I’m always looking for ways to stretch my budget, so when Walmart announced it’s new Savings Catcher program, I was interested in trying it out. The concept is simple enough: You shop at Walmart. You submit your receipts. Walmart checks to see if you could have gotten those items for less someplace else, and if they do find lower prices elsewhere, they deposit the difference into an account for you.
But can you really save money with Walmart’s Savings Catcher?
I started my experiment with Walmart’s Savings Catcher when the program first rolled out in my region 6 weeks ago. Over the course of those 6 weeks, I submitted a total of 10 receipts. I shopped just as I always do – buying the things I needed with coupons and when they were on sale. I continued to shop at other stores as usual. All I did was make it a point to submit my receipts right away.
Most of the time, Walmart could not find lower prices. But on two occasions, they did, and I now have $5.14 available to me on a Walmart e-gift card. But is it right for you?
There are some pros and cons to using Walmart’s Savings Catcher that you will want to know about before you sign up.
It’s relatively easy to earn cash back. All you have to do is submit your receipts within 7 days. Walmart scours the prices of it’s competitors and you’ll be alerted within 72 hours whether they’ve found lower prices elsewhere.
You don’t need a smartphone to use Savings Catcher. There are still people on the planet who don’t have (or want) a smartphone. They can still use Savings Catcher by going directly to the Walmart Savings Catcher website and entering their receipt information there. If you enter your phone number on your account, you can submit your receipts right at the register by entering your phone number when you check out.
Two ways to cash out. You can choose to receive your earnings from Savings Catcher in the form of a Walmart e-gift card (which can be used online or in stores. Or you can choose to have it put on an American Express Bluebird card and use it any place debit cards are accepted. (Right now, you can earn double your amount back when you get the Bluebird card).
You can do your shopping at one store. If you don’t have to have to shop at several stores to score the best deals, and you don’t want to bother with price matching at Walmart or other stores, than you can just let the Savings Catcher do the work for you.
You have to shop at Walmart. There are plenty of reasons you may not want to shop at Walmart. And you may not want to allow them to know about your shopping habits. While I don’t mind shopping there, it’s not always my first choice. I would rather support locally owned stores when possible. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what’s best for you.
Savings Catcher excludes quite a few products. It currently doesn’t compare prices on store brands (which I buy a lot of), deli, bakery, and meat department items, and items like electronics, toys and clothing.
You have to remember to submit your receipts within 7 days. When I first started using the program, I wasn’t very good about remembering to submit my receipts, so I missed out on potential savings opportunities. One solution for this is to link your Savings Catcher account to your phone number so you can automatically submit your receipt to Savings Catcher. But that means you have to share your phone number.
It doesn’t always catch all the savings. There have been a few instances in which Walmart has missed some savings. There is a process to contest any errors, but that’s, well, a process.
So can you really save money with Walmart’s Saving Catcher?
I think you can definitely save a little bit of money with Walmart’s Savings Catcher, but don’t expect to save a ton of cash. After all, Walmart likes to say that it has the lowest prices, and they work pretty hard to make sure that’s true. My own experience showed that there were lower prices elsewhere just 20 percent of the time.
If you’re a frequent Walmart shopper – especially one who often buys name brand groceries and health and beauty products – the likelihood of catching some significant. savings increases.
Overall, I found Walmart’s Savings Catcher worth using. It only took me a few minutes to score an extra $5.14 through the program, and that’s money I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
What’s been your experience with Walmart’s Savings Catcher? Have you saved any money using it?
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I’ve been thinking about doing this. Thanks for the post!
Money Beagle says
It sounds about what I expected it to be, enough hook to drag people in but not enough bite to make it a slam dunk win for the consumer. And, as you pointed out, in order for it to have a chance at working, you have to shop at WalMart, which is pretty much a deal breaker for me!
surprisingly they had tomatoes at a lower price in another local store so that has been my only savings so far after 5 receipts
Maybe… But one has to ask what’s in it for WalMart. Well — they are providing themselves with quite a bit of marketing information for basically FREE. What are competitors charging and which prices are good enough to make a person shop elsewhere? Local market information is one of WalMart’s strengths — they compete locally. This may or may not be a good thing — just be aware that there is probably a motive behind their largesse!
Christina Brown says
I don’t doubt that for a second, Pam! They’re tracking what other stores are doing, they’re tracking what people are buying, and then they’re putting the savings on a gift card you have to use at their store. Pretty brilliant strategy for them, when you think about it. How good is it for the consumer? Too soon to tell!
I have been using the savings catcher for about 6 weeks. I have a total of $2.22. I’m not making a lot of money from it but I have enjoyed participating in it. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to rich from it or from clipping coupons
I’m curious about the doubling program through bluebird. Why didn’t you cash out that way to double your savings? I want to know if there are any ‘tricks’ in doing that. One thing I had a hard time understanding in reading about it was whether you can use your walmart buck$ from bluebird then pay the remaining balance from your regular debit card? (vs having to transfer money to the bluebird card to cover the entire transaction)
Christina Brown says
I wasn’t familiar enough with Bluebird to make that decision. It seems to me if they’re doubling your money, there is some kind of catch… My guess is that they want you to keep putting money on your Bluebird account so that they can track how you spend money at other places. That’s purely speculation, of course.
As for the second part of your question – You can always pay more than one way. For example, I had a rebate card that had $8 on it, but my total was $19… I spent the $8 from the rebate card and then $11 from my debit account. I’m sure it would work the same way with the gift card or the Bluebird card.
Kim White says
I tried to contest a price when I tested how it works. Turns out in my area they do not compare the prices to the comperable stores in my area. They compare only to the flyers from the highest priced stores in my area.
Christina Brown says
That’s interesting. I have noticed that it does not seem to compare to any local chain stores, either… only larger, national chains.
Savings Catcher failed to find the price for items on sale at Shaw’s and Market Basket in NH. Had to return them since I was not willing to pay that much for butter or sauce. They dispose of returned foods, which is sad.
Christina Brown says
That’s disappointing. Were they store brands or name brands?
They were name brand like Land O Lake and Francesco Rinaldi. I’m still doing Savings Catcher but it’s getting to be a pain. They’re still fail to match Shaw’s low prices and a few of the items. I guess it all depends on who is processing your receipt. When I contacted them each response was different, but similar in that they sound like excuses to not give us the lower prices found elsewhere. I like having Bluebird for doubling the savings and though I’ve gotten a good amount back I do spend a lot initially.
Because of the disagreement and the hassle of having to contact customer service every time, I plan on discontinuing on non returnable items, food related anyways.
I just discovered the saving catcher from wal Mart a week ago . I have had success with the program .in two weeks I have received $20.56 I cashed out got an e gift card I had no problem useing it at the checkout with my smart phone I always wanted to coupon but never had the time to me this is program is great.we are a family of four and live in California so everything is so expensive . As much as I don’t want to shop at walmart that’s where we end up.my husband and I speend between $600-$1000 a month at Wal-Mart . I’m thankful I discovered this program to bad I didn’t discoved it sooner.
I think instead of doing it local to what ever town or state you live in because I’ve came across better deals on items for example pops/soda was 4 for 12 but in another I had found a sale 5 for 10 they just need to compt for every store in the world that even means family owned stores to. A reason I believe they only check the big player’s of the store game is because they dont want to be beaten by the little guy. And a reason they dont do the items that “are not” allowed like electronic items like t.v. music and dvds are because they are scared of losing so much money ive found cds and dvds at other stores that were much lower but aperently you are not allowed to do that