How often do you shop at Walmart? It might not feel frequent, but you may go more often than you realize — 64 percent of US consumers report making in-store purchases at the superstore each month. When you recognize that 3,465 Walmart stores exist across the US, this statistic becomes less surprising. (And we all want to save extra cash, especially with inflation.) However, just because you shop at Walmart doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the best deals. Check out these insider tips from experts and FIRST readers alike to maximize your savings.
To get the best price on anything, remember Walmart’s markdown system.
“To ensure you get the best possible price on anything from sweaters to toys, simply learn Walmart’s markdown system: If a price ends in 7, it’s typically the original price; prices ending in 5 or 0 tend to come with an item’s first markdown; and those ending in 1 signify the final markdown. So if you see a product marked at $19.97, it’s the original price, but if it’s $12.95, and there is ample inventory on the shelf, it’s worth your while to wait, knowing it will be marked down again, likely to somewhere around $8.91 — more than 50 percent off.”
—Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com
To save on everyday items, go for the store’s brand.
“Walmart’s Great Value brand really is a great value! There’s next to no difference in quality over name brands; in fact, we prefer the brand’s mayonnaise over Hellmann’s, and it has the added bonus of being at least 25 percent cheaper.”
—Michelle Meredith, money-saving blogger at BrightColorMom.com
To unlock secret savings, remember this coupon trick.
“Unlike many grocery stores, when using coupons, Walmart allows overages. That means they credit you the difference when the face value of the coupon is higher than the price of the item. For example, if a coupon gives you a free frozen dinner with a maximum value of $5.99, and it’s on sale for $4.99, that $1 overage is applied to your total bill — the savings can really add up.”
—Jill Scott, mom of four, Phoenix
To save without thinking about it, earn cash back with a store credit card.
“Consider applying for the Walmart-branded credit card. It has no annual fees and offers an instant $25 credit if you spend $75 on the same day you open the account. Plus, you’ll get 3 percent cash back each time you use the store’s Grocery Pickup, where you shop online and then have the groceries delivered to your car (free if you spend $35 or more). So if you spend just $200 a month on groceries, you’ll get $72 back at the end of the year.”
—Andrea Woroch, money-saving expert at AndreaWoroch.com
For free samples, hit the ‘Freeosks.’
“Walmart has these nifty machines called Freeosks (currently in 1,300 stores) that offer free samples of things nearly the size of the actual in-store offering. They’re changed up regularly but have included things like Clif Bars, Vitacup Coffee pods, bottles of Pyure Organic Liquid Stevia Extract, and Colgate Optic White Toothpaste. Simply download the Freeosk app and enter the unique code or scan it at the kiosk to get your freebies.”
—Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com
To make sure you always get the best price, use price matching.
“Shopping in-store? Whip out your phone and check the prices of items you’re interested in at Walmart.com. If the online base price is lower than the base price for an identical item in store, simply show the employee at checkout what you found, and they’ll match that price for you. Shopping online? Walmart.com will price-match other online retailers including Amazon.com, BedBathAndBeyond.com, BestBuy.com, DollarGeneral.com, FamilyDollar.com and so many more. Just contact Walmart Customer Care before placing your order, and they’ll match the price.”
To snag huge discounts, visit the store at this time.
“The widest selection of clearance in almost all departments at Walmart can typically be found at the beginning of each month, when it’s all been marked down. Want a deal on groceries? Produce, meat, and bakery items are typically marked down at 8 p.m. the night before their ‘best by’ date, along with day-old bread and freshly baked items that didn’t sell earlier in the day.”
For an always-available bargain, get coffee and tea.
“Brand-name coffee and tea rarely go on sale at supermarkets, but you can always find them for about 27 percent less at Walmart than at other grocery stores. One example: Celestial seasonings and Bigelow flavored herbal teas are about $1 cheaper per box at Walmart than at other supermarkets. With so many stores, Walmart is able to negotiate the lowest price from vendors and manufacturers. And it’s not just tea and coffee, there are tons of non-storebrand beverages Walmart offers for less including flavored seltzer water like LaCroix. Plus, since Walmart also accepts manufacturer’s coupons, you really do get the best deal going.”
—Annette Economides, co-founder of MoneySmartFamily.com
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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