Friday, November 15, 2013

Publix BOGO vs. Walmart BOGO: Which is cheaper?

Last year, Walmart was running commercials stating that they were cheaper than my local grocery store, Publix.  So I did a little investigating, and I posted my finding in this Publix vs. Walmart: Which Is Cheaper? post.  I found that if you buy BOGO items and use Publix and competitor store coupons, you could easily beat Walmart prices.

Well, Walmart has changed the rules again!  In the state of Florida, Walmart will now match Publix BOGO sales.  (However, there seems to be a lot of confusion over the new rules.)

Since Walmart almost always has lower base prices than Publix, this would seem to mean that Walmart is now cheaper than Publix.  For instance, this week Publix has a BOGO sale on Rice Krispies.  The base price at my store is $3.99.  But Walmart offers the same box of Rice Krispies for $2.97.  If Walmart accepts the BOGO, then the two boxes of Rice Krispies would be cheaper at Walmart.

It's unclear whether Walmart will accept two coupons per BOGO deal, as Publix will.  If they do, that would mean that Walmart would still be cheaper.  If they only accept one coupon per BOGO, it's a little unclear which would be cheaper, but most likely Walmart would still be ahead.

Keep in mind that Walmart will also price match non-BOGO deals, as long as a specific price is listed in a sales flyer.

However, Publix still accepts Publix and other competitor store coupons; Walmart will not accept them.

Also, Publix regularly has unadvertised sales - sales that are shown in the store (and are listed on blogs like I Heart Publix and Southern Savers) but aren't printed in a flyer.  Walmart won't match these sales - the sales they match have to appear in a sales flyer.

So, which store is cheaper, Publix or Walmart?

I shopped at Publix this week and bought several BOGO and other deals, both advertised and unadvertised, and used coupons - manufacturer's, Publix store coupons, and competitor store coupons.

On that trip, I purchased Capri Sun juice, Rice Krispies, milk, Del Monte tomatoes, President feta, Friendship sour cream, Bertolli extra-virgin olive oil, Libby's Skinny Fruit, Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta, Purex laundry detergent, California Sun-Dry sundried tomatoes, tangerines, and chocolate coins.  On that trip, I spent $23.48 before taxes.  See all the details here.

Today, I "shopped" the same list of items at Walmart.  However, there were a few minor differences:
  • President feta was not available, so I substituted Athenos feta.
  • Friendship sour cream was not available, so I substituted Daisy sour cream.
  • Sun-Dry sundried tomatoes were not available, so I substituted Bella Sun Luci sundried tomatoes.
  • I forgot to check for the chocolate coins, so I'm assuming the price is the same as the price at Publix. (ETA: I would price-match these to the 3/$1.00 sale stated in this week's Publix flyer anyway.)
The feta, Skinny Fruit, and sundried tomatoes were unadvertised sales, so I can't purchase those BOGO at Walmart.  However, the BOGO sale would be good for the juice, Rice Krispies, tomatoes, olive oil and pasta.  I also was able to price-match the detergent.  The milk and tangerines regular prices were cheaper at Walmart.

I still used the same manufacturer's coupons that I used at Publix. I assumed I could use 2 coupons per BOGO, which may or not be correct. For the feta and sour cream, I assumed that I had a similar manufacturer's coupon for the replacement product for the same amount. I also had a Publix coupon for milk and 2 $5/$30 Winn-Dixie coupons, which I cannot use at Walmart.

So here's how that shopping trip would have gone at Walmart:
2 Capri Sun 100% juice packs @ BOGO $3.38
- 2 $1.00 off any ONE CAPRI SUN 100% Juice or SUPER v
= $1.38 for two

6 Rice Krispies @ BOGO $2.97
= $8.91 for six

2 gallons milk @ $3.98 = $7.96
- 2 $2 off Milk wyb (3) Kellogg's Cereals printable
= $3.96

4 Del Monte tomatoes @ BOGO 98¢ = $1.96
- $0.50/4 Del Monte Canned Vegetables, exp. 2/1/14 (SS 11/03/13)
= $1.46 for four

