13 Secret Ways to Save at Walmart That Only Experts Know About

People shop at Walmart in St. Petersburg Fla on Oct. 11, 2017.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
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Not to brag, but when it comes to bargain shopping, we kind of know our stuff. And by “kind of,” we mean we’ve even found ways to cut down costs at the bargain shopping mecca: Walmart.

Sure, you’re already saving money by shopping at Walmart (we compared it to four other stores), but we’re going to let you in on some savvy shopping secrets that will help you rollback prices — even more.

Here’s how to get the best deals.

1. Use These Free Walmart Gift Cards

What do you usually do with your receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of a grocery bag. Pretty worthless.

But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.  

And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.

When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt. Then start snapping photos of your recent receipts to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store!

Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?

2. Use This Free $225 When You Checkout

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If we told you that before you head to Walmart, you could get paid to watch cooking videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch a chef teach you the recipe for fudge brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.

It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — that could make a serious dent in your Walmart bill.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards — and it’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.

3. Get 10% Cash-back on Everything You Buy

Steve Dabenport/Getty Images

One of our favorite ways to save at Walmart is with Rakuten, a cash-back site that gives you 10% cash-back on everything you purchase at Walmart.com.
There’s no catch.

You just have to sign up for a free Rakuten account. Plus, they’ll give you free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try. To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Rakuten with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Rakuten portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $10 Walmart gift card.

4.Know Your Markdown Tags

Buy one get one free vitamins on sale
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Walmart has a sneaky system for marking down clearance tags. You can use this information to find the best Walmart deals!

  • Items with prices ending in $__._7 are the original price.
  • Items with prices ending in $__._5 are the first markdown.
  • Items with prices ending in $__._1 are the final markdown.

So, if you see a “clearance” item with a price ending in “5,” and there’s still plenty in stock, you can hold out for a better markdown.

And if you see one ending with “7,” you’ll know the item isn’t discounted at all yet.

5. Get a Box of Free Samples Every Month

What if we told you there was a way to get a box of samples each month — from leading brands like Olay, Tide, Purina, V8 — and in exchange, all you’d need to do is share your honest feedback?

PINCHme promises to do just that.

When we registered, we found out we could choose from samples of ZzzQuil Sleep-Aid, Purina One Tender Selects Cat food, Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing, and a V8 Veggie Blend Juice and +Energy 2 pack (these were full size samples).

But, the samples change each month, and options vary based on your profile and location.

We love that PINCHme sends the samples to you (who doesn’t get excited about mail?) and doesn’t require a credit card to sign up or payment for shipping.

Once you fill out your profile, PINCHme presents you with relevant samples it has available.

Then next month, just rinse and repeat.

6. Buy a Loaf of Bread for $1

Woman buying bread
97/Getty Images

A lot of us at The Penny Hoarder HQ have been doing this for years!

Head to the bakery to find day-old bread on sale — usually for less than $1.

In some stores, we’ve even seen an impulse rack near the registers, in case you need that final nudge. This is an affordable way to indulge on fresh-baked ciabatta or French breads with an otherwise hefty price tag.

7. Take Another Picture

receipts
peepo/Getty Images

Okay, this a bit of a double dip, but it totally works. Ibotta will also pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works:

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus after redeeming your first 10 offers within 14 days.

8. Get Free Walmart Gift Cards

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Want a free Walmart gift card? The folks over at Swagbucks want you to give your opinions on new products and they’ll shower you with free gift cards for your time.  

You’ll get points called SBs for each survey you qualify for and complete. Those SBs can be redeemed for cash via Paypal or gift cards to a number of popular retailers, including Walmart.

Pro tip: You’ll get a free 500 SB (or $5) bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.

9. Get Paid for Walking Into the Store

Cropped image of a young man's legs and grocery basket
PeopleImages/Getty Images

Sometimes, to get the most out of your Walmart bargain-shopping trip, all you need to do is walk in the door. That’s right — no purchase necessary.

The Shopkick app pays you in “kicks” for walking into Walmart and other participating stores (including Target, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem kicks for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of your receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases.

10. Get Online Prices in the Store

AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

Before you buy something at the checkout counter, it’s worth whipping out your phone and seeing whether Walmart is offering an even better price online at Walmart.com. It’s easy to use the website’s handy search function.

Because here’s something you may not know: Walmart will match its online prices for in-store purchases.

Sometimes you’ll discover an item on your list has been marked down online, but not in the store where you’re shopping.

To get the better price, just pull it up on your phone and show it to the cashier. Seriously, they’ll give you the online price with no hassle. They know the score.

11. Print Your Own Free Coupons

Kyle Taylor making a
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Traditionally, we flipped through circulars in search of coupons. Now you can just go online and nab them from manufacturers.

There are a number of sites that offer free printable coupons. It’s much simpler than breaking out the scissors and giant binder!

12. Get Free Baby Stuff

Baby Goods for Boys Collection
Floortje/Getty Images

Parents-to-be and new parents should jump on this deal: Walmart offers a free baby welcome box. Get on it quickly — we don’t know how long this one will last!

Packed with product samples, the Walmart boxes allow families to “get a head start with Baby’s development,” according to the website.

The best part? It ships totally free.

13. Save Money on Gas

Man filling gasoline fuel in car
SbytovaMN/Getty Images

Deals on gas at Murphy USA gas stations change throughout the year.

You’ll find special savings when you pay with a Walmart gift card, Walmart credit card or Walmart Mastercard.

Right now, save 3 cents per gallon when you fill up with a Walmart gift card.

*The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.