Save Money by Price Matching at the Grocery Store

Do you price-match at the grocery store?  If not, you totally should.  Its a great way to save a bundle on your grocery bill and it eliminates the hassle of running to several stores in the name of getting a good deal.  Walmart and Target both offer this service, and I have found Walmart to be the most lenient.  They will match a competitor’s ad on a store brand to their Great Value brand.  In my experience, Target is a little more strict, requiring a brand-to-brand match.  But I have still gotten some great deals while shopping at Target.

Take this petite sirloin steak for instance:

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Ream’s advertised petite sirloin for $2.99/lb.  I was a Target for another errand but had the ad in my purse.  I saw these 40 oz. (2.5 lb.) packages of Petite Sirloin and scooped up five of them.  I paid $7.50 per package versus the $24.99 marked price at Target. That’s a 70% savings over the marked price.  (Of course, we would never be eating steak at $10/lb. so when I see a deal like this, I buy a lot, package it in meal-sized portions for our family, and freeze it).

We have enjoyed grilled steak dinners and these fajitas for weeks now, at a fraction of the price.  In fact, it is almost gone, so I am looking for another great deal!

How Do I Price Match?

1.  At home, browse the ads.  It helps to be familiar with the products your family uses on a regular basis and what they cost. Then, you’ll be able to spot a good deal immediately.  I usually only take the pain to price-match if it is an amazing deal.  A few cents here and there are not worth my time.  The best deals are generally on the front page of the store’s ad. These low advertised items are called “Loss Leaders” because the store may even lose money on these great deals, hoping to entice you to do all of your shopping at their store, once you’re there for the deals.  Make a list of what you plan to purchase with the advertised price written next to it.  Take the ad with you.  Walmart says you don’t even need the ad, but I always feel more confident if I have it there.

2.  At Target or Walmart, find the items on your list, being sure to exactly match size, quantity (and brand, if applicable).  For example, if its Western Family advertised at Macey’s, find the equivalent size in Walmart’s Great Value brand.  As you cross items off your list, circle or mark the ones you will price-match so you can quickly find the advertised price while checking out.  For produce, watch out for prices per pound or per each.  It’s trickier (or not possible) to match this way since they are not equivalent measurements.  You can always ask and they may or may not do it for you.

3.  On the conveyor belt, separate your items into two groups:  price-match and non-price match items.  This keeps you more organized as well as the cashier.  Often the cashier will ask if you have any price-match items but if not, just say something like, “When you get to the divider, I have some price-match items.  I can tell you the prices, and I have the ads, in case you need to see them.”  As soon as they see the ads, its like they are confident that I have done it properly and am not going to try anything dishonest.  That’s why I like having the ads with me–if only to show that I do and I’m not trying to cheat the system.  Then they pretty much never ask to see them.  As they come to each price-match item, I just say, “Those are 39 cents at Sprouts,” or whatever the deal is.

Once you price-match a few times, you will start to find your favorite checkers for price-matching.  At my local Walmart, there are 2-3 cashiers I recognize and I remember that they are super easy-going and quick with price-matching.  I always try to end up in their lines because if the checker is proficient, it hardly takes longer than usual.

4.  Tally up your savings.  I never used to do this much–I just knew that I had spent less than I would have otherwise.  Then, one day, the person behind me in line was getting a little impatient–and he wasn’t trying to hide his impatience, either.  So another shopper kindly said to me, “How much money do you figure you save by doing that?”  I did a quick estimation and that trip I had saved nearly 35% on my overall grocery bill.  He was impressed.  I was impressed, too, so now I always add up the savings–and make my husband listen to how much money I saved our family at the grocery store this week.

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