Walmart Claims Their Shoppers Are ‘Value Hacking’ to Stretch Their Money at Checkout

By: Mikaila Storrs | Published: Jan 10, 2024

Grocery prices across the United States continue to remain sky-high and are actively getting more expensive.

Walmart says more and more shoppers are ditching the name-brand items and switching to the value brand, such as Walmart-brand items. 

Mixing and Matching Premium Brands with Off Brands to Stretch Money

Customers are mixing and matching value items and more premium brands to fit their needs. For example, this could look like buying store-brand pasta with your favorite name-brand sauce.

Woman With Item Scanner

Source: Walmart

For staple products, they stick to their tried and true and get the name-brand items.

The Cost Difference Between Name-Brand and Off-Brand Items Has Skyrocketed

The cost difference between a value-brand item and a premium item has doubled in recent years.

Man shopping empty shelves at Walmart

Source: Canva

Where the normal price difference between, say, a block of Kraft cheese versus Walmart’s Great Value might previously have been around 25%, Walmart told TD Cowen the savings have grown closer to 50% (via Business Insider).

What Is Value Hacking at the Grocery Store?

Rather than stocking up with only value-product options, shoppers are using some of those store-brand savings to offset the cost of fancier selections.

Busy Walmart checkout

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

But on other things needed for their recipes or daily needs, they are switching to off-brand products to keep their costs down.

Shoppers Are Waiting for Paychecks to Grocery Shop

Shoppers are also waiting to do their shopping until their paycheck hits to do their weekly shopping.

Blue Walmart Sign against a blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If they aren’t waiting for their paycheck, they can utilize the new buy now and pay later feature that was just implemented at 4,500 participating Walmart locations. 

Walmart Introduces Buy Now, Pay Later

Affirm, the company that allows for the buy now and pay later option, recently stated that customers will be able to purchase groceries, toys, and other merchandise using the “transparent and flexible pay-over-time options.”

Check out at Walmart

Source: Joshua Blackwell/YouTube

Affirm did a recent study that showed 54% of Americans want retailers to offer a buy now, pay later option at checkout, and 76% of consumers would either delay or not make a purchase without Affirm’s services (via Progressive Grocer).


Affirm Works with Walmart to Allow Customers to Pay Off Items

Affirm said in its statement: “Expanding our partnership with Walmart and bringing Affirm’s transparent monthly pay-over-time options to their self-checkout kiosks in the U.S. will help even more consumers increase their purchasing power during the holiday shopping season and beyond.” 

A daytime view of the exterior of a Walmart store's entrance labeled "Grocery & Pharmacy."

Source: Getty Images

Guests will have the flexibility to get what they need and not immediately break the bank, as they can pay it off over time. 


Utilize Buy Now, Pay Later Option Online and in the Walmart App

Customers will also be able to use the buy now, pay later option for online Walmart purchases, and on the Walmart app as well. 

Woman staring in shock at grocery receipt

Source: Canva

But purchases can generate between 10% and 36% simple interest (via The Mirror).


How to Use Affirm at Walmart

To utilize this new feature, Walmart customers will need to download the Affirm app or visit their website to apply the function.

Smiling couple offering credit card

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The app and the website are also where you can make your payments, which can be scheduled between three and 24 months.


Stacking Value Hacking with After Pay Option at Walmart

So not only can customers now value hack and mix and match their name-brand and off-brand items to save money, but they can also pay off the items over time.

Walmart Grocery Store

Source: Walmart

This can help customers who need to get their groceries before payday in a pinch, or if you need to pay off a gift for someone among many other purchase types.


Walmart Supports Value Hacking

Walmart likes the idea of value hacking, especially because when customers are saving money on one item, they feel like they can end up spending on other items in the store and ultimately end up spending more than they intended.

Savings on grocery receipt

Source: Canva

“If the food prices come down,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in November, “that’ll free up dollars to be spent in general merchandise” (via Business Insider).


Don’t Spend Too Much on Buy Now, Pay Later Option

One piece of advice, though, would be not too overutilize the option to pay later, as you could stack up quite the total and have a hard time paying it off over time.

Couple stressed over debt

Source: Canva

These buy now, pay later systems are essentially a credit card, and you could be digging yourself into a hole if you’re not careful and end up overspending what you would’ve originally spent due to interest.