"How To" Posts / Price Matching

Price Matching: How it Works and Making it Work for You! PART 1

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how to price match

If couponing is too overwhelming for you, don’t stress out. There is still a great way to save money each and every time you head to the grocery store. It’s called Price Matching!

Target and Walmart are the two Price Matching giants. They even have corporate wide Price Matching Policies. So instead of driving around to 3-4 stores trying to get the best deals, just take their ads to either Walmart or Target and Price Match it all!

Before we get started, I want to PUMP YOU UP!! You can do this! It’s easier than couponing and it takes much less time.

STEP 1: Each Sunday, the Nationwide ads come out. Think Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid….. And each Wednesday is usually when your local grocery store ads are mailed to you.

Once you get those ads, take a look at them and see which items are a great price or which items are on sale. You can even put together Meal Plans from the weekly ads by what is on sale.

Now you have two options:

#1: You can make a short shopping list. Write down the item you want to purchase, what its price is on the ad and what ad you saw it on. (It makes Price Matching a whole lot easier)

#2: You can skip the list and just take the ads with you. Purchase what you want by looking at the ads and putting the items you want to Price Match right into your cart.

STEP 2: Once you have your list, or have your ads, it’s time to head to either Walmart or Target. Before you decide, I will give you this tip. Walmart’s policy will allow any cashier to Price Match for you, making it really easy. However, Target requires that all Price Matching be done at the Guest Services desk. So it will take longer to Price Match.

STEP 3: For the rest of this scenario, we will pretend you have chosen to go to Walmart. Once you are Walmart, if the item you want is already cheaper than the ad you were going to Price Match just put the item in your cart. Score for you!! If not, you will want to put the exact same item from the competitor ad in your cart. Make sure it is the same size and quantity as the ad states, or it cannot be Price Matched.

TIP: More than likely, you will have regular items you find at
great prices
AND Price Matching items in your cart.
So I would arrange them in two separate sections
in your shopping cart so you don’t get them confused.

STEP 4: Once you head to the checkout, put all of the items you are not Price Matching out first. The cashier can start scanning your items and you can let him/her know you have items you need to Price Match. In the meantime, you can get everything that needs to be Price Matched out and ready to go.

STEP 5: When it is time, you will need to let the cashier know what price each item is in the competing ad and the name of the store that had that price. Now, this is IMPORTANT… so don’t miss this part! Walmart’s Price Matching Policy clearly states that you DO NOT need to have a copy of the ad with you in order to Price Match. So technically you don’t need to have the ads with you. But I would highly recommend that you do–especially the first time you go! Your experience will all depend on your store’s location, the management and how familiar your cashier is with the Price Matching Policy. So I personally think it is always safer to have the ads with you, in case you run into issues.

“Making it Easy” TIP: I would ALWAYS have the Price Matching Policies with you:

Target’s Price Matching Policy

Walmart’s Price Matching Policy

If needed, you can show the cashier or manager with any issues you run into.

That’s it! I will warn you that with all new things, there is a little bit of a learning curve and you might need to adjust my steps to better fit you and what works at your Walmart or Target. But this should really help you get on your way to becoming a Price Matching Master!

**If you have tips for NEWBIE Price Matchers, please leave a comment below. Your tip could be just the solution they needed!

tips on how to price match

On a recent episode of Hallmark’s Home & Family, I showed everyone exactly how to Price Match. I was able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, shredded and block cheese and even Wheat Thins with the same exact Price Matching tips I provided above. No Junk Food Here!

Without having to clip a single coupon, I saved 25% on my entire shopping trip—just by Price Matching!! Some of the items in my cart I actually saved 45%–crazy, right??

So I’m hoping my example can show you that it definitely pays off to start Price Matching for your family. Think of all the fun things you do with that money you saved… Disneyland Trip??? I think so!!

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  1. I grocery shop every Sunday and use the price matching at Wal-Mart. I gather up all the store ads during the week and make my shopping list on Fridays based on what is on sale, what I need for the week, and what I have coupons for.

    Once I’m in Wal-Mart doing my shopping, I use post-its on my price match items where I write the lower price and the store and stick them on my items. I also separate my items by full price and price match.

    It is amazing how little effort I put into this saves me quite a bit of money. It is also great because I can combine coupons with a price match and save even more.

    • Im sure the cashiers appreciate that too! Such a great idea!

    • I write the $ of the item on my list to also make sure it’s rang up correctly. When I originally make my list, I type up the competitive $, store name & the dates w/ each item. However, I too LOVE the post it idea!! I’ll try to add it to my routine. THANKS for the time saving tip!!

