Comparing Costs of the Current Kings of Online Retailers
As a stay-at-home mom, I would saw off my left arm to avoid ever having to schlep my twins along on another shopping expedition.
My tykes can be the very epitome of good manners, but as soon as they cross over the threshold into a grocery store or one of those god-awful “super centers,” for some reason they act like they’ve just OD’d on pixie sticks. Racing with those tiny shopping carts, knocking off various signage with those precariously positioned “customer-in-training” flags, or worse, nipping the heels of unsuspecting, exceedingly unlucky strangers.
Previously, I would morph into Redneck Mom, either 1. allowing them to consume and/or drop some food item that we haven’t paid for yet if empty tummies were worsening our situation, or 2. to the certain joy of onlookers, loudly declare them to be on Shopping Restriction – once again. (Now we stay-at-home parents would know that’s a dirty lie because what the heck else would we do with them when the shopping would have to be done?!?)
I can hardly contain my enthusiasm to now have other ways to restock my house with our usual essentials. Ah, the joy of shopping while sipping chardonnay! Here are my current fave online shopping sites:
Let me state right off the bat that I am a part of Amazon’s affiliate program, so any item that you purchase through my links will buy me a burrito at no additional cost to you. However, as you will also discover, I am happy to steer you in another direction if it will save you a buck or two. I call this my “Miracle on 34th Street” philosophy. (Remember when Kris Kringle was working for Macy’s but would tell parents to shop for certain items at the other department store?) Anyhow, that’s how I roll.
How it works:
You have a virtual “box” to fill with household items, each filling up a certain percentage of said box. You pay a flat fee of $5.99 to have this box delivered to you BUT this fee can be avoided if at least 5 of your purchases are Amazon’s “qualifying items.” There are scads of qualifying items so personally, I have never paid for shipping. My goal is to fill my box as close to 100% as possible and not pay for shipping. Your stuff comes within 1-4 business days. Easy peasy.
This site saved me when my twins were teeny-tiny and I realized that it would be nearly impossible to do a proper shopping job in a “real” Walmart. Hey, if I had attempted to tote around a shopping cart not built for 2 children and a double stroller, I would have been a danger to myself and others. Obviously the store is known for low prices which has always been its primary appeal to me. However, with the advent of their 2-day shipping ($35 minimum), I now have yet another reason to shop at Walmart.com.
So who’s the price winner of the two? Well, it depends. Here’s a glimpse of my normal shopping list along with a comparison of current prices (subject to change anytime):
Oreos – Family Size
Prime Pantry – $3.56
Walmart.com – $3.56
The ultimate bribery tool in my OWN pantry! Take your pick of stores: the price was the same, down to the penny.
Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts – 34.5 oz
Prime Pantry – $4.88
Walmart.com – $4.88
Wait, do I detect a trend here? Once again, identical pricing. Walmart’s site indicates that these peanuts used to be $6.48, so who knows if this is a permanent price adjustment or they’re just currently reduced. Curious to see how another competitor would price these, I cruised onto Target.com to discover their price to be $5.89. Ouch. They’re getting smoked right now…
Nesquik Strawberry Mix
Prime Pantry – $8.69
Walmart.com – $8.32 (with 5 oz more powder)
Do any of you folks have kids with major food fetishes? The Nesquik bunny suggestively thrusting strawberry milk seemingly off the label and into my kids’ faces must have had some sort of hypnotic effect on my twins because that’s alllll they want. Considering the fact that my kids can down an 8 oz cup of strawberry milk in seconds flat, I no longer want to mess around buying the overpriced smaller containers of the stuff.
(Note: I purchased this mix a month ago through Amazon for $7.47. Also, when I first began writing this article, this item was unavailable through Walmart, thus proving the importance of checking back!)
Prime Pantry – $3.71
Walmart – unavailable unless purchased as individual packets
While I’m not wild about these little cookies, it just goes to show that a manufacturer could produce Elsa and Anna dog biscuits and kids would want them. Again, when I bought these through Amazon one month ago, I paid only $2.48.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch – Giant Size
Prime Pantry – $4.48
Walmart – $4.48
I will always be a fan of General Mills for creating these little squares of heavenly yumminess. And considering the closest grocery store to my home sells this cereal for $0.27/ounce compared to $0.19/ounce online, I have even more of a reason for shopping in my pj’s.
Cheerios – Family Size
Prime Pantry – $3.47
Walmart – $3.64
As a staple for families all over the country (and possibly the world?), it can make a big difference to find the lowest prices on Cheerios, and it is really hard to beat these prices. Amazon edged out Walmart on this one. Need Cheerios in a pinch? Try Target, charging a reasonable $3.99 currently.
Cheez-It Grooves – 9 oz.
Prime Pantry – $2.88
Walmart – $2.88
My son is obsessed with these little crackers. They are heavily seasoned and give him some kickin’ breath, but when I need a guaranteed full tummy to ward off fussiness, Cheez-It Grooves get the job done.
Gatorade Thirst Quencher Frost Glacier Cherry
Yes, the prices are the same but Prime Pantry sells 8 20 oz. bottles to Walmart’s 12 12 oz. bottles. You get a little more bang for your buck with Amazon.
Ziploc Slider bags – 20 quart-size storage bags
Prime Pantry – $2.49
Walmart – $2.84
These slider bags are awesome for preschoolers who may lack the ability to manipulate the more difficult press-and-seal variety of bags. (Your kid’s teachers will thank you also for not having to run around their classrooms, unzipping dozens of sandwich bags.)
Our shopping list is obviously much more extensive than this, but time and time again, the Amazon and Walmart prices were equal in the sizes I needed: Persil laundry detergent, V-8 V-Fusion juice, Quaker Instant Oatmeal to name just a few.
Summary of Online Shopping Options
In my experiment, I’ve discovered that I’m likely to pay about the same for essentials whether shopping through Amazon’s Prime Pantry or Walmart.com. If you are a TRUE bargain shopper, you can benefit from price checking one against the other since Amazon’s prices seem to swing a bit more dramatically, sometimes for the better. Also, delivery times can vary with Prime Pantry, so it’s best to add one item to your shopping cart before you complete your virtual “shopping trip” so you can know when to expect your delivery. There may be occasions in which Walmart can zip your items to you faster. Or you can do what I do: shop the other store when my item is unavailable to ship.
Regardless of which company you choose to shop with, if your experience is anything like mine, you can expect a seamless transaction. So throw on your pajamas, pour yourself a glass of wine and get to shopping!
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