Price Match to Save Money

Edited by Lesley Sheridan, Eng, Anonymous, Doug Collins

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How to Price Match to Save Money

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In today's world of retail, more and more companies are offering price match policies that can drive business away from their competitors and save you major money. Just like couponing, the art of price matching takes some research and preparation, but the rewards are certainly worthwhile. Here are some basic guidelines and tips for finding the best price-matching deals at your favorite retail stores.

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Mastering the Art of Price Matching

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Price matching is a well-known practice, but studies surprisingly show that many Americans are simply not taking advantage of it. In fact, only 5% to 10% of holiday shopping transactions involve price matches! Many people feel intimidated by the process or confused as to how it works. Getting acquainted with the ins and outs, however, will truly pay off. Practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid of messing up. You're bound to make a few missteps along the way, but you'll be a price matching money saver in no time. Following the steps below can make the overall process a much smoother one.

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Learn the Price Matching Players

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First thing's first: you'll have to learn the basics of who price matches with whom. Stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Toys-R-Us have well-known price matching policies, and the list is constantly expanding. Keep in mind, though, that while numerous stores offer low-price guarantees, that doesn't mean that they're doing the price matching for you. Consumers have to monitor prices themselves and then negotiate those prices. That's why it pays to do your homework when it comes to learning each retailer's approach to matching the prices of its major rivals.

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Study Individual Store Policies

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The hardest part of successful price matching is knowing each store's individual policy. Let's look at Walmart's ad-match guarantee to better understand common practices and wording. In Walmart's case, the rules are fairly straightforward. The retailer will match any local competitor's price on exact items. That means the exact brand, size, amount of ounces, etc. This guarantee also includes local retailers' online prices. Another thing that makes Walmart's policy impressive is that you don't need to bring the competitor's ad with you. Just tell the cashier about the competitor's price for a convenient and stress-free checkout.

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Walmart's Savings Catcher App is also a helpful tool that can save you the headache of matching prices yourself. After you shop at the store, use the app to scan the barcode listed on your receipt. If Walmart spots a competitor's lower price on any item or items you purchased, the store will reimburse you the difference. Keep in mind, however, that the amount of reimbursement is issued via a Walmart eGift Card, not cash.

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On the other hand, Amazon's policy explains that the store only price matches when it comes to televisions and cellphones. Best Buy's policy specifies that the retailer will only match prices with certain retailers. Specifically, these include Amazon.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Newegg.com and TigerDirect.com. As you familiarize yourself with these unique store policies, use the information that you gather to decide what policies are best for your needs and shopping habits. Knowing which stores compete with one another is vital in planning your price matching approach.

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Check Local Advertisements

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If you're serious about matching prices, you'll want to keep an eye on all the weekly ads in local newspapers. You'll find these inserts throughout most Sunday papers, but different companies run their sales at different weekday intervals. If you're not a newspaper subscriber, you can still view many of these weekly deals online. Most stores feature their weekly circulars on their homepages. You can also sign up for email notifications or connect with stores through their social media profiles to stay thoroughly updated on flash sales, weekly deals, free shipping promotions and BOGO offers. Bringing in screenshots or copies of these advertisements is usually all you need to get the price matched by another competitor.

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Use Online Price Trackers

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Sites like Slickdeals offer amazingly helpful tools when it comes to price comparisons online. Slickdeals' Price Tracker allows you to see the all-time highest and lowest prices of a certain item. Just paste the item's URL into the site's tracker, and you'll see the history of the item's price range as well as receive notifications when a price sets a new record. The site also offers a Deal Alert tool that will notify you when any store offers a deal on a specific product that you're considering purchasing. Again, simply input the item's URL, and Slickdeals will notify you immediately if the item goes on sale. You can use this information to ensure that you're always getting the best deal on the items you're going to buy anyways, and it makes matching prices a cinch. Slickdeals has a well-deserved reputation as the leading and most trusted online deal-sharing community, and its tools can greatly enhance your overall price matching skills.

