FREEBS! Put down the paper bags you're breathing into and listen up! I know rumors are FLYING about the Walmart price-matching policy and whether it's ending or not. Have no fear, Freebs, Mama J did a video answering all your questions and giving you the full scoop!

The scoop on the Walmart price-matching policy and whether it's ending or not! from FunCheapOrFree.com

No clue what price-matching is? Let me enlighten you, grasshopper.

Price-matching is when a store will honor a competitor's price on an identical item, if that price is cheaper than theirs. Walmart has been doing this for years (as explained in all these posts). If a store within 30 miles of Walmart has a better price on an identical product, they will match the lower price, saving you TONS.

If you've been following me for 2 seconds or longer you might have noticed that I love price-matching and it has saved thousands over the years as a result.

So…is price-matching ending??

Watch the video online or watch here to find out! And no, this video isn't sponsored in any way.

The Scoop on Price-Matching

In short… Yes, price-matching is ending. But not everywhere (yet). Yes, it will probably end forever at some point. But for now, they are ending it area by area, so you can still take advantage of it in many places! In my area (Utah and the surrounding states) it has ended, but it's still going strong in some areas. Scroll down for more details on how I have used price-matching in the past!

Alisha, a member of the FCF team, worked at Walmart for over a decade. She got in touch with her Walmart manager friends and the official statement…is that there is no official statement. Wah waaaaaahp. There is no overall list of what stores will be stopping or not, so unfortunately, you will just need to call your store and ask if/when price-matching ends for that store.

What To Do To Save On Groceries

Have no fear though! If price-matching is dead in your area, there are so many ways to still save half on your grocery bill WITHOUT coupons.

The scoop on the Walmart price-matching policy and whether it's ending or not! from FunCheapOrFree.com

Meal plan! Here are some tips of mine:

Additional savings tips…

  • Shop and cook around what's on sale
  • Don't waste ANYTHING – use every drop of what you have!
  • Consider a meal swap with friends! You cook dinner for however many families are in your swap, 1 night per week, and the other nights of the week a hot meal is delivered to your door. You only cook ONE TIME PER WEEK and get a homemade meal every night! It's genius! You can set rules like no MSG, must come with 2 sides, etc.
  • Double and freeze! We all know I looooooooove my freezer meals.
  • Use Deals to Meals to see what's on sale at the stores near you, and take advantage of their meal plans to use what you buy that week. Trust me, it's worth the $5/month.
  • If you're still struggling to make and keep a budget, try my Budget Boot Camp program! It's a super fun way to whip your finances into shape, and with my money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose!

Tips for Price-Matching at Walmart

I recommend taking your shopping list and hitting the nearest Walmart so you can get all the best prices at one stop by price-matching! (more in a sec). If you DON'T have a Walmart close buy just choose the store with the best deals and shop there that week. 

How to save a BUNDLE on your grocery shopping, without the hassle of couponing! See how I do it - www.FunCheapOrFree.com

How to Price Match

  • Take your shopping list from deals to meals, you don't need the ads with you as per their policy.
  • If you prefer to take the ads with you and not use D2M, simply circle the items you want so you can find them easily. It still helps to make a list so you don't miss anything.
  • Wal-mart will match store-brand to store-brand. So if Western Family milk is on sale, you can match the Great Value brand at Walmart. It doesn't explain this in detail in their policy, but I've asked multiple checkers and they all said that's how they do it. Each checker is different and their ad-match policy is a little ambiguous, so just be sure to ask them what they will allow. But you will find the best deals on the store-brand items most of the time.
  • Bring a pack of post-its, or blank stickers or labels. I like to use those little circle yard sale stickers. As you add something to your cart, write the price-matched price on the sticker and stick it right on the product. That way your checker will know exactly what is being matched and what isn't, which reduces the chance of error AND makes your checker love you :). My recommendation? Do NOT use a sharpie to write the price on the product. If you write it, you're committed to it! I am known for putting things back once at the register, or deciding to pass on something if I am unable to price-match it for some reason. Don't commit to the product until you BUY it!
  • If something is an amazing deal don't just buy one…buy many. Stock up!! Check out my FOOD posts for ideas on how to store food. Stick within your budget, but be sure to grab extras, especially pantry items like baking and canned goods. This will build you a nice stockpile in no time, so you can “shop” your own house instead of the store on weeks that you are tight budget-wise. See my price-matching posts for ideas on how I do this. 
  • Make sure the ounces match. If a 16oz box of pasta is on sale at one store, make sure you are grabbing a 16-ounce box at Walmart. Likewise, if the ad is for price per EACH (i.e. per orange), don't try to match the price per POUND (i.e. per pound of oranges). It needs to be the same unit of measurement.
  • I used to start with the home goods section first and end with produce so the heaviest stuff (shampoo, baby food, diapers) is on the bottom of my cart.  I now hit the produce, dairy, and meat sections first. It started that way because they were closest to the store entrance at the Walmart I shop at. But now, it's more because that's where the most savings are, the healthiest items are, and I tend to spend a little more time in those sections. I lose steam after 30-40 minutes of shopping and tend to skip things at the bottom of my list. I'd rather skip chips and deodorant than the awesome produce/meat/dairy deals that week.
  • Get familiar with Walmart's Ad-Match policy before you go, just so you're clear on everything.
How to save a BUNDLE on your grocery shopping, without the hassle of couponing! See how I do it - www.FunCheapOrFree.com

