So Long Coupons, Hello Price Matching

Healthy-Food_A

Guest post from Jami of 356 Collide

I was an avid, borderline crazy, couponer… before I gave up coupons.

Well, I gave up most of my coupons! I still use them at times for our family essentials like dairy products and eggs. But for me, couponing became an obsession and a comparison game. I was loosing my sanity and my life was consumed by those tiny pieces of paper. And to top it off, our food choices were rather unhealthy.

I handed over those tiny strips of newspaper and decided to follow a more simple way of living and an easier way of saving money for my family. I decided to turn to price-matching. I read about it here on MoneySavingMom.com and wanted to give it a try.

What I Have Learned About Price-Matching

1. It Saves Time & Energy

I literally spend about 10 minutes circling my local advertisements and writing my grocery list for the week. This is compared to hours on end each day trying to find coupons and matching deals.

Since I price-match, that means I only go to one store a week, compared to the four plus stores I would go to during my couponing spree.

2. It Saves Money

I limit my purchases to whatever I circle with the occasional purchase of other essential products. Doing this helps me be self-controlled and purchase what is on sale. I do occasionally pair price-matching with a few coupons for dairy products which helps save a few dollars, as well.

Overall, our grocery budget has actually been lowered by price-matching since there isn’t any pressure to buy every deal that is out there. Also, since I only go to one store once a week, I save money on gas. And who doesn’t like the sound of that? :)

3. Produce is Really Inexpensive

I mean really inexpensive. Most of what I price-match are fruit and veggies.

Almost all of the ads I receive advertise produce for as low as $0.30/lb! Also, instead of paying $1 on a single bell pepper, I usually only pay $0.25 for one. This helps in being able to stock up for the freezer.

4. Our Food Choices are Healthier

Many of the coupons out there are for processed foods. When I price-match, I purchase fresh foods, dairy products, and eggs that are on sale in my local advertisements.

Instead of a cart full of boxed items and processed food, my cart is now full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy-for-you foods.

Have you tried price-matching before?

Jami is a wife and a stay-at-home mom to two girls. She enjoys spending time with her family, encouraging others, cooking, and creating pretty things. You can read more about her and the life that she leads at 356 Collide.

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Comments

  1. Lana says

    NOT being critical but does this mean all your shopping is done at Wal Mart? It is very frustrating to price match at my Wal Mart and many times when I thought I had I would look at my receipt afterwards and find that they had not keyed in the item to get the lower price. That meant going to customer service and waiting in another long line to get the mess straightened out. I can do two or more grocery stores in less time than it takes me to price match at my insanely busy Wal Mart. I have pretty much ditched coupons too, unless a good printable comes along for a healthy food choice.

    • says

      That’s my experience too, I know there are some people who have great (helpful) Walmarts, but nearly every time I have tried this, the cashiers seem irritated or ‘bothered’ by having to do this. Once in awhile I’m lucky and I don’t have problems, but rarely has it gone smoothly for me.

    • Evie says

      I price match at wal-mart. My store does quite well with it. Once, a cashier even passed on a deal I had missed after seeing I was ad matching. I’ve developed a helpful system:
      – Know the cashiers! One cashier was difficult to work with, so I avoid going to him. Call me whatever you will, but ladies 50+tend to be the best to work with.
      -Know the rules. They recently started requiring a copy of the ad to match meat prices, but haven’t required it for other items.
      – Beoganized. I put all items to price match at the end of my line-up, so I’m ready to tell them the prices and they get into the mode to key it in.
      – Choose a good shopping time. I like to go early, before lunch because it’s not as busy

      I hope these could elp!

      • says

        I do the same as Evie. Put all the items for price matching at the end, so by that time I’m down there by the register and can watch to make sure they put the new price in correctly. And I think that’s probably true about 50+ women! =)

    • says

      I don’t do all of my shopping at Wal-Mart, but when it comes down to trying to be as frugal as possible, then that is the place I will go. I have had my share of frustration but I have also learned a great deal of what to do in those types of situations. Evie explained it perfectly. I do the same things as her.

