Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sam's Club vs. Walmart: Where are the Best Deals?

You're going to love this one...

In my efforts to save money, I figured it would be important to know where the lowest prices are. More often than not in my area, those low prices are found at Walmart or Sam's Club... not always... but often enough that I decided to do my comparisons between those two stores.

Over a year ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a unique position that made getting a Sam's Club membership a no-brainer. A year later, when the membership was set to expire, one of the questions I had for a was whether having a Sam's Club membership was going to be worth the $40.00 membership renewal fee. So, I did a little digging, and discovered that the $40.00 is worth it for my family! You can decide if it's right for you. 

Below, is a price comparison of 42 common grocery and household items at Sam's Club and Walmart, that compares the lowest-priced comparable items in each store. I included things like flour, sugar, bulk eggs, and honey... products I use all the time because I cook and bake from scratch a lot. Many of those cooking/baking food items rarely go on sale or have relevant coupons.

These comparisons don't take coupons into account. It's become increasingly difficult (though not impossible) to get great deals with coupons, and sometimes, for me, it's not worth sacrificing the time and effort that I could put into more important things (like time with my family). I still use coupons fairly often: the 'free eggs' and 'free carrots' coupons from Kroger? Awesome. Love 'em. However, I currently do a lot of my shopping based on where the prices are lowest on a regular basis.

And with that, I'd like to share this list: 

42 Sam's Club and Walmart Comparisons

(These are the regular store prices from October 8, 2012. Most of these products are the lowest-priced products available in the stores; usually the generic brands.)

Sam’s Club:     48 AA Energizer batteries - $17.98 = $0.374 ea. 
Walmart:          16 AA Energizer batteries - $10.97 = $0.685 ea
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 45%

Sam’s Club:     (2 pk.) 250 sq. ft. Reynold’s Foil Wrap - $17.98 = $0.359/sq. ft.
Walmart: 250 sq. ft. Reynold’s Foil Wrap - $9.48 = $0.379/sq. ft.
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 5%

Sam’s Club:     Simply Right Premium diapers size 4 (200 ct.) - $35.38 = $0.177/diaper
Walmart:          Parent’s Choice diapers size 4 (124 ct) - $19.77 = $0.159/diaper
WINNER: Walmart – save 10%

Sam’s Club:     Simply Right Premium wipes (900 ct.) - $15.98 = $0.018/wipe
Walmart:          Parent’s Choice wipes (700 ct.) - $11.97 = $0.017/wipe
WINNER:     Walmart – save 6%

Sam’s Club:     All Free + Clear laundry detergent (146 loads) - $14.98 = $0.103/load
Walmart:          All Free + Clear laundry detergent (96 loads) - $10.77 = $0.112/load
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 8%

Sam’s Club:     Dixie Napkins (6 pk. of 200 ct.) - $11.88 = $0.010 ea.
Walmart:          Family Napkins (600 ct.) - $3.48 = $0.006 ea.
WINNER: Walmart – save 40%

Sam’s Club: Ziplock Gallon Storage Bags (4 pk of 52 ct.) - $11.88 = $0.057 ea.
Walmart: Great Value Gallon Storage Bags (30 ct.) - $2.76 = $0.092 ea.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 38%

Sam’s Club:    Tampax Pearl tampons (96 ct.) - $13.88 = $0.145 ea.
Walmart:          Equate plastic applicator tampons (36 ct.) - $4.34 = $0.121 ea.
WINNER:     Walmart – save 17%

Sam’s Club:     Simply Right children’s gummy vitamins (300 ct.) - $8.78 = $0.029 ea.
Walmart:          Equate children’s gummy vitamins (150 ct.) - $9.24 = $0.062 ea.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 53%

Sam’s Club: Simply Right Hand Sanitizer (67.6 fl. oz.) - $6.98 = $0.103/fl. oz.
Walmart:         Germ X (40 fl. oz.) - $3.97 = $0.100/ fl. oz.
WINNER:     Walmart – save 3%

Sam’s Club:    Bakers & Chefs Distilled White Vinegar (2pk of 1gal.) - $3.58 = $1.79/gal.
Walmart: Great Value Distilled White Vinegar (1 gal.) - $2.38 = $2.38/gal.
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 25%