      FYI: A local grocery store (Buy For Less — OK) currently has their ENERGIZER BATTERIES on sale: 1 – 4 pack for $1.99. I also had four $1 / 1 pack coupons. The ad & coupon made each battery .25 cents!! This was the 1st time the cashier had to have a manager come over to approve it since it was more then they do. I don’t take the paper so I rely on on-line ads. However, if it’s for an unbelievable price (like the batteries) I print it out to verify.

      I put my competitive ad items out last. That way, the cashier can start checking me out while I continue putting things on the conveyer belt.

      While I thought I knew it all, clearly I didn’t. I didn’t know you could price match other store coupons & that you had to take in the ad for a non-food items. Thank you ALL for your valuable feedback!!

  2. Does Walmart allow you to use a coupon on a price matched item?

    • Yes they do.

  3. Bridgette- They will allow you to use a coupon if it is a MANUFACTURER’S COUPON. If it is another store’s coupon, they will price match the item to that coupon. Example: $1.00 off Crest toothpaste. If Walmart’s price is $2.94, they will override the price and price match it to $1.94 since their scanning system won’t recognize any coupons other than Manufacturer’s coupons. They will NOT let you price match and item AND use another store’s coupon. They consider other store’s coupons a price match rather than a ‘coupon’ per say. Hope that helps.

    Kimberly- Post-its are a GREAT idea!!! I’d never thought of that. Maybe I’ll have to try it.

    • Stacey,

      Can you tell me where what you said above is listed on their AD MATCH GUARANTEE —–“They considers other store’s coupons a price match rather than a ‘coupon’ per say.”

      Would it, by chance, fall under
      —– “Competitors’ ads that feature a specific item for a specified price”?

      It just confuses me that it’s a coupon but, Wal-Mart treats it as an ad match.

      This is a new feature to me & I want to be prepared when I give it a try.


  4. Bridgette- Also, if the same Crest toothpaste were on sale at another store for $2.00 and Walmart’s price was $2.94, you could price match it to the $2.00 price and if your $1.00 off Crest toothpaste coupon were a MANUFACTURER’S coupon as opposed to another store’s coupon, then they would scan the coupon and it would take another $1.00 off making your toothpaste only $1.00

  5. Just a quick tip–this may vary by location but I price-match each week at my local Wal-Mart store and have run into this a few times. They’ve told me that if the price match item’s current price is more than half off their regular price, I have to supply the ad to prove that it’s legit. I use online ads to fine price match items so I usually don’t have a paper copy. They do have some store’s ads on hand, but I have also used my phone to pull up the add in the past and don’t have any trouble with it.

    • My Walmart says that if it is not a local ad (we live in Richfield so not much down here) then I have to have the ad to ad match, which is not always possible because like I said there isn’t anything down here and for some reason I only get the Target ad in the Sunday paper. It is very frustrating. They make you print the ad just to match. Printing is quite expensive!

  6. Thank you Stacey! I read that idea online when I was getting started with this whole price matching thing. That way I just load all of my price match stuff onto the checkout belt and the cashier can just do their job and I don’t have to stand there telling the cashier what price that should be. It makes the process go so much faster and considering I usually am shopping with my 13 month old, the faster the better ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You don’t need the ad for food products, but anything non-food, technically you have to show the ad. So if you want to price match diapers, batteries, movies, toys, etc. be sure to have an ad with you!

  8. I always bring the ads with me to Walmart, because I have had some cashiers really want to check on anything that seemed like a great deal. Once I can point to it in an ad, however, they are satisfied and we can move along.

    • I agree, always have the ads on hand. I price match often because it saves so much! A week after the “Frozen” dvd/blu-ray/digital combo pack came out, I price matched it from $27.96 down to $19.99 and then had the $5 coupon so it was a steal at $14.99! But sometimes the cashier acts like it’s coming out of their paycheck or something, so I always bring the ad. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Will Wal Mart price match the Kroger brand for the Great Value brand?

    • Yep! It can work great during caselot sale time!

  10. Another tip- Walmart will price match store brand items that are on sale. For example, they will match Smith’s price on Mountain Dairy or Kroger milk. You just gave to get the Great Value brand milk at Walmart. But my Target won’t do this. They have to be the exact same brand. Even on produce. So Target is a little tricker for price matching.

  11. Beaky, it actually depends on your Walmart. I think I heard it’s the manager’s choice whether to price match store brands or not. In Utah it seems like stores do, but in Kansas, my mom was told by the manager that she can’t match store brands.

    I like to make my shopping list and then use the website GrocerySmarts.com to find the best price. That site has people enter the weekly ad prices into a chart. I select my state, then “all-in-one” for which stores, and then I press CTRL+F (the find tool) and type in key words from my shopping list one at a time. So I’d type in asparagus and enter through all the results quickly scanning for which store has the best price. If it isn’t on sale, it won’t find the word, but if it is, there might be multiple prices across all the ads in the system. For Eggo Waffles I type “eggo” etc. then I write the price and store initials on my shopping list. That way, if there is a problem, I’d know which ad to look in to make sure of the price. Just be sure you understand exactly how GrocerySmarts types in their prices so you don’t use an after-coupon price or something. Must be honest!