Tips for Checking Out

This can be nerve-wracking.
  • Choose your checker wisely.I hate, hate, hate to say this…but I have found the most “easy-going” checker to be the youngest male possible. Second option, youngest female available. Third choice, just choose someone that looks friendly (literally look for someone smiling!) so you won't feel too intimidated when you're price matching!
  • Be super friendly.Strike up a conversation. Ask them about themselves. Comment on the weather. Compliment their hair. It always helps when you are friendly, even if seemingly nothing comes from it.
  • Be assertive; don't be timid!Here's what I do:
    • I place my items on the belt and try to save my price-matching items for the end, if possible. I do this to make it easier on the checker (though, they all say it really makes no difference) but mainly so I can watch closely to make sure they get the pricing right.
    • Now, many Walmart checkers are trained to say “Do you have any ad-matching today?” before they even ring you up. If they don't, I say, “I have a bunch of price-matching. Should I just put it all at the end?” They usually will say it doesn't matter, so the real purpose is to prep them that it's coming (just in case you get a cranky checker).
    • When it's time for a price-matched item all you have to say is, “This is $0.49 at Smiths”…” These are $1.00/lb at Safeway…” You don't technically have to show them an ad, all you have to do is name the price. This is where the stickers come in handy, because they can ring you up just as quickly as they would otherwise by glancing at the price you wrote on the sticker.
  • It never hurts to ask. Ever.
    • I mentioned to a friend one day in passing that I price-matched a 10lb bag of potatoes for $1. My friend was at Wal-Mart one day, remembered my awesome price-matching deal, and simply mentioned to the cashier, “My friend got this bag at a different store for $1” (she didn't even know which store I price-matched from!). The checker gave her the $1 price, no questions asked. Never hurts to ask. Ever.
    • A different friend of mine found an amazing deal on diapers at Fred Meyer. Utah doesn't have Fred Meyers, but we printed out the ad (from online), took it to Wal Mart, had to fight for it a little, but got the deal. Never hurts to ask. Ever.
    • Before I knew their policy, I tried price-matching 9lb of oranges for $0.99, but Wal Mart only sold their oranges priced per each. They weren't going to let me match them, but I said, “I didn't know that was your policy. Will you just let me do it this one time, please?” And they let me. Never hurts to ask. Ever.
  • Got coupons? Use them!
    • If you are a couponer, this is the best way to save the ULTIMATE amount of money. Price match, THEN apply the coupon. You'll get even more savings that way!

Grocery Shopping Problem-Solving

If you should run into any problems, here's what I suggest:
They say you have to have the ad with you:
That's baloney. They say directly on their national advertising “Price-match guarantee…no ad needed.” See their official policy HERE. If they say “You have to have the ads”, say “Not according to your policy, so I didn't bring them. Sorry. Now, this is $0.49 at Smiths this week…” and move on. Be bold, be assertive. If they hassle you more, ask for a manager, or simply get out of line and go to a new checker. But fight back, the customer is always right!
They won't let you price-match something:
This happens occasionally.
  • If oranges are on sale at a different store for $0.33/lb but they are $0.50 each at Wal Mart, they won't let you price-match that. You can only price-match the oranges at Wal Mart if they are also sold by the pound.
If they challenge price-matching something that you feel should be price-matched, simply ask for a manager. Fight for what's yours! (In a firm, but KIND way, of course :))
Other concerns:
“What if they don't believe me?” “What if they get mad that I don't have the ads?” “What if I hold up the line and make people mad?” “What if they don't let me price-match this?”
My answer to all those concerns and more?

