Target vs Walmart: Which has better grocery prices? I put it to the test!

target vs. walmart

Target vs Walmart

After reading the Target vs Walmart debate in our forums over which store has better prices, I decided to put it to the test with my own comparison.  At both stores, I recorded the cost of a variety of grocery products I would typically buy and tallied them up to see which shopping cart cost the least.

As I predicted, some prices were lower at Target, some were lower at Walmart.  Overall, Target’s everyday prices were a little bit higher than Walmart’s (but not much).  However, the Target 5% Red Card discount clearly brought them under Walmart’s prices.  My findings are below.

Doing your own price research and keeping a price book is something I write about and recommend in my book, Instant Bargains: 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bills and Eat Well for Less.  When you keep a grocery price book, you’ll be arming yourself with the knowledge you need to make informed buying decisions – avoiding the confusing marketing tactics.  Plus, your findings may surprise you.

Please note that when comparing Target vs Walmart by region, your experience may vary.  Prices vary by geographic area. Prices were recorded at Target and Walmart in Mankato, Minnesota on Thursday, March 17th 2011.

Target Walmart Target WITH 5% Red Card Discount
Tostitos Salsa $2.50 $2.98 $2.38
Tostitos Chips $3.00 $2.98 $2.85
Quaker Quick Oats $3.99 $3.98 $3.79
Ortega Taco Seasoning $0.62 $0.62 $0.59
Simply Orange $3.04 $3.00 $2.89
One Dozen Eggs (Large) $1.59 $1.54 $1.51
One Gallon Milk (store brand, skim) $3.29 $3.18 $3.13
Sugar, White (store brand, 5 lb.) $2.54 $2.54 $2.41
Sugar, Brown (store brand, 24 oz.) $1.37 $1.36 $1.30
Rice, White (1 lb.) $0.97 $0.82 $0.92
DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza $5.50 $4.98 $5.23
Smart Ones Frozen Entrees $1.99 $1.98 $1.89
Rotel $1.02 $1.00 $0.97
Heinz Ketchup (20 oz.) $1.78 $1.98 $1.69
Cake Mix $1.17 $1.16 $1.11
Cereal, Cheerios $2.50 $2.50 $2.38
Cream cheese $2.09 $2.08 $1.99
Sour cream $1.99 $1.98 $1.89
Yogurt $0.53 $0.50 $0.50
Corn, frozen $1.02 $0.98 $0.97
Soup $1.32 $1.32 $1.25
Flour $1.74 $1.74 $1.65
Kraft Mac & Cheese Dinner (original) $0.79 $0.88 $0.75
Butter (store brand, 1 lb.) $3.39 $2.98 $3.22
Price Totals: $49.74 $49.06 $47.25

When you put Target vs Walmart in your area, which comes out on top?  Leave your feedback here!

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30 Responses to Target vs Walmart: Which has better grocery prices? I put it to the test!

  1. Sarah says:

    Is that a Super Target?
    Sarah recently posted..Free Possibly Stouffers Meal

    • Sherry says:

      You didn’t mention coupons. I use a Target and a manufactures coupons while I shop, then use my 5% discount at the end. So I ALWAYS find Target to be the cheapest on toiletries, cleaning products, and non-produce items. Aldi’s will beat anyone hands down with their produce.

  2. Kimberly Danger says:

    No, we just have a regular Target. Unfortunately, I can’t get fresh produce there.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Its interesting to see them coming out so close. I guess with the main decider would be which one is closer to your home. Gas prices being what they are. That and if you have to go to two stores. I know for stocking up I always hit Winco which is our area’s main competitor for Walmart. Target is just a bit too far to drive.

    What I have found with Walmart is that you get a great price on most things and then a horribly high price on a few select items. Which then its a question to buy there are go to another store to pick up things that are overly priced. I think Cheese is the thing I complain about most with Walmart. I have never seen a 2lb block for under $7

    • Kimberly Danger says:

      You’re right, Kimberly – gas would be a big factor. They’re across the street from each other where I live so for me it’s a wash.

