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Lydia Senn knows how to think on her feet. These days, the Alabama native has four kids (all in single digits!) and works as a virtual assistant, so she’s learned how to juggle a brood while managing a household and a full-time job. But back in the day, Lydia held another title: Walmart cashier.
It’s safe to say that the skills she learned there were transferable, because now she uses those tricks of the trade to save big bucks as a Walmart customer.
“I think that Walmart has cracked the code on what busy working moms need,” Lydia told Yahoo Life about the intersection between Walmart in-store shopping and online shopping. “We're still able to fulfill our daily needs, buy our regular groceries and buy those little special things that we need throughout the year, all in one place, and from our phones.”
To this end, Lydia credits the Walmart app and her Walmart+ account for making online shopping convenient and cost-conscious, because she simply doesn’t have time (or money) to waste. Lydia spends much of her time figuring out how to make her family's dollars stretch — but she doesn't keep that intel all to herself. She shares her tips with more than 72,000 subscribers on her frugality-themed YouTube channel and on her blog, FrugalDebtFreeLife.com.
We got Lydia to press pause on her hectic schedule and share a few of the secrets she’s learned as a former Walmart employee — and a current resourceful working mom — for shopping smart and scoring deals at Walmart and on Walmart.com. Prepare for your cart to runneth over.
“Get your produce early in the morning.”
When Lydia shops Walmart Grocery, she’s in it to win it — and by ‘it,” we mean the freshest, juiciest, crispiest fruits and veggies for the lowest prices possible. “If you’re going to do a Walmart pickup or delivery, try to schedule it for earlier in the day because the produce is cold overnight and restocked early in the morning,” she says.
By “pickup,” Lydia is referring to one of the many perks of a Walmart+ membership, which lets you order your groceries online and schedule a pickup or delivery (depending on your area, one or both may be available), all free of charge with no required purchase minimum.
The typical fee for Walmart Grocery delivery is $7.95 to $9.95 per delivery — and even if you choose free pickup, there’s a $30 required minimum. But for just $12.95 a month (or $98 a year), your Walmart+ membership wipes out both of those rules and saves you a ton of money, especially if you grocery shop often. On average, a Walmart+ account saves customers $816 a year on grocery deliveries.
In fact, anything you order on Walmart.com is delivered free of charge, with no purchase minimum, when you have a Walmart+ account.
“Use this secret price tag hack to find the lowest discounts on Walmart products.”
As an astute super saver, Lydia knows that she can use her Walmart app for what’s known in the bargain hunting world as “secret clearance shopping.” This means that at any given time, in any given Walmart store, there’s a landmine of rock-bottom clearance deals hiding in plain sight with their price stickers (mistakenly) reflecting full retail — but only because Walmart employees haven’t gotten around to updating them (and maybe never will).
The onus is on the shopper to discover these deals either accidentally at checkout or, more methodically, on purpose while shopping. In order to find these deals, you simply have to open your Walmart app, scan an item's barcode, and the app will reveal its true price. In other words, that $10 face cream in your cart might actually be on clearance in that very store for $5 — or in a nearby store for just $1 (simply input your zip code and it’ll show availability at all stores in the vicinity).
But...because Lydia used to work with Walmart price tags, she can also decipher whether that sale price is the lowest price she’s gonna get, or if Walmart is going to discount that face cream further. “I can tell you as a former Walmart employee, if the SKU on the little yellow markdown tag ends in a 1 or a 0, that’s the final price.” If it’s not a 1 or a 0, it’s up to you to decide if you want to wait until the product is discounted further or snap it up while it’s still in stock.
“Buy kids’ Christmas gifts in July — that’s when Walmart has its big toy clearance.”
It’s no secret that Walmart discounts seasonal products at the end of the season to push out inventory, but Lydia let us in on something she remembers from her days as an employee: July is the time of year when toys go on clearance. So if you’re trying to stock up on stuff to put under the tree, get yourself in a holiday mindset in the middle of summer.
That’s what Lydia and her husband did a few Christmases ago. “Our son is a huge Legos fan, and we wanted to get him toys from Lego Movie 2,” she said. “My husband found a Lego set for $150 in the store. It wasn’t marked as a sale. But he pulled out his phone, scanned it and it was just $75. So we bought it and hid it in the closet for months!”
“The Walmart app’s Scan & Go feature will save you a ton of time if you’re as busy as me!”
“I used the Walmart app a lot around the holiday season, which was fantastic because I didn’t have to stand in line,” Lydia told Yahoo Life. What does the Walmart app have to do with the checkout process? It’s simple: One of the app’s most convenient features is Scan & Go, which lets you shop from the comfort of home, pick up your products in store, scan your digital receipt at the door and walk right out — no standing in line required.
“That was a game changer. When you have to go into the store, you have to get something specific and you're in a really big hurry — like if you have a last minute party, you run in, you grab the gift, you grab your bag, you scan them and you leave.”
Lydia explained that with COVID concerns, the Walmart app’s Scan & Go feature makes it so that she can shop and check out in a contactless process. Because she’s immunocompromised, her entire family is at-risk — but that doesn’t interfere with keeping her household running.
“Making lists saves you money”
To that end, Lydia also uses the “My Lists” feature within the Walmart app to make sure she shops efficiently and avoids wasting money on things she already has. “Spoilage is a big deal for me. I don’t like to waste,” she says.
“So the first thing that I do obviously is plan around what I have already. And then I'll walk around my house, looking for what I need and then put it into the app as I think of it. I'm a busy working mom of four. I don't always have time to make a full and complete shopping list.”
With “My Lists,” she can keep a running list, scan items into the list or enter them manually and even give her husband the opportunity to add to the list from his app. It saves time, effort and money — three rewards that are priceless to Lydia and her family.
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