To Shop or Not To Shop…..

…at Walmart…that is the question…

October 12, 2009 was our last day to set foot into Walmart and our last day to purchase anything from there.

I’ll share another time our reasons for choosing not to shop there but I would love to share today a little bit about how we do it.  I certainly don’t claim to have a perfect plan or to have all the answers, just what works best for our family.

Do I think it’s possible for everyone?  I would say “Yes” but I know that there could be extenuating circumstances that play into your family life and not ours.

Please know this about us before I start:

  • I am willing to pay more for some items in favor of quality.  I am not always seeking the best bargain if it means an inferior product/food for my family.
  • We have become patient about needing to buy some things.  I used to walk into Walmart and buy whatever happened to pop in my head that I thought we needed.  Now we have to wait and plan on where to purchase certain items since we are not shopping at Walmart.  It makes you really consider each purchase and to give it some thought…do we really need this?
Forgive my randomness….I thought I would start by answering some common questions that friends often ask and go from there.

Where do you shop?
We buy most of our groceries at our local Winn Dixie, meat when we can from Edwards Grocery on Highway 204 and I love to shop at Aldi when I am already making a trip to Gadsden.  Lucky for me, we already go to Gadsden once a week for ballet, so that works out nicely. 🙂 We also pick up paper products from time to time at Dollar General.
Winn Dixie seems so expensive, how can you afford to buy groceries there?
A couple of things:
  • Winn Dixie’s sale prices, believe it or not, are very comparable to Walmart’s regular prices.  We try our best to stock up on our favorites when they go on sale.  There are times we go without something because it’s not on sale.  
  • I have also learned not to be brand loyal.  I will buy the product that is on sale as long as I find it suitable of course. There are few items I am a brand snob about.
  • Shopping at Winn Dixie removes all the extras that I normally used to purchase all the time at Walmart.  I would go into Walmart for groceries and come out with printer ink, new halloween t-shirts for each of the kids and a kit to grow herbs that I never planted. Winn Dixie has very little on the extras front and the ones they do are outrageously priced so I would never even consider them.
  • For me, the customer service and friendly atmosphere in the store are worth their weight in gold.  I NEVER got good service at Walmart.  I always left that store aggravated and ticked at the world by the time I was done.  I remember once asking if someone could help me out to my car at Walmart with my purchases.  I had Ellie, Ethan was a baby, Bryan was working late and I had one buggy full of babies and one buggy full of purchases.  The cashier was beyond irritated, she called for a 99 (maybe) and no one ever came.  I finally left by myself.  Winn Dixie almost always offers to help me to my car.  
  • I see so many posts on Facebook about my friends that are frustrated with their Walmart experiences….why continue to complain…why not do something about it?  Don’t give them your business.  If you keep doing what you’re doing and keep getting the same result, why are you surprised?
Do you shop at other big box stores like Target?
We do!  But not often.  I have no beef with Target.  We don’t shop there as often as we might normally because the closest one is about thirty minutes away.  We try to just keep an ongoing list of things we need in the Oxford area and we might make a trip every couple of months.  
It’s a great place for us to get dog food, paper goods, things for the house, toys, etc.
How do you shop for CHRISTMAS without Walmart?

When we started this journey, it was just a few months before Christmas.  We thought if we could make it through the Christmas season without Walmart then we could conquer the world!  Ha!  We did a lot of our shopping online, utilized lots of free shipping deals and survived the biggest gift giving season without Walmart!  One thing that cuts down on our gift giving tremendously, is that we only buy three gifts for each of our children.  Certainly saves us from chasing down the perfect gift all over town.  You may think us strange, but the last couple of years we have even forgone gift wrap!  Before you think me insane, we did wrap them…we just used newspaper!  Good gracious at the money I saved!  Beautiful black and white packages with colorful bows.  This year we’ll switch to kraft paper to avoid the black smudgy fingers!  On a side note, we also wrap birthday gifts that the kids give in comics.  Everyone always knows which gift is from us!
A few more things…. I told you this would be random. 🙂
  • One important thing is that we try to shop local whenever we can.  I would rather support my local Warren ACE Hardware than a big box store any day.  Walmart has set a precedent of coming into a town and basically forcing mom and pop stores to close up shop.  It makes me so sad.  Some of those families have spent generations building their business and livelihood.  I would rather pick up a gift for Ellie to take to a birthday party at My Two Girls on the square than buy from Walmart.  
  • Cleaning supplies were always a large expense for us as I expect they are for you as well.  So we started making our own laundry detergent and as many household cleaners as we can.  This has saved us tremendously.  We get all those supplies for our recipes at our local ACE Hardware.
  • Another place we used to spend a lot of money was on diapers.  Which you can probably get the best deal on at Walmart, truth be told.  We switched to cloth diapers and cloth wipes when Ruby Kate was 4 months old and have saved a fortune.   But if you are mom of a little one then you know actual disposable wipes are indispensable!  We have to have some of those around for various mishaps that occur throughout the day!  I  buy our wipes at www.diapers.com.  I love that they offer free shipping and their Kirkland wipes are my favorite!                                       

Since my eyelids are starting to droop, I think I’ll wrap up this post for the evening.  Feel free to leave additional questions in the comments below.  I’d be glad to answer anything I might have skipped.

I’ll post more as my pregnant brain remembers!

Until next time,

 

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