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Walmart is the world’s largest retailer—a gargantuan purveyor of goods that boasts 240 million shoppers every week.

That means it’s likely that anyone reading this article has spent at least a little time in a Walmart store sometime over the past year. But if you have, that doesn’t necessarily mean you got the most out of your Walmart experience.

While Walmart boasts some of the lowest prices around, on name-brand and store-brand items alike, a little time and effort could yield even greater savings than what the average Walmart shopper enjoys.

Read on, and I’ll talk to you about some of the biggest mistakes standing between you and the best Walmart deals. I’ll talk to you about ways to guarantee you’re getting the best value possible, not just on the 100,000-plus products in Walmart stores and the millions of products on Walmart.com, but also on services both inside and outside the Walmart ecosphere.


Avoid These Walmart Shopping Mistakes

never buy these walmart boxes

Shopping at Walmart is already easy and affordable—but there are several ways to amplify both qualities.

For one, taking a few moments to sign up for services might end up saving you a substantial amount of time later. Similarly, remembering a few easy tricks can ensure you’re always getting the lowest prices possible.

But perhaps one of the most powerful ways to get the most out of Walmart is to get out of your own way! So today, I’ll walk you through some unforced Walmart shopping errors you should try to avoid from now on.

1. Not Signing Up for Walmart+

common mistakes walmart plus app

In 2020, Walmart launched the Walmart+ subscription service as a way to counter Amazon’s many-tentacled Amazon Prime service.

One of its biggest perks is free shipping on items, though there are some limitations. You can receive free shipping on items, with no order minimum, as long as those items are “shipped by Walmart.” This term refers to items shipped by Walmart broadly. However, items can also be shipped from your local Walmart store—and they only qualify for free delivery if your total is at least $35. Meanwhile, oversized and freight items, as well as items from third-party sellers not shipped by Walmart, are not eligible for free shipping.

Need ingredients for tonight’s dinner? Take advantage of free same-day grocery delivery—again, with a $35 order minimum. You can even get your groceries delivered inside your garage or put directly in your fridge through Walmart+ InHome! (This is an excellent way to avoid porch pirates stealing your deliveries.)

Other Walmart+ perks include:

  • Free returns from your home (must be present for pickup)
  • Early access to special promotions, such as online Black Friday deals
  • Gas price savings at 13,000+ locations, including Sam’s Club, Walmart, Exxon, Mobil, and more.
  • Quicker in-store shopping with Scan & Go
  • Free flat tire repair and free road hazard warranty on new tires at Walmart Auto Care Centers (restrictions apply)
  • Paramount+ Essential plan
  • Select ad-free streaming content with Pluto TV
  • Up to 5% Walmart Cash on Expedia bookings 

Walmart+ costs $12.95 per month or $98 per year, plus applicable taxes. Walmart currently offers a 30-day free trial of the service.

Related: 12 Best Apps That Give You Money for Signing Up [Free Money]

2. Not Downloading the Walmart App

walmart mistakes app download

“There’s an app for that!” 

Apple’s long-ago slogan has become a truism—just about every major company has a mobile app, and Walmart is no exception. But while some apps are used once and quickly forgotten about, frequent shoppers can get a lot of miles out of the Walmart app

No longer must you drive to the store only to find out they don’t carry an item you need. The Walmart app allows users to see if a nearby store has the item you’re looking for, and if so, where within the store it can be found.

Consumers can check prices and make in-store purchases through Walmart Pay. People with the Walmart+ subscription can use the Scan & Go feature to scan while they shop and check out with no contact.

Additional useful features include:

  • Creating shopping lists
  • Redeeming manufacturer offers
  • Registering for weddings & other events
  • Scheduling immunizations
  • Virtually trying on glasses and/or clothes
  • Seeing how furniture and other decor would look in your home

The Walmart app is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Related: 17 Best Investment Apps and Platforms [Free + Paid]

3. Not Comparing Online + In-Store Prices

walmart mistakes in store price

Sure, most of the time, the price Walmart charges for an item will be the same online and at a brick-and-mortar store.

But not all of the time.

Walmart itself states that “the merchandise and prices available on our website do not reflect the merchandise and prices available in our stores.” That can be true in several ways—which is why it’s worth checking both when you can. The online cost might sometimes be cheaper, and you can still get these discounts even if you schedule an in-store pickup. But Walmart also provides an explanation as to why in-store pricing might be cheaper:

“Prices may vary from store to store because each store is required to manage its own inventory. Therefore, a manager may lower a price to clear out an overstock item, to reward customers with an in-store sale, or to compete with local merchants.”

That said, consumers must be in a store to see in-store pricing.


Related: How to Get Free Stocks for Signing Up: 8 Apps w/Free Shares

4. Not Asking for Price Matches

walmart mistakes best price match

Sorry: Walmart doesn’t price-match competitors’ in-store or online prices. However, U.S. Walmart stores will often match the price of an item if it’s cheaper on Walmart.com. So if you’re at a store and a quick online search shows the same product in stock on the website at a lower price, you can ask an associate if a price match is possible. 

This only applies to identical items. The transaction also might need a supervisor’s approval, making this a less-than-ideal option if you’re in a rush. Special event deals, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, cannot be matched and additional restrictions apply. Still, it never hurts to ask. And price matches are a great way to save money and still get your product right away, rather than waiting for it to ship.

