'I’m a deal-getter!': This disabled Chicago mom is a Walmart bargain-hunting ace — even when she can’t leave home

·6 min read

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Just give Janelle Robinson a Walmart+ membership and her Walmart app, and she'll show you how to score deals from the comfort of home. (Photo: Instagram.com/abreak4mommy)
Just give Janelle Robinson a Walmart+ membership and her Walmart app, and she'll show you how to score deals from the comfort of home. (Photo: Instagram.com/abreak4mommy)

We all have something we’re known for. Chicago native Janelle Robinson has earned her bragging rights as the resident bargain hunter of her family: “I’m just a deal-getter. I’ve always been that way,” she tells Yahoo Life.

But Janelle isn’t your typical savvy shopper. This mom of two lives with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that limits her mobility and keeps her mostly housebound. So she’s had to get creative about keeping her house well-stocked while staying true to her budget-conscious roots. In fact, during the pandemic lockdown, she mastered the art of saving big bucks at Walmart while also accommodating her stay-at-home lifestyle.

With her Walmart+ membership, Janelle is going places!

Shop Walmart Grocery through your Walmart+ account. (Photo: Walmart)
Shop Walmart Grocery through your Walmart+ account. (Photo: Walmart)

“Walmart+ is one of the things I’ve used the most throughout COVID to help my family,” said Janelle of Walmart’s loyalty program, which offers rewards and discounts galore. “For people who are not able to leave the home, Walmart+ is amazing. You can use it for your grocery deliveries, you can use it on Walmart.com. It serves us very well.”

Janelle isn’t just talking about convenience, either. Yes, Walmart Grocery will deliver groceries straight to your door or load them into your car when you pull up at your local Walmart for pickup. But a Walmart+ membership means you’ll also get those groceries delivered for free. In fact, anything you order on Walmart.com is shipped to you for free with a Walmart+ membership, no purchase minimum required. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

“Before Walmart+ I was just using Walmart.com for my grocery deliveries and paying the $7.95 delivery fee,” Janelle says. But for just $12.95 a month (or $98 a year), she now gets unlimited deliveries at no charge. “One day I looked at how much I was spending on the deliveries, and I thought, if I'm already getting my groceries delivered to the house, and with Walmart+ it’s free, and I can use it for my Walmart.com deliveries...I couldn’t not use it! And now it’s saved us so much money.”

During COVID lockdowns, Janelle loved that she could text with the delivery person and leave notes about how she wanted her groceries and shipments delivered, too. “If I want, they’ll just knock on the door to let me know the groceries are there. It’s just amazing,” she says.

Sign up for your free 15-day trial of Walmart+ here.

Christmas shopping in July? Here’s how Janelle uses her Walmart+ membership and Walmart app to score amazing deals online.

With Walmart+, the Walmart app and Erica Miller's secret clearance shopping tips, you'll be ready to save! (Photo: Walmart)
With Walmart+, the Walmart app and Janelle's shopping tips, you'll be ready to save! (Photo: Walmart)

Beyond the endless conveniences and savings that Walmart Grocery offers her, Janelle is all about the Walmart bargain-hunting life. And she shares everything she discovers about saving at her favorite store on her blog, A Break 4 Mommy. “I was always telling people about how to get good deals on things. And I said, why don't I just start teaching people how to get deals? That’s kind of how the blog came about in the beginning,” Janelle says (she also shares deals with thousands of followers on Instagram).

Right now, while the rest of the world is focused on warm-weather shopping or gearing up for fall, Janelle has her sights set on Christmas. “I'm an early Christmas shopper. I already know that there's going to be a shortage on toys and electronics for the Christmas holiday, so I'm looking for toys that are out of season. Not like the must-haves or anything like that,” says Janelle.

In fact, she advises looking into the seasonal items from last year on your summer Christmas-shopping search. “Those items are still out there. There are still last year’s clearance items before they start pulling in their holiday items for this upcoming holiday.” She recommends looking in the clearance and rollback sections in store for the best possible deals, or typing “clearance” or “rollback” into the search bar of Walmart.com to find everything discounted sitewide — then using your Walmart+ account to get it all delivered for free.

If you’d rather pick up your purchases in-store, Janelle loves the Mobile Scan & Go feature on Walmart+, which is totally contactless — just place your order online, pick up your haul, flash your e-receipt on your way out and keep it moving!

And while you’re scanning on your Walmart app, keep an eye out for secret clearance deals!

The Walmart app lets you discover products that are
The Walmart app lets you discover products that are "secretly" on clearance. (Photo: Getty)

When Janelle does make it to her local Walmart store, she loves to do hidden clearance shopping — especially for her kids, who tear through their back-to-school wardrobes faster than she can buy them new clothes! “I don’t want to buy my daughter expensive items because she’s small [and grows out of her clothes quickly], or she would rip up her jeans and things like that,” says Janelle.

One day, she realized that if she used her Walmart app to scan items, she’d discover that a lot of products that appeared to be full price were actually on massive discount. It’s a phenomenon that a whole subculture of Walmart bargain shoppers call “hidden clearance shopping,” and it happens when Walmart drastically reduces prices to get rid of old inventory — but employees never get around to updating the price stickers.

“I would take something up to the register, and then I'm about to make my purchase for something that’s like $5. But then when the cashier would scan it, it comes out to like 90 cents or something like that,” Janelle says. Once she realized she could scan any item she wanted before going to the register, she became much more methodical about her in-store purchases — and that’s exactly how she’s shopping for her kids’ back-to-school wardrobes as we speak.

Download Walmart's free mobile app for iPhone and Android here.

For extra savings, Janelle uses rebate apps like Ibotta and Fetch — sometimes she even earns money just for shopping at Walmart.

Get cash back for shopping at Walmart when you use rebate apps. (Photo: Getty)

Janelle has another digital secret weapon for saving on her Walmart and Walmart.com purchases — she uses rebate apps like Ibotta and Fetch. Just scan your receipts into your Ibotta or Fetch account, or link the rebate account to your Walmart.com account and start saving.

“You'll end up getting rewards for your purchases, and you'll end up earning money for making those purchases,” Janelle says. “But you do have to make sure you make your purchase within that timeframe of when the reward is available.”

Recently, Walmart started allowing customers to link their Ibotta accounts to Walmart Grocery for both pickup and delivery. That way, you can apply all the Ibotta rebate deals you want to take advantage of right to your Walmart Grocery order. Just place your order, and you’ll start earning cash back!

And with your Walmart+ account, it’ll be delivered to your door — no heavy lifting required. Says Janelle: “It’s just a win-win situation."

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