As great as your neighborhood Walmart grocery is on its own, you sometimes need to take advantage of some grocery shopping hacks. There might be some times when they are out of stock of a particular item, too crowded, or simply not offering enough sales to please your bank account. That’s where Walmart comes in. With locations practically everywhere, Walmart is a great place to get everything you need, although there are some stipulations. Not everything in Walmart’s grocery department is worth buying, and sometimes, you might not be getting the best deal out there.
That said, shopping at Walmart, whether it’s for your weekly groceries or home decor, electronics, or anything else, can be an adventure, to say the least. Walmart offers plenty of good deals on just about everything they sell in-store and online, but perhaps one of the best-kept secrets about Walmart is that there are a lot of food shopping hacks that everyone should know.
Walmart might not be your typical grocery store, given all of the other items that you can pick up while you’re wandering the aisles, but you can save a ton of money and time if you know what to do. Here are some of the best Walmart shopping hacks you need to know before stepping into the store.
The Walmart bakery is shopping hack central
A staple on just about any grocery list is bread. For sandwiches, toast, recipes, and more, bread is a necessity. If you often head to Walmart to do your weekly grocery shopping, then there might be a way for you to grab some bread that doesn’t cost more than it should. You’re going to want to remember this hack along with other Walmart bakery secrets.
Walmart, like other grocery stores, typically marks down day-old bread so you can score a great deal, Cheapism reports. Walmart knows that they need to get the day-old bread or other bakery items out of the store before they hit their sell-by date, so you’ll probably see them marked down with one of those bright yellow discount stickers. If you’re lucky, you could get a loaf of delicious French bread for less than a dollar, but don’t stop there. Bread isn’t the only thing to look for in the Walmart bakery department. There are also cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and donuts, all of which could be marked down just for being a day or two old. So, if you’re craving carbs but still want to save, you know what to do. Head to the bakery section next time you’re at Walmart and look closely for those eye-catching yellow tags. They could mark the way to some serious savings on kitchen staples and tasty treats.
Walmart offers price-matching shopping hacks
While you might just automatically assume that everything at Walmart is a great price, there are a few items in the grocery department that are likely to be more expensive than at other stores in your area. So, if you notice that a specific can of soup costs more at Walmart than it does at your local grocery store, speak up. You can actually get the soup price-matched to avoid going to different stores. Just remember to ask nicely when you’re interacting with checkout clerks, managers, and other Walmart store staff.
According to Go Banking Rates, Walmart offers price-matching for items that are advertised at a lower cost at a different store. If one grocery store is offering a deal that week on cuts of ribeye steak, for example, you can show the competing store’s advertisement to a Walmart associate and get the same cut of meat from Walmart for the lower cost. That might seem like a lot of extra work, but if you only want to go to one grocery store that week, Walmart’s price-match policy is an important hack that can save you serious money.
Ordering Walmart curbside pickup is an easy way to shop
One of the best things to come out of modern grocery shopping is definitely the advent of curbside grocery pickup. Alongside other grocery chains, Walmart has hopped on the curbside pickup train, making your life way easier. Instead of wandering through aisle after aisle trying to find the exact brand of canned tomatoes your family eats, you can simply use your computer or phone to quickly add things to your grocery order. After you place your order, personal shoppers go to gather everything you need, then notify you when your order is ready so you can head to the store, not wasting a single minute of your time.
According to a 2017 press release, Walmart first launched grocery pickup in 2013, which quickly proved to be popular and easy to use. However, there is one caveat. "There is a $30 minimum purchase for all Walmart Grocery orders," Walmart specifies, though pickup is always free. Really, though, it’s not hard to spend the curbside pickup minimum on groceries, especially if you’re shopping for a whole household. Plus, it’s worth it for the luxury of not even getting out of your car.
