How to Not Go Broke in Walmart

Techniques to help people shop at cheap stores effectively and avoid harmful impulse spending. These techniques work very well at discount retailers like Target, K-Mart, and the dollar stores that seem to be everywhere.


  1. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 1
    Make a list of essential items.
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    Read circulars, compare the deals each store has that week and clip coupons. If the store has a website, go there to see how much they charge for the product you want. Comparison shopping is important, because stores like Walmart have unbelievably good deals on one item to get you into that department, where other items are often priced higher than that of their competitors.
  3. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 3
    Estimate the total amount of money you will spend on these items. Only bring that amount with you in cash; no credit cards, no checks.
  4. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 4
    Comparison shop for relatively expensive items before you make your final purchase decision. If you really want the futon with wood arms for $150 instead of the all-metal futon for $93, you'll go out knowing what you want and what you're willing to spend.
  5. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 5
    Bring along a friend that acts motherly or very, very cheap; they will help you find bargains and help you stick to buying only what is on your list.
  6. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 6
    Only buy what is on the list! Try to buy generic brands (Sam's Choice, etc.) when you feel comfortable enough to do so. If you compare the ingredients, you'll discover that virtually all the time, the ingredients list is exactly the same.
  7. Image titled Not Go Broke in Walmart Step 7
    After paying your bill, do not use the change to go back to buy more.


  • Realize, that prices can and will change overtime. Highly sought after items will change prices weekly (milk, bread, etc.) but other items don't change prices as much.
  • Do not call a store asking for a price-check. Sometimes you may be misquoted. It's far easier to walk in and find the price yourself.
  • Example 1: If you didn't write "toothpaste" on your list, and you're out of toothpaste, then you won't be able to clean your teeth in your normal fashion. This would be an appropriate purchase (unless you know you can get the toothpaste cheaper from a "dollar store").
  • Another option for those who simply cannot avoid buying on impulse is to budget a small fixed amount—$2 to $3—for any "impulse" purchases. Allow yourself the freedom to get the pack of gum (90¢) or the candy bar (58¢) and can of soda (50¢, or 25¢ if you buy Sam's Choice brand) if you want. Or that $1 trial size of the expensive conditioner you've wanted to try. This "fun money" may help keep you from feeling too restricted while shopping.
  • Example 2: You see the latest album on sale, with the hit song you hear every day on the radio. If you don't purchase this, you'll still be able to hear the song on the radio. Alternatively, you could download just the hit song from iTunes or another online music service and save money. This would not be an appropriate purchase.
  • Be careful of the magazines! At almost every checkout line, they have magazines that will certainly go over your "fun money." And you will never actually "need" a magazine. If you're absolutely dying to read the news, go to Google, click on News, and you've got millions of links!
  • Consider compiling a shopping notebook. A bound composition book works great, as the pages will not tear out. In this shopping book, you can keep your shopping list(s), shopping budget, as well as prices of typical brands that you buy. By noting prices in your notebook, you will know where you can find your favorite shopping items the cheapest.
  • If you do happen to see something not on your list and you feel the urge to purchase it, ask yourself "what will realistically happen if I don't purchase this?". If it is a large purchase, walk away or go home and think about it. This won't be your only time going to shop.
  • Consider the store brand (Equate for health and beauty items, Great Value for food items, Canopy for furniture, mainstays for housewares, Ol'Roy for dog food) rather than over-priced national brands. You get the same item for a cheaper price.


  • Do not fall into the temptation of buying items placed in the check-out lane; no matter how much they are "essential" to your daily life. As an alternative, look at all of the weird stuff in the person's buggy in front of you while you wait.
  • Do not add stuff to the list after your first completed list (not after you have first decided that you have all your essentials).

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Categories: Buying Wisely