En español | Drawing in customers with its rock-bottom prices, Walmart now generates 1 out of every 10 retail transactions in the U.S., according to Pymnts.com. And 90 percent of Americans shop at its website or at one of its more than 4,700 stores every year, the company says. Price comparisons with other retailers confirm that buying at Walmart and Walmart.com will save you money. But you can do even better. Following up on tricks for shopping at Amazon, here are six Walmart secrets that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
1. Do join Walmart+ if you regularly shop online for groceries.
The store's new membership program, which costs $12.95 a month (or $98 a year), gets you unlimited free shipping on deliveries of groceries and other everyday items totaling $35 or more. Those delivery charges would otherwise be $7.95 to $9.95 a pop. So if you shop at least twice a month, Walmart+ will pay for itself. (This local delivery service isn't available everywhere, however, and tips are not included.) As a member, you also get unlimited free delivery, with no minimum order size, on thousands of “shipped by Walmart” nongrocery items. In addition, you get a 5-cent-per-gallon discount on fuel at Walmart and Murphy stations, and you can gas up at Sam's Club, too. Sign up for a free trial at Walmart.com/plus.
2. Do consider Walmart's credit card.
The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard gives you 5 percent back on purchases at Walmart.com and 2 percent back at Walmart stores. (You'll get 5 percent on in-store purchases for the first 12 months if you pay via the company's smartphone app.) But skip this no-annual-fee card if you can't pay your bill in full each month, since interest charges, ranging up to 27 percent, can eat up rewards and a lot more.
3. Don't pay for shipping.
Walmart.com offers free next-day delivery on thousands of nongrocery items, with a minimum order of $35 — no Walmart+ membership required. (Again, it's not available everywhere.) Plus, Walmart.com is now offering free at-home FedEx pickups to make online returns super easy. For groceries, you can get free same-day curbside pickup at your local store. Walmart will do the shopping for you and will even load your order into your car.
4. Do take your prescriptions to the store.
Walmart's pharmacy offers generic drugs starting at $4 a month. The generics program, which includes commonly prescribed medications such as metformin for diabetes and lisinopril for blood pressure, requires no membership fees or insurance. Just make sure you can't get an even cheaper price by using a price-comparison site like GoodRx or by asking Walmart's pharmacist how much you'd have to pay if you used your insurance card.
5. Don't forget to check for a lower price online.
The retailer's price-match policy states that if you make a purchase on Walmart.com and then find a lower price at a competitor's website, Walmart will match it. (Fine-print alert: Among other things, the competitor must be one of the 28 listed on Walmart.com. And price matches don't apply if you buy from a third-party seller.) When shopping in a Walmart store, check prices on Walmart.com. If you see an online price that's lower than the in-store price, you can get the better deal. (Walmart no longer matches competitor prices in stores.)
6. Do install apps to boost your savings.
Checkout 51, Ibotta, Coupons.com and other cash-back apps are easy to use and can be paired with cash-back credit card programs such as Walmart's. Look for Walmart-specific offers on the apps and submit a picture of your receipt after you buy. Some apps will even link directly to your loyalty card so you don't have to submit receipts, points out Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com. Each app has a different cash-out policy. Ibotta, for example, will pay you via gift cards or cash after you rack up $20 in earnings.
Lisa Lee Freeman, a consumer and shopping expert, was founder and editor in chief of ShopSmart magazine from Consumer Reports.