Related: 11 Best Debit Cards for Kids

5. Avoiding Walmart-Branded Items

grocery store investment shopping

Walmart has assuredly built its name on pricing, not quality. But that doesn’t mean you should automatically dismiss Walmart-branded items, either. In some cases, these items are tremendously cheaper but only a modest step down in quality. In other cases, these products are comparable to (if not better than) their name-brand competition.

For example, Great Value Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips currently cost $1.98 for an eight-ounce bag, and they earn an average star rating of 4.4 stars (out of five). Comparatively, a similar-sized bag of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips costs $3.00 and has a mere 4.1-star rating.

Similarly, a 30-fluid-ounce container of Great Value Mayo costs $3.34 and earns an average star rating of 4.3. Meanwhile, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, which earns the same star rating, usually costs $5.98 for the same-sized package.

In other words, Great Value isn’t always just cheap—sometimes, it really lives up to its name.

Related: How to Get Free Money Now [15 Ways to Earn Money]

6. Buying Nothing But Walmart-Branded Items

expiration date grocery bulk

On the flip side, even if you use Walmart as a one-stop shop, you shouldn’t lean exclusively on its store brands.

Yes, I just got done saying that Great Value and other Walmart brands can deliver exceptional value. But not always. Many of the brand-name items Walmart carries offer higher quality, and in many cases a better value proposition, than Walmart’s store brands. For example, Great Value seafood consistently has low ratings paired with scathing reviews. 

You aren’t always getting the cheapest price at Walmart either. Some products, such as organic milk or peanut butter, are regularly cheaper at competitors’ stores. 

It’s worth taking note of which products Walmart misses the mark on and making the occasional trip elsewhere to stock up on those items.

Related: Consumers Should Avoid These 10 Products at Walmart

7. Not Using Walmart Pharmacy

walmart mistakes pharmacy

Walmart’s pharmacy is extremely cost-efficient and worth a look if you’re a Walmart regular.

Through Walmart’s Prescription Program, some select generic drugs cost as low as $4 for a 30-day supply or $10 for a 90-day supply. (Exact prices vary by state.) Many customers can even get free shipping on prescriptions if it’s more convenient to have them sent to your home. 

People with prescriptions can easily transfer their prescriptions to a Walmart pharmacy, then quickly refill them when necessary. 

In 30 states, women can discuss birth control options with a Walmart pharmacist and get an appropriate prescription. The assessment costs only $70, and that’s without health insurance. Customers can also get popular vaccines at Walmart, such as their annual flu shot, as well as COVID, pneumonia, shingles, and other vaccinations.

Don’t forget about your pets: Your animal prescriptions can also be transferred to a Walmart pharmacy.

Related: 9 Monthly Dividend Stocks for Frequent, Regular Income

8. Not Signing Up for Gift Registries

gift card certificate

Walmart might not be the first store that comes to mind when it’s time to create a wedding or baby shower gift registry, but it’s still worth considering.

The U.S. is home to more than 4,600 brick-and-mortar Walmart locations, meaning no matter where your wedding guests live, they likely have at least one Walmart nearby. You can also add items from Walmart.com to your registry, giving you a much broader selection than just what’s in your local store.

Walmart provides you with tracking details any time a gift is purchased off your list—but it won’t say what the present is or how much it costs. Only after an item is delivered will you learn who purchased them and receive any accompanying messages. You also will receive gift receipts in case a present isn’t what you envisioned and you want to return it.

I think Walmart registries for baby showers are a true hidden gem. This Walmart registry type allows for free 365-day returns on all eligible diapers. So if your infant never ends up fitting into certain clothes or diapers, you can easily trade those unusable presents for money.

Related: 9 Best Debit Cards for Teens [Reviewed by a Father + CPA]

9. Not Selling Walmart Your Old Gadgets

obsolete technolog recycle bin trash

Do you have old technology taking up space in your home? You may be able to trade in those obsolete gadgets for a Walmart eGift card through the Walmart Gadgets to Gift Cards program. 

The program currently includes products from the following trade-in categories:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Game consoles 
  • Voice speakers
  • Laptops
  • Wearables

Consumers must look up their device on the website, then answer a few questions. They will receive an offer for their trade-in. If they like the offer, they can proceed to ship their item to CExchange for free through FedEx or UPS Ground with a prepaid shipping label. Walmart evaluates the product and sends over a Walmart eGift Card for the agreed-upon amount.

Related: From Innovation to Obsolete: 10 Disappearing Technologies

10. Skipping the Clearance Section

walmart mistakes summer clearance sale section

Walmart is generally uber-affordable in the first place, but you find some massive bargain prices in Walmart’s clearance sections, which exist both in physical stores and online.

A quick glance online, for instance, shows a 12-in-one bottle warmer originally priced at $129.99 marked down to $27.99. (We’d add more examples, but clearance prices frequently change, so every example would quickly become outdated.)

If you want to be an uber-thrifty Walmart shopper, pay attention to the last digit of a price to find the best deals. Prices ending in the number seven (example: $5.97) are full prices for the item. Those ending in a five ($5.85) or zero ($5.70) are the first markdown prices. Final markdown prices end in the number one. In other words, if you see a product priced at $5.51, it probably won’t ever get cheaper than that.


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Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper has been a professional writer since 2016 and has worked with WealthUp (formerly Young & the Invested) since 2019.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was still immersed in words through previous roles as a library specialist and teacher. Her background in education helps her take complex topics and turn them into easy-to-understand text.

Hannah holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. When she isn’t writing, Hannah is usually found playing with her niece and nephew, traveling, or brewing more coffee.