…..SO WHAT?!

  • Don't feel bad about getting a good deal. I promise, Wal Mart is NOT losing money by doing this.
  • Don't feel bad about holding up the line.Be courteous first and foremost, but take your time; don't rush. If it takes 5 or 10 minutes longer to check out, people can move to a different line if they are in a rush. Be courteous and let someone ahead of you that only has 2 or 3 items, but otherwise, that's the name of the game. You have every right to price-match and check out just like everyone else.
  • Don't be afraid to question the checkeror ask for a manager if they try to stop you from matching something. They won't be offended or lose sleep over it, I promise. They are just trying to do their job, so certainly be kind and respect that, but also fight for what is rightfully yours.
  • Don't get discouraged.First of all, this is way easier than it sounds in this post, I promise. You just need to try it. However, if your shopping trip doesn't go as planned for whatever reason, contact me and I'll help you through it the next time. 🙂  (see below)
And there you have it! It's so easy, and you save so much money! Check out THESE posts for examples on how I (and others) have saved tons of money by price-matching, and THESE for deal shopping.

I also found THIS great article with 50 easy ways to save money on groceries, check it out.

Here's a great question I got recently:

Hi Jordan! First I have to say I love this post… I read it and have been price matching ever since and saving a little more each time. I do have a question that I was wondering if you could clarify for me… if you can't, that is fine too since I wasn't exactly sure what this manager was trying to say. Here's my scenario from my local WalMart last week:
A local grocer had Miracle Whip 30 oz jars BOGO Free. In doing my other shopping, I decided to pick these up from WalMart instead of the local store. The ad specifically stated “save $4.99”, which is in line with WM's ad match policy. My WM sells this product for $2.98 each. The customer service manager that was called over during my check-out said that I would get these as BOGO Free but would scan them at the price of the other store. When I asked for more clarification, this manager started mumbling and playing around with the computer and never did give me a good answer. I then just asked her to remove the items from my receipt and didn't purchase them.

Do you know if this manager would have scanned one of these items up at $4.99 and the second would have been free… or would they have scanned both in at $2.98 then given me a discount of $4.99 off the total? Like I said, I never did understand what this manager was trying to say, so I'm not sure what their “correct” way of handling this would be. I plan to call my local store and ask for clarification so that I know how to handle this the next time I go in, but thought I would run it past you too. Thanks in advance if you are able to answer this at all.
 – Chriss
Chriss – First of all, I'm so happy that you've been price matching, I hope it's been saving you tons! As for your question…all I have to say is, EVERY WALMART IS DIFFERENT, and more importantly, every checker is different. I know that shouldn't be the case, but it is. There is a Neighborhood Walmart by me that is super super super laid back. They will let me price-match anything, and I mean anything. They say outright “we are really flexible here so it's no problem” when I ask them about something that I figure they won't match for whatever reason. That being said, there are likewise Walmarts that are much stricter and don't love price-matching as much, or simply do things differently. So if you end up having a weird experience then try again. Don't let one certain checker or store keep you from price-matching. It's their POLICY; it's a huge part of their business model. They make plenty of money from price-matching items, otherwise they wouldn't do it! Ok, now that that is out of the way…
In this case, it seems like the other store jacked up their price to $4.99/jar and was selling them BOGO, making them $2.50/jar, which is $0.48 less. They should've given you the jar for $2.50 each.
Here's another thing I've learned…
Price-matching takes some quick (and sometimes complicated) mental math…which some checkers are not comfortable doing. I know that I personally am TERRIBLE at mental math. Here's what I recommend: keep a calculator (you should have one on your phone) handy and do that math for them. Just say, “Smiths has these for BOGO at $4.99, so I did the math and it looks like it should be price-matched at 2 jars for $4.99 making them $2.50 each, does that sound right?”
Always ask them to verify, but do the math for them. You will have much more luck in getting correct price-matching. Also, buy some of those blank round garage sale stickers and stick the price-matched price to your items to keep things easier for you and the checker
So, try again! Don't let that stop you, and yes, you should've been able to match that just fine. 🙂
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Hope that helps! Is your area still price-matching? Let us know in the comments below so we can help each other out. Have a great day, Freebs!

XO,