Take a tip from the experts and avoid buying these items at Walmart and Target.
16. Gift Cards
According to the experts, you’re better off getting your gift cards at places like Costco or Sam’s Club, or online at websites like Cash Card, Raise and Cardpool, which all sell gift cards under face value. In fact, Raise and Cardpool have gift cards for up to 30 percent and 35 percent off, respectively. To make it easier on yourself, use an online aggregator to browse several gift card websites at once and compare prices.
FYI, on the plus side, you can trade in your unwanted gift cards (with a balance) from other retailers at Target in exchange for a Target gift card of equal value.
Yes, you can get some fairly cheap batteries at Walmart and Target. But, if you want the best deal, head to the dollar store or buy them in bulk at a warehouse club. Costco has “the best rate on the largest pack of batteries,” Kerry Sherin, a savings expert with Offers.com, told GOBankingRates. That includes Costco’s store brand Kirkland. Kirkland brand AA batteries are the best deal and the only brand to earn the “Best Buy” check mark, Consumer Reports said.
14. Fresh Produce
When it comes to fresh produce, you’re better off buying it from a farmers market or a traditional supermarket. That’s because both Walmart and Target customers complain about the quality, or should we say lack of quality, of fresh produce available at the stores. The quality and cost of fresh produce at Walmart and Target isn’t all that great, Kendal Perez, savings expert at coupon website CouponSherpa, told GOBankingRates. “I often find better prices on produce from my local Sprouts Farmers Market,” she added. And, Christy Palmer, founder of the website All Things Target, told Business Insider that she prefers to “buy my fresh produce at a grocery store that offers local produce or even at a local produce stand. The selection at my store isn’t big enough to do all of my produce shopping, so I do it elsewhere.”
Although you won’t have to pay as much for furniture at Walmart and Target as you would at other stores, it’s not worth buying. “Cheap furniture from Walmart and Target is just that — it works well for college students, but in the long run, consumers will pay more to replace these items,” Perez told GoBankingRates. Financial expert Rachel Cruze recommends doing your “research before you snag the cheapest piece of furniture you can find. If it’s not going to hold up for at least a few years, you might wind up spending more money in the long-run,” she told GOBankingRates. You could search for furniture through an online retailer, “or you could consider saving a little while longer to purchase something that will last,” she added.
If you buy shoes from Target or Walmart, they’ll cost less up front. Unfortunately, they’ll end up costing you more in the long run. “Consumers can find better-quality brands for similar prices at T.J.Maxx and Marshalls,” Perez told GOBankingRates. And, The Cheat Sheet recommends buying them from retailers like DSW or department stores like Macy’s. Even though you’ll pay more for them at these stores, they’re better-quality brands, which means they won’t wear down quickly so you won’t have to replace them as often. Plus, many of these stores often have sales on name-brand shoes.
11. Anything in the Electronics Department
Unless it’s Black Friday, you just may want to bypass this department altogether. With that said, it’s best to buy your TVs, music, video games, prepaid cell phones and tech accessories elsewhere. When it comes to music, video games and other forms of entertainment, you’d be better off shopping on Amazon, Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com, told MarketWatch. The same thing goes for tech accessories. You can often get them cheaper on Amazon. As for wireless phone plans, you can get a better deal with MetroPCS than you can with Walmart’s Straight Talk Wireless plan. And, when it comes to HDTVs, head to Costco instead. That’s because Walmart’s HDTVs are lower-quality versions of those sold elsewhere.
On the plus side, if you have old electronics lying around the house, you can bring them to Target and exchange them for a Target gift card.
10. Store-Brand Trash Bags
Most people buy store-brand trash bags to save money. And, yes, you will definitely save money buying these trash bags. The downside to that is you’re actually not getting a good deal because these trash bags are not as strong and durable as name-brand trash bags. “The small savings that Target’s Up&Up generic brand provides is not worth it when your trash ends up on the kitchen floor,” Kyle James of coupon and deal website Rather-Be-Shopping told GOBankingRates. Opt for the Glad brand of trash bags instead, he added.
9. Party Supplies
Walmart and Target may seem like good places to shop for party supplies, but you’re better off shopping at Dollar Tree or a similar store. “Party supplies at Walmart can be up to five times the cost of party supplies at dollar stores,” Carson Yarbrough, a consumer insights specialist for Offers.com, told GOBankingRates. “If you’re planning a party, opt to get party supplies like plastic cups, decorations and balloons at the dollar store to see significant savings.” Also consider shopping at specialty craft stores like Michaels, which regularly offer huge savings (up to 50 percent off) on both party supplies and crafts.
