Price matching is a relatively new phenomenon. I’m sure many have heard of it through shows such as “Extreme Couponing” and the like. I have been making a concerted effort to slash my grocery bills for the past few years, and price matching has been a godsend. As my family has grown to 4 people, a dog and a number of aquatic creatures, the need to cut costs has increased substantially. If you don’t like to worry about coupons, and don’t like to wait for things to go on sale, price matching is the answer! Price matching is really a very easy way to save money every week. Here is how I do it:
Look at flyers
We have our flyers delivered on Saturday morning, and I get up extra early to be sure I have sufficient time to look through them in silence. With a busy family, I don’t get much time for myself, and I actually look forward to this ritual each week. Before I look at flyers, I have a list of grocery and household items we need immediately, and shortly in the future. I also try to plan at least a few dinners for the week ahead, using the sale items I find in the flyers. As an example, if boneless, skinless chicken breasts are on sale for $2.99/lb, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will be having at least three dinners for the week based around chicken. Also, I eat clean, so chicken is a mainstay of many of my 5-6 meals per day that I eat. Just today I had chicken in three of my meals!
Identify the great deals
I always look for the “loss leaders” at each store. These are items which the store marks down to an excellent price in order to attract people to the store. As an example, the other week No Frills had peanut butter on sale for $2.88, which is an excellent price. The beauty of price matching is that you don’t have to go from store to store to get the good deals - as long as you have the flyer, you can get that great deal at a store which price matches! The flyers will say if the store price matches. I always make a list of the items I will buy, and I sort it by store I am price matching to. This eases the check-out process immensely. If you are skilled at excel, this would be an easy way to track your grocery list. Personally, I go old school and keep track of everything by hand.
Buy based on seasonality
There are items that go on sale based on season - see these sales cycles. For example, Boxing Day is an excellent time to purchase electronics and Christmas supplies. Be sure to keep an eye on Bargainmoose for all the great deals occurring at various times in the year!
Combine price matching with couponing
This is by far the best tip I can provide to save money at the cash register. When I make up my grocery/price matching list, I put a star beside any item I have a coupon for. I then pull my coupons from my coupon binder and organize them in a Ziploc bag, along with the flyers I will be price matching with. When I’m at the grocery store, I organize my items in my cart, putting the price matched items on top of the corresponding flyer. This makes the entire process organized, and my checkout times are generally not very long. Remember to check the Bargainmoose printable coupon page for coupons.
Tips for a pleasant checkout experience:
- Be polite.
- Put price matched items first on the till, organize them by flyer.
- Put coupons on top of items so they are easy to see.
- Dress nicely.
- Don’t take your kids, unless they are very-well behaved at the checkout lane.
- Develop a relationship with store clerks at your favourite price matching store. Sometimes if I have taken a long time with my price matching and couponing I’ll give the clerk a free or cheap item to say thank you.
- Don't go at the busiest time of the day.
Know each store’s price matching policies
Some stores price match and others don't. Also, certain stores accept flyers from other stores, and some don’t. As an example, my local No Frills where I do 95% of my shopping, will not price match to a Walmart or a pharmacy. You can always check online for their policies if you're unsure.
Keep track of stock pile needs/requirements
I have a stock-pile of grocery items in my basement, and I have minimum levels of numbers of items I like to have on hand. I stock up when an item is on super sale. As an example, we go through Kraft natural peanut butter like it’s going out of style. It’s a healthy fat that everyone in my family enjoys. I like to have at least five on hand, so I don’t run out before the next super sale of peanut butter.
Price matching is a relatively easy and painless way to save money every single week at the grocery store. It is actually something I look forward to every Saturday morning- I kick back with a coffee and my flyers and I search for deals. It’s quite thrilling, actually. I make it into a game with myself to try to find the best deals possible. The key to successful price matching is strategy and planning, and once you have these down pat, it’s easy! For more money-saving tips be sure to check the rest of the Bargainmoose website for other money saving articles, coupons, and deals!
Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia