"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Great Walmart Experiment

Reagan hates Wal-mart. Absolutely despises it. Everytime we need to go there, she cries and begs me not to take her. And this from the girl that absolutely loves shopping in general. Today I told her we had to get groceries. She said "Where are we going?" "To Kroger." "Kroger? Oh, I love Kroger! I'm so glad we're not going to Wal-mart Mommy!"


Which led me to wonder what would happen to my finances if I gave in to my daughter's wishes and avoided Wal-Mart completely? What would happen if I did something radical and didn't shop at Wal-Mart for the next year? Would our spending dramatically decrease? After all, every single time I go in there for one thing I end up with an entire cartful of stuff I didn't anticipate AND when I do manage to walk out with only one or two bags, I've at least spent $60 or $70 or more!

So I looked over our finances. And Josh, sweetie, if you're reading this, look way. NOW. Are you still reading? Really, look away. You don't want to see this.

Ok. Big breath.

Our 12-month average for groceries (and that includes household items and even clothing) and retail store purchases (which is basically everything but utilities, mortgage and gas!) is...gulp....$988.73 PER MONTH.

For someone who claims to love bargains THAT does not seem like a bargain number at all. That seems like someone who has a spending problem. That also seems like a lot of money wasted at...you got it...Wal-Mart. Now keep in mind we live in a small town and it is so much easier to drive to Wal-Mart for virtually anything rather than driving 30 minutes to a larger town to get whatever it was we needed in the first place. We have pretty much two shopping options here: Kroger and Wal-Mart, and Kroger only carries food...so much of the optional spending goes to, again, Wal-Mart.

So, I've made a radical decision. I'm giving up Wal-Mart. I do not intend to step foot in it again for the next year..and possibly beyond if necessary. On December 1, I'm going to look at our monthly average and see how much we've saved...and deposit that money into our new home fund. I plan to do the same every single month. I also plan to share here how much I'm saving simply by staying out of Wal-Mart.

There are some rules of course:

1. If someone is SICK and there is something we absolutely must have and no one else has it or they are closed, we WILL utilize Wal-Mart. After all, they're the only ones within 30 minutes of us that are open around the clock. And germs don't go by store hours.

2. If there is absolutely something my husband and I BOTH have decided on that we need, and Wal-Mart is the least expensive place to purchase it (say, for example, a Brita water pitcher) then we'll buy it there. However, my husband will have to do the purchasing, because there is no way I go in there for one thing and manage to come out with only ONE thing.

3. No substitutions. This should be easy to follow since there aren't any substitute stores nearby. This means I can't replace my spending at Wal-Mart at various other stores. No going to Meijer's to shop for something just because of the no Wal-Mart rule. (which is perfectly fine because I find that store to be disgustingly dirty and disorganized!)

Otherwise I plan to do NOTHING different. I'll still buy what I need to buy...food, t-shirts, wipes, etc, etc. Use coupons. Meal plan. So on and so forth. I can't wait to see what this little experiment says about my shopping habits and how much money we can save.


  1. Leah, you have got to let me know how this experiment goes for you. Then maybe, just maybe I will be able to keep Stacy out of Wal-mart....LOL. That will never happen. Of course we don't have Wal-Mart over here but when we went home this past summer, she wanted to go in Wal-Mart everywhere we went (i.e. North Carolina, Alabama, and yes even when we went to Florida with mom and dad on a camping trip). I feel the same way about Wal-Mart as my neice. So, let her know that she's not alone in her hating of that place. We love you and take care

  2. I'm with Reagan, I'm not a big WM fan either. In fact, I go there as little as possible (but I do have other stores to replace the spending, Target, for example). I'm very interested to see how this goes for you!


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