  2. says

    Had my most frustrating price-matching experience yesterday. WalMart was out of their “generic” milk so they wouldn’t match the generic milk price from Kroger using their non-generic milk (the only option they had). Same deal with a porkloin that was on sale at Kroger at a great price. Walmart only carries name brand (Tyson) porkloin. They refused to match Kroger’s porkloin price, claiming it was on “generic” porkloin. Besides this experience, I’ve enjoyed price matching to save time. Not if this is the wave of the future of price matching!

    • Laurie says

      I price match at Wal Mart. I have found some of the stores more picky about price matching than others. I have many Wal mart’s around so I found one that is super cool about matching ads. I just bring my piece of paper with all the prices. I never bring my ads. And they are not at all picky about brands so I buy what I like for brands. I also do use coupons. My last trip with coupons and ad matching I saved almost $50. I do buy snacky foods as I pack cold lunch every day for my kids. Just have to find the right Wal Mart with a nice checker.
      Laurie

  3. says

    I’ve had an excellent experience price matching at WalMart. I’d encourage everyone to print off their ad matching policy, get to know it and take it with you when you shop. That way, if you run into problems, you can politely show a cashier or manager. I did a post on price matching that can be found here: http://thepracticalmama.com/?p=163

    • lizajane says

      It’s great you’ve found a good one. My experience is that it depends on the cashier, so I try to remember which ones acted like it was a big inconvenience and which ones are eager to help. I even have one of my favorite cashiers that helps me price match – I’ll quote a price I saw for bananas, for example, and she’ll correct me to a lower price she saw somewhere else.

  4. Suzy says

    I am right there with you! I gave up couponing because it was taking over my life. Price matching/comparing is the way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I live in an area were W-M’s are not on every corner. I go to 2 stores and get what I need. One is a discount grocery store (Grocery Outlet) and whatever grocery store has the best deals of what I truly need.

    Going every coupon of weeks instead of weekly also saves me $.

    If there is a coupon I read about that I really want, I buy it off ebay. No more Sunday papers etc.

    I feel so much more at peace!

    • says

      The peace you feel when you are doing something you are called to step out of or step into is indescribable. Regardless of what others are doing, it’s best to do what’s better for you and your family.

  5. karen r says

    I find coupons work best for me.

    Price matching won’t match rebates and catalinas, so I can’t get drug store prices for toiletries and non food items. So I’d need to clip coupons and visit drug stores for that alone. Thus I’m paying for gas anyway. Plus, price matching won’t match % off, BOGOs, and the brand and size has to be identical. That means a lot of times I can’t match the deal.

    The flip side is that I the author is right about what foods gets the best deals. For fresh dairy, produce, and meat… they really don’t offer many coupons. So price matching can help. But since my prefered store usually has great prices on those, I don’t save much more for the effort.

    • Jennifer H says

      My Wal Mart will price match the BOGO from the local stores. So when Publix , Winn Dixie and Walgreens have items we use BOGO, I will go in and buy 2 or 3 items at Wal Marts lower price and get 2 or 3 free.

  6. says

    I completely agree! We gave up using coupons at the beginning of the year for many of the same reasons. (I wrote about it here on my blog: http://www.servingjoyfully.com/2012/06/28/why-i-dont-use-coupons/)

    I also do a lot of price matching, although don’t get great produce deals like that! We recently moved across the state, and it’s really cool to see the different deals we get here (some better, some not as good…but definitely different.) I used to be amazed at people who said they never paid more than $1.99/lb for meat, because back home the only thing you could get for less than that was whole poultry. Here, I can often find hamburger for $1.99/lb, and pork chops for $1.39/lb.

    I also think shopping at Aldi is awesome if you have one near you. Which unfortunately we don’t.

    • says

      Haha! I had to laugh at your mention of my nightmare. That was actually about buying glue at full price, instead of getting it during the school sales. No coupons needed for those sales. :) It’s hard for me to pay full price for school supplies when I know how cheap they are during back-to-school season! But I’m weird like that.

      While I’m commenting, I did want to mention that I think it’s important that we recognize that what works for one family doesn’t work for all families. And that we extend lots and lots of grace: what could be an obsession for one person could be the provision of God for another.

      Coupons have saved us thousands of dollars, helped us survive during really times, and helped us to stay out of debt… but I see them as just one piece of the money-saving pie. And it’s important for everyone to figure out what works best for their family in the season of life they are in — and to guiltlessly do that!

