Should You Do All of Your Shopping at Walmart?

Kip Tips

Should You Do All of Your Shopping at Walmart?

The mega-retailer offers a huge selection at low prices, but it's possible to find better deals elsewhere.

Courtesy Walmart via Flickr/Creative Commons

When it comes to Walmart, most shoppers either love it or hate it. There's little middle ground. The Walmart detractors point to everything from its labor practices to the long checkout lines as reasons for shopping elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: Worst Things to Buy at Walmart

Yet, for every shopper who shuns the world’s largest retailer, there’s someone who loves it. More than 245 million people worldwide visit its stores and Web sites each week, according to Walmart’s corporate site. There are several good reasons it has so many fans:

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It offers one-stop shopping. At Walmart Supercenters, you can get your car serviced and have prescriptions filled while you shop for groceries, clothing, housewares, toys, tools, paint, electronics, garden supplies and more. You can cash checks, pay bills, wire money and add funds to prepaid cards at the Walmart MoneyCenter. At many locations, you even can get your hair and nails done, have your vision checked and receive routine health services.

Its prices are low. Although the retailer changed its slogan in 2007 from “Always Low Prices” to “Save Money. Live Better,” it’s still tough to beat Walmart’s everyday low prices., a Web site that helps consumers find the best cheap products, compared prices on a variety of items at Kmart, Target and Walmart and found that the total price tag was lowest at Walmart. Cheapism also found that Walmart had lower prices on most brand-name grocery items than competitors.


Its low prices are guaranteed. Walmart provides price adjustments if a price changes within seven days of your purchase, and it will match local competitors’ prices. In fact, it recently launched a Savings Catcher app to make price matching easier. Customers can type in the receipt numbers or scan them in via barcodes on the printed receipts, then the app will search for local competitors' advertised prices on identical products and refund the difference on a Walmart Rewards eGift Card or a Bluebird by American Express Card.

Of course, there are caveats to the low-price guarantees. Price adjustments aren’t available for certain clearance or specially priced items, or for items bought during certain time periods such as the run-up to Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Week (week after Thanksgiving). And Walmart will not make adjustments if there’s a difference between its store price and its own online price. When it comes to price matching, Walmart won’t match other retailers’ Internet pricing. And Savings Catcher refunds don’t apply to certain types of general merchandise including toys, electronics, housewares and small appliances. Cheapism tested the app and only received a 46-cent rebate on a $38.79 shopping trip. I tested it and received $1.30 back on a $46.66 shopping trip.

You can find better deals elsewhere

Although Walmart’s prices are low, they’re not always the lowest. Because its app and price-match policy only consider advertised prices on identical products from local competitors, you might find better deals if you do some comparison shopping of your own.

When we compared Walmart’s regular (non-sale) prices on a variety of products with the regular prices of its competitors, we found 11 types of items that usually sell for less elsewhere. And deal experts say that consumers often can find better-quality products when they go on sale at prices the same as or lower than Walmart’s.


For example, Kristin Cook, managing editor of deals Web site Ben’s Bargains, says that many of Walmart’s dress shoes for men are priced at $20 to $30. Consumers can find higher quality brand-name shoes, though, on sale for the same price at online discount retailers such as

And many of Walmart’s low-priced televisions and electronics are lower-end off brands, Cook says. Consumers can get a better value by buying brand-name electronics when they go on sale at a retailer such as Best Buy or are listed at a deep discount on a daily deal site such as Woot. According to research conducted by for Kiplinger, Walmart was not among the top five retailers for the highest volume of deals and sales on electronics so far this year (through Oct. 15). Amazon, eBay, NewEgg, Best Buy and Fry’s were.

Amazon also was among the top five retailers with the highest volume of deals this year on automotive items, gaming and toys, home and garden items, and camping and outdoors items, according to DealNews. It doesn’t have the fresh grocery offerings (except in select locations) that Walmart Supercenters do, but Amazon can compete in other product categories and will deliver them right to your door.

To compare prices and find the best bargains, here are 15 deal Web sites that can help. Even if you find that Walmart has the lowest price on the item you want, many of its competitors will match the retail giant’s prices (see How to Get Retailers to Match Prices).