Saturday, April 24, 2010

Walmart/commissary throw down!

If you're a military spouse, you've undoubtedly wondered which is cheaper -- Walmart or the commissary? We've been wondering this since we first arrived on base. We just assumed that the commissary had cheaper milk and meat, and we chose our grocery store based on whatever we felt like going. Or whichever was open, since our commissary sometimes has weird hours.

Well, today Mark and I decided to officially find out which store is cheaper. I brought a piece of paper with me to the commissary and recorded the prices of various foods [such party animals on Saturdays!]. We bought nothing and headed to Walmart to compare these prices. When we found a cheaper item, we bought it. And then headed back to the commissary for their cheaper items.

We didn't check everything, and we didn't compare ground beef or milk or fruits and vegetables. We just chose a few things that were on our current list. The BLUE price represents the commissary price (get it? like blue for Air Force blue. Hehe!), and the ORANGE price represents Walmart.

Here's what we found:

Tomato paste: .58 ~~ .38

Ramen Noodles: .19 ~~ .28

Big Pack of Ramen Noodles: $2.79 ~~ $1.82

Campbells Soups (cream of mushroom/mushroom, etc): $1.29 ~~ $1.26
(note: Great Value at Walmart is as low as .78 -- a great find!)

Canned Corn (or similar veggie): .64 ~~ .73

32oz Hamburger Dill Pickles: $1.99 ~~ $2.28

Loaf of bread: $1.49 ~~ .75

Packaged ham: $2 ~~ $2.98

Nitrate-free Turkey dogs (aka healthy hot dogs): $1.25 ~~ $.150

Cheese Bratwursts: $1.79 ~~ $2.98

8oz Kraft Monterey Jack Cheese: $1.25 ~~ $1.96

I bolded the items that were cheaper at the commissary for your convenience! So the verdict is in: WALMART WINS!

Obviously, we did not compare the prices of any fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, or milk. I'll be doing that next week. I'm nearly willing to bet my socks that Walmart has cheaper fruits and veggies, however! So basically, in my experience, Walmart is cheaper on everything but meats and cheeses.

So now you know! Walmart also has the Great Value brand, which is extremely cheap. I currently have the Great Value brand of Fruity Pebbles, and I can definitely tell a difference.. in a bad way. But it was less than half the price of the name brand, so it's worth it, in my opinion!

Walmart will be seeing more of me in the future!

PS. I would just like to add that this list of food is mostly for lunches. We don't live on hot dogs and Ramen noodles. I promise. And the deli meat is for Mark. We really do eat real, normal foods!


  1. What about Kroger?! That's where we shop for groceries...their Kroger Plus items are usually a better deal than Wal-Mart. At least, from what we've experienced. And the Kroger brand is better quality (IMO!) than Great Value. For example: I REALLY like Honey Nut Cheerios. And when we're on a budget, I have no issue purchasing the Kroger brand of them. I can tell a difference, but not in a bad way. :)

  2. In BG, we ALWAYS went to Kroger. And now that we're here, we never ever go. I have no idea why. Our Kroger here has this big international section with real foods from other countries. It's pretty neat. I really like the atmosphere of Kroger better.. sooo much more room to move around and less people!! :)

  3. We always shopped at kroger, except the last two times and we tried walmart. Well walmart is way cheaper right now (like $70 cheaper in the end)! So walmart it is for us too!

  4. We always only shop at Kroger (for our big grocery store purchases). Not because they're necessarily cheaper (we always try to buy Kroger Plus prices and use coupons), but because we just don't agree with everything that Walmart does: putting smaller "Mom-and-Pop" stores out of business because they can't compete, making people feel like they have to be dependent on Walmart (because they have EVERYTHING), and their child-labor practices at their factories in other countries are the main reasons we avoid the place. But, we just really try not to shop at the big box stores in general and are really going to try to buy as local as possible. Plus, with our garden, I hope to make as much as possible from my back yard. But, really, that's just our stand. I know that Walmart can be quite a bit cheaper than other places and some people have to shop on a really tight budget, but we just choose Kroger and local over Walmart. : )

  5. i was in fort hood for the last 3 years and walmart def had the better prices vs the commissary BUT i PCSed to fort gordon in March of this year and found that the grocery store here ie wal-marts, kroger, bi-lo, and food lion are over priced and ridiculous. the commissary beats their price by a land slide. at first i assumed that it was just georgia and the commissary would be the same. well i went back and gave the commissary a second chance finding that my grocery bill (family of 6) has went from 325-350 off post to 200-225 on post. btw this is what i was spending in texas. so do not just assume the prices are the same from state to state. they are very different