Online orders offer a unique Walmart shopping hack
As amazing as curbside pickup at Walmart is, there are a few complications to the system. First, it’s a lot easier to use on the Walmart app. That very same app will also show you any discounted items, as well as grocery items you’ve purchased before, in case you forgot something. Additionally, the app easily shows you how to choose possible substitutions for your online grocery order.
For instance, if you’ve added five bananas to your cart, but your local Walmart is out, the app or website will direct you to allow for substitutions or not (via The Krazy Coupon Lady). You can simply choose not to substitute the item, or you could allow employees to substitute it with similar products, like organic or frozen bananas. It’s super easy and, frankly, sometimes the substitutions Walmart offers end up being better deals overall, as name brand items substituted for generic ones will be charged the generic price. Additionally, the curbside pickup option will automatically apply any in-store savings that might have appeared after you placed your order and give you the lowest price. It’s a win-win that makes grocery shopping at Walmart much easier.
Walmart store brand is part of a classic shopping hack
One of the best ways you can save money and discover new products when you grocery shop is to opt for the store’s generic brand of something versus the name brand. To be fair, there are times where generic food isn’t always best. However, that’s not always the case. The name brand item might be easily recognizable and tempting, but for a lot of Walmart grocery items, the store brand can be better and cheaper.
In addition to a regular store brand offering, Walmart also usually has an organic version of its own brand. Specifically, the Walmart organic brand is a lot cheaper than other organic brands, and arguably just as healthy. Next time you’re shopping for basics like coffee, bone broth, or snacks, take a close look at the prices. You may find that the store brand stuff is a much, much better deal. Instead of shelling out more for a brand that you’ve heard of, consider sticking to the good old Walmart brand.
Skip the Walmart produce department
Most people will grab some fresh fruits and vegetables when they head to the grocery store. That’s clearly a good idea. Eating a hefty amount and wide variety of fruits and vegetables is part of a balanced diet, for one. Plus, there are plenty of benefits to eating a good variety of produce on a daily basis. But if you do most of your grocery shopping at Walmart, you honestly might want to skip out on the produce.
According to Consumer Reports, Walmart ranked among the worst grocery stores when it comes to its produce department. Reports indicate that the produce at Walmart lacks in its overall variety. Some have also reported that the quality of produce at their local store often leaves something to be desired. While Walmart is a great place to stock up on canned and frozen vegetables, it might be best to head somewhere else for fresh produce. After all, there really isn’t anything worse than a mushy avocado or canister of grape tomatoes that are already starting to mold. Because some fruits and veggies can be rather finicky, it’s crucial that you shop smarter and skip the produce section at Walmart.
Canned goods can offer a surprising Walmart shopping hack
Whether the COVID-19 pandemic made you realize how important it was to have a solid supply of canned goods, or you just already knew that it was smart to have a stock of them, canned goods are always a great idea. They generally last for a long time, can be made into delicious homemade meals, and are a central part of many recipes. Chances are pretty that when you next head to the grocery store, you’ll be grabbing a few canned items.
Eagle-eyed consumers can also save some money in the canned goods aisle. According to Eat This, Not That, Walmart will offer a discount on items, like canned goods, that have been dented or otherwise damaged. Yes, many dented cans are still safe to buy. Cans might be the safest bet in terms of damaged goods because a small dent won’t affect the quality of the ingredients inside. But, for other grocery items like produce or bagged frozen foods, damage to the product might indicate spoiled goods and not be worth the potential lowered price. Still, if you want to stock up on some canned goods, grab some dented cans and see if you can get a price drop on them.
Walmart’s coupon policy is a big shopping hack
One of the best money-saving hacks ever is to use coupons. Yes, at outdated as clipping coupons might sound, these little scraps of paper can save you some seriously big bucks at the end of the day. They also have some other perks. First of all, you don’t always have to clip coupons to get a bargain. Plenty of websites and smartphone apps now offer coupons that you can save on your phone and use in-store or online, making the whole process much more convenient for busy shoppers. Additionally, couponing at Walmart has some significant benefits of its own.
