I switched from grocery shopping at Metro (and Loblaws) to Walmart and Instacart. It’s been much better. Here’s why

I did the math and found that I can save around $1500/year if I switch my grocery shopping from Metro / Loblaws to Walmart. I save much less and it gets more complicated if I include Instacart in the mix, though I am still doing it. Let me explain.

To determine what I could save, I built a spreadsheet of all the things that I typically buy. I set up the following columns:

  1. the price at Walmart (using numbers from the Instacart app)
  2. the price at Metro (same day numbers from the app)
  3. the difference in price. If the cell is green, Walmart is cheaper; if red, Metro is cheaper; if yellow, the comparison is off; if blue, the price is essentially the same (around 2 cents different). You can see almost everything was cheaper at Walmart, sometimes by a lot
  4. How much I save if I bought everything at Walmart that week
  5. How many times a year I buy that item
  6. How much I save a year if I buy it at all at Walmart
  7. The name of the item
  8. The category of item (Deli, Frozen, etc)
  9. The quantity of the item
  10. A description
  11. A comment

Here’s my spreadsheet on Google Sheets. You can review my numbers and see if they add up.

Of course I may buy different amounts,  and I may buy items not listed there. But that amount of savings for the year will be close, I think.

Now here’s the problem for me: I live very far from a Walmart. I don’t have a car, and there is no way I want to take that much groceries on public transit to get them. (If you can drive to any grocery store you want, then go to Walmart and you can save that much too. Maybe more.)

To solve my problem, I decided to sign up for Instacart. The problem then is all the savings turn into Instacart fees. I still estimate I save around $100 / year. (The spreadsheet has the details). Not much, but still. I essentially get the savings from Walmart to pay for my Instacart.

Overall, I see the switch to Walmart/Instacart as  positive for number of reasons:

  1. I used to shop 2-3 times a week to get all the groceries home. (This is because I don’t have a car.) It was a lot of time and effort. Now I shop with my phone on my couch and get all the groceries I need in one go. If I do any shopping in person now, it’s for speciality things. So my quality of life is greatly improved.
  2. I used to shop at my local Metro which I have hated for years. It was a crappy store for ages until Loblaws moved in. To compete, it did a make over and kept its prices low enough to keep me going there, for the most part. (I took what business I could to Loblaws). Last year they really raised their prices for the things I shop for by A LOT. There were no loss leaders. No discounts. All staples seemed to go up by 1-2 dollars. The prices were also much higher then what is in my spreadsheet. It really made me mad and frustrated. Taking my business elsewhere is satisfying: I don’t have to put up with that horrible store where I feel taken advantage of.
  3. I am budget conscious when it comes to grocery shopping. I want to best deal on food, and for commodity foods, I want the lowest price. Walmart gives that to me.

If you like grocery shopping in person and you can get to a Walmart, go to a Walmart. (Or possibly No Frills.) You can save a fair bit of money. And it’s not just my opinion. To see what I mean, read this: Which foods can you get at a big savings at discount stores? | The Star

If you hate grocery shopping and/or you don’t have a car, switch to Walmart and Instacart. You won’t save much, but the quality of life will improve considerably.

This is my experience with this. YMMV.




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