It doesn’t make sense to drive all over town chasing deals when those savings are burned up in the gas it costs to get there. Check out these simple tips for getting stores to give you the best prices and save time, without wasting precious gas!
Most stores offer price matching which allows customers to maximize their savings and get all of their shopping done in one place. Save the store flyers from your local newspaper and bring them with you when you go shopping. Just show the cashier the competitor’s flyer and they can mark the items down right at the cash register.
Items eligible for markdown must generally show a set dollar amount. An example would be a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi for 75cents. Buy one get one advertisement, and dollar off ads are generally not accepted because the competitor’s base price may be more than that of the store providing the price match. Items must also be an exact match. In other words, they must be the same brand and package size as the item featured in the ad.
Most stores will only price match ads for local retailers. Other stores like Best Buy will match the online prices of major competitors such as Amazon. When buying anything at Best Buy I always check Amazon prices on my smartphone before heading to the checkout. Just tell the cashier that you would like to price match another store at checkout and they will look up the information on their computers. Get even more bang for your buck by stacking coupons on top of price matches. To price match when buying from Best Buy online you must contact Best Buy’s customer service dept.
There are some occasions when price matching may not be the most frugal way to go. Some stores double coupons or offer reward programs for buying promotional items. For example, Target stores often offer gift cards for purchasing promotional items in addition to having that item on sale.
If you price match the offer at another store you will get the sale price but forfeit the gift card. Subtract the cost of gas from the potential savings to determine if shopping at an additional store is cost effective. If you’re only going to save an additional 50 cents and have to spend extra time driving around you will likely determine that going to an additional store is not a good use of your time.
Also, keep in mind that when a store has a sale they may run out of a particular sale item before you have a chance to get there. It’s a good idea to call stores ahead of time to get an idea of how much of an item they have. Nothing is more frustrating than driving a half an hour or more and finding out that the shelves have been picked clean.
If you do happen to go to a store for a sale and they are out of the item you can ask for a rain check. This will allow you to purchase the items for the sale price when they are in stock again. The only downside to this is if you have coupons which are set to expire before the store has a chance to replenish their stock.
In this case, it would be wise to use price matching at another store and redeem your coupons before they expire. If the item is unavailable anywhere else you can ask the manager at the store having the sale to honor expired coupons when redeeming a rain check, but always ask the manager to sign the rain check or a note which specifically states that the coupons will be accepted. Managers are often willing to do this for popular items that are difficult to keep in stock.