1. Money

Ratchet Up Your Walmart Savings With "Scan & Go" Program


Woman shopping with coupons in market
Hero Images/ Hero Images/ Getty Images
When it comes to the most money-saving deals, many shoppers point to Walmart as their source for the best sales and offers. In addition, Walmart has long had a generous coupon policy as one of the few big-box stores to actually give you the overage back in cash if your coupons allow you to save more than an item costs. Recently, Walmart debuted an additional new way to save, offering digital coupons that are similar to the programs employed by grocery stores.

Here’s the lowdown: The digital coupons are available to shoppers who visit stores that are part of Walmart’s ”Scan & Go” program, which is more than just digital coupons. In essence, the program allows you to scan products while you shop, bag them after you scan them, and then pay at the very end of your shopping visit without having to ring up your items again. You do all the scanning yourself during your trip, then you go to the self-checkout lane and follow the instructions on the screen to pay (which involves scanning a QR code and then choosing your payment method).

How to start: To begin participating in Scan & Go, you’ll first need to download the Walmart app for Apple or Android. Once you open the app, it will ask if it can use your location. You have the option of tapping “Don’t Allow” if you don’t want your location services feature to be on -- later you can add your location manually if you prefer. Then tap “Stores” at the bottom of the screen. If you haven’t turned on your location services, here’s where you’ll enter your location at the top of the screen. When the list of nearby stores appears, the ones with Scan & Go available will be clearly noted to the right of the address (it will actually say “Scan & Go” and have a picture of a shopping cart.) If none of the stores near you have Scan & Go available, then you unfortunately aren’t able to use the program just yet.

If, however, you do have Scan & Go at your store, then you’ll tap on the store name and it will take you to your shopping list. You can create a list on the app, but you don’t have to. However, the “List” page is where you’ll get to see which coupons are available. On the List page, tap the orange “Coupons” button in the upper-right corner of the screen, and you’ll see a list as shown in the photo at the top of this page. If you plan to buy any items that have coupons available, just tap the “Clip” icon to the left of the item name and the coupon will be applied to your purchase. For example, I scanned two tubs of cake icing, and I knew I had “clipped” a digital coupon for those products. I noticed at the bottom of the coupon page after scanning those items, a notification told me “Clipped Coupons (1): Savings 75 cents.” That way I knew the app had accepted the coupon.

Additional savings tip: The Scan & Go program allows you to budget your money in another, unexpected way besides the ability to use digital coupons: As you scan your items during your shopping trip, the app tells you your running total. Anyone who has ever shopped at Walmart knows how easy it is to pick up a few “extra” things during your trip, which can make your total climb higher than you had budgeted, causing you to spend more than you expected. This running total feature of the app is great at helping you keep spending in check.

Scan & Go locations are growing: If you’re disappointed that no Walmarts in your area offer Scan & Go, keep in mind that the company is adding the feature at additional stores all the time. To see the current list of participating Scan & Go stores, visit Walmart’s website to locate a store near you.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.