Getting the goods home for free

This weekend I discovered something new on WalMart’s website while perusing potential Christmas gifts.  It appears the Mac Daddy of big box chains recently launched a new method of shipping called HomeFree.  If you buy $45 worth of “HomeFree” eligible goods (the site says there are “hundreds of thousands” of them), they will ship these items to your home, for free.

Here’s why I’m mentioning it: Most of the HomeFree items appear to be basic household necessities. Things like laundry detergent, paper towels, deodorant, toothpaste and canned food. I placed a HomeFree order of diapers, baby wipes, underwear and moisturizer.

I’m not one to recommend shopping as a way to save money. I’ll probably say this more than once on this blog: You can go broke buying good deals. But the reality is these are things every household buys at some point, and I see some potential savings by using the HomeFree shipping method.

First and foremost, you don’t have to go to the store. You save the gas to get there. You save the stress of shopping. (For me, this includes needing to bundle up a preschooler and infant, and then haul them around the aisles.) And you avoid the temptation purchases, provided you shop online with a list. (The online shopping format also allows you to comparison shop pretty easily.)

I especially can see great benefits for the elderly and people who live in rural areas. I know my mom hates having to drive into Fargo in the winter, but it’s the best place to get her cleaning supplies and toiletries. Now they could come to her (if she had Internet access and ability, that is, but you get the point.)

You will need to shop in advance.  This method will not work for you if you need toilet paper, like, now. It looks like my items will take as long as a week to arrive. And you need to make sure your order is at least $45 … If you start adding items you don’t need to your online cart to reach that threshold, you’re not saving any money.

But if you stock up on things you truly need, before you NEED them, you’re home free.

Now back to considering Christmas gifts …