Want to save money at Walmart without a single change to your actual shopping practices with them?
[Editor Note: Disappointingly, Walmart decided to cancel their Savings Catcher program in early 2019.]
Who doesn’t love saving money, right? In fact, that’s likely a big reason why some of us visit Walmart in the first place.
In our family we go to Walmart first, then Publix if we still need more things, then occasionally Harris Teeter- but only for items specifically on sale with them (because, at least locally here, they’re more expensive than other options).
So if you are going to Walmart anyway you should be aware of the Walmart mobile app. This is an image of the iPhone version of the app that I have installed on my phone. It does all the normal things like let you place orders online for delivery, but it also has some neat in-store features. One of the features I use regularly is the price-scanner option. If you can’t find the price of an item you can scan the barcode from within the app and it will tell you the price. Nice.
That’s not the feature I’m writing about today though. The feature, that everyone should be made aware of – and actually use – is called the Walmart Savings Catcher.
Walmart Savings Catcher
The Savings Catcher option isn’t always noticed by people who have the app. I can’t remember how I originally stumbled on it. From that image above, notice the little green piggy in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. If you scroll down and click that icon it opens the Savings Catcher feature.
What this feature does is allow you to scan your Walmart receipt after you’ve made a purchase. If the barcode isn’t clear and can’t be read by the app, you can also enter in the numbers from the receipt (which seems to often be the case – they must run their receipt printers right down to empty) and the purchase date. If you have to manually enter the information, Walmart will take a day or two to “look up” and match what you entered against their store records. If the scan works, it will find the receipt instantly and even let you see a digital copy of the purchases online.
After you have the receipt entered into the system, Walmart will actually price-compare everything you bought to all other local stores advertised prices. So if you buy Silk Almond milk at Walmart for $2.99 but it is on sale over at Harris Teeter for $2.50, Walmart will find that and will actually credit the difference back to you!
Does it catch all the deals?
No, it doesn’t. It catches the clearly documented ones though. I’ve yet to find a documented sale priced item that it didn’t find on its own. It does have to be a specific sale price though (as in my example above). It won’t match buy-one-get-one-free specials or percentage off specials. If you think about it, this makes sense. Walmart doesn’t always know (or care) what the retail cost is of every item at every other store. Some store could have their milk priced almost double of what Walmart charges but then run frequent BOGO deals. I wouldn’t expect Walmart to try to track and figure all that out. Similar with any percentage-off specials.
But if something has a specific advertised price – Walmart does a good job of catching it and crediting the money back to you.
How much can I save doing this?
Who cares – it’s free money! Okay, seriously, doing this isn’t going to make you rich. Walmart already has some pretty low prices; sometimes even lower than sale prices at other stores. When it does find matched specials they are commonly under a dollar (each), so the money adds up slowly. Many times it won’t find any matches, but other times it will find several matches.
You can see in my screenshot to the right a few of the trips I made to Walmart, how much I spent, and how much (if any) I got credited back. Just doing some quick math it looks like 1-2% of the total purchase when it does find matches. Hey, that’s not too bad!
You can also see to the right my current total available – $6.20 as of writing this. That is money that has collected over the past few months. It’s not a ton of money but if someone handed you $6 and some change, wouldn’t you take it? That’s enough for some milk and eggs (at least in my store).
How do you redeem the credited money?
When you are ready to “cash in” your credits, you can click the Get It Back button right there on the app screen. Then the most popular option (from other people I know who use this) is to let Walmart email a digital gift card to you. Then you can either print it out or hand your phone to the cashier when you are checking out. They need to scan the barcode that is going to be on the email message so that it deducts from your total.
This is real money – no catches like “must spend $50 to use $5” as I’ve seen in some other reward programs. There aren’t any limitations on redemption that I’m aware of.
Don’t have the app installed? Go get it now – it is free and only takes a moment. Then when you have it installed and start using it, it only takes a few seconds to get the receipt entered after you complete your Walmart purchases.
Quick side note: They also have a web-based interface to do these same steps – except the scanning. When using the web version you always need to enter the receipt number, which works, but it, of course, a bit more work. No reason you can’t use both options though depending on your need.
I just checked my “gift card history” online and see that so far – not counting the $6.20 currently available – I’ve saved and redeemed $67.16 using this Savings Catcher feature. Nice! I love saving money – especially when it doesn’t require me to change my spending habits or do much additional work.
So go download the app, start using it, and start getting free money back from Walmart. And let us know in the comments if you have any other great-yet-easy money saving tips.