Walmart Shopping Tricks to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
If you love a great deal, chances are good that you shop at retail giant Walmart. For decades, the company has been known for its bargain-basement prices. In fact, you might assume that it’s difficult — if not impossible — to shave down those rock-bottom prices a bit more.
But that assumption can be a costly mistake. If you know what you’re doing, you can save even more at Walmart. For example, shopping at the right time of day can cut your grocery costs. Download the right app, and your savings can continue long after you leave the store.
Click through to read about nine strategies that help you get the best prices when shopping at Walmart.
Take Advantage of Walmart's Price-Matching Policy
Even if Walmart isn’t offering the lowest price on a given item, you can take advantage of the store’s price-match policy to secure a better deal. Walmart will match any advertised price from stores in your area, said Paul Ivanovsky, creator of I Heart the Mart, a blog dedicated to saving money at Walmart.
To qualify, the items in question must be identical and in stock at the other retailer. Ivanovsky said the price-matching policy is a great way to save money on items such as fruit, meat and paper products.
Additionally, Walmart will match many online competitors’ prices for home goods and other nonfood items. Although restrictions exist, the retail giant will generally match online prices for goods from Amazon, Best Buy, Target and TigerDirect, among other stores.
©2014 Barbara Ries / Walmart
Get Online Prices in the Store
Before you make a purchase in one of its stores, see if Walmart is offering a better price online. The company will match Walmart.com prices when you make in-store purchases.
Bethany Halford is a co-creator of the Whoa, wait. Walmart? blog, which features great finds at Walmart. She frequently finds items that have been marked down online but not in the store. To get the better price, Halford simply pulls the item up on her phone and shows it to the cashier when she checks out.
Use the Savings Catcher App
If you forgot to check other stores’ prices before shopping at Walmart, you can still get your dollars’ worth by using the Savings Catcher app.
After scanning your receipt with the app, Walmart checks competitors’ advertised prices on the same item. If an item you bought is cheaper elsewhere, you will be credited the difference. Savings are in the form of Savings Catcher Rewards Dollars that can be redeemed for a Walmart e-gift card or Walmart Buck$ to be added to a Bluebird by American Express Card prepaid debit card.
“Even if you don’t think you bought something that can be matched, you might be surprised at what the Savings Catcher finds for you,” said Dian Farmer of the Grocery Shop For Free!! website.
Get Free Shipping From Walmart.com
Shipping costs can quickly negate the savings you might accumulate by shopping online. However, there are two ways you can get free shipping from Walmart.com.
If you spend $35 or more online, Walmart will ship your purchases for free. Two-day delivery is available on millions of items, and other goods are delivered in three to five days.
Some items and orders under $35 do not qualify for free shipping. You can get around shipping fees on those goods by having online purchases shipped to your local store, said Amanda Jerkins, the other co-creator of Whoa, wait. Walmart?
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Comb Through the Clearance Racks
If you rush through your Walmart trips, you might miss out on some of the retailer’s best clearance deals.
Typically, deeply discounted items are placed in an aisle near the toy or lawn and garden department, Halford said. When she and Jerkins comb through the clearance racks, they often find that items they were coveting at full price are on sale for much less.
For example, Jerkins said she once found a floor lamp she wanted that was marked down from $45 to $20 in the clearance section. She also recommended checking the end caps on aisles throughout the store for heavily discounted items.
Shop Early in the Morning for Grocery Deals
If your local Walmart has a grocery department, you can save money by timing food shopping trips right. Farmer recommends shopping early in the morning to score discounts on one of the priciest food items on your list — meat.
“Normally, by 8 a.m., the meat department has discounted their meat, and you can grab some great deals,” she said.
Saving on groceries at Walmart is also easier if you know the tricks of the trade.
Tap Into Seasonal Savings
Walmart is known for offering great Black Friday sales. But there are also many other times of the year when Walmart offers special savings.
In particular, July has become a season for merchants to promote Black Friday-like deals, said Slickdeals savings expert Regina Conway. In the past, Walmart has rolled out a big July sale to rival Amazon’s one-day sale for its Prime members, who pay a $119 annual fee for free two-day shipping and other benefits.
As an added bonus, Walmart doesn’t require any sort of membership fee to take advantage of its deals.
Khomkrit Phonsai / Shutterstock.com
Get $1 Deals
Some of the items you can find at a dollar store can also be purchased at Walmart for $1 or less — and you don’t even have to ask for price-matching.
For example, Walmart sells personal grooming products such as deodorant and shampoo for about $1. You also can find greeting cards and gift bags for $1, although the selection is typically smaller than what you’d see at a traditional dollar store.
Ivanovsky keeps a running list of Walmart’s current under-a-dollar deals on I Heart the Mart.
Get Free Grocery Pickup
Walmart has rolled out two services in some cities that can save shoppers a lot of valuable time: grocery pickup and grocery delivery.
Customers who choose to pick up their groceries can now order items online and then pick them up at select stores in their area. You can even select a time for your pickup, and an associate will load the groceries into your car. And, it’s all free.
Grocery delivery is not free — you will be charged a fee that varies depending on the time slot you book for delivery. But it will still save you valuable time.
The grocery services are not available in all markets. Call your local Walmart or check the retailer’s website to make sure the service is available in your area.
Click through to see the worst things to buy at Walmart and Target.
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