I know many of you reading this do not want to shop at Wal-Mart for any number of reasons, but if you find yourself in a pinch or a hard financial time right now, this is a great tool to save yourself some money until you get back on your feet.
One of the nice things about living in a city is having so many competing stores—each with their own weekly sales flyers—within a short distance of one another.
I take advantage of this by cherry picking deals every other week when we grocery shop, typically between two different stores. On Wednesdays the sales flyers for Kroger’s, Randall’s, Food Town, and H-E-B come in the mail and I sit in front of the television and circle deals that I want to take advantage of. Some weeks I find it lucrative to visit two grocery stores and some weeks it is lucrative but I find that I don’t feel like making an extra trip. Then on Friday (I work a compressed work schedule), or Saturday, Paul and I go to one-two grocery stores and bring the food home.
This week, I decided to do something different. I know that Wal-Mart has a price matching program, but I have never taken advantage of it. Also, I had a comment on my blog several months ago that price matching at Wal-Mart is a total nightmare and not worth it. Now that there is a Wal-Mart within a short distance of my home, I felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to do an experiment!
Last Friday morning I looked over the Randall’s and Kroger’s ads of the week and circled what would normally attract me to make trips to each of these stores. Here is the breakdown for the sales ad week of December 2nd:
- Mission Tortillas, 11.7-15 oz.: 10 for $10, or $1 each
- Fresh Shelled Pecans, 12-16 oz.: $3.77 each
- Lucerne 18 count eggs: $0.99 super coupon
- Lucerne gallon of milk: $1.99
- Buy 5 of either Kraft shredded/chunk cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, Kraft Singles, or Kraft Velveeta Cheese: Get $5 off your order
- Coca-Cola 2 liter bottles: $0.79 each
- Honey Bunches of Oats 14.5 oz: $0.99 each
Armed with both of the competitor ads, I headed out to Wal-Mart in the beautiful, rare snow storm in Houston. As I filled up my cart with our normal groceries, as well as these particular items, I noticed that some of the sizes in the competitor ads were not available at Wal-Mart, thus making it impossible for me to price match (such as the Honey Bunches of Oats, which was only available in the Family Size 22 oz. version). Also, for store brand items that were on sale (such as Lucerne gallon of milk, which is Randall’s private label), I was hesitant to fill my cart with Wal-Mart’s own private label of the same size/quantity (Great Value) because I was not sure if it would work.
The checkout was extremely easy. The cashier noticed that I had competitor ads, and asked if I was going to do price matching. I said yes, and had all ready pre-sorted my groceries so that the price match items were at the end. When she began to ring these items up, all I had to do was show her the item in the ad, and she punched in the price from the ad instead of Wal-Mart’s price. Painless, and I saved a total of $4.79, plus the extra gas it would have cost me to travel to two different stores (admittedly not much, but this could be more for other readers).
Items that I was not able to price match include the Lucerne gallon of milk, which I just did not try (the Lucerne 18 count eggs did work with the private label brand of 18 count eggs available at Wal-Mart), and I could not find an equivalent of the Fresh Shelled Pecans at Wal-Mart.
All in all, I think this is a great way to save money. In fact, I am going to try this again in two weeks and widen my competitive search to score even more deals (I think we receive five different grocery store sales ads each Wednesday).
Good luck on your own price matching; I’d love to hear your experiences.