I went grocery shopping at Walmart for the first time and saved almost 50% on my food bill

The exterior of walmart; the chip aisle in a walmart
I found shopping at Walmart is much cheaper. Frank Olito/Insider

Although I’m a frequent Whole Foods and Stop & Shop customer, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to shop for groceries at Walmart.
A shop and stop reusable bag sitting on a table
I love shopping at Stop and Shop. Frank Olito/Insider
Each week I buy groceries from Whole Foods on Amazon or Stop & Shop on Instacart, and both of these services deliver my groceries straight to my door in Brooklyn. My weekly budget for groceries is $US100 ($AU137), and I typically spend close to that limit because of the high prices and delivery charges.

But for the past few months, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to grocery shop at Walmart where prices are significantly cheaper. I decided to take a trip outside New York City to visit a Walmart since there are none within the city.

I headed to a Walmart up in the Hudson Valley.
The exterior of a walmart from the parking lot
Walmart. Frank Olito/Insider
I took a $US20 ($AU27) Metro-North ride to my mom’s house in the Hudson Valley, and she drove me to the Walmart located in Mohegan Lake, New York. I instantly noticed how much of an effort it would be for someone like me who lives in a city to buy from Walmart every week, especially because they can’t even deliver to me.
I found the grocery section all the way in the back of the store.
Eight grocery aisles at walmart filled with food and groceries
The grocery aisles. Frank Olito/Insider
Upon entering, I was surprised to learn that the grocery section was tucked away in a far corner. I had to walk through the clothing, toiletries, pharmacy, and home-goods sections before finally finding the signs that read “Grocery.” 
The first thing I noticed was how large the aisles were in this section.
A wide aisle at walmart filled with cereals and oatmeal
The aisles were wide. Frank Olito/Insider
The grocery section was surprisingly small, with only eight aisles of food. However, the aisles were wide, allowing for multiple people to shop at one time. It was also great for keeping socially distant while shopping. 
The section was also plastered with signs that advertised discounts and cheap prices.
An aisle at walmart filled with candy and signs advertising discounts
The aisles were filled with discount signs. Frank Olito/Insider
On this aisle, the signs were advertising large bags of candy for less than $US10 ($AU14).
More notably, I was surprised by how empty some of the shelves were.
Empty shelves with some products in a walmart
Some shelves were empty. Frank Olito/Insider
Some shelves were completely stocked, but others only had one or two items in stock. 
The first item I picked up was oatmeal, and the low price shocked me.
Oatmeal sitting on a shelf with a sign that reads $US5 ($AU7)
The oatmeal was cheap. Frank Olito/Insider
Normally, I pay between $US4 ($AU5) and $US5 ($AU7) for a box of eight oatmeal packets from my nearest Stop & Shop. At Walmart, it cost $US5 ($AU7).12 for a pack of 20. That means I was able to buy double the amount of oatmeal for the same price. 
A container of mixed nuts was half the price of what I usually pay.
A container of mixed nuts on an empty shelf with a sign that reads $US4 ($AU5).62
Nuts were cheaper too. Frank Olito/Insider
At Stop & Shop, I typically pay $US6 ($AU8) to $US8 ($AU11) for a container of mixed nuts. At Walmart, it cost just $US4 ($AU5) and some change.
Starbucks coffee was a few dollars cheaper at Walmart, too.
Shelving filled with cheap starbucks coffee at a walmart
Cheap Starbucks coffee. Frank Olito/Insider
I was impressed Walmart carried the brand, but the pricing is what really surprised me. For a small package of Starbucks’ house blend at Stop & Shop, it costs around $US9 ($AU12) to $US12 ($AU16) depending on the size. Walmart sells the same brand for $US4 ($AU5) to $US10 ($AU14).
The snack section also had some pretty great deals.
Stacks of oreos and chips ahoy on shelves at a walmart
The snack section’s discounts. Frank Olito/Insider
The snack section is my favorite in a grocery store, and these prices made it even better. For example, a party-size box of Oreos costs $US7 ($AU10) at Stop & Shop, but at Walmart, it cost just $US4 ($AU5) and change.
Although there were a lot of great deals, the grocery section at Walmart didn’t have many of the items I like.
Rows and shelving filled with various kinds of chip bags in a walmart
The store didn’t have everything I needed. Frank Olito/Insider
As a picky eater, I only like certain brands. For example, the Walmart I visited had limited organic foods and didn’t carry some brands that I wanted, so I had to look elsewhere. 

I also didn’t see produce or fresh meats in the store, so I assumed they didn’t sell them. But it was only after my shopping that I realized the store does in fact carry these items.

After shopping at Walmart, I saved a lot of money on my usual items, but the store didn’t have everything I needed.
A sign that reads 'grocery' hanging above shelves of candy in a walmart
Walmart helped me save money. Frank Olito/Insider
After shopping in the grocery section at Walmart, I realized I only got seven items on my grocery list because the store didn’t carry most of what I usually buy for the week.

But of the items I did buy at Walmart, I saved nearly 50% when compared to buying the same foods from Stop & Shop and Whole Foods. Those savings helped me keep my weekly grocery budget low.

Grocery shopping at Walmart is perfect for people or families on a tight budget. It can help people get high-end brands at seriously discounted prices. But for me, the store was difficult to get to and it didn’t have a lot of my must-have items, so I’ll only return when it’s convenient or if I’m trying to save some pennies — and if I’m buying enough discounted items to offset my travel costs.

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