Sam’s Club:    C. Wirthy  frozen salmon fillets (3 lbs.) - $19.98 = $6.66/lb.
Walmart:         Wild Salmon Fillets (2 lbs.) - $8.98 = $4.49/lb.
WINNER:    Walmart – save 33%

Sam’s Club:     Treasures of the Sea tilapia (3 lbs.) - $12.98 = $4.327/lb.
Walmart:         Tilapia Fillets (4 lbs.) - $10.98 = $2.745
WINNER:    Walmart – save 37%

Sam’s Club:    Boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen (6 lbs.) - $10.98 = $1.83/lb.
Walmart:         Great Value boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen (3lbs.) - $6.98 = $2.327
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 21%

Sam’s Club:     Norpac frozen broccoli (4 lbs.) - $5.28 = $1.320/lb.
Walmart:         Bird’s Eye frozen broccoli (3.5 lbs) - $5.98 = $1.709/lb.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 23%

Sam’s Club: Dole Mixed Fruit, frozen (6 lbs.) - $10.30 = $1.717/lb.
Walmart:         Great Value Mixed Fruit, frozen (4 lbs.) - $7.98 = $2.000/lb.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 14%

Sam’s Club: Polar Treats Vanilla Ice Cream (5 qts.) - $5.78 = $1.156/qt.
Walmart:         Country Rich Vanilla Ice Cream (4.6 qts.) - $4.98 = 1.083/qt.
WINNER:     Walmart – save 6%

Sam’s Club:     Skim Milk - $2.89/gallon 
Walmart: Skim Milk - $3.78/gallon
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 24%

Sam’s Club:     2% Milk - $2.89/gallon
Walmart:           2% Milk - $3.78/gallon
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 24%

Sam’s Club:     Daily Chef Butter (4 lbs.) - $9.48 = $2.370/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value Mild Butter (1 lb.) - $2.58 = $2.580/lb.
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 8%

Sam’s Club:     Daily Chef Mozzarella Cheese (5 lb. block) - $11.23 = $2.246/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value Mozzarella Cheese (2 lb. block) - $7.98 = $3.990/lb.
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 44%

Sam’s Club:    Daily Chef Mild Cheddar Cheese (2 lb. block) - $5.48 = $2.74/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value Mild Cheddar Cheese (2 lb. block) - $7.98 = $3.99/lb,
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 31%

Sam’s Club:    Daily Chef Cottage Cheese (3 lbs.) - $3.98 = $1.327/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value Cottage Cheese (1.5 lbs.) - $2.64 = $1.760/lb.
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 25%

Sam’s Club: Frigo Cheese Sticks (48 ct.) - $8.78 = $0.183/stick
Walmart:          Frigo Cheese Sticks (24 ct.) - $5.98 = 0.249/stick
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 27%

Sam’s Club: Nucal Large Eggs (2 pk of 18 ct.) - $3.98 = $0.111/egg
Walmart:         Great Day Farmer’s Market Large Eggs (18 ct.) - $2.48 = $0.138/egg
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 20%

Sam’s Club:    Oscar Meyer Turkey lunchmeat (40 oz.) - $7.18 = $0.180/oz.
Walmart:      Oscar Meyer Turkey lunchmeat (16 oz.) - $3.28 = $0.205/oz.
WINNER:     Sam’s Club – save 12%

Sam’s Club:    1 lb. Tennessee Pride sausage (3 pk.) - $7.18 = $2.393/lb.
Walmart:         1 lb. Farmland Organic sausage - $1.98 = $1.98/lb.
WINNER: Walmart – save 17%

Sam’s Club: Hormel Pepperoni (48 oz. bag) - $8.87 = $0.185/oz.
Walmart: Hormel Pepperoni (7 oz. bag) - $2.98 = $0.426/oz.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 67%

Sam’s Club: Starkist Chunk Light Tuna (10 pk. of 5 oz. cans) - $8.46 = $0.169/oz.
Walmart:           Great Value Chunk Light Tuna (5 oz. can) - $0.68 = $0.136/oz.
WINNER:       Walmart – save 20%