2 Athenos feta @ $2.98 = $5.96 (unadvertised sale at Publix)
- 2 $1/1 Athenos coupon
= $3.96 for two

2 Daisy sour cream @ $1.78 =$3.56
- 2 $0.70/1 Daisy coupon
= $2.16 for two

2 Bertolli extra virgin olive oil @ BOGO $6.54
- 2 $1/1 Bertolli or Carapelli Olive Oil (Target mfr.)
= $4.54 for two

2 Libby's Skinny Fruit @ $1.48 = $2.96 (unadvertised sale at Publix)
- $1/2 Libby's Fruit
= $1.96 for two

4 Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta @ BOGO $1.28 = $2.56
- 2 $1/2 Ronzoni Garden Delight or Ronzoni Smart Taste printable
= 56¢ for four

1 Purex laundry detergent @ $4.99 (price-matched to Publix sales flyer)
- FREE Purex product coupon (up to $6.00)

2 Bella Sun Luci sundried tomatoes @ $2.48 (unadvertised sale at Publix)
= $4.96

1 bag tangerines @ $3.38

3 bags chocolate coins @ 3/$1.00 = $1.00 (ETA: price-matched to Publix sales flyer)

Total "spent":  $38.23

So I spent $23.48 at Publix, and would have spent $38.23 at Walmart.  Publix is still cheaper!  (Click here for an appropriate sound effect.)

Here's a summary of the prices at Publix and Walmart:
Item Publix price Walmart price
2 Capri-Sun 100% juice $1.99 $1.38
6 Rice Krispies $11.97 $8.91
2 gallons milk -$4.00 $3.96
4 Del Monte tomatoes $2.68 $1.46
2 Feta cheese $3.39 $3.96
2 Sour cream $2.60 $2.16
2 Bertolli EVOO $5.59 $4.54
2 Libby's Skinny Fruit $1.00 $1.96
4 Ronzoni Garden Delight $0.98 $0.56
1 Purex $0.00 $0.00
2 Sun-dried tomatoes $2.79 $4.96
1 bag tangerines $3.49 $3.38
3 chocolate coins $1.00 $1.00
2 $5/$30 Winn-Dixie coupons -$10.00 $0.00

Total $23.48 $38.23

So on this trip, Publix was cheaper for me!  But will Publix be cheaper for you?
  • If you just buy whatever groceries you need without regard to the price, Walmart will be cheaper for you.  (Sorry, Publix.)
  • If you only use manufacturer's coupons, and not store coupons, you'll probably still save more at Walmart, assuming you can use 2 coupons for a BOGO item.  (Check with your store to be sure.)
  • $10 of the $14.75 I saved at Publix was due to the $5/$30 Winn-Dixie coupons from the Enjoy the City coupon books.  If your Publix store doesn't accept these coupons, your savings will be much smaller.
My conclusion: if you pull out all the stops when shopping - manufacturer's, Publix, and competitor coupons, advertised and unadvertised sales - you can definitely save more at Publix!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.)


Couponing Away Debt November 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM  

I love this comparison! Walmart is not close to me so Im happy to see Im not missing out on some great deals. Thank you too for the kind words you left on my mom post earlier, it meant a lot :)

Anonymous,  November 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM  

I prefer Publix over Walmart hands down, but since the new policy started here in Florida I price match meat sales from Publix or Winn Dixie at Walmart. Last month, Publix had chicken breasts BOGO for $4.29, so I took their ad to Walmart and got the chicken breasts BOGO at Walmart price of $1.99 per pound. It worked out to $.99 per pound which was less than half of what it would have been at Publix. I was able to score two deals at that price.

Anonymous,  November 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM  

Never did the Walmart Matching thing. Seems like it would be a lot of work? Pointing out everything to the Cashier? Seems more to go wrong. At my Walmart the Cashiers are not Coupon trained or something??? I dread going in it just seems everytime I have issues... Has it gotten better ?

Frugal Follies November 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM  

@Anonymous 10:13 - I can see where buying meat BOGO at Walmart could save you a lot of money! Good point!

@Anonymous 10:21 - I've never actually done price matching, this was just done theoretically. I have seen that the cashiers have the weekly flyers for other stores at the register to consult. There are always long lines at the Walmarts in my area and I would think that other customers in line would get pretty ticked off while waiting for the first person in line to price-match a large number of items.

Kimberly November 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM  

I think there is something to be said for customer service and coupon knowledge. Those two combined win me over to publix every time.

Anonymous,  November 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM  

I haven't had problems getting price matches at Walmart, so long as the Publix or wherever ad is presented. I save around 15% of my weekly food bill shopping at Walmart vs Publix or Winn Dixie. Cashiers and people in line getting ticked off aren't my concern. Keeping my food costs low is.

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