Walmart has become the world's largest retailer largely due to its heavy emphasis on providing the lowest prices for a massive inventory of items. Given the store's dependence on this strategy, it should come as no surprise that even the regular prices at Walmart are affordable. In fact, one of the main reasons so many shoppers prefer Walmart is because they know they can get good deals with minimal effort. What many customers fail to realize, though, is how much more they could be saving at Walmart by using a few proven techniques. Learn how to use these strategies to your advantage by reading below.
Rather than offer a traditional rewards program, Walmart decided to go in a different direction with Savings Catcher. The product was announced to much fanfare in August of 2014 and has gone through some chances since that time, but remains a valuable tool.
Walmart invested a lot into building the proprietary technology behind Savings Catcher and it paid off, because it is stunningly simple to use. Savings Catcher automatically compares local prices for a range of products (mostly non-perishable groceries) and if it finds a lower price than what's listed at Walmart, then Walmart will pay back the difference in the form of an e-gift card valid at any Walmart store or Walmart.com.
You need either the Walmart app or access to Walmart.com in order for Savings Catcher to function. If you are on the app, there is a button labeled "Savings Catcher" that you must tap to start the process. Once you've tapped Savings Catcher, you'll be taken to a screen that will direct you to scan your Walmart receipt. Once you've completed the scan, Savings Catcher's comparison tool kicks in and you are notified in a few days whether it found any lower prices and you'll get your e-gift card refund. You then have the choice of redeeming the e-gift card immediately, or you can let it grow in value over time.
For those using Walmart.com, the process is slightly different. Instead of scanning your receipt, you have to visit the Savings Catcher page on the web site. Once you are on that page, you'll see a "Try It Now" button on the top right that contains one field where you are told to "Enter receipt number" and another where you are told to "Enter date". When you've filled in those two fields, you'll click the Go button and Savings Catcher will then begin its comparison.
While Savings Catcher does have a relatively broad reach, there are still a lot of products that aren't eligible. Among them are goods sold in the bakery or deli section, meats priced by weight, produce, and seafood. General merchandise, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gas, tires, optical products, photo products and services and prescription drugs are also excluded.
Since Savings Catcher doesn't consider manufacturer coupons when doing its comparison, the tool is most effective in saving on items for which you don't have coupons. Think of it as a fallback option when you are in a rush and didn't have time to carefully plan out your shopping trip, but still want to try and save a couple bucks.
As indicated above, Savings Catcher only covers a few of the many products available at Walmart. You can still price match most of the rest, however, you just need to do the work yourself instead of relying on Walmart's algorithm. Walmart is famous for being a price matching pioneer and it's a fantastic way to save money.
Walmart's Ad Match Guarantee is actually quite simple. If you find an identical item advertised for a better price at a Walmart competitor, then Walmart will match the price. You aren't even required to show proof that the competitor price was better unless the difference in price is 25% or greater, although the store does retain the right to request verification at any time. The guarantee applies to sale items and BOGO (Buy one, get one free) offers with a specific price and even applies to preferred shopping card prices as long as the price appears in a printed ad.
Unlike Savings Catcher, the ad match guarantee does actually allow you to price match for those items. The only requirement is that you must be able to prove the price is for the same exact unit of measurement. For example, if a Walmart competitor is selling pineapples for $1.99 per pound and Walmart is selling pineapples for $2.49 per pound, then Walmart will match the $1.99 price.
Though robust, the ad match guarantee does have limitations. Going out of business sales, closeout prices, percent off entire category discounts not related to a specific product and competitor private label price promotions are not eligible. Nor are items of different sizes, brands, colors or quantities. For a complete breakdown of the Ad Match Guarantee, visit our in-depth Couponing 101 blog post about the topic.
In an effort to compete with online retail giants Amazon.com, Tigerdirect.com and Newegg.com, Walmart now also extends its ad match guarantee to those companies. Check those sites on your smartphone, Amazon in particular, while shopping at Walmart and you might be able to get the items you are about to buy for a bit less by price matching.
What makes coupons so powerful at Walmart is that they provide a discount for an item that is usually already priced very cheaply. While Walmart doesn't have its own digital, mobile and app coupons like Target, it does have plenty of sales and a liberal coupon policy. It not only accepts valid online printable coupons and traditional manufacturer coupons, it also allows competitor coupons and catalinas.
By stacking coupons on top of sales, the savings at Walmart can add up quickly. Sometimes they can add up so much that the coupon actually supersedes the value of the item. In these cases, Walmart will pay back the difference back to the customer. For example, if you get a tube of Colgate toothpaste for $1 on sale and you have a $1.50 off coupon, Walmart will give you 50 cents. This is called overage and it's exceedingly rare for major retailers to offer this. It's also why extreme couponers tend to love Walmart.
Within reason, Walmart does allow you to use multiples of the same coupon for multiples of the same item within the same transaction. As an example, say you have three $1 off coupons for eight-roll packages of Charmin toilet paper that are on sale for $4 each at Walmart; you can buy three of those eight-roll packages and use your $1 off coupon for each and pay only $3 per package. Once you use four or more identical coupons per transaction, a store supervisor must verify the sale, but it's still permitted. That said, the store reserves the right to limit the number of identical coupons that can be used per transaction, so it's best not to take advantage of this rule.
The Value of the Day section of Walmart.com includes clearance sale items, rollbacks, special buys and two featured items. The discounts are worth monitoring in case something you need happens to get featured.
While it's possible to get decent deals from the rollbacks or special buys, we recommend you focus your attention on the daily featured items and the clearance items. There are only two daily featured items and they reset every day, so there is a limited window in which you can buy them. They are usually made available at a significant discount, sometimes 50% or more, and tend to be very random. One day, a popcorn maker might be a featured item and the next day it might be a Minions comforter set.
Clearance sales include items that the store is looking to unload quickly and the prices for these products are also usually heavily discounted. Rollbacks or special buys aren't quite as straight forward and require you to do a little more research in order to figure out how strong a deal you are getting.
All Walmart.com orders of at least $35 include free shipping, but if you find an amazing Value of the Day item that costs less than that, you can still skip the shipping costs by arranging for free in-store pickup of the item. Most Walmart stores have an area in the back where in-store pickups can be made of Walmart.com purchases. If you can't find it in your local store, ask any associate and they should be able to guide you to the right place.
Cardpool.com is a site that sells Walmart gift cards (and others) at a discount. It currently has all Walmart gift cards running at a 2.5% discount, so a $20 gift card would cost you $19.50 instead. While this might not seem like a significant savings, if you buy $500 worth of these gift cards, you'll save $12.50. Odds are you'll buy at least $500 worth of Walmart merchandise over the course of a year, if not a month.
If you need the gift card fast, buy an electronic one and you can print it and use it at any physical Walmart location or at Walmart.com.