Sam’s Club:     Cheerios (40.7 oz.) - $5.78 = $0.142/oz.
Walmart:          Great Value Toasted Whole Grain Oats (14 oz.) - $1.98 = $0.141/oz.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 1%

Sam’s Club:     Stauffer’s Animal Crackers (78 oz. tub) - $6.88 = $0.088/oz.
Walmart:          Stauffer’s Animal Crackers (36 oz. bag) - $2.48 = $0.069/oz.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 22%

Sam’s Club:    Craisins dried cranberries (48 oz.) - $7.98 = $0.167/oz.
Walmart:          Great Value dried cranberries (24 oz.) - $4.88 = $0.203/oz.
WINNER: Sam’s Club – save 18%

Sam’s Club:     Musselman Original Applesauce (2 pk of 64 oz. jars) - $6.98 = $0.055 oz.
Walmart:          Great Value Applesauce (46 oz.) - $2.18 = $0.047/oz.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 15%

Sam’s Club:     Suebee Pure Clover Honey (80 oz.) - $13.68 = $0.171/oz.
Walmart: Great Value Clover Honey (32 oz.) - $6.83 = $0.213/oz.
WINNER:       Sam’s Club – save 20%

Sam’s Club:     Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet chips (72 oz.) - $10.28 = $0.143/oz.
Walmart:          Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet chips (56 oz.) - $6.58 = $0.118/oz.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 17%

Sam’s Club:     Domino Granulated Sugar (50 lbs.) - $29.99 = $0.600/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value Granulated Sugar (25 lbs.) - $13.94 = $0.558/lb.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 7%

Sam’s Club:     Bakers & Chefs light brown sugar (7 lbs.) - $5.64 = $0.806/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value light brown sugar (2 lbs.) - $1.42 = $0.710/lb.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 12%

Sam’s Club:     Bakers & Chefs powdered sugar (7 lbs.) - $5.64 = $0.806/lb.
Walmart:         Great Value powdered sugar (2 lbs.) - $1.48 = $0.740/lb.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 8%

Sam’s Club:     Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter (96 oz.) - $9.67 = $0.101/oz.
Walmart:          Great Value Creamy Peanut Butter (56 oz.) - $8.18 = $0.146/oz.
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 31%

Sam’s Club: Bakers & Chefs All-Purpose Flour (25 lbs.) - $8.28 = $0.331/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value All-Purpose Flour (25 lbs.) - $8.12 = $0.325/lb.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 2%

Sam’s Club:    Crisco vegetable shortening (6 lb.) - $7.98 = $1.33/lb.
Walmart:          Great Value vegetable shortening (48 oz.) - $4.22 = $1.407/lb.
WINNER:      Sam’s Club – save 5%

Sam’s Club:     Wesson vegetable oil (5 qt.) - $8.98 = $1.796/qt.
Walmart:           Great Value vegetable oil (1 gal.) - $6.58 = $1.645/qt.
WINNER:      Walmart – save 8%

I hope this list is as helpful for you as it is for me! 

*If there are products you always buy at Walmart or Sam's Club, feel free to add to this list by commenting below.


  1. This is fantastic! Thank you!

    Do you by chance have an Aldi near you? I need to compare prices there too...

    1. I do have an Aldi about 15 minutes away... I plan to do more price comparisons store-to-store in the future. Aldi will have to be on my list. :) I'm so glad this was helpful to you!

    2. Something to consider, however, is the quality of the food.
      We have Aldi's here. It might seem like a huge savings at first.
      BUT... their produce has to be eaten or frozen right away, because they get the stuff the other stoes
      turned down. Many of their own brand of foods is extremely high in sodium. It is easy to make a similar
      weight of a food at a cheaper price when it has had a load of salt added to it.
      We used to shop Aldi quite often, until we started to really evaluate what we were really getting
      for the money. Dairy products remained a good value, but everything else ended up being a worse deal
      that other stores.

      Sams Club remains a good deal for us as well, especially for cheeses and produce. The closest one now is almost an hour away, so it isn't good for regular shopping. Thankfully, a new one is opening up about 15 minutes from us in September! Can't hardly wait!

