price per ounce means everything. It's the easiest way to compare prices between two objects especially if they are of differing sizes or if you're trying to figure out if the larger size is truly the more economical choice. In the other local stores that I shop the price is only listed for the whole item. This means I have to pull out my phone calculator and do the math myself. This isn't always easy with two kids in tow so I love that Wal-Mart does the work for me. If you see me shopping and peering at the price labels, 9 times out of 10 I'm looking at the small number to the left first to see what the cheapest option is, and then checking the total cost of the item to make sure it won't bust the weekly grocery budget.
I took this picture for a previous post so forgive the picture. The total price is in yellow but the price/ounce is included in the orange box to the left.
Another fabulous feature of Wal-Mart is that they will match any competitor's prices as long as you show the circular at check-out. I don't know if they will honor the price pulled up on your smartphone so if anyone knows, please leave a comment. I really love this feature because let's say for argument's sake that I am addicted to diet coke. I know the best value for diet coke and this week Target happens to have it on sale for the lowest available price. Unfortunately, I cannot enter Target without completely losing my mind and buying unneeded clothes for my children so I really don't need to go to Target this week unless I want to blow this month's budget. Never fear! I can take the circular with me to Wal-Mart, show the price at checkout and get the item for the Target sale price no matter what the actual price is at Wal-Mart on that given day. It's a win-win. I get the crack cocaine diet coke and don't lose my financial mind at Target.
The last reason I love Wal-Mart is because they carry the zip-up hoodies that I can't seem to quit. I don't know why I love them. I only know I do.
For those of you who have stuck with me throughout this post (you deserve a medal!) let me list quickly the reasons I don't like Wal-Mart. Hopefully this will be enough to keep me on your good side if you're a Wal-Mart hater.
Wal-Mart will never put their meat on sale. Ever. However, my local grocery stores run specials on meat almost every week so I purchase those items from the local stores.
The rough parking lots mean that I will darn near give the baby Shaken Baby Syndrome on the way into the store and on my way out of the store will inevitably bounce the cases of diet coke so much that they fall off the bottom shelf of the cart leaving me to load them back on in the middle of the parking lot. Good times, good times.
The fact that there are always 900 check-out lanes but only 3 checkers available is something I will never understand. However, this allows me time to catch up on the gossip rags so that I never have to pay for them.
Hopefully you now understand my love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart and maybe you'll be encouraged to give The Mart another try if you've avoided it as I used to do.
Happy shopping, Cheap Mama!