What is Price Matching and How Does it Work?

What is Price-Matching and How Does it Work

I’ve recently learned the art of “price matching.”  Where has this been all my life?  (Right under my nose.  I just never looked into it before.)  This new practice has been saving me $10-$40 per week.  That’s $40-$160 per month.  That’s big savings for my family of big eaters!

What is Price Matching?

Wal-Mart offers an Ad-Matching Guarantee.  This means that if another store within 50 miles is offering a specific food at a lower price (shown in their weekly ad), Wal-mart will honor that price.  Read all the detailed information about their policy here.

It is important that you pay attention to the details of the grocery store ads.  Price matching is only valid on items “pound for pound,” “ounce for ounce,” etc.  I try to be very diligent about making sure I don’t accidentally pick up the wrong size item.

How Does Price Matching Work?

Sound complicated?  It really isn’t.  It took me exactly one shopping trip to work out all the kinks and learn how easy this practice is.

Before going shopping each week, I spend a few minutes looking at all relevant grocery store ads online.  We have very few stores in my town, so I am thankful I can price match with the stores in our nearby cities which have 6-7 stores to price match with.  I find the lowest prices from each store (mainly focusing on the produce), and make my list.

This week, my list looked something like this:

Aldi

~ Strawberries, 16 ounces, $1.29
~ Onions, 3 pound bag, 99¢
~ Red Potatoes, 5 pound bag, 99¢

Alert

~ Carrots, 2 pound bag, $1.19

Super Saver

~ Grape Tomatoes, 1 pint, 96¢
~ Blueberries, 18 ounces, $3.48 (our Walmart didn’t have this size, so I scratched that off my list)
~ Gala or Yellow Delicious Apples, 3 pound bags, $2.50 each

Wal-mart employees have been trained to quickly adjust the price of the items you are price matching.  You simply tell them the price you found that was cheaper, and they ring it up at that price.  Easy!  I try to separate my price-match items from my other items to make it easier on the cashier.

Here is a sample conversation between the cashier and me…

Cashier:  You have such beautiful hair.
Just kidding.  For some reason, the cashier never says that.  Here’s the real conversation:
Me: These are my price-match items.

Cashier:  Great, we’ll start with the pears.  How much?
Me:  99¢ per pound.
{Cashier rings up my pears at 99¢ per pound}  

Cashier:  Okay, now how about these onions?
Me:  99¢ for each bag

And so it goes until we work our way through all of my price match items.  :)

How Much Can You Save?

Here’s an example of everything I bought and how much I saved through price-matching last week.

price matching

  • 2 bags of Yellow Onions priced at $2.98 for a 3 pound bag – I got for 99¢ each (saved 3.98)
  • 3 bags of Red Potatoes priced at $3.47 for a 5 pound bag – I got for 99¢ each (saved 7.44)
  • 1 pound containers of Strawberries priced at $1.99 – I got for $1.29 each (saved 5.60)
  • D’Anjou Pears priced at $1.67/pound – I got for 99¢/pound (saved 3.69)
  • 2 bags of Halo Clementines priced at $4.97 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $3.99 each (saved 1.96)
  • 2 bags of Carrots priced at $1.48 for a 2 pound bag – I got for $1.19 each (saved .58)
  • 2 bags of Gala Apples priced at $3.47 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $2.50 each (saved 1.94)
  • 2 bags of Golden Delicious Apples priced at $3.47 for a 3 pound bag – I got for $2.50 each (saved 1.94)
  • 2 pints of Grape Tomatoes priced at $2.98 per pint – I got for 96¢ each  (saved 4.04)

Price matching saved me $31.17 this week.  It took me about 10 minutes to sit at the computer and find the prices I wanted to match and make a list.  Saving over thirty bucks in 10 minutes to feed my family real food?  Yes, I think that’s very worth my time!

Watch that you don’t fall into the trap of snatching up good deals on processed foods.  Those are out there too, so of course, I had to remind us all that those are just not worth the “price” we pay later.  You’ll be surprised though at the great deals you can get on fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, often organics too!

One last note:

I try not to price-match from my hometown grocery stores.  My town is small, so it doesn’t take much extra time to run into our local grocery stores to pick up the food I need.  I like to support our local stores.  Where price-matching really works well for me is offering me big city sale prices from bigger stores that would cost me an hour’s drive and a half tank of gas.  :)

Share with us!  Do you take advantage of Wal-mart’s price matching policy?  How does it work for you?  Have any other great tips to share about this?

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Comments

  1. Melissa Wheeler says

    I love price matching and have done it often. One point to consider, some Wal-Marts are a little pickier than others. They may ask to see the actual ad/price. Sometimes it varies between checkers! I learned which checkers were good with just taking my word for it and which would want to see the ad. I always made sure to have the stack of ads with me, and sometimes just having them in my hand reassured the checker that I had proof with me and they didn’t ask to see them. Get to know your store and the checkers in it.

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  2. Julie says

    Although it’s not required at WalMart, I found it easier to have a copy of the competitor’s ad with me.
    I tried price matching once at Target. I had to pay the ticketed price at check out and then get a refund at Customer Service. That was just too cumbersome for me. I don’t know if Target still works that way, if it got easier, or if they no longer price match.

