When you’re looking to save money, it makes sense to shop at Walmart. You can certainly find low prices there. But sometimes it can feel like we’re actually helping the Waltons live better, not ourselves. They’re already the richest family in the world, with a net worth of around $250 billion — with that last $50 billion added in the past year alone.
So while you can certainly save money there, the business isn’t everyone’s favorite to support. But here’s the thing: We can shop elsewhere, save more money and support smaller businesses sometimes, too.
Here are a few ways we can roll back our own spending and not give the uber-wealthy more of our hard-earned money:
1. Find Out Where You Can Shop Cheaper
Don’t default to Walmart.com when you need to get your shopping done. You should look for other ways to get what you need without donating to another conglomerate.
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including etsy, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop-up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.
2. Turn Your Crumpled Receipts Into Gift Cards
You don’t have to shop at Walmart’s Neighborhood Grocery store to save the most money on food. You can shop almost anywhere and still get money back — if you know the tricks to do it.
For example, a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn your grocery receipts into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt. Then start snapping photos of your recent receipts to see how many points you can earn without a single trip to the store!
Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?
3. Get $526 Back When You Shop Online
Chances are you do some of your shopping online. Whether it’s toilet paper on Amazon or a flight home for Thanksgiving, you’re probably leaving money on the table.
A free website called Rakuten has the hookup with just about every online store you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy. Even if you have to shop at Walmart, at least you can get money back from the Waltons.
In fact, since Denver resident Colleen Rice started using Rakuten, it’s sent her checks in the mail totaling $526.44. For doing nothing. Seriously. Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy, like rental cars and flights.
It takes less than 60 seconds to create a Rakuten account and start shopping. All you need is an email address, then you can immediately start shopping your go-to stores through the site.
Plus, if you use Rakuten to earn money back within the first 90 days of signing up, it’ll give you an extra $10 on the first check it sends you. Talk about money for nothing.
4. Get Paid Just For Shopping At Your Favorite Stores
Online shopping is great. It’s super convenient, and you can usually be sure you’re getting a good deal. But what if you could take it a step further and eliminate the need to ever scour the web for coupon codes and deals and let an app do it for you?
A free cash-rewards app called Drop will find you savings — and pay you — just for buying your favorite brands through its platform.
Just download the app and create an account, and you’ll get access to discounts and cash-back rewards from your favorite brands, including Amazon, Uber, lululemon, Apple and hundreds more. You can earn those rewards by shopping directly through the app or by linking your debit or credit card to effortlessly earn more points from select brands..
Even better? If you sign up today with code TPH, you’ll earn an extra 10,000 points (that’s $10!) that you can redeem for gift cards to your favorite stores once you’ve earned your first 1,000 points on Drop.
Drop has already paid out $26 million in rewards to its millions of users.
Download the app here to start earning rewards — and to claim your 10,000-point bonus before the offer’s gone.
Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.