    I feel like that keeps me from buying things just because they are on sale and helps me know I’m getting the best deal on what I need.

  12. How can I get ads mailed to me? I only get the Smiths ad on Tuesdays. Is there a way I can get a copy of the actual ad besides online. ๐Ÿ™

    • I only get Target on Sundays, so I am wondering the same thing. It is too expensive to print out the ads myself. My Walmart makes you have the ad.

      • I too don’t receive the ads & rely heavily on on-line ads. If I’m out ‘n about, I pick up some that are nearby but, that’s only a few.

        If I need to print out the ad, I try to crop the identifying information as not to waste valuable ink. Thankfully, my Wal-Mart doesn’t require you to bring them in unless you go to the wrong cashier. One of them drills you like you’re in the army. Needless to say, I avoid her like the plague. *hee*

  13. I always take the ads with me AND I circle them with a black marker. It makes finding the item much faster!

  14. Also…if you talk to your cashier and compliment her…she will price match for you like a pro…sometimes even price matching items you weren’t aware of! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Target has been horrible to price match for me. They won’t let me price match anything from amazon prime because they said you have to be a member to get that price. I’ve tried to let them know that just means free shipping. Melea have you ever ran across this?

  16. I live in Richfield and our WalMart will price match up to 150 mile radius BUT if it is a store outside the local area, you must have the ad with you or show it from your device. That way they can see dates and price of item. I don’t mind the hassle because it still saves me a bunch of $$$.

    • I live in Richfield too and I hate it. I only get the Target ad in the paper, so how do you bring the ads with you without having to print them all?

  17. Our Walmart makes you have the ad for non-food items.
    They also have a list at each register of the top price matching items each week. HOWEVER, many of them are NOT the best deals. (Sneaky little buggers.)
    Get to know the cashiers. Some are easier/more lenient about price matching. Others make it a pain. I know exactly who to go to and who to avoid!

  18. I love price matching & have done it for awhile now. It’s hard for me to go grocery shopping & not price match anymore & I include my coupons….save even more! But I have ran into some Walmart stores telling me that it’s called “Ad Matching”. This happen to me at the Cedar City Walmart & once at the one at Jordan Landing. So be careful with that. Also, the last time I tried to price match at Target, they were a lot pickier than Walmart. Good luck to those who are starting….well worth it!

  19. So can you only substitute another store brand (kroger, western family) for the great value brand?

  20. You can no longer price match Kroger or Western Family at Walmart. Just a heads up. I ha e been to 2 different Walmart this last week and they both told me the same thing. They no longer allow it. Super frustrating since I have been price matching there for years!

  21. I make it a point to get in lines where the cashier is either a young man or a younger girl. I’m always honest in my matching, but they are just easier to work with and they usually never question anything…

  22. My Wal-Mart is closer to me than Sprouts and has good produce. If you go to Wal-Mart on Sprouts’ double-ad Wednesdays you can save even more on produce (like avocados for 48 cents this week!).

  23. Who has time to do all that after working all day??? So much easier when Wal-Mart allowed the bogo’s

  24. I have been price matching and using coupons for about 8 months now and absolutely love how much money I save! I can buy junk food and it not cost a fortune (I have 7 kids) I try to save about $100 a week with all my matching and coupons and keep my budget around $200 after all savings. I think I do as best as I can for my location. I have had similar not so great experiences matching ads with cashiers and this last week I had a new CSM tell me that they will no longer match Great Value for another stores brand but the week before it was o.k. I asked another CSM on my way out and she said it’s ok so now I am going to Customer Service before I actually shop to get the ok on all my Match-Ups so I don’t have any trouble at check-out.

  25. I’ve been price matching my produce at Target for almost a year now with ALDI and SPROUTS, and 2 of the last 4 times I went, they told me that I can not price match groceries. They give vague explanations, like, “We only match competitors, like walmart or best buy” or, “We only match things like electronics”. I called CS to get a concrete list of who is considered a competitor, and they told me that whoever informed me of this was mistaken, I could price match groceries. But then when I returned at informed the manager, he basically just told me no. Wondering if anyone else has had any similar problems? Or any suggestions as to who I contact to clarify and give me definitive answers?

    From this post, sounds like the easiest thing to do would be just shop at walmart from now on, but the employees at my local walmart are super slow and have terrible customer service.

  26. Great tutorial on Price Matching! I will send this to my newbie friends!


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