Costco vs. Walmart: Where Can You Get the Most Savings?

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  • Many consumers are looking to save on their purchases now that inflation is raging.
  • If you're torn between Costco and Walmart, here's what you need to know. 

The quick answer? It depends.

These days, many consumers are doing their best to cut back on spending to conserve funds. That's because inflation is forcing a lot of people to bust their budgets simply to purchase essentials. 

Also, some folks may be worried about an impending recession and want to boost their savings account balances to prepare for one. If you're in that boat, you'll no doubt want to spend as little as possible on things like groceries and household products. 

Now to that end, there are several stores known for their affordable price points. And both Costco and Walmart top that list. The question is: Which one offers better deals?

And the answer? It depends what you're buying. 

A tricky decision

Costco is known for its ultra-low prices on bulk items. But Walmart offers really low prices, too. As such, it's very hard to say which of the two stores offers the best deals, because often, that will boil down to the specific things you're looking for. 

If you're purchasing household essentials like eggs in bulk, then Costco is probably your better bet. The same generally holds true for bulk produce items, like fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and certain dairy products.

But Walmart can be very competitive on things like toilet paper and paper towels. In fact, you might manage to snag better prices on those items when you buy them in bulk at Walmart versus Costco -- unless Costco happens to have them on sale. 

Plus, Walmart's store brand snacks can be very affordable. And while you might pay a slightly lower price per pound or unit at Costco, you may also not need a box of 180 sandwich cookies. Rather, Walmart's low-cost 40-cookie package might suffice. 

Walmart may win on non-grocery purchases

Costco has a rotating inventory of items like clothing, books, toys, and housewares. But Walmart's selection of these items tends to be far more extensive and consistent. And for that reason alone, you may find a better deal at Walmart on things like apparel, gadgets, or entertainment items simply because you have more of a range to choose from. 

Which store should you shop at?

Choosing between Costco and Walmart is a tough call. Ideally, your best bet is to try to research prices ahead of time to see which store offers the better deal on the specific things on your list. But that may not be feasible on a regular basis. And so what you may want to do is try rotating between both stores for a few weeks, comparing your receipts, and seeing which option seems to work out best for you.

Ultimately, both Costco and Walmart offer competitive prices. So to some degree, you really can't go wrong with either one if your goal is to save as much as possible in the course of doing your shopping. 

If you're really torn, you may want to consider the proximity of each store to your home. If visiting one store means doing twice as much driving as the other, that alone could be your deciding factor. 

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