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Use Price Matching to Save Money

In today's retail shopping world, more stores are offering customer price match policies to not only save their current customer's money but also to beat their competitors' prices so they can draw in new customers.

For you, the consumer, price matching, similar to couponing, takes preparation and research, but the effort you put into it is worth it. Below are some tips and guidelines to help you get the best price matching deals from your favorite places to shop.

Research Your Favorite Stores Price-Matching Policies

A key to price matching successfully is to know the policy of each store. Take Walmart as an example. They have straightforward rules regarding their ad-match guarantee. They will match any price of their local competitors on the same items, including their online prices. Not to mention, you do not even need to bring in the competitor's ad to get the match, which makes their policy impressive. All you do is let the cashier know about the price of the competitor.

Walmart also offers a helpful "Savings Catcher App" to take the pain of matching prices away from you. You use their app after you shop at their store to scan your receipt's barcode. If any item you bought is cheaper at a competitor’s store, Walmart will reimburse the difference to you through a Walmart eGift Card.

Other stores' price-matching policies may be different. For instance, Amazon only price matches on cellphones and televisions. Best Buy only price matches for certain retailers like Dell.com, Amazon, and HP.com as a few examples. Once you get familiar with each store's policy, you can decide which policy better fits your shopping habits and needs helping you plan your price matching strategy.

Finding the Best Price

Some ways of getting the best price include:

  • Checking retailers' websites for their policies on price matching. As mentioned, each store's policy is different. Some may only match certain items; others certain competitors. Some stores may exclude certain businesses that offer lower prices than them because they do not sell genuine products.
  • Download price-matching apps like Scan or ShopSavvy. Once you do this, all you need to do is scan your desired item's barcode to see if other places are selling it and if you should ask for a price match.
  • Match products that are comparable. Some items like electronics may be harder to price match because retailers may offer different model numbers.
  • Request a price adjustment for any items you buy that have a lower price than what you paid.
  • Check prices online before you buy in-store. Target and other retailers even match their online prices.

Getting the Match

Most of the time, you can just ask the cashier at the time of purchase to match a lower advertised price. If you have already bought the item and find a better value elsewhere, you can ask someone at the customer service desk to reimburse the difference if you are within the post-purchase grace period. Call customer service to match online prices. Typically, you will need a physical or digital ad to show proof of a lower priced offering.

Many people do not take advantage of price matching, even though it is a widespread practice. In fact, only 5 to 10 percent of shopping transactions reflect a price match. That is because people are usually either confused about how price matching works or intimidated by it. You are not going to be perfect at it right away. It takes practice and learning the ins and outs. However, once you do, you will be an expert price matcher in no time; always getting the lower price.

Don't forget about those post-purchase opportunities either. Store prices are always fluctuating on not only items you intend to purchase, but on those you already have. So, if you have just bought something and a couple of days later it goes on sale for a much lower price, you may get a price adjustment refund for the difference by just showing them your receipt.

Other Factors to Consider

Obviously, you do not need to try to match everything. Some things are worth your time; others are not. For instance, you would not want to spend hours trying to save yourself a few cents. Price match experts use tools like the ones mentioned above for significant savings on big-ticket items.

Keep in mind that just because many stores offer price matching, that does not mean they will do the price matching for you. You will have to monitor and negotiate the prices yourself. Therefore, it pays to learn each retailer's price matching policies and do your research.