Walmart doesn’t typically offer coupon doubling, nor do they allow you to stack coupons, but they do offer cash back if the coupon is worth more than the item itself (via The Penny Hoarder). It might sound strange, but if you have a coupon for $1.00 off a certain brand of chips, but the store has them already on sale for $0.75, then you could get that $0.25 difference applied to your order total. Small as that might be, it could add up before you know it. Saving on grocery shopping is often a long-term game, after all. Plus, if you can find the right kinds of coupons, you basically get free chips or other foods for free. Who can argue with that?
Pay attention to Walmart price tags
Pretty much every store out there has a way of marking down items, time and again, to ensure that it leaves the store. First, they’ll mark it down a little, then a bit more, until eventually there’s only one off-brand bottle of Walmart’s house wine left on sale. While there’s no way to know whether or not an item will definitely be marked down more, Walmart does have a little-known hack for ensuring that you are for sure getting the best deal on discounted grocery store items.
According to BestLife, if you look at the last digit on the marked-down price tag, you’ll be able to tell whether or not there’s a chance of the item being marked down even more. If the price ends in a "7," that’s the original price. Therefore, you aren’t really getting a discount. But, when the item ends in a "5", it’s been marked down once. Items ending in a "0" or even a "1" like, say, $4.91 are as low as they’re going to get. If you find something for that discounted price, you may as well snag it now before it’s gone.
Check out the shopping hacks in Walmart’s meat department
Unlike the "fresh" produce at Walmart, their meat department is actually pretty impressive. If you or your family are meat-eaters, then you need to check out the Walmart meat department. There, you’ll find a wide selection of poultry, beef, sausage, and seafood items, along with plenty of fresh and frozen options as well. However, even at Walmart, meat can be expensive. So, if you need to grab a few packages of meat for your weekly meal prep, then there is a good time you can go. However, you might need to set an alarm.
Specifically, Go Banking Rates reports that Walmart tends to lower the cost of their meats in the morning. When meat doesn’t sell the day before, Walmart needs to move it off the shelves before it expires. So, they lower the cost. That discounted meat usually appears right around 8:00 a.m. That meat is still perfectly fine, as Walmart won’t sell anything past its expiration date. Also, you can freeze it when you get home if you won’t cook it right away. Sure, you’ll have to wake up a bit earlier than you may want to do on your normal grocery shopping day, but the deals are arguably worth it.
Check for Walmart clearance grocery items
Obviously, Walmart offers some pretty deep discounts on just about everything they carry in-store and online, including a variety of grocery items. According to Lifehacker, Walmart is one of the retailers, along with Amazon, that often changes its prices on items throughout the week. Unlike Target, which changes the most costs on Tuesdays and Sundays, Walmart changes the price of things every day, sometimes making it hard to know if you’re truly getting the best deal. Some careful attention to the physical location of your grocery store favorites can help make a big difference, however.
However, that being said, Walmart does tend to place clearance items towards the back of a department or on end caps (via The Penny Hoarder). Because the clearance items are not always under a giant "clearance" sign, they might be hard to find. If you’re intent on finding clearance deals, make sure you check all the end caps in the Walmart grocery department. Your favorite pretzels, beverages, or even baking essentials could all be marked down lower than they are in their usual section.
Walmart’s frozen section is one huge shopping hack
Along with meat and produce, frozen food items are pretty much a staple for most people’s grocery lists. Whether you’re shopping for a family of six or just yourself, frozen items are great to have on hand. Frozen vegetables are also generally way healthier than canned veggies. Fortunately, Walmart’s frozen food items are typically cheaper than other grocery stores. They also have a good variety of options for shoppers to peruse.
Even items that you may assume are cheap everywhere can add up. The difference in the price of a bag of frozen veggies may only come out to a matter of cents between stores, but any who’s had to shop for a big household or considered their long-term budget will tell you that even small price differences matter. Walmart’s large array of cheap frozen items can also help make eating healthy easier and cheaper.