Adding a foster kid to our household during a pandemic sure stretched our budget. While my husband and I have lived through frugal times in the past, compromising our food budget isn’t something we like to do much anymore. While trying to get realistic about our finances, I decided to end a years-long hiatus from shopping at Walmart. With some of their new commitments toward sustainability and organic products, it seemed time to give them another shot. Here’s what happened.
You can’t quite read the receipt from here, but I spent $175 at Walmart for one week of groceries. Does that sound like too much to you? Too little? I live in southern Nevada, a literal desert, but we’re often considered a bit of an ‘island’ due to our distance from agriculture and few food sources. $175 was a steal for me! There is nearly no way for me to get out of our Kroger-brand store for under $200, and $250 is more like it if I’m being completely honest. Walmart got me in an out of there for much less money, and I even got a new pair of work shoes in that transaction.
So why didn’t I go back?
Here’s the thing: though Walmart is making more of a push toward being sustainable and carrying organic foods, there just wasn’t enough available for me. If I were willing to pay for a Walmart+ membership, I think I’d have online access to purchase many more of the foods I was searching for, but that’s not the right fit for our family at this time.
There were a few awesome features from my trip. Again, new shoes made my day! I really did need them, I had just taken a closer look at my flats while I was relaxing in the dentist chair and noticed they were peeling and falling apart like crazy. What made my day even more was finding new products, like the organic sauerkraut, or products like Peet’s coffee that would normally be much more pricey at my usual store. I also reaped mega savings on eggs and all the Dave’s Killer Bread products we buy.
On the other hand, departments such as the frozen section didn’t quite have the organic veggies or hash browns and tater tots I had hoped for. Don’t judge, I do love eating all those potato products even if they don’t have the most healthy image! Fresh organic produce for my family size was also hard to come by. The smallest amount of organic avocados I could buy was 4 (I only need 2) and you must be joking if you think the three of us can finish a bag of 10+ apples in a week. And in the chip aisle they had no organic Doritos (insert crying emoji here)!
I did not muster up the courage to ask the cashier to load up my reusable bags on this shopping trip, so I had to take all single-use plastic bags 😞 I’ll definitely recycle them or turn them into tiny trash bags, but I’d prefer to be able to refuse them in the first place. Where would cashiers even load all my reusable bags at Walmart? At least at Kroger there’s a giant belt and staging area where all my food can pile up before I pack it (I get it, many baggers don’t want to touch my reusable shopping bags during a pandemic). Another bonus of Kroger is that they’ve actually planned and prioritized to go single-use-plastic-bag free in the near future. The Earth is going to be so happy!
Final problem: I just don’t know enough about Walmart’s pay and culture to decide if it’s socially responsible to shop there. I don’t often hear great things about how their employees are treated and compensated, so I’m not convinced I should spend my dollars in a place where workers can’t earn a somewhat-decent living wage.
If we could just get over our organic obsession at my house, we could save so much money! Ok, I say “we,” but I really mean “me.” It can be terrifying trying to think about my family’s future while trying to avoid the chronic diseases and illnesses our relatives face such as diabetes, dementia, and Parkinson’s. For real, did you know exposure to paraquat greatly increases your risk for Parkinson’s? More than 30 countries recognize this danger and have banned it, but the U.S. continues to use paraquat as an herbicide, just as we have for decades. You can read more about the risks of paraquat here: https://www.michaeljfox.org/news/new-legislation-aims-ban-herbicide-linked-parkinsons#:~:text=Research%20shows%20that%20paraquat%20greatly,liver%20failure%20and%20lung%20scarring.
For now, I’m back to my favorite Kroger store. Upon my return, I promptly spent $259 there, but then again the foster kiddo was shopping with me and we stocked up on A LOT of supplies and products for her. The budget will just have to suffer a little bit while we continue to prioritize reducing waste and eating a plethora of organic foods as an investment in preventing chronic illness.
But have you seen how cute dogs are while trying to sneak around and steal from plastic grocery bags?
Have a happy and prosperous week everyone ❤