Are you having problems price matching lately? Are you frustrated with Walmart’s new price matching policies? Well, let me help. I feel your pain and am just as annoyed by their new policy as you are, but I have a few tips to help you continue to save money and time. It's a lengthy post, so bare with me. Lots to discuss ;) Feel free to share your comments or feedback of what works for you below. We can all learn from each other on this one ;)
Now that you have the policy from Walmart themselves, here are a few tips to help you make the most out of it and continue to save lots of $$!
1-Shop Individual Stores.
I know this method won’t save you lots of time, but it will help you continue to support your local grocery stores that WANT your business—and are actually nice to us ;) Shopping at different stores will help you take advantage of the different stores’ best deals and still save you money. Deals to Meals is even more important now than ever. Before you choose a store to shop at, login to our website to know which store(s) has the most/best deals so you can take advantage of several great deals in one place. If a certain store has an item (that is not a name brand), that you know you need in your food storage/pantry and you need to buy several, make a quick stop to that store. For example, pork and beans (Western Family) were on sale the other week for .33 a can. I needed some in my storage, so I swung by and picked up 48 cans because I knew I needed several, so it was worth my time and gas money.
2-Know which type(s) of items are on sale.
Walmart will not longer price match Great Value items for store brand items on sale at other stores (enter frowny face and frustrating grunt! UGH). So, on the great value items that you can no longer price match at Walmart, you will want to go to those store(s) to buy that particular sale item. If you don’t want to go to different stores, you will have to buy those items at Costco or Walmart for their regular prices. For example, if sour cream is on sale for .99 at Smiths (Kroger brand) and I need 3 for my recipes that week, I will just have to deal with paying the extra .28 at Walmart to save me time from running to Smiths, or…go to Costco and buy a 5 lb. tub at the lower price and you’ll just have to use up the big container because it was less per ounce.
3-Buy name brands.
You will normally hear me pushing store brands, which I still do. However, if you look through the weekly deals on our website and you see ‘name brand’ items on sale, then it’s a good time to stock up. For example, last week Kraft Salad Dressing and Capri Sun Drinks are on sale for great deals. These are name brand items that Walmart WILL price match. So, these are items you will want to add to your grocery list and buy. Same thing with items like canned beans. A Utah store just had S&W canned beans on sale for less than the store brand beans generally go. When you see this happen on our site, and these items are ‘red/great’ deals, then it’s a great time to stock up—and price match if you wish. Since it is a name brand item, you can price match and buy several for your pantry/food storage. Watch for these name brand items to go on sale for great prices and stock up.
4-Find the best, local place to buy produce.
Since Walmart is being stinkers about price matching certain produce items (like oranges, watermelon, etc.—because they are sold individually) you will want to find an alternative option for produce (if you can). However, Walmart will price match MOST produce items, so if you want the ultimate one stop shopping trip, still price match as much produce as you can at Walmart. However, if you live near a Sprouts (LOVE them!) or a Rancho Market/Hispanic Market then shop their low produce prices each week. The best part about Sprouts is they have double ad Wedensday’s which means their sales from the past week and the new week are all valid on Wednesday’s. I have found shopping at Sprouts on Wednesday’s allows me to get most all of the produce items I need for my week’s meal plan in one place. I then swing by Walmart and get the other items I am in need of. If you don’t live near a Sprouts –send them an email letting them know you want one near you J Until they build one near you (they are expanding like crazy!), then buy your produce at Costco, price match at Walmart or find another local farmer’s market that sales produce for a good price.
5-Have a well stocked pantry and food storage.
Stock up on sale items to save you from having to buy items when they are not on sale. As you stock up a little each week on the items your family uses on a regular basis, you will find most of the items you need for your week’s menu planner are fresh produce and meat--which can still be price matched at Walmart. This stocking up method also goes for meat and dairy items. For example, if cheese is on sale for $4.99 (32 oz. bag) at Fresh Market, and my family uses a lot of cheese, this is the time to stock up. If this item is a store brand item that can’t be price matched, I would go to Fresh Market and buy 5-10 of these bags of cheese so I don’t have to worry about buying them full price another time. A well stocked food storage and pantry will make meal planning SO much easier and help you save money throughout the rest of the year. And bottom line, the more food you have stored in your home, the less items each week you have to price match.
6-Keep staple items well stocked.
There are several items each week that rarely go on sale. These are ‘staple’ items that won’t have a grocery store sale item linked to it in the grocery list. These items are ones you need for almost every recipe and ones you should have plenty of in your storage/pantry. Here is a list of staple items you should always have on hand and where the lowest prices are to buy them.
7-Only shop once in a 10-14 day period.
Since Walmart’s price matching policy has changed, and shopping is no longer as convenient, you will want to shop fewer times a month. The good news is, the fewer times you shop at the grocery store, the less money you’ll spend –yay! Try and do all of your shopping in one day so you get to relax the next couple weeks and not have to worry about shopping again for last minute items you need. If you shop using our meal planner, those recipes should last you 1 ½-2 weeks and should help you shop fewer times each week.
Since one stop shopping is not as readily available any longer, you will want to make sure you are extra organized. Before I shop, I like to know which stores I am going to, which items I am needing to buy, and what meals I will be making with the items I’m purchasing. Using our weekly meal planner on Deals to Meals you will have delicious recipe options that you can serve your family for the next couple of weeks. Click on the recipes you wish to make for the upcoming week (or create your own meal planner) and then link the ingredients to the weekly deals. Once you print out a grocery list, you will know what items you need to purchase and where to shop.
9-Watch for the small print.
Walmart used to be pretty relaxed about grocery store deals that had: Buy 1 Get 1 Free, Limits, Certain Day Specials, Online Coupons, etc. In the past they used to be okay matching some of these ‘specials’ no matter which day it was, or how much of an item you wanted to stock up on. They are now more particular. If an item in the ad has a limit of 2, they will only let you buy 2. If the item is on a BOGO sale, they won’t let you purchase those items unless it lists the exact price for 2. And if an item has an online digital coupon associated to a price, they will no longer price match those items at the ‘coupon’ price. They will only price match the price BEFORE the coupon’s discount is deducted. Any of these specific details will be listed on our website under the far right column of our deals page. Any details the ad mentions, we will put in that column to help you be an aware customer.
10-Share your feedback (and be kind).
I have to admit I have had to hold my tongue at Walmart the past few times I’ve shopped. I don’t enjoy feeling like I am a criminal just because I am price matching and following their own stores’ policy. Customer service has never been a strong suit for Walmart, but it never hurts to let them know what we think. In a kind, and civil way (ha!), let the store manager of your nearest Walmart know your frustrations. The manager’s I have talked to said they want to know what their local customers think and how their store is performing. Make sure and get the name of a cashier if they are great, or not so great, to help their managers know how they can improve. According to their own store policy online, you shouldn’t have to show ‘proof’ for a deal unless it is more than 25% off the Walmart price. On those items, you might want to come prepared with our Deals to Meals print out, the grocery store ad or at least know which store the deal is from so they can look it up online.