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. 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 accountPlus, 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 Ebates 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.

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

4. Buy a Loaf of Bread for $1

Woman buying bread
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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.

5. Take a Picture of Your Receipts

At this point, tons of grocery-savings apps have hit the market — and we don’t hate it. But having so many options can become overwhelming, especially for the lazy saver.

If that’s you — the one who just wants to get in and out of the store and save money without doing much thinking — there’s an app we recommend. It’s called Fetch Rewards, and all you have to do to earn rewards is take a photo of your receipt.

No scanning barcodes; no searching for offers; no store limitations.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Download the Fetch Rewards app. (Pst: Enter the code PENNY to earn 2,000 free points!)
  2. Create an account with your email address or through Facebook.
  3. Take a photo of your grocery receipt (must be from the past 14 days).

Fetch Rewards finds opportunities for you to earn rewards for your everyday purchases.

Every time you scan a receipt that includes one of more than 250 participating brands, you’ll earn points — without worrying about matching specific product offers.

If the app does find a match, you’ll earn even more. For example, we recently saw an offer of 2,000 points when you purchase a Suave female hair product. And another for 2,000 points for a 12-pack of Blue Moon.

Once you collect enough points, cash out for a gift card to any of a number of retailers. Go ahead, and start fetching points toward gift cards by downloading Fetch Rewards.

6. 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.

7. Earn up to $20/Hour Picking up a Stranger’s Groceries

If you’re already at Walmart, why not try picking up and delivering someone else’s groceries?Postmates is looking for new delivery drivers.The amount you can earn varies, but the median earnings per hour during peak times is $19, CEO Bastian Lehmann said at a 2015 TechCrunch event.

Unlike other apps, you’ll take home 100% of your earnings when you make a delivery — no service fees, booking fees or transaction fees.

You can deliver through Postmates by car, bicycle or foot. Just create an account, then you’ll receive a welcome kit in the mail within a week (a free delivery bag and a prepaid card to make your purchases). Link the card to the Postmates Fleet app, and you’re off to earning extra money.

Actual amount earned will vary, depending on a number of factors. You’ll see how much you earned after each delivery and exactly how your earnings were calculated.

8. 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.

9. Get Another 1.5% Back on All Your Purchases

Man Paying with Credit Card in Supermarket
SeventyFour/Getty Images

If you’re not using a rewards card for your purchases at Walmart, you’re really just leaving free money on the table.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

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.