Amazon is the place to shop when you want to find some of the best deals on books–especially paperbacks. In fact, you can get them for about 40 percent cheaper on Amazon.com than at Walmart.
Another option is to purchase used books from thrift stores. Many of them are less than $1 and are authored by favorites like Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark, and Carol Higgins Clark, to name a few.
A third option is to borrow eBooks. Websites like OverDrive.com let you borrow eBooks–audiobooks, too–from your local public library, anytime, anywhere. And, the only thing you need is a library card. Of course, if you want to borrow eBooks using OverDrive’s app, you’ll need a tablet or smartphone. With the app you can instantly stream or download eBooks and audiobooks. You can also sample books without having to download anything. Plus, Libby comes with its own ereader and audiobook player. And, if you prefer using your Kindle, Libby can send your borrowed eBooks to it. By the way, OverDrive has millions of titles to choose from–over 30,000 libraries in over 40 countries, to be exact.
Did you know that Dollar General and other Walmart competitors sell the same brands of coffee for less? Yep, it’s true. For example, Folgers Black Silk Dark Roast Ground Coffee (24.2 ounces) is nearly $1 more at Walmart than the same coffee is at Dollar General. And, if you’re thinking about buying store brand coffee, you might want to think again. According to Business Insider, the folks at Consumer Reports said Target’s Market Pantry classic roast coffee “lacks complexity and leaves behind a bitter taste.”
6. Some Baby Items
Believe it or not, some of the best deals on baby items can be found on Amazon.com. For example, Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom), offers members up to 20 percent off diapers and other baby products. And, Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” option lets you easily restock as often as needed and get diapers delivered right to your door (with free shipping) before your supply even runs out.
When it comes to baby formula, The Cheat Sheet recommends buying in bulk at Costco instead.
5. Store-Brand Paper Towels
Like Walmart and Target’s store-brand trash bags, their store-brand paper towels aren’t all that strong or durable either. Jon Lal of BeFrugal told GOBankingRates that when you compare Bounty DuraTowel to Target’s Up&Up brand, Bounty wins hands down. “The Target brand is cheaper, [but] the Bounty brand is more durable and requires the use of less sheets at a time,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Consumer Reports review of paper towels shows that name-brand paper towels were consistently ranked as the best.
4. Certain Medications
When it comes to shopping for medications at Walmart or Target, reach for the generic brands instead. According to Benjamin Glaser, editor emeritus at DealNews, generic meds are usually identical to their name-brand counterparts. Just make sure you check the labels to see if they do indeed contain the same ingredients in the same quantities. Which brings us to our next point: DO NOT purchase generic supplements from these two stores. According to New York’s Attorney General, some of the herbal supplements found at Walmart and Target, plus a couple of other stores, either didn’t contain the ingredients advertised on the bottle or contained ingredients that weren’t even listed on the labels.
3. Makeup Remover Wipes
Here’s a financial tip and a beauty hack rolled into one: Don’t buy makeup remover wipes from Walmart or Target. Reach for baby wipes instead. But, make sure you get the hypoallergenic ones, which are free of alcohol, dyes, chlorine, parabens, phthalates, and fragrance. They do just as good a job at removing makeup but without all the irritation. Plus, they’re cheaper too when you consider the cost/count ratio. For example, a 460-count box of Up&Up hypoallergenic baby wipes from Target sells for about $8 to $9, while a 21-count pack of makeup wipes at Target can cost about $5.
2. Name-Brand Baking Ingredients
Skip the name-brand flour, sugar, salt, pepper and baking soda, and reach for the store-brand baking ingredients instead–especially if you’re buying in bulk, Brent Shelton, a shopping expert at deals website FatWallet, told GOBankingRates. Besides, “most store-branded baking goods are just repackaged from the name brand, so you’re getting the same product at a considerable discount,” he added.
TIP: You’ll want to skip the name-brand snacks, too. Most of the time you won’t find sales on name-brand snacks like Wheat Thins, for example. For savings on name-brand snacks, head to grocers like Albertsons and King Soopers, who offer them for 25 to 30 percent less.
1. Women’s Toiletries
Did you know that women’s toiletries are often priced high at stores like Walmart and Target? This is likely the result of the Pink Tax. Pink Tax products are products that are marketed to females–but at a much higher price than products marketed to males. For example, women often pay more than men for shampoo, razors, shaving cream and other products specifically targeting females. And, what’s more is that these products are often nearly identical, yet cost more. Research conducted by Forbes showed that at some retail locations, women’s Alberto VO5 2-in-1 shampoo costs 35 percent than men’s Alberto VO5 3-in-1 shampoo.
TIP: Save yourself some money and buy men’s toiletries instead.
What items do you avoid purchasing at Walmart and Target? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!