    3. Our ALDI is WONDERFUL! The produce is fresh and lasts longer than the stuff I buy from Kroger. They have a large line of organic and natural products, and even get quality meats like grass-fed ground beef. Perhaps it depends on where you're located, as I've only ever shopped at Aldis in the Midwest, but I think if you have one nearby its at least worth a look! I have things that I will only buy at Aldi now because the quality and price is so much better.

  2. Hi ,I found your blog via Pintrest and I love it and wants to thank you for what you are doing .My son is a gruduate student in Carbondale ,Illinois who lives by him self for the first time away from home.He is having trouble in speending his money unwisely .He is too busy to look for copouns or check the cheapest prices,My question is how can I help him and what are your suggestions

    1. Hi there! First of all, congrats to your son for pursuing higher education. That's fantastic! I'm no expert on finance, but I'd say the biggest thing he should do is make a budget and stick to it. If he's too busy, or doesn't want to take the time to budget out his money, maybe you could help him. He needs to keep track of his spending. Knowing where every dollar goes and keeping track of money is even more important that using coupons and finding the best prices (in my opinion). The other thing would be to have him shop at stores like Aldi and Walmart so that the prices (in general) will be quite low. There are other money-saving shortcuts like not having TV (use internet instead), only eating out occasionally, and eating low-cost meals at home. At some point, I plan to put up a post with a list of the most cost-effective, (but nutritious) meals I can think of. I found this article from US News for you to check out:


      I'd invite anyone who visits this site to also comment with their ideas. I hope this helps a little!

  3. Oh my gosh! This is so helpful! I was struggling with "do I go to Walmart today or Sam's?"

    Good work.

  4. I like your comparison. But I would have to do a LOT of shopping at SAMS to make up for the $40/year membership fee. Do you have any tips for discounting the membership?

    Also, I second the Aldi/Walmart comparison. I would find that more helpful than SAMS.


    1. If you don't have a business (in which case you can get a $35 membership), the best way to go would be to shop at Sam's on their "free days" (non-members allowed to shop) but you won't get the price discounts on some products that members get. The other thing to do would be to go shopping with a friend who has a membership, and pay him/her for your things afterward. Good luck! I'm planning to do more store comparisons in the future. Aldi is on my list. :)

    2. One thing we did before we had our kids and actually got the membership for ourselves was to have a household membership. We had 2 couples and my brother-in-law living in one home. So my brother-in-law got a membership and each couple got a household card. We all chipped in on groceries. Or I would go with my mom and split the groceries with her and the bill since neither of us could use the amounts up on our own.

    3. If you happen to be in the military or are a military dependent (with military id card) ask for the discount when you start or renew your membership. They don't reduce the membership fee but immediately give you a gift card. I can't remember if it is $15 or $25 but either way that's quite a savings. They don't advertise it so you have to ask.

  5. I've found making my own laundry detergent to be infinitely cheaper than buying at WM or Sam's (I've spent a total of $30 for the year, and it will last into next year; we have a family of 3 and run 1 load almost every day)...also, if you use cloth napkins (picked up for a song at garage sales), you don't spend money there, either...I can use the money I save to not buy generic feminine items :) (Sorry...gotta splurge somewhere!)

    Good to know about the salmon...we're a fish loving family!

    Thanks for the site! I'm spending way more time browsing than I should.

  6. Great list! My wife and I also cook mainly from scratch. We live in WV, and also shop Aldi. Powdered milk, milk, half and half, heavy cream, and most cheeses seem cheaper at Aldis. They also have excellent deals on fresh fruit and vegetables. I've never been to Sams Club, but googled comparisons, which is how I got here! Aldis milk doesn't come from hormone pumped up cows, either. Meats, I tend to go to the local grocer (foodland) for better pricing. Krogers I hit up for their stickered "managers specials" which is a polite way of saying "reduced, cuz I've been on the shelf awhile" I buy specialty cheeses, fish, juices, and fresh bagged lettuces and greens (often organic) for a steal, when these items might normally be out of my price range. Walmarts brand of tilapia is less fishy than krogers. Ummm.....can't think of anything else at the moment.

