Since its humble beginnings back in 1962 as a single store in Rogers, Arkansas, Walmart has grown into one of the most formidable retailers on the planet. The big-box titan operates roughly 10,500 stores around the globe and sells everything from toothpicks to surround sound speaker systems.
Is there such a thing as selling too many things? There just might be.
Though Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at BlackFriday.com, said to “never say never” when it comes to Walmart, she also noted that there are some categories to be cautious about purchasing there. Let’s explore what she and other retail and budgeting pros warn consumers to steer clear of at Walmart.
“If you’re looking for something that will last (or stand up to pets and kids), you’ll need to spend more – and go to furniture specialty stores,” McGrath said. “Your locally-owned furniture stores are a great option. Ashley also has higher-end furniture and a lot of variety.”
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“Walmart is a great option if you need to minimize the costs of your next set, but it doesn’t have as big of a variety on the high-end side of the spectrum,” McGrath said. “Consider electronics stores like Best Buy, or warehouse stores like Costco (which is also known for its electronics warranty). And here’s a tip for Black Friday: Walmart will always have some of (if not the) lowest doorbuster prices on select TVs – but make sure you check the brand and the specs – it might be worth paying a couple hundred dollars more at Walmart or at another retailer to get a TV that lasts longer, instead of that tempting doorbuster.”
“Batteries may be less expensive at Amazon.com or a warehouse store, such as Costco,” said Laura Adams, MBA, a personal finance expert with Finder.com.
“If you’ve seen the TikTok videos talking about WalMart’s potential issues with poultry freshness, and you are looking for a place where the meat selection is fresh and delicious, I highly recommend ALDI,” said Chloe Elise, a certified financial coach and the CEO/founder of Deeper Than Money. “Though their selection is not as expansive as WalMart’s, this ensures that all the meat there is properly refrigerated & the options they do have are of high quality.”
“The price per ounce for maple syrup at Walmart is so much more than what you’ll pay elsewhere,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “The best deal you can find on this item is undoubtedly at a warehouse club: Costco has a 33.8 ounce bottle for $13.11 which works out to about 39 cents per ounce; at Walmart, even the generic brand (which is usually the cheapest) will cost you nearly 64 cents per ounce, although a 32 ounce bottle (the closest to the Costco size) will cost about 50 cents per ounce.”
“Similar to maple syrup, the cost of this sweetener is much more at Walmart than if you buy in bulk,” Ramhold said. “A 12-ounce bottle of Great Value honey is about $3.72 or 31 cents per ounce; however, at Costco, you can buy 5 pounds of wildflower honey for $15.29 – that’s 19 cents per ounce. If you use the sweetener often (or even if you don’t) you can’t beat that price.”
Generic Paper Plates
“At Walmart, you can get generic paper plates for as little as 3 cents each, but the odds are good that you’ll be trading quality for that,” Ramhold said. “At Costco, you can buy name-brand quality disposable plates for about 8 cents each. It’s definitely a matter of preference but paying a little more up front could be worth it to protect your floor and prevent losing food.”
Prepaid Phone Plan
“Walmart is known for offering StraightTalk wireless plans but the service routinely ranks as one of the worst available,” Ramhold said. “You’re much better off investigating options like Google Fi for affordable plans, or if you want to stick with prepaid, check out Mint Mobile, as it often makes the ‘best of’ lists.”
“You may not know that Walmart offers appliances, but they technically do — and you should avoid them,” Ramhold cautioned. “The selection is much smaller than what you’ll find at stores like Best Buy, and the brands may not be the best quality, so while they may be cheaper, you may find that you have to replace what you buy sooner. Definitely check out stores like Best Buy, devoted appliance stores, or even warehouse clubs instead.”
“Walmart has a big selection of paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, napkins) but if you are shopping on a budget, you will be disappointed by the cheapest option at WalMart,” Elise said. “Unless you like 1-ply toilet paper. While, for the same price, at ALDI you can save big-time on these items and still get incredible quality.”
“Shopping for gift cards at Walmart means paying list price for them, but if you shop at warehouse clubs you can get multi-packs with a discount,” Ramhold said. “Depending on the store or restaurant you’re buying gift cards for, you can expect a 15% to 20% discount when shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club.”
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