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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tips on Tuesday: Price Matching

I've been getting several price match questions. Yes, I price match. Yes, I think it is WELL worth the time and energy to do this. Yes, I think I save more than enough to continue to work the price match system.

Now, with the addition of the 3rd child, I'm not price matching every week like I used to do. However, I still make sure I match when I do my large shopping trips.

Who price matches? Walmart is the major name player. Depending on where you live, you can also match prices at Fareway Grocery, certain HyVee stores and Shopko (you must turn in the ad to the cashier to get the match--sort of a hassle, but doable for certain items). You can also use a price match at places like Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Toys R Us and Babies R Us. For these places, you must show the ad and they will often beat the price by a percentage or a dollar amount.

Mostly, I price match groceries. I take all the ads that come in the paper and go through them. On a piece of paper, I write down the item I plan to purchase, the size, the store and the price. If I find a better price on the same item, I'll cross out the higher one and replace with the better bargain. I make my list the same way I would for a normal grocery trip, but use all the ads to put it together.

Then I will add the other items I need to shop for that are not on sale anywhere. When I go to Walmart, I put the items in the cart, but separate with a divider of some sort (or one of my reusable grocery bags) and put all the price match items in a separate portion of my cart. I check off items on my list and if I need to price match, I circle them so it's quick to spot.

At checkout, I load all the 'normal' priced items first. Then I place a divider bar and put all the price match items. When the checker reaches the bar, I let her know that every item remaining will be a price matched item. By then, I'm ready with my list and she calls out the item and I tell her the new price.

Some things to watch out for with the price match is the SIZE! Make sure you are getting the correct sized item or they will not match. With meats, if it is a 'value pack' in the grocery ad, you must get a 'value pack' of the same meat for the price match. My Walmart doesn't seem to care if the brand of meat matches, just the cut and quantity. Also, if the local store brand of milk is on sale, Walmart seems to price match any of their milks. So it is possible to get store brand items matched.

I take the ads along, but don't offer to show every item. They usually accept my list unless the checker thinks I've made an error (usually with meat quantities). Walmart is supposed to have a copy of grocery ads available for this purpose. Sometimes, I don't even take the ads. (I know, I can be a rebel when I want!) We also did a price match to get our Tracfone. For that, the manager of electronics had to see the ad and do the over-ride himself. Otherwise, I've done toys, groceries, pop, household items and cleaners--anything you find.

Hope that gives you a little encouragement to use the price match systems out there. I can save almost 1/3 of my bill by using price match.

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