Wal-Mart Price Match Policy Rules And The Pros And Cons For Using It

The Wal-Mart price match policy, now referred to by the company as the "ad match policy" can save you time and money when used properly, but there are some disadvantages to it too. Find out how to use it wisely to benefit you most, not the company.

wal-mart price match

I'm always interested in saving money, especially in the current economy, and one way to save money, when done wisely, is to use Wal-Mart's ad match policy to your advantage. I've been using this policy sporadically for many years, but lately I've made a concerted effort to use it to benefit my family as much as possible. Here's my strategy for using it to my family's best advantage.

What Is The Wal-Mart Price Match Policy?

Basically, this policy matches the advertised sale prices of Wal-Mart's competitors to give you the lower price when you buy the advertised products at Wal-Mart.

checking out of wal-mart
My explanation is, of course, simplistic and there are lots more details, exceptions and intracacies to it then I just explained. Here is a link to the ad match policy at Wal-Mart, which I suggest you read carefully.

If I say anything below that conflicts with the policy from Wal-Mart, stick with Wal-Mart, not me. Plus, Wal-Mart could change their policy at any time, so every once in a while it is worth while to review the policy to see if anything has changed which would change your strategies for using it.

With that said, here are the major parts of the policy I've found important:

  • Wal-Mart only matches ads with specific prices. They don't honor ads with BOGO if it doesn't say a price, for example, or percentages off. In addition, I've had trouble with some cashiers matching $10 for 10 items sales, even though these are obviously a dollar each.
  • You have to buy an identical product, in every way, to the ad to get the price match.
  • They accept only local competitor's ads, not Internet ads from anywhere in the country.
  • They don't honor ads for private labels from other stores, so you basically can use this policy only with national brand name items.
  • You don't have to have the ad with you to get the price match, but practically I find it to be a good idea since some cashiers are more skeptical than others, and having the ad with you also serves as a good reminder for you of the correct price.
  • Wal-Mart will match ad prices for fresh produce and meat, as long as the item you are trying to match is also priced by the same unit, such as by the pound, for example. I have used this for milk in the past, but I am not sure when reading the actual policy of this will work for everyone or not.

Advantages Of The Wal-Mart Price Match Policy

The advantages to Wal-Mart's ad match policy are pretty obvious. You can save yourself time and money if you regularly shop at Wal-Mart anyway, and can take advantage of other stores sales without even having to visit them.

Since I live very close to a Wal-Mart I shop there generally every week or two, so I like using their policy to help save even more money. It also keeps me from visiting other stores which would take more of my time, but also expose me to even more opportunities to buy, which can be hard for a (mostly) reformed impulse shopper like me.

Strategies For Using The Wal-Mart Price Match Policy

shopping in wal-mart
To take advantage of this policy you have to know the competitor's ad prices to begin with, and ask for the match while the cashier is ringing you up. They don't just give it to you on their own. Wal-Mart will gladly take more of your money if you let them. To use this policy effectively you need to be vigilant about knowing the current sales.

To get the most out of this policy you need to study all the ads for the week before going shopping, even for stores you would not otherwise go to, just to see if they have any deals you want to take advantage of while at Wal-Mart. Then, you need to somehow remember to share this information with the clerk during the checkout process.

My personal strategy is to make a note of the ad price on my list so I can remember the lower price to tell the cashier, and then put all the ad match items at the end of my order so I can tell the correct prices for them all at once. If an item has already been rung up at the higher price, and then you remember you want to match it, it is a real pain for the cashier to change it. Try to make their job easier by saying all the things from this point on in the order will have price matches, so they can be prepared and put it in right, the first time.

Disadvantages And Times You Shouldn't Use The Wal-Mart Price Match Policy

Although your first inclination may be to use this policy at every opportunity, there may be times when it is to your advantage not to purchase the item at Wal-Mart, but instead to still go to the other store. This can happen mainly when you combine sales with coupons.

As you may know, one of the best ways to save lots of money is to combine sales and coupons together. The more liberal coupon policies at many other stores make it better, many times, when employing this couponing strategy for savings to skip the Wal-Mart price match policy in favor of visiting the other store.

The big disadvantage of using coupons at Wal-Mart is that they don't double or triple your coupons, and you are limited to using one coupon per item, whereas many grocery stores at least double most coupons, at least in my area. Here is a link to Wal-Mart's coupon policy for more details.

When you use the price matching strategy at Wal-Mart the best you can do is use one coupon with the item, which you can't double. If you go to the actual store with the deal, assuming they have a good coupon policy, you can often use multiple coupons, or get them doubled which will end up saving you even more money on the item, sometimes to the point of being free.

Therefore, I do skip out on using Wal-Mart's policy sometimes, and choose to go to another store, deciding the extra time and temptation are worth it to me to get the better deal when using coupons. However, if I don't have a coupon to use I will often use Wal-Mart's policy to help my family save some money and time at the same time.

If you don't use the Wal-Mart price match policy as part of your arsenal of ways to save money yet, you should. It is an easy way to save even more money almost every time you shop at the store, with just a little preparation time for reviewing the ads in your area first.

Photos courtesy of Walmart Stores

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