The Hidden Walmart Clearance Trick You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

For many consumers, Walmart is already a big component of their overall shopping and money-saving strategy. Where else can you buy groceries, electronics, furniture, and new tires for your car all under one roof with no membership fees? The company touts its "Everyday Low Prices" strategy, but savvy consumers know that there are some additional, hidden ways to save.

The natural environment of the bargain hunter is the clearance aisle. All Walmart stores have a dedicated clearance aisle with random items from all different store departments at heavily reduced prices. It's easy to make a quick trip down this aisle during every trip to Walmart looking for steals. Some folks even have a side hustle buying clearance items and reselling them online at sites like Amazon or eBay. 

The flaw in that strategy — either for personal use or for flipping — is that everyone and their dog knows about the clearance aisle. So unless your timing is perfect — when stock has recently been replenished — you'll frequently find the clearance selection picked over or otherwise not worth purchasing. But did you know that there are clearance items hidden in plain sight throughout the store? You just have to know where and how to look.

Search high and low, literally

Outside the clearance aisle, some clearance items can be identified by a yellow clearance price tag sticker or sometimes even a large yellow banner above the section of products. But many deals might not be marked at all, so how do you find them? Some expert shoppers suggest scanning Walmart shelves for items that look out of place. That is, products that aren't similar to those around them.

For example, a shopper named Elise who created TikTok videos under the username @MommingAndSaving mentions finding ready-to-heat side dishes like mashed potatoes amid a freezer full of Impossible Foods products. When scanned, the mashed potatoes rang up at $3 per package rather than their normal price of $7.98. Similarly, Elise located a large scented jar candle for just $1, scattered among pricier, smaller-sized candles.

Finally, there's an old slogan in retail that states "eye level is buy level," which uses the logic that customers will purchase what's directly in front of their faces and easy to access. To score bargains, you'll need to get limber to search the top and bottom shelves. Once again, focusing on products that look like they might not belong.  

Turn your smartphone into a barcode scanner

Don't rely on seeing the telltale yellow clearance sticker on all marked-down items, though. The reason may be that Walmart corporate has decided to mark down the item, but the individual store isn't on the same page. It either hasn't been notified by corporate yet or team members haven't gotten around to adding the clearance label. 

Therefore, an absolute must for any frequent Walmart shopper is to download the chain's app for iOS or Android. Once in the app, click "Services," then select the "Check a price" tool. Make sure that the app recognizes the store where you're shopping or else manually select that store so the pricing data is accurate. Congratulations, you've turned your smartphone into a barcode reader.

Now, you can easily check items that might look out of place to see if they're unmarked clearance. For that matter, even items with the yellow clearance may have been further reduced without the label getting updated. Experts recommend doing your reconnaissance in the first five days of each month, when the likelihood of recent markdowns is greater.