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Pretty much everyone loves a good sale. For bonafide bargain hunters, though, scoring an amazing deal is not just a bonus — it’s an essential component of their lifestyle. But make no mistake: it’s hard work.
We’re talking about people who not only would never shop full retail, but combine multiple savings strategies like coupons, rebate apps and clearance sales to get the lowest prices possible. Sometimes these super shoppers play the game so well, they actually get money back — it’s like they’re being paid to shop.
Yahoo Life did a deep dive with some of the most clever discount shoppers out there. One thing they all have in common? They love to bargain hunt at Walmart and on Walmart.com — and their Walmart app and Walmart+ membership are their secret weapons.
We asked what kinds of tricks they have up their sleeves to save thousands of dollars on each shopping trip or score insane clearance deals — sometimes less than $1 — that Walmart employees don’t even know about!
Here are a few genius tricks they revealed.
Sarah Luderer: "Clip virtual coupons and sync them to your Walmart+ account for online grocery orders"
Bargain shoppers tell Yahoo Life time and again that they prefer to shop Walmart Grocery over their local supermarkets simply because they find better prices at Walmart. But, ya know, that’s a trick for everyday shoppers. Super shoppers, though? They work every angle possible to get their Walmart Grocery bills down as low as they can.
Case in point: Missouri mom Sarah Luderer of the lifestyle blog Super Savvy Sarah. This is a woman who is so focused on lowering her grocery bills that she used to drive to every supermarket in town to score the best prices on each item. Then she discovered Walmart Grocery...and then she discovered virtual couponing sites like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Checkout 51 and Coupons.com, where discounts can be applied directly to her Walmart.com order.
“You can clip virtual coupons, and then you can sync them to your Walmart+ account,” Sarah told Yahoo Life. “And when the order goes through, it'll credit that money to your account. Recently, for example, I found [on Ibotta] a food brand that has a no-sugar-added barbecue sauce. It was $1 off a $4 bottle. Sometimes it's hit or miss, but usually you can get pretty good deals if you're willing to spend a few minutes clipping those virtual coupons, which doesn’t take too long.”
If you’re not yet a Walmart+ member, it’s time to change that. A Walmart+ account is a must for any Walmart shopper. It’s just $12.95 a month or $98 a year (after that 15-day free trial). A membership with Walmart+ — the store’s customer loyalty program — gets you free grocery pickup or, in some areas, free grocery shipping. In fact, you get free shipping on anything you purchase, providing your order is $35 or more. Walmart+ also has a fuel discount program, which saves you a potential five cents per gallon of gasoline at Walmart & Murphy stations.
Melea Johnson: "Scrutinize the barcodes on all Walmart price tags"
Astute bargain hunters know you can use the Walmart app to scan the barcode of any Walmart product to find out if it’s on “hidden” clearance. Never heard of hidden clearance? It basically means that clearance-priced items are sitting on Walmart shelves with full-retail price stickers on them. The only way to know that, say, a $50 blender is actually on clearance for $5 is to scan it and see — or just accidentally find out during checkout, as many shoppers do.
Bargain hunters, though, are more intentional and strategic. They already know they have a hidden clearance item on their hands — and sometimes they buy out the inventory.
Melea Johnson, a bargain hunter from Utah and star of the YouTube channel The Melea Show, takes barcode scanning to the next level. She scans with her eyes, too, and you can say she’s cracked the [bar]code.
“Any yellow clearance tag that ends in a double zero means that it's final sale, which means that it's not going to get any cheaper than that price that you see. So it's a great idea to buy the item when you see it because the price is not going to get cheaper,” Melea told Yahoo Life. “There's also a tricky thing that happens where sometimes you'll see a white tag that's not clearance [and the number] ends in a double zero. Those items are not clearance, or not final sale. Make sure it's a yellow tag that says clearance and has a double zero [at the end] so you know you're getting the best possible price on it.”
“There's also another scenario where you might see a yellow clearance tag that ends in a five. If it isn't a five, that means that it's on clearance, but that it has a potential to go even cheaper,” she added. “So in that situation, I tell people that they should maybe wait. If there's a lot of that item, wait until the price gets marked down a little bit more. But if there’s only one or a few, you might want to grab that item because the next time you come, it would be gone before it even gets marked down further!”
Angel and Manny: "Timing is everything — stick to the bargain-hunting season"
True discount shoppers know how to time their excursions to score the best possible deals. They save up their energy for specific times of the day, month and year.
Take Angel and Manny, a Florida-based shopping duo and stars of the YouTube channel Angel on the Go, for instance. They once saved $2,250 in one shopping trip at Walmart. It’s not uncommon for them to save more than $1,000 on a single haul. To game the system like this, you’ve got to get up with the birds. Pre-Covid, this couple arrived at Walmart at the crack of dawn: 3 or 4am! That’s how they know they’ll have the first pass at everything.
Angel and Manny also like to shop the first five days of each month, when the best deals hit. And they wait for the very end of a season (keep an eye out for end-of-summer deals) or the day after a holiday (hello, July 5th!), when Walmart cuts prices on leftover items by up to 90 percent. Not all of it is in the clearance section though — remember to fire up your Walmart app to find the hidden clearance deals!
That’s what Angel and Manny did when they discovered that marshmallow Peeps were on sale for 10 cents a package. Much to their kids's delight, they snapped up the whole inventory and have kept the candies in their pantry ever since. This was a few days after Easter 2019, mind you, so they’ve stretched this deal pretty far. 2021 was the third year in a row they broke out these iconic little chicks — which happen to stay fresh for several years if they remain sealed in their packaging. “We didn’t know either!” jokes Angel.
“We tell our YouTube subscribers, anytime you're going to buy a seasonal item after the holiday, like candy, you want to look at the date,” he told Yahoo Life. “In fact, a lot of people like seasonal cereal or candy that only comes out certain times during the year. If you buy them at a discounted price – like we bought mint M&Ms for 90 percent off [at the end of the Christmas season],” you can hold onto them for as long as they’ll stay fresh and enjoy them year-round. The incredible savings just make them extra delicious!
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