      • Louise Price says:

        Our Target and WalMart are close enough to each other that gas would not be a factor. What is a factor is traffic. I actually go out of my way to get into the Walmart parking lot to avoid the traffic. Target is just across the overpass from WalMart but that puts me in single lane traffic trying to get on the interstate or into one of the shopping centers that are located in the area where Target is. It is a nightmare. I won’t go to Lowes in that area for the very same reason. I will not fight heavy traffic if I can avoid it.

    • alic says:

      Safeway now does the $5 Fridays..and i just got 2lb blocks and bags for $5 normally $7.99…i stocked up…and this isnt the first time they have done it with the cheese :D

  4. shannonia says:

    I am amazed at how close they really were in the end, Kim! Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    • Kimberly Danger says:

      You’re very welcome! I think Target and Walmart keep tabs on the other’s store prices locally so that there isn’t a big difference.

  5. sarah says:

    Although Target can be pricer I still usually go there…because I can use TWO coupons on ONE item…when I stack carefully I save over $50 everytime…up to $120 sometimes! I love WALAMRT too. They sometimes have things pacakged differently and I can get free things with coupons =)

  6. Melissa says:

    Is the RED card a credit card?

  7. Amie says:

    I like the internet coupons from Target. I save a lot when combined with non store coupons.

  8. Meredith says:

    I find this to be most effective with high priced items that I buy regularly – like shampoo, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. And, for these things, since you can stock up, I wait for a sale and always use a coupon. So, I can have my favorite, pricey brands for the same price and the cheaper ones!

  9. Kelly says:

    Your prices are much different to the ones at my local Target and Walmart. I have a Target 1 block from my house, but I prefer to drive 10 miles to go the Super Walmart for my larger purchases. Yes I do save some with my 5% off, but prices are still cheaper at Super Walmart. They also just opened a Super Target about 5 miles from me and I just went to check it out and couldn’t believe how much higher the prices were than the regular Target 1 block from me.

  10. Jaime Rogers says:

    Don’t forget that Wal-Mart will price match anything except for a % off (like 50%) or buy one get one free. You just need to take the grocery ads & ask for a price match. I save TONS of money doing this …. add coupons to the mix & it really adds up with one-stop shopping!!

  11. Looks like a really close call between the two. Unfortunately I can’t bear to shop in Walmart anymore. After hearing from my boyfriend about them lobbying to tax online affiliates and potentially make a lot of mommy bloggers lose their affiliate income I refuse to go into Walmart.
    Brooke Campbell recently posted..Seam Grip Tent Seam Sealer

  12. Kim says:

    thank you for taking the time to do this, very informative. I have to say I was under
    the assumption that Walmart had better prices; but it appears Target is pretty much
    as good, or better if you take into account that Target has their own printable coupons
    that can be combined with other coupons.

    I think I’ll be shopping at Target a lot more….lol

  13. Jen says:

    I am a little late to the game here at Mommysavers, but I do love the Target check/debit card. I always have a coupon for most of my items there. I too did not know you could “stack” a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon. See what you can learn at Mommysavers :).

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  16. john k says:

    i think target has better qaulity marchandise..i would say when it comes to clothes certain collectibls like toys, towels and bathroom accerories kitchen small appliances and sheets i would choose target, but when it comes too groceries, produce, dvds. music, i go for walmart

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  19. Remember that Target will give you a price adjustment if the item you have bought goes on sale within two weeks as long as you have the receipt. Yes you can price match at Walmart, but you can at Target as well but you probably have to go to customer service. A big plus for me with the 5% card that serves as a debit card is that the school I designate will get a check for 1% off all the purchases as well. You can also combine a Target coupon with a manufacturer coupon.

  20. stacy says:

    The determining factor for me is the wait in line. I always have to wait at least 15 minutes at Walmart to checkout. Target will open another lane to check its customers out faster. I never have to wait. Target gets my business for this reason alone.

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