From staples like food and clothes to oddities like the famed yodeling pickle, Walmart has become a one-stop shop for just about everything. The retail giant is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
But while the company is known for its “everyday low prices,” Walmart isn’t the only place for saving money. Based on prices, quality and expert opinion, here are some of the worst items to buy at Walmart.
When it comes to peanut butter, the thought of comparison shopping might never enter your mind. But instead of assuming Walmart has the best prices on this creamy delight, check out the competition to see where you can save.
For example, Walmart currently offers an eight-count pack of Jif To Go Creamy Peanut Butter for $2.58, whereas Target sells the same product for $2.39. If you prefer Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter, Target has a 16.3-ounce jar for $2.32, compared to Walmart’s normal price of $2.54.
Walmart’s produce section boasts a variety of fruits, including blueberries, strawberries, apples and oranges. But while the retailer prices its fruit reasonably, these rates aren’t always the cheapest in town — especially when there’s an Aldi nearby.
An Aldi in Chesapeake, Va., for example, sells a dry pint of blueberries for $2.49 compared to Walmart’s price of $2.88. As a bonus, Aldi often runs amazing weekly deals on produce. The retailer recently had a pint of blueberries and a pound of strawberries on sale for 99 cents each.
Whether you’re hosting a graduation party, an anniversary celebration or a baby shower, Walmart is likely the first place you think of for party supplies. But if you’re also hosting on a budget, you’ll do better heading to the nearest dollar store.
“Party supplies at Walmart can be up to five times the cost of party supplies at dollar stores,” said Carson Yarbrough, a consumer insights specialist for Offers.com, a site for coupons and insider savings tips. “If you're planning a party, opt to get party supplies like plastic cups, decorations and balloons at the dollar store to see significant savings.”
Buyer Beware: 10 Dollar Stores Items Not Worth the Buck
Furniture can be expensive. So, if you’re just starting out or looking for inexpensive pieces for your home, you might be lured by Walmart’s low prices on wood furniture. Keep in mind, however, that you get what you pay for.
“Walmart has relatively cheap wood furniture, but this is because it's a lesser quality than other furniture retailers,” said Yarbrough. “Wooden furniture from Walmart is more likely to break or deteriorate quicker, so buy your furniture elsewhere to save money and the hassle of replacing it in two months.”
Walmart’s low prices on high-end electronics might convince you that you’re getting a good deal. But this really depends on what you purchase.
As an example, the DJI Phantom 3 Drone is selling for $499, and selling for $459.89 on Amazon, said Brian Meiggs, founder of Millennial Money Guide, a website that helps readers take control of their financial lives.
“Walmart is known as a value-oriented retailer and not primarily known as a consumer electronics store,” he added. “[I] recently went shopping for a drone, and the level of service and accessories was subpar at my local Walmart — not to mention the price was much higher at Walmart."
Many of us love to give our locks the luxury treatment with salon-quality shampoos and conditioners. However, shampoo is one of the items you should buy on Amazon instead of Walmart.
While an 8.5-ounce Pureology Pure Hydrate Shampoo costs $12.73 on Amazon, you'll pay a whopping $16.54 at Walmart. You can use those savings to purchase some new hair ties to replace the ones you're always losing.
Walmart has a department dedicated to arts, crafts and sewing. However, the selection and pricing pale in comparison to what you’ll find at craft stores like Michaels — particularly if you’re shopping for a stretched canvas.
Walmart currently sells a two-pack of stretched 16-by-20 canvases for $7.97. While this isn’t a bad price, it's a rip-off compared to sale prices at Michaels. For example, the retailer often has five-packs of 16-by-20 stretched canvases on sale for $12.99.
Crucial for operating everything from toys to remote controls, batteries are a must-have item around the house. The problem with Walmart, however, is that you'll likely spend a lot on batteries and get little in return.
Right now, the retailer offers a four-pack of Energizer Ultimate AA Lithium Batteries for $6.94. But if you buy in bulk at Sam’s Club, you’ll get an 18-pack of the batteries for $19.98.
Shop Smarter: 14 Items That Are Always Cheaper at Walmart
Most people can’t get their days started without a cup of Joe. Because coffee is relatively inexpensive, you might not question Walmart’s prices. The truth is, competitors like Amazon typically sell the same brands of coffee for less.
For example, Walmart’s price for Folgers Black Silk Dark Roast Ground Coffee (24.2 ounces) is $7.48, but the coffee sells for $6.99 on Amazon.
Fitbit Charge 2
If you’re looking to get in shape and lose weight, the Fitbit Charge 2 Activity Tracker + Heart Rate will monitor your heart rate, daily steps and calorie burn. Walmart competitively prices this particular Fitbit at $148.95, but this isn’t the lowest price you’ll find.
At eBay, you can get a brand-new Fitbit Charge 2 Activity Tracker + Heart Rate monitor starting at $119.95 with free shipping.
Vitamin supplements can treat nutritional deficiencies, and some vitamins even improve the outlook for certain health conditions. But the cost of vitamins can add up over time, so it's important to find ways to save money. Rather than purchase vitamins from Walmart, compare prices to see if you can find your selections cheaper on Amazon.
You’ll save on Vitafusion MultiVites gummy vitamins, for example, when shopping on Amazon. A 150-count bottle is listed on Amazon for $9.49, whereas Walmart sells the item for $9.88
You’ll also save money by skipping Walmart and purchasing your Keurig K15 Single Serve Compact coffee maker from another retailer. Walmart has this particular Keurig model in red for $79.99. For a cheaper option, head to the nearest Best Buy where you’ll find the same model for $69.99.
Walmart’s gift card center features a generous selection of restaurants and retailers, including Olive Garden, Papa John's, Starbucks and Burger King. Plus, there’s the option to buy Visa, MasterCard and American Express gift cards. But while Walmart is a convenient place to pick up cards, it isn’t the cheapest place.
A cost-saving solution involves buying from discount sites like Raise and Cardpool, which have gift cards for up to 30 percent and 35 percent off, respectively.
Straight Talk Wireless
With a prepaid or pay-as-you-go cellphone plan, you don't have to worry about a contract. And, you only pay for the minutes you use.
Walmart’s Straight Talk wireless is an affordable cellular solution, with its $45 monthly unlimited nationwide plan. With this option, you get the first 8GB at high speeds, then 2G thereafter. But while this monthly price might agree with your wallet, it’s certainly not the best deal in town — especially if you’re a heavy data user.
For a better experience, consider MetroPCS’s unlimited 4G LTE data plan for an additional $5 a month.
Basic Kitchen Items
Walmart has a huge selection of kitchenware from drinking glasses to cooking items. But if you’re on the hunt for simple, inexpensive kitchen merchandise like coffee mugs, flatware or bowls, there’s no need to pay big retailer prices. Dollar stores might have exactly what you’re looking for at a cheaper price.
Why pay $5 for a basic coffee mug at Walmart when you can get mugs for $1 each at dollar stores?
How to Find the Best Deals
Most people want to save money. But just because a company claims to be the cheapest retailer on the block doesn’t mean it’s true. Even with Walmart coupons, you can potentially save elsewhere. With that being said, do your homework, shop around and compare prices at retailers — your wallet will thank you.
Up Next: 20 Best Deals at Walmart
Some of the product prices above were provided by the writer based on her personal shopping experience.