Wal-Mart is not perfect. I get that – you don’t have to email me about the sins of Wal-Mart. However, my wife and I thank them each and every week for their willingness to match their competitors’ prices. It’s a true budget saver.
Last year around this time, Wal-Mart decided to ramp up its image as the retailer with the lowest everyday prices by promoting their ad-match policy. Click on the link provided to read it in detail. The best part is that it’s actually a fairly simple and practical policy.
They’ll match any advertised price from any local store as long as it’s an identical item and the ad clearly states a price. So, a box of Cheerios needs to be the same number of ounces and the ad can’t say “buy one, get one” without stating how much “one” is. Pretty simple.
That’s my favorite aspect of their price matching policy. There are no hoops to jump through and no hidden restrictions. In fact, you don’t even have to bring the ad. Just inform the cashier of the advertised price and they’ll match it. That’s it.
Also, while the name brands like Tyson chicken and Quaker oatmeal have to be identical, store brands can be matched with other store brands. In other words, a Spartan brand box of spaghetti can be matched by the same size box of Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand! Nearly every grocery chain has a store brand these days – or at least a couple generic products. Wal-Mart will gladly substitute their own generic products, making price matching that much easier.
Benefits of Price Matching
1. Save Gas
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but gas is expensive! I’m kidding…of course you’ve noticed. Driving from store to store to catch the deals doesn’t necessarily make much fiscal sense if you’re spending $25 in gas to do it. If you were planning on going to Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Aldi, match all of the prices at Wal-Mart instead and save your gas money.
2. Save Time
Shopping at 1 store beats shopping at 4 stores any day. For those of you who are deal hunters, price matching spells relief.
3. Save Money
My wife and I live in a small town with few grocery choices. We have a Super Wal-Mart, a local grocery store, and a more specialized fruit and meat market. We can’t run off to Kroger, Target, Meijer, or any of the other chain stores that consistently tempt us with their sales because they’re nearly an hour away. So, before price matching we were out of luck because of our location.
However, our local Wal-Mart has no problem matching these sales because I suppose they’re within a reasonable distance even though gas prices would argue that point. The end result is that we don’t have to settle for local prices any longer.
Never Pay Full Price For These Items Ever Again
There are some items that are seemingly always on sale somewhere. Make sure you scan the ads before heading out to buy these products. Why pay more than you have to?
Eggs – We’ve recently been paying $0.75 – $0.99 per dozen of large eggs without coupons.
Milk – We haven’t spent more than $1.69 for a gallon of milk in months since one of the Aldi’s in our area advertises their milk for that price.
Produce – Fresh produce can be pretty expensive, but the nice part is that, much like meat, produce is always on sale. Depending on the season, the stores’ fruit and veggie ads may look similar (sales on apples in the fall, etc.) but there’s still enough variety to choose from. We always base our fruit and veggie decisions on the sales. There are certain inexpensive staples like carrots and potatoes that are always cheap, but otherwise the ads tell us what we’re eating this week.
For example, in the last couple weeks we’ve bought a 3 lb bag of onions for $0.88, a 4 lb bag of oranges for only $1.49, and canteloupes, strawberries, lettuce, and other various produce for more than 50% off just by price matching.
By the way, we’ve found that Aldi often has some of the best prices on fresh fruits and veggies.
Cereal – Matching ads and coupons is the game here. There are an abundance of coupons for cereal and it’s always on sale. Match the two and you’ll be buying boxes of cereal for $1 or less.
Butter – We usually wait until butter reaches the $1.50 – $1.75 mark (4 sticks) before stocking up. Last week we found it for $1.46 at a local grocery store. Unfortunately, they set a limit of 2, so we couldn’t exactly stock up. However, we were able to double our butter count by price matching at Wal-Mart – another nice perk.
Price Matching Step By Step
1. Scan the ads within a reasonable distance. It would be silly for me to look at an Albertson’s ad because the closest one is more than 1000 miles away. My local Wal-Mart allows me to reference ads from 60 miles away, but 1000 miles might be pushing it just a bit. I can’t speak for your particular store, but as long as you’re being reasonable Wal-Mart seems pretty willing to match prices. The national chains all display their ads online, so you don’t have to chase them down in a newspaper if you don’t want to. Just look up the store’s website and find the weekly ad. You may need to enter your location to make sure it’s the correct ad for your area since stores like Kroger vary their ads by region. Once you’ve found it, save the web page as a favorite or bookmark it so you can locate it more easily from now on.
2. Keep a list of the items that catch your attention. Write down the price, size of the item, and store that has it on sale and bring the list with you to the store so you don’t forget. You could bring the ads instead, but Wal-Mart’s policy says it’s not necessary. However, if this is your first time matching a price, you may want bring the ads anyway just to make sure your cashiers are as willing as mine.
3. Match the ads with coupons if you wish. This will be your best savings, but it’s certainly not necessary either.
4. Separate the price match items when checking out. There’s no rule that says this is mandatory, but it’ll make it a lot easier on your cashier if you separate the products and inform the employee which items are price matches.
5. Save some money.
How often do you use price matching? What has your experience been like? Comment below.