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How to save money with price matching
Price matching. If you are unfamiliar with the term it sounds like something you would see on a daytime tv game show. If you can price match these 5 items you will win what is behind curtain number one!
I had certainly never heard of price matching before a co-worker of mine came in to work one day all excited about the money he saved doing price matching. I was curious as he rapidly pulled out several brightly colored fliers from various grocery stores and began what sounded like a better sales pitch than I have heard from any car dealer I have had occasion to hear. I listened thoughtfully, nodding my head until he got to the part about how much he saved and then he had my full attention, although I was not quite sure I believed him.
What is price matching?
You have seen the weekly advertisements that you receive in the mail from several different grocery chains. Usually each store will have a handful of really great deals while the rest of their prices remain either high or ridiculous. Their strategy being that if they can lure you in with the bargains chances are you will also purchase a higher price item or two that catches your eye on the way out or that you just realized you were out of. What if you could get the really good bargains from each of those stores all in one trip at one store? That, my friend is the beauty of price matching!
What stores participate in price matching?
Since we are primarily talking about grocery stores here, this list will be short. There are stores that sell electronics and other items that also do price matching though if you want to keep that in mind. This may vary greatly depending on your location, but here is the ones I have researched:
- Walmart--This is probably the best known store for price matching. When you go into a Walmart or a neighborhood Walmart you will find that the cashiers are already very familiar with price matching and in fact they already have the list of ads from various local stores taped up by the register so they can readily refer to them.
- Target--I have never tried this one personally, but they do advertise that they price match and my online research confirms this.
- Whole Foods--Again I am unfamiliar with this one and don't have them in my area, but my research online has stated that this is a store that does price matching.
- Price Chopper--These are located in New England, New York and Pennsylvania, so once again I can not speak from experience on this one.
Check the stores in your area. Many will not advertise price matching, but have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy so you really need to do some digging. I could pay off and be well worth it in the end. And if they say they don't, ask if they have a suggestion box where you could leave it as a suggested improvement. They may come around.
Monthly Grocery Budget
How much do you spend per month on groceries?
How do I get started with price matching?
You have done your research, you know what stores in your area participate and what their policies are on price matching, now it is time to start saving some money.
- Lay out the weekly circulars from all the local stores
- Begin making your price matching list. This is separate from your main shopping list as not everything on your shopping list will be on sale. List one store at a time writing down the items that interest you, their prices and how many lbs (if produce) or ounces (cereal, etc). It's really important to note brand names, size, container, etc as usually you will have to match it up exactly or the comparable house brand if the sale item is a house brand at the other store. Don't let this intimidate you however, it is really not that hard once you get the hang of it.
- Take your lists along with your ads with you to the store. While Walmart usually doesn't ask for them, some stores do and it is always best to have them ready just in case.
- Try to keep your price matching items somewhat separate from your other items in the buggy. This will make it easier at check out when you may be apprehensive to begin with if you are not used to doing this.
- When you place your items on the conveyor belt, start with the price matched items and tell the cashier that you are price matching. The first time I did this I was actually shaking as I imagined alarms going off and every head turning to look at the strange lady in isle 7 that had lost her mind. I was quite relieved when the cashier said said, "sure" and proceeded to ask if I wanted my milk container in a bag.
How much money will I save with price matching?
This will vary according to many factors like the store, your location, choice of products, what you normally buy, etc. My experience? My very first time doing this, when I was too nervous to do more than a few items I estimate that I saved at least 20 dollars off of what I would normally have spent for those same items. The next time, my wonderful persuasive co-worker came along to ease my fears and show me the ropes. That time I know I saved a minimum of 30 dollars. Keep in mind, this is just in one week. Multiply that by 4, that's $120 a month or by 12 and you have (drum-roll please.....) saved a total of $1440 in a year!!! Who couldn't use that extra money?