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How to Save Money at Wal-Mart

March 1, 2017
Managing Money, Personal Finance, Shopping, Shopping Tips, Store Savings Guides
How to Save Money at Wal-Mart
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Wal-Mart not only has an expansive inventory, but also many services that help shoppers unearth low prices.

Knowing how to guarantee free shipping or navigate the website and app are some of the ways you can increase your chances of walking away with a deal. Here’s how to get started.

Download the Wal-Mart app

The Wal-Mart app, free to download from the App Store and Google Play store, is a hub for savings. Here’s why:

  • It lets you create a shopping list, which can help you stick to a plan and avoid impulse purchases.
  • You can view the weekly ad to see what’s on sale at your local store, plus browse savings by category.
  • The Savings Catcher feature can potentially get you a price adjustment after you make a Wal-Mart store purchase. Upload your receipt, and Savings Catcher will search competitor ads for lower prices on the qualifying items you bought and refund you the difference in Wal-Mart credit, called Rewards Dollars, which you can use for future in-store or online purchases.

Explore the discounts

The Wal-Mart website also lists deals. The all departments page, which you can access from the website’s drop-down menu, features a “Savings Showcase” with a few options. Here you’ll find links to the clearance, rollbacks and special buys pages, where you can see an assortment of marked-down products across all categories. Also under this section are value bundles, package deals on multiple or complementary items, like two pairs of jeans or a combo of bookshelves.

Wal-Mart’s “Dare to Compare” page highlights products that it sells at the same price as or less than competitors like Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Toys R Us. For additional savings, check the weekly ad and coupons pages and enter your email address in the box located at the bottom of the website.

Take advantage of free shipping

Factor in the cost of delivery when you compare prices among retailers. Wal-Mart will cover your shipping costs if you meet the minimum threshold. The retail giant offers free two-day shipping on select online orders of $35 or more, no membership required. More than 2 million items qualify across multiple categories, including food, household goods, clothing and jewelry. Filter your search or look for items with the “2-day shipping” mark.

Orders of $35 or more will receive free standard shipping if the items are not eligible for two-day shipping.

» MORE: Target’s Cartwheel App Review

Get the timing right

Wal-Mart sales mainly pop up near major holidays and popular shopping events. Keep an eye out for items on your list around these times in particular:

  • Black Friday: Wal-Mart is one of the top Black Friday players. It slashes prices on just about everything around Thanksgiving, including TVs, computers, toys and more. The following week’s Cyber Monday sale and December’s Green Monday also feature major discounts on electronics and other items, available mostly online.
  • July: This typically slow shopping month can be a good time to score deals. In the past, Wal-Mart has launched sales and promotions in early or mid-July to compete with Amazon’s annual Prime Day event and other retailers’ Christmas or Black Friday in July sales. In July 2016, Wal-Mart offered discounted electronics and free shipping on all purchases.
  • Back to school season: The retail chain offers school supply deals in the summer, usually in August and September. For example, Wal-Mart sold a 24-count box of Crayola crayons for 50 cents last August.

Consider a Wal-Mart rewards card

If Wal-Mart is your main shopping destination, applying for a store credit card might be a good call. Wal-Mart’s cardholder benefits include savings on gas and other purchases at Wal-Mart and other retailers. But look into alternatives before you apply.

Buy refurbished

Save money by purchasing pre-owned electronics rather than buying new. Visit Wal-Mart’s refurbished page to find discounted prices on “like new” computers, smartphones, tablets and more.

» MORE: 12 ways to save on groceries

Use price matching

Research prices elsewhere, especially for big-ticket items, before and after you make a purchase. Wal-Mart will match competitor prices in some cases when you shop online or in store. Read more about the price matching policy here.

Trade in your electronics

Perhaps you have an old smartphone or tablet lying around. If so, consider trading it in online or at a participating Wal-Mart store in exchange for a gift card that you can put toward your next purchase.

Ready to save?

When and how you shop at Wal-Mart are key to saving money. Start by using the Wal-Mart app to make a list and search for discounts. Besides checking the usual places for savings — like the clearance and coupons sections — consider other ways to pay less, including buying refurbished tech, taking advantage of price matching or trading in your electronics.

Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.