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    kendra Reply:

    My Target requires you to price match at the service counter and not at the register. It adds a second stop to your shopping trip but they will honor it. However, they won’t match produce prices unless they have the same exact brand. Hope this helps.

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  3. Lindsay says

    Don’t forget to sign up for Walmart Savings Catcher! You scan your receipt and they automatically look for cheaper prices and give you the difference in a gift card.

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  4. Cassie says

    I have $30 in my savings catcher right now. Free money!

    If that’s not your cup of tea, I used to cut out the comp ads like coupons and show them to the checker. That was easier than holding onto the whole ad in my purse.

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  5. kendra says

    My Walmart requires to see the ad. I second the Savings Catcher ap if you have a smart phone.

    My local Target will price match. The catch is you have to do it at the service desk not at the register. They also will not match produce prices unless they offer the exact brand in the competitor’s ad. For example, if you see Dole strawberries advertised Target will only price match if they have Dole strawberries.

    Each store will likely have different protocols but it is a good idea.

    Now if Kroger would start price matching….:)

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  6. Shauna says

    I didn’t know that Target price matched! I was just in there last week and was wondering if it did but was too lazy to ask! Interesting, our local Walmart will not price price match Aldi’s prices any more supposedly. I wonder if I should ask customer service if that’s true or not. It’s hard when one cashier tells you something and another one something else. Anyone else heard this before about their Walmart not price matching Aldi?

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  7. janelle says

    If you have a smartphone, download the Walmart app. The savings catcher is on the app and will allow you to scan your Walmart receipts after you get home, and will automatically give you the best deals around town without ANY price matching work!

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  8. Lindsey R says

    You can also do the Savings catcher if you don’t have a smart phone – just go to walmart’s website and sign in and enter your receipt number and date ;)

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  9. Kristin says

    Yes to the savings catcher! And up until this month any money that you saved because an item was lower at another store was doubled if you transferred it to the free bluebird cards at walmart. They are like a credit card but you have to “load” money on them. So for instance, if the savings catcher said I got back $3.50 because it caught lower prices at other stores, I can automatically transfer it to my bluebird card and it gave me $7. I never have to talk to the cashier, or have them change prices, the savings catcher app does it for me.

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    Kristin Reply:

    Since I posted this the Walmart policy has changed. Savings catcher will no longer apply to produce! This was the main area I received the “cash back”. Although it will still be easy enough to scan my receipt, I will now have to bring in the flyers from competitors to get the price match on produce, fish, and some other items that make up the bulk of my shopping. It is very disappointing they chose to remove produce from savings catcher.

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  10. Arbrown says

    I have done price matching with Walmart but don’t be so quick to not to discount grocery stores. I know that my local Hy-vee price matches with local grocery stores including Walmart. Because of their willingness to price match my Hyvee gets more of my business than the local Walmart. You just have to ask about it since one Hyvee will while the one across town does not.

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  11. T. Gates says

    My local W-M used to be REALLY great about letting people ad match from stores that were several miles away without having to show the ad. But, alas, people started misuing it and lying about things that weren’t on sale, so they stopped. We can now only ad match with stores within 15 miles. In the town I live in, that doesn’t give us much opportunity to save a lot of money, but every little bit helps! :) The savings catcher app is nice; it has given me money back from stores that my store won’t let me ad match from if I try to.

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  12. Brandette W. says

    With everything related to Walmart, YMMV. Our Walmart does price matching, but I have always been asked for the printed ad to verify. I don’t do it often, the cashier’s and the customers waiting behind me always seem to get annoyed. Since I would be doing it mainly on produce as you do, Aldi is just easier and more accessible for me.

    I started using the Savings Catcher App a few months back. I have almost $50 that is sitting in my account. But, if you sign up for a prepaid American Express Bluebird card, you can then transfer your savings to the card and use it in Walmart towards future purchases. I will transfer to my Bluebird card to double it, yay for free money! But, from what I understand, the doubling Bluebird promotion ends next week. So, after the transfer next week, the card won’t be used again. I only signed up to use it with the Savings App to double my money.

    Also, I was very disappointed to get an email alert from Walmart last week saying that they will be decreasing how many competitors they price match with, and also reducing the areas they will price match. So, in my area, I went from average of 107 competitors to price match with to only 50. And they savings catcher will not price match on produce, bakery, or deli sales any longer. Since produce is a HUGE area I shop in, it just won’t be worth my using it after I transfer my money.

    It feels like a bait and switch to me a little bit. Like Walmart introduced this app, it started being used a lot and they realized this, then wanted to pull back the reigns. Just thought I would give others the heads up about the changes with the Savings Catcher App.

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  13. Pam D says

    Laura, thank you so much for reminding me about Walmart’s price matching policy. I used to do that years ago, and for some reason I stopped. :( I went to pick up a few items of produce yesterday and paid $15 instead of $25 by price matching. Yay!

    I’ve done their savings catcher for several months now, and I’m also disappointed about all the reductions they’ve made in what they will compare.

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  14. Anna says

    So are you buying organic produce or when you do this you can’t compare non-organic prices to organic?

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    Laura Reply:

    If possible I buy organic produce, but it has to be an exact match with a low price from another store of specifically organic produce. I can’t use the price for another store’s conventional produce to get organic produce from Walmart. I love it when I find good organic prices to match!

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