As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart boasts a massive selection on everything from staples like groceries and clothing to camping equipment and pet supplies.
However, don’t let the retailer’s 5,000 location footprint lead you to believe that you’re always getting the best deal.
Here are the 12 best and worst ways to spend your money at the superstore.
The Bankrate Daily
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What to buy: Generic medications
Take advantage of Walmart’s pharmacy which boasts $4 generic prescription medications for a whole host of ailments plus vitamins and contraceptives. Customers can pick up a 30-day supply for $4 or a 90-day supply for $10.
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What to buy: Refurbished electronics
For incredible savings on like new products like wearables, laptops, smartphones, TVs and tablets, head over to Walmart’s website. Even for the wariest shopper, Walmart assures each product has been tested and inspected, and each item comes with a 90-day warranty.
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What to buy: Wedding Stationery
Walmart might not be every bride’s go-to destination for planning the big day, but budget savvy brides shouldn’t rule Walmart out. The retailer carries an entire suite of fully customizable templates for couples to design engagement announcements, save the dates, wedding invitations, wedding programs and reception menus all starting at $0.48 per card.
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What to buy: Photo prints
With single photo prints starting at just $0.09, there’s no excuse for photos to just live in your phone anymore. Walmart’s website also lends itself to customizable photo collages and poster-sized prints that are available for same-day pickup.
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What to buy: School uniforms
Parents and students might differ on their opinions of school uniforms as blessings or curses, but Walmart is the destination for inexpensive school uniforms. Walmart is selling girls short sleeve polo shirts for $4.
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What to buy: Backpacks
Backpacks might be a seasonal item, but Walmart maintains its low back-to-school prices all year long. Currently, the least expensive backpack on sale at Walmart is $6.99. Rival retailer Target’s least expensive backpack is $12.89.
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What not to buy: Tires
Getting your car serviced while you shop is one of the appeals of Walmart’s auto center, but don’t assume that Walmart has the best prices in town for a new set of wheels. Costco and BJ’s regularly offer sales bundles and installation deals that make the wholesale clubs are a more affordable option.
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What not to buy: Batteries
Walmart might have great prices on electronics, but it doesn’t have great prices on the batteries that power the electronics. Look to AmazonBasics, the equivalent of Amazon’s store brand, or shop warehouse clubs for better buys.
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What not to buy: Bottled water
If you’re looking to keep bottled water on hand, don’t shop at Walmart. Head to Kmart, Home Depot or dollar stores for cheaper prices.
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What not to buy: Mini Refrigerators
Walmart is a common destination for all things back to school and dorm essentials. While students are picking up staples like twin XL bed sheets and shower caddies, the ubiquitous dorm mini fridge is always on display nearby. If you’re up for some bargain shopping, head to Home Depot or Best Buy for better deals.
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What not to buy: Gift cards
The convenience of swinging by Walmart for a last-minute gift card purchase is very tempting. The store carries a wide range of gift cards for national restaurants and popular subscription services like Netflix and iTunes, but look to Sam’s Club or BJ’s for a better deal. As a benefit of the annual membership, shoppers can get as much as 20 percent off of gift cards.
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What not to buy: Wrapping paper
Presentation is important, but gift recipients are more concerned with what’s under the wrapping paper than the wrapping paper itself. Spending big bucks on something that’s ultimately going in the trash isn’t the best use of cash. Skip Walmart and the big boxes, and head to dollar stores for wrapping paper and decorative accessories like bows and ribbon.