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Monday, June 22, 2009

Price Matching

FINALLY, I'm lowering my grocery bill. I didn't think it was possible.
It was looking hopeless. My grocery bill was climbing, and I could only see it climbing steadily from now until they all go to college. It was starting to make me feel sick each week, dreading the total as we checked out each week.
I have been so challenged over the last year by some amazing women in my church who know how to stretch a dollar and find amazing deals. I think some of them have grocery stores paying them. They should wear capes while they walk around those stores with their coupons, calculators, and sales pages.
So I got in the game.
I feel like grocery shopping has become a game show.
I wasn't sure which route to take on this money saving game.
I've actually tried a few different things over this year.
I think I found the thing for me.
Did I just say Wal-Mart? I know, I know...
It works, but there are pros and cons, of course.
If you don't do this or know about it, I will break it down for you.
Price Matching means that you check all the sales ads in the paper that come out on Wednesdays. I check the Kroger, HEB, and Albertson's sales pages.
I didn't know this until I read this on Kyle McVay's blog about a year ago...but Wal-Mart will match the sales prices of any other store in town!!!!
I have found that this excludes in-store coupon deals, and buy 1 get 1 free deals.
But if Fuji apples are on sale for 88 cents at Albertson's, then Wal-Mart will give you that price. (That's actually one of the great deals this week that saved me more than $2 in apples.)
All you have to do is show them the add and match the exact brand, or if it's for the Kroger brand or HEB generic brand, then you have to have the Wal-Mart generic brand.
If they don't have the same size or brand, it doesn't work.
But most of the time, it's worked for me so far.
I've saved a large chunk of money doing this, plus coupons, plus Wal-Mart has the cheapest prices on almost everything that we buy of all the stores.

You're at Wal-Mart.
This is huge. It took me a year to get over this hurdle.
I try to go super early on a Sunday morning, or some other low-traffic time, if there is such a thing at Super Wal-Mart.
Also, the produce is stinky. I had to get my lettuce and a few vegetables at HEB this week. I am big on salad and good, fresh vegetables in salad and to grill, so if they're not looking good, I'd rather get them elsewhere.
Also, they don't double or triple coupons, so if you are awesome at the coupon thing, and you know how to double and triple them, you can't do that at Wal-Mart.
I'm getting fairly good with coupons, but not as good as the experts.
But Wal-Mart's prices on everything I'm buying is so cheap, that saving on certain items at Kroger but paying inflated prices for everything else on my list wasn't working for me.
Also, Wal-Mart is a new store to me and I don't know where anything is, but there is no one wandering around to help you. Even if you find someone who works there, they have NEVER ever known where the item I was looking for could be found. You're basically on your own. If you can't find it, you can't buy it.
Lastly, I think the people behind me in line this past week had every right to hate my guts.
The first few weeks I went, it was early in the morning, and it went smoothly with my checker. However last week, it was Saturday afternoon, and my checker was a little thrown off. So it added a lot of time to my check-out and I felt horrible for the people waiting behind me.

I have saved about $50/week so far doing groceries this way.
That's potentially $200/month.
The first time Rusty did this with me, we were searching everywhere for Craisins, which were naturally found right next to the diapers...sure...and we'd been searching everywhere, and Rusty said "Is this really worth it?"
I said I didn't know, we were going to check out and find out.
But I paid less than $100 for groceries for the first time in years!!!! So I decided yes... it was worth it.
I feel like I'm getting away with something.
I feel so smart.
I really want to tell people next to me when I'm picking up Pillsbury items for 88 cents each that they too can save $1 on each can if they want to!!! Or they can get a 4 pack of Angel Soft for only $1!
All the deals in town, I can get in one place.
This is sounding like a commercial.
It's not, because I still hate Wal-Mart, and I think that some kids in sweat shops somewhere are making those cheap clothes they sell.
But I am a bit on a grocery high on the way home, checking my receipt, seeing the great deals I've made.
I'm still fine tuning how to organize my list and make this as quick as possible, and if any of you have great tips, I'll take them!
I'm thinking with all this money we're saving, we can take a vacation to Mexico, right?


Christy@pipandsqueak said...

I have recently started earing extra care bucks at CVS by buying on sale items that offer that and I am trying out grocerygame.com which tells you what items to buy with coupons and what to stock up on. If you are interested, I can send you a referral.

theBirkenfelds said...

So I had caught wind of your price-matching and really wanted the details! Yay!

I am doing coupons and grocery game but I'm just not loving it. I am saving money but not as much as I feel I should for the amount of work it takes. AND I am still running around to 2-4 different stores trying to get all of the good deals. I think I may try this price matching! Also, I may need to come for a training session with you one Sunday morning- would that work? (Like, I'm being serious) :)

texasinafrica said...

Price-matching is awesome and absolutely the way to go. The only way I could see getting a better deal is if Kroger doubles coupons. HEB never doubles or triples, but they are so cheap on most things to begin with that that's where I shop.

My understanding is that there's also a 6-8 week cycle on most specials, so you need to watch out for those and stock up then. It's also generally a better deal to get things like paper towels and TP at Costco or another warehouse store.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart because of the sweatshop thing. There's a film called "Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Prices" that exposes not only the child labor issues, but also the generally horrible way they treat their employees. (It's taken lawsuits to get them to let employees take bathroom breaks, for example.) I just can't in good conscience support a business that exploits the poor. But it's a little easier for those of us who don't have kids to chase around!

Emily said...

I wished I lived in CS and you could train me. I am trying to be a money saving ninja but i feel defeated. First of all, it is HARD for me to remember to buy the sunday paper, but I'm getting better. Second of all, I think the grocery game is a slow process of saving as you have to wait until you have all the coupons and the sales come. I am so impatient. Adam has been out of town and I have found it easier to just eat my favorite lime tortilla chips for all three meals. IT is very money saving:). I am not a fan of walmart but I was going before the grocery game. I think I should at least try your method. It just makes walmart even more overwhelming! Maybe when Adam can watch Josiah:) THanks for the info! LOve you!

Kellie said...

I do the grocerygame.com and it works SUPER when you clip the coupons. I am too lazy to coupon clip or I end up spending WAY too much buying stuff I normally dont need cuz I HAVE A COUPON! :)
PS I guess I will see you in San Antonio....I am doing Rock N Roll, too!

lisasmith said...

good to know where the craisins are...I stopped at SAm's on the way home!!

I have a list that goes in walmart aisle order. got it from heather gernenz years ago. if I can find a copy of it, I can get it to you. now I just have the aisle order memorized.

LeAnn said...

one thing I have observed in our Walmart, they will not stock the items that are on sale at other stores. VERY frustrating!