Competitive Ad Price Matching: How to Save Even More on Your Grocery Bill

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have a lifetime of experience in thrifty grocery shopping and cooking. But I also pointed out that as my income has increased over the years, I've become lackadaisical about “the little things”. It takes time (a little) to be a frugal grocery shopper. Coupons, price books, lists, collecting various ads from every store in town….blah. Who has time for this, right?

Well, as also previously mentioned, I've had to re-think my spending since becoming a single mom. But saving time is as important to me as saving money. A colleague recently reminded me about a savings opportunity that really doesn't take that much time: Competitive Ad Price Matching.

Wal-Mart will match the ads of any store in their “local trade territory”. If you live in a metropolitan area, you should be able to work this so that you're getting rock bottom price on every grocery item you purchase.

The Wal-Mart policy specifically states:

“Store managers make the final decision in always taking care of our customers, but we do have guidelines for matching our competition.”
We do honor “Preferred Shopping Card” advertised prices. Must be like items, be advertised and require a competitor's shopping card, for the discount to apply.
We do not honor advertisements that require a purchase in order to receive the advertised price or free product.
We do not honor “Buy One / Get One Free” advertisements.
We do not honor double or triple coupons or percent off advertisements.
We do not honor other retailers' “Misprinted” advertised prices.
We do not honor Internet Pricing.
We do not honor competitor advertisements from outside of the store's or Club's local trade territory.

Some tips for making the most out of competitive ad price matching:

1) Collect all of your sales flyers. In some areas, you'll get them in the mail on certain days of the week (usually Wednesdays). You can also see if the ads come in a newspaper, usually on Wednesday. You CAN print them from the grocery store websites, but be aware that most Wal-Mart stores will only honor prices shown on the actual store ad.

2) Remember that you have to take your ads with you. Save time by circling (permanent market, highlighter, etc….) the items that you'll be buying. This will help you to avoid having a line of grumbling people behind you as you shuffle through papers at the checkout.

3) Have a printed copy of the store policy and have it with you when you shop. I've only had to “whip it out” once, but it's useful to have it handy just in case.

It's a Match!

Competitive Ad Price Matching: makes the Target lady very happy!

4) Meat, produce, bakery, and dairy items usually have to be worded exactly. Store brand items are matched with Wal-Mart's store brand items (doesn't have to be the exact name). You can't get use the .50 cent store brand price on a can of corn to get Green Giant Corn, for example.

Note that packaging doesn't have to be exact. This particularly helps me. If lean ground beef is priced at my local market at $1.99 per pound, it's usually in a package of 2+ pounds (not handy for me). But I can take my ad to Wal-Mart and get my ground beef for that price in a one-pound package.

5) When you're checking out, separate your price match items from your regular price items. I usually load my regular priced items on the conveyor belt first, and then load my price match items. If I have time, I'll even organize them by store. Be prepared with your ads so that you can show the cashier each item as she scans it.

6) Save even more if you're a coupon user. You can use coupons when price matching!

Finally, it's important to note that competitive ad price matching is NOT exclusive to groceries. You can use electronics store ads, clothing store ads, discount store ads, and more. Imagine the savings if you use this practice on every single thing you buy!

Does anyone know if other stores have a competitive ad matching policy? Have you ever encountered any problems when you do price matching?

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Last Edited: June 26, 2017 @ 5:29 pm


  1. Printable Coupons says:

    Bills are already a pain so we’re hoping that we can lessen our grocery and shopping expenses.. These are good tips, coupons along with making a list, avoid bringing the kids because they always grab something that they like and use coupons… 🙂

  2. Bed Bath & Beyond will also take expired coupons (like the ones in the Sunday paper for 20% off)

  3. Saidah - A Proverbs says:

    All of these tips work good in theory but unfortunately for me, the Walmart in my area is very restrictive regarding adhering to these policies. The acceptance of coupons is one policy in particular that my local Walmart has trouble with. The Walmart in my area will not accept a coupon if it covers the full price of an item. It Bounty is $1 and I have a $1 one roll of Bounty coupon, they will reject the coupon. They also limit (5) coupons per transaction. I have showed them a printed copy of their policy but they were not interested in viewing it.

    I rarely shop at Walmart because of this reason. I’d much rather shop at my local Publix where they are much more coupon friendly.

    Thanks for all of the great info PT.

  4. Tiffany Willis says:

    Good to know, Jenna! I do enjoy good quality sheets and towels, so will file that bit of info.

  5. A lot of home supply stores (Linens-n-Things and Bed, Bath and Beyond) match competitors coupons. We save them and then when we need more towels / sheets, etc, we cash them in.