  7. Thanks for the info! We cook from scratch here as well. I go to Aldis for cheaper dairy products and specialty foods. Their milk comes from non-hormone treated cows. I buy my tilapia and salmon at Walmart- less fishy smelling and cheaper; meats I get at my local grocer, where cuts are usually fresher and cheaper. powdered milk is also cheaper at Aldis. I hit up krogers for their yellow/red stickered "manager's specials" which often include specialty cheeses, juices, veggies, and meats (like lox) that I wouldn't ordinarily splurge on. I had other stuff to add, but my last post got lost...

  8. Love this! I avoid WalMart like the plague, but I do go there for a few things that I can't get at Kroger or my Sam's Club. The diaper comparisons though really are a bit misleading. Price wise, yes Walmart is great. But I seriously had to change both of my boys constantly because at the first drip they leaked, came apart, and even smelled. After that experience I was scared to death to even try Simply Right, but luckily there was a sample size in my box of Simply right wipes that we tried and liked. I've now switched completely from Huggies to Simply Right. Just a good, with a 8-10 dollar difference. :) With 2 babies in diapers that helps out a lot.

  9. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together. I have started a small list for things I use weekly but found from your list I need to look a bit further into the possible saving!

  10. Hi there... I just wanted to say that I LOVE your site, and for the last two or three weeks I have found myself here almost daily. This particular page, however, I find a bit of conflict with. Not because the prices are inaccurate, but because I feel that it is an inaccurate representation of the whole product-price equation. I am a cardholder for Costco, BJ's, and Sam's Club (normally just Costco and BJ's but I recently got a Sam's Club membership for the equivalent of $6.xx through living social, so I took the plunge.) Some might think this is ridiculous, but for me it isn't, and this is where my critique comes in. When you are comparing products, it is most helpful if you compare products of the same brand or a really comparable brand. Having shopped for Walmart for years (and at one time believing that buying store brands was the best way to save money), I have tried MANY of the GV/Equate items and I can honestly say that most, if not all of them, were inferior to name brands. For instance, their ziploc bags... I have had to return countless boxes of them for faulty "zippers"; their tampons leak more frequently than tampax; their wet wipes are far inferior to Costco's premium wet wipes which are much thicker [and I tend to use fewer] (I have not tried Sam's club premium wipes, and although they have the same parent company as WM I would venture to guess there is probably a difference in their premium wipes as well). I bought GV peanut butter and it had a burned taste where I have never experienced that with any of the brand names.

    All that being said, I love your site and hope that my comment doesn't offend you. I just thought that might be food for thought. I am always interested in saving money and doing it the healthy way... I make almost everything homemade (food and toiletries) so needless to say I don't coupon because it isn't practical for me for the same reasons you specified. Wholesale clubs are my go-to. I buy almost all of my food at Costco (when comparing pound and penny, they have the best prices hands down about 90% of the time, as well as the most diverse and healthful selection of food, IMO). I only have a BJ's membership for diapers because they carry pampers the cheapest (pampers are the only diapers I have found that work effectively for my daughter), as well as the fact that they have store coupons for them every month and allow those to be stacked with mfr coupons... we have saved several times our membership fee just in diaper savings... I probably won't renew my Sam's club card unless it is only $6, as this one was... but anyway... I just wanted to put that out there. I still buy equate ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as a few other things but I have realized that in the case of store brands, I think you often get what you pay for.

    1. Hi IDKrisis,

      I am not offended in the least! You do offer valid points about quality, and that should be taken into consideration. I'm one of those people who can get by with the cheap-o Walmart brand without issue. (Although now you mention it, sometimes their peanut butter DOES have an extra toasty taste... :)

      I offer this comparison for people who are simply looking at the numbers. No doubt pampers are high quality that parent's choice diapers, but my baby's bums must be square, because they fit those parent's choice diapers perfectly, because I never have any real leak issues. :)

      Truly though, thank you for your input. I'm glad you enjoy the blog and I'm happy to have your perspective on here for others to take into consideration. '

      Have a great day!


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