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Utilize Smartphone Apps

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Modern technology has made price matching incredibly simple. Price comparison apps are the perfect way to check prices across a multitude of merchants from the convenience of your smartphone. Fortunately, there's no shortage of options to help you track retail prices and discounts.

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RedLaser is one such app that does the comparison shopping for you. Scan a product's UPC barcode, and the application will generate a list of the item's current prices. Even better, this handy little app will store your loyalty cards for you to make shopping more of a breeze.

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Another popular app is ShopSavvy, which keeps track of items on your wish list and notifies you of price drops. You can enter a product's SKU or scan the UPC barcode, depending on your needs. As mentioned before, several stores have their own apps. Amazon is another retailer that has a price comparison app that lists a product's current pricing specifically at Amazon. The store is known for its low prices, so this app can be especially helpful when shopping in a store that does offer Amazon price matching guarantees.

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If the retailer you're planning to negotiate with only accepts price matches from local retailers or online stores, TheFind is a great tool to use. This app searches local competitors and online prices specifically to help you narrow down the list to applicable offers. This is incredibly helpful when you're short on time and need to comparison shop in the middle of your shopping trip. It will also ease your mind by preventing hiccups caused by strict or specific ad matching policies.

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Price Match Before You Buy… or After

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Another form of price matching is the classic price adjustment, and it pays off to pay attention to fluctuating store prices on items you not only plan to buy, but also ones you've just recently purchased. For instance, let's say you buy an item at a major retailer on Monday, but that weekend, you notice that the same store has now reduced that item by 50%. Don't fret! Many stores offer price adjustments within 14 days of the purchase date, so if something goes on sale after you buy it, you can typically get the store to refund you the price difference simply by bringing in your receipt. This is a wonderful way to prevent missing out on a deal just because you shopped a little too early.

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Benefits of Price-Matching

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  1. 1
    You'll save money.
    Obviously, you'll save money across the board by matching prices. However, these savings can really add up when you're purchasing big-ticket items around the holidays. Companies are feverishly competing with one another at this time, and you'll likely find substantial price differences if you're especially diligent. Even better? Think of the money you'll save money on gas. Cha-ching!
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  2. 2
    You'll save time.
    Going from store to store just to save a few dollars on a couple of items is time-consuming and frustrating. You have better things to do than spend your entire day off driving to different retailers, and comparison shopping can eliminate the process entirely. Stay in your pajamas, drink some coffee and prep your price matching from home.
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  3. 3
    You'll be conscious of prices.
    All too often, consumers don't take the time to pay attention to what they're actually paying for everyday items on their shopping lists. By keeping an eye on price drops and store differentiations, you'll become a wise, more informed shopper all-around.
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  4. 4
    You'll reinforce the need for competitive pricing.
    The fact that more and more retailers are matching prices is a good thing for the modern consumer. Companies are being forced to lower their prices to compete, and you'll reap the benefits via impressive everyday savings.
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Helpful Considerations

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  1. 1
    Pay attention to dates and time frames.
    Nothing is more frustrating than missing out on a great deal because you're a day late. Stay on track of all your deals by organizing them based on expiration date.
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  2. 2
    Be patient.
    Many policies are very detailed and can be confusing, especially to newbies. Take the time to review different stores' rules and requirements to make sure you're not overlooking any important stipulations.
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  3. 3
    Stay organized.
    Keep your circulars, advertisements and print-outs together in a folder for easy access and convenience. Tracking prices is hard enough without the hassle of rummaging through weekly ads while you're in the process of checking out.
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  4. 4
    Keep your price matches separated.
    For a smoother transaction, separate the items that you're requesting an ad-match on and keep them at the back of the pack. This will allow a much easier approach for both you and the cashier.
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This underused approach to savings can save you time and money, and it ensures that retailers stay competitive in their pricing habits. By following these basic price matching principles, you'll become a pro in no time!

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Lesley Sheridan
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Categories : Home Finances

Recent edits by: Anonymous, Eng, Lesley Sheridan

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