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Why I Don’t Shop At Walmart (and why I prefer Aldi)

Why I Don't Shop at Wal-Mart

This week a reader asked me why, if I am The Frugal Girl, I don’t shop for groceries at the store that has “Always Low Prices!” as its slogan. That’s certainly a fair question, given that Walmart has a reputation for being a money-saving place to shop.

I rarely set foot in Walmart (usually only on vacation, when I have to get by without my beloved Aldi!), and it’s not because of some strong commitment to ethical shopping, though I understand the downsides of their business model. No, I avoid shopping at Walmart mostly because I don’t like shopping at Walmart, and because I can save more money on my grocery bill by employing other frugal strategies.

Here are a few things I dislike about Walmart.

  • The store is enormous. I know that this is one of its selling points (you can buy motor oil and cilantro at the same store! Woo!) but I loathe the size of Walmart’s stores. If you’re buying orange juice and then remember you want some bar soap too, you have to trek all the way across the store to do so. This is no big deal if you shop by yourself, I guess, but when I have all four kids with me, the last thing I want to do is traipse around a huge store. Aldi and most other grocery stores are much less overwhelming in size.


  • It’s really, really busy. I hate shopping with crowds, I hate waiting in long lines at the register, and I hate having to park a half mile from the store (again, I don’t hate walking, but walking through crowded parking lots with my 4 kids makes me very nervous, as other drivers are less than careful sometimes). At Aldi and Weis, and I can always find a close parking place, the aisles are not crowded, and I hardly ever have to wait in the check-out line for more than a few minutes.


  • The prices aren’t overwhelmingly cheap. Of course, items are less expensive than they’d be at a nice grocery chain, but Walmart’s prices are not nearly as low as Aldi’s prices are. And even at a regular grocery store I can often find deals that beat Walmart’s deals simply by buying the items that are on loss-leader or similar sales. I know Walmart offers a price-matching policy, where they’ll give you the sale price on an identical item if you bring in the flyer from a local grocery store, but this is a major hassle both for me and for the cashier and I am not remotely tempted to incorporate this into my weekly shopping trip.

I suppose you could say that both my dislike of Walmart and my love for Aldi basically stems from the fact that I prefer to keep things simple and low-key.

Walmart is huge and hectic, whereas Aldi is small and simple.

I like that there is one brand of milk at Aldi, one jumbo pack of toilet paper, one brand of butter, and so on. Because Aldi stocks a limited number of items, I don’t have to stand there calculating pi to the 20th place in order to find the best deal on toilet paper…I just buy the multi-pack and move on.

And because they stock a limited variety of items, their store is delightfully small. If I get to the end of the store and remember I forgot something in the first aisle, it’s no big deal. You can only get so far away from the first aisle in such a small store!

I know I said I don’t avoid Walmart on ethical grounds, but I do feel more comfortable supporting Aldi than I do supporting Walmart. Aldi’s pared-down business plan allows them to hire fewer employees, which means they can pay them fairly well.

Also, their money-saving model causes them to be more environmentally friendly than most stores…they stock only foods that sell well so that they don’t have to waste food (this, of course, earns them points with me!), they employ energy-saving measures in their stores, and they don’t give disposable bags away (they sell paper bags, which encourages people to bring their own bags. I bring cloth ones with me each week).

P.S. I would be remiss if I ended this post without acknowledging that my avoidance of Walmart comes from a place of privilege. I don’t live in an upscale area (it’s not that kind of privilege!), but I happen to live in what you might call grocery shopping heaven…there are two Walmarts nearby, of course, but there are also about 10 other grocery stores within 5 miles of my house, which means that I have the luxury of choosing exactly where I want to shop. I know not everyone has the plethora of choices I do, and that in many places, Walmart is the only place to shop.

So, what do you think of shopping at Walmart? Love it? Hate it?

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Wednesday 18th of November 2020

I'm not sure where you live but where I live at aldis around where I live I've had to park the same distance from the door as I do at Walmart sometimes and I've stood in line at aldis as I have at walmart, and at walmart you can get everything in one stop. I find aldis is more expensive then walart and aldis is bettering you buy in bulk

Gary Colon

Saturday 27th of June 2020

Don't shop online at walmart because of their so called Marketplace policy. They don't honor returns which they should since you buy the product on their site!


Tuesday 10th of October 2017

The problem is, Aldi doesn't accept credit cards. And I don't use debit cards as with them, I don't get any points and the amount comes out of my checking immediately.... I would much rather pay later and rack up some points. And then apply my points as a statement credit, I can combine them all in one card with BOA, sweet! With the last accumulated statement credit, I have ended up not having to pay my internet bill for September. Oh I paid the bill alright, just didn't have to pay the credit card bill for that amount. Love it.

This is why I don't shop at Aldi. There's always Walmart and Save-A-Lot


Tuesday 10th of October 2017

No no! Aldi DOES take credit cards. And in fact, they're even accepting things like Apple Pay now.

Tina S

Saturday 18th of February 2017

We don't have an Aldi's here. I saw a YouTube video the other day about shopping there. WOW. They got avocado's at 29 cents each. I think this was s sale price. The cheapest I've seen them here is $1 but most of the time it is $1.49 each. I don't shop at Walmart because at our Walmart the selections are limited and mostly processed food. And the produce is really bad.

Laci Rich

Wednesday 24th of February 2016

I stay away from Walmart as much as possible. But, I live in a small town with limited options. So I have routine. I shop at Walmart for things for which I need a decent selection. Shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc. I also shop there for home items like storage containers, water filters, and gardening supplies because we have no other options for those. I do NOT buy food there, EVER. I also buy makeup at Walmart because again, no options. I shop at dollar stores for a few things like laundry soaps, soda (which we drink very little of) and the like. I do shop at Walmart for clothes because in my town it IS the cheapest option. Groceries are all done at my local grocery store. As a result, I spend the bulk of my money at the local grocery store, Ace Hardware etc.

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