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Monday, June 23, 2014

Price Matching Tips

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I have had many inbox me personal messages or text me with questions on how I price match. I figured there may be a few others out there that would like to know my “secrets” too. You will find 6 simple steps that you can take to start out on this fun and very “money saving” journey!

Step 1:   Go to your local Walmart and ask for their rules!

Every Walmart is different. The Walmart closest to me doesn’t price match Harris Teeter, but the one 8 minutes down the road does. Sometimes that extra 8 minutes can get you a whole lot of groceries free.

Ask questions about B1G1’s (Buy one get one free). Some Wal-Mart's price match name brand items at B1G1’s, but others don’t. It’s best to know the rules so you don’t get to the checkout and have to leave a ton of stuff because the rules were different. I did this last week. I had price matched Harris Teeter at this same Wal-Mart last week so I had grabbed store brand cheese since Harris Teeter had store brand cheese at B1G1. Well, I broke my own rule by not checking first. Wal-Mart closest to me now (as of last week) doesn’t price match Harris Teeter and it doesn’t do store brand for store brand B1G1. It wasn’t a huge deal because I saved so much money that I could still buy the cheese at regular price at the end of my transaction.

I know some are confused already, but let’s get to the next step and I hope I can clear some questions up.

Step 2: Get your list ready by looking at weekly ads online or paper form

This is one of the fun steps for me. And, the more you do it the quicker it becomes. And, it still BEATS clipping coupons for me! I typically do this on Tuesday night. Most stores down here start their new weekly ads on Wednesday mornings, but you can often find them online the night before. I love to use Southern Savers! She does most of the work for me. But, if there are other local stores in your area that she doesn’t have you can typically just do a google search and find their sale ad. She doesn’t have Piggly Wiggly, and we have those down here! I haven’t shopped at a PW since I was a little girl.

I’m a scratch cook/baker so I only write down items we eat. This is a good rule of thumb for anyone though. If you wouldn’t spend your hard earned money on it, don’t buy it just because it is on sale. Now, if you are an amazing couponer like Bette Swaringen and gets millions free and then uses it as an incredible ministry---jump on it. I just start at the top of the list with BiLo. Click on the weekly ad and then scroll down making notes.

In Southern savers you can click the little box on the left of the sale and then when you’ve gone to the bottom you can have it print for you. Currently I don’t have internet access free at the house so it’s easier for me to just jot down items and prices on a piece of paper.

Example:

Store

Item

Sale

Store price if B1G1

Bi Lo      
  Strawberries B1G1 1.99
  Black label Hormel Bacon B1G1 3.99
       
Piggly Wiggly 3 lb bag of yellow onions .79  

In most Wal-Mart's you have to have a price on the ad/listed if you do the B1G1’s. Meaning if there isn’t a price listed for that item Wal-Mart technically doesn’t have to price match it. However, when I did this last week and had listed the store prices for the B1G1’s Wal-Mart still gave me their price if it was better than the competitor. I was pretty excited about that because Publix can be pricey, but they had great B1G1 deals most of which even their sale price was way more expensive than Wal-Mart's regular price.

Step 3: Weed out bad sales and organize list

This is essential in helping our shopping trip go smoothly and you look like you know exactly what you are doing. For instance, Food lion may have sour cream for .50, but Bi lo has theirs at B1G1 and the price is .79 originally. It’s best to use the BiLo price match because you will essentially get 2 for .79! And, if Wal-Mart's price is better your total would be less than that if your Wal-Mart does it that way.

I like to have my list in order of how I shop usually, but when I do the price matching I like to keep things separated by what store I’m price matching. It isn’t as convenient for me, but it makes a world of difference at the checkout for me and the sweet cashier. So, as I go, aisle by aisle, I try to keep the items categorized by store. Remember I have 4 kids to keep in order too, so I am not saying my way is fool proof! Sometimes it’s a jumbled mess.

I usually have my lists of all the price matched items and then my “normal” essential list of items I couldn’t find a better price for elsewhere. The best thing about price matching is you can get fruits, veggies, flours, sugars, oils, and even eggs for super cheap! That’s what I love, because that’s what I use the most of. Just last week I got Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sugar, strawberries, blueberries, and spinach free!

Step 4: Be courteous at the checkout

The worst step you could miss would be this one! Remember the cashier can be your best friend or worst nightmare in price matching! I typically get up to the checkout with a big smile (even if I feel frazzled) and kind words. I also sometimes ask if they like to price match. I have left lines before if they get in a huff and say they hate it. I don’t want to wreck their day nor do I want to be put through being treated nasty.

There are actually several Wal-Mart cashiers who do their own price match shops, so those are the best. Don’t be afraid to ask a manager who their best price-matching cashier is. I had several favorites at the Shelby, NC Walmart.

Step 5: Be organized

I have found that this alone does wonders!!! In NC I was so organized with a nice cool notebook and all. But, when they changed some rules, it became a bit harder to feel organized when you had weekly ads flying everywhere. But, my NC friends, it’s still possible and I did figure out an improvised way (my i-phone became my best weekly ad organizer).

If you can be organized with how you put your items up it cuts time at checkout and it cuts having a cranky cashier. I like to put all my B1G1’s on the belt first in order of store. This way she doesn’t have to feel like this is going to be an eternal annoying customer especially when you fill the cart like me. This also helps you to be able to just read down your list of items and prices instead of having to flip through a million papers trying to find the item/price.

While you are at the checkout be NICE! Carry on conversation and be the best customer that cashier will have that day even if you will be in her line for a long time. Sometimes buying him/her a candy bar can make their day extra special too. Just remember it’s an opportunity to make their day to just as they are helping make yours with a huge discount on yummy food to feed your family.

Step 6: Do a Happy Dance

Well, you could skip this step if you want to avoid embarrassment, but I will say I have many a time been so excited that I did something similar. It’s fun to watch the cashier and those behind you clap at your savings too. It’s fun to wheel 2 full carts of groceries out the door and still be under budget. It’s just plain fun to save money and still be able to feed your family their favorites and even afford some fun treats.

So, lest you think, “I can’t do it! I would caution you, because you CAN. You may just have to tweak your way a bit. It will take a little work, but it really ends up being pretty easy. Start small. Start with just one store and go from there as you can. I hope today’s post was helpful and I hope I can get a few others on the bandwagon of price matching.

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