      That said, I will never recant my position that everyone should use coupons in some way, shape, or form, even if that’s just by using an online coupon code when you order online or signing up for the free coupon offers on Facebook. :)

      • says

        lol oops! I must have just assumed “toothpaste” since it’s such a typical coupon item? No idea what happened there, but I do remember that now that you reminded me…I can relate to the school supplies stuff. I missed those sales this year –we found out the first week of July that we were moving across the state by Aug. 1. So, I was wrapped up in packing/trips to our new town 5 hours away/moving/unpacking through the whole season. Definitely kicking myself now!

        Crystal, I completely agree with extending grace and I hope that my post didn’t come across as judgmental toward anyone else. Sometimes it seems that I spend half my time on my blog saying things like “this is what works for me” because I really don’t want to come across as saying that everyone should do things my way. For the coupon thing, I can admit that it was my own problems that got in the way, and it just stopped working for our family…and God has provided in other ways since then.

        But I would never presume to say that people in general shouldn’t use coupons…just me :) (although I do use occasional coupons like I mentioned in my post and you mention in your reply)

        • says

          I didn’t get that impression at all!

          I don’t even shop at Walmart unless it is an absolute emergency. Granted, we have the funds (tight as they are) that allow me to pick and choose which stores I give my business to. Some of the friends I’ve made through blogging aren’t so blessed and fortunate.

          That being said, I often shop my local grocery store for meat and produce deals – they do “bushel” sales on veggies very often, and you can get lots of great, local, in season produce for usually around 49 cents a pound! Recently I bought potatoes, onions, yams, butternut squash, celery, green beans, and broccoli. I bought close to probably 30 pounds (those butternuts really weighed in!), but I have enough fresh veggies to can and eat for a LONG time. Not to mention, I bought corn. Local, ORGANIC, non GMO corn. SCORE!

          I will never give up couponing for certain items – I even lead coupon classes in my area. I adore them, they’re such a Godsend for our budget (I own my own small cleaning business, am a graduate student in a double masters’ program, and stay home with my kidlets) while my husband works full time. It helps get us through with free household stuff, and especially at this time of year – baking supplies! I do a LOT of scratch cooking, so those coupons help!

          While we couponers will FOREVER fight the “there aren’t coupons JUST for processed stuff ” (seriously…there isn’t.), there are plenty of coupons out there for whole foods – frozen veggies, oatmeal, cornmeal (check your latest Cooking light for some Hodgson Mills coupons!), yeast, frozen fruit, etc. You just have to look a little harder if you’re picky about your diet (which I admit I am – no MSG for me because of migraines).

          Awesome article – I just wish more stores BESIDES Walmart price matched. I know Target does, but it’s over a half hour away….not worth the gas. :(

    • Kristine says

      I love Aldi. I do most of my grocery shopping there, and it’s so much less complicated than using coupons. Couponing is too stressful for me. I prefer shopping at one or two stores at most.

  7. KellyH says

    While many can get great deals couponing, I live 25-35 miles away from chain stores, except for the local WalMart (which isn’t a super WalMart). We get the daily paper from the closest urban area, so get ads. I don’t have as much success as I would with a Super WM, but I do get some deals. Esp. with the Aldi ad and produce. I have an occasional couponing trip (such as the Hy-Vee Kraft catalinas a month or so ago), but with gas as expensive as it is, I have to be saving a bunch to justify the $15 gas trip and the time it takes. Generally, I don’t have trouble with the price matching, but at a small local store, the employees are familiar.

    KellyH

  8. says

    You know, I really can’t stand our local Super Wal-Mart…I know that sounds terribly critical but it’s just not the friendliest place in town to shop and it’s tough to manage such a huge store with 3 little ones in tow.

    We’re also 25 miles from the closest grocery stores….

    For me, the best way to save is to stay out of the stores. ;-) I plan a bi-weekly grocery trip and hit CVS once a month. I do not enjoy shopping of any kind very much so that’s a plus for our budget, too. It doesn’t take much to cause me to cancel a trip to town! ;-)

  9. says

    Can anyone tell me how to get the local supermarkets to send me their fliers? I don’t get any in the mail, and that would be really helpful when figuring out my grocery list for the week.

    • Luba says

      I am not sure about how to get them by mail, but you can almost always view them online and sign up to get them delivered by e-mail.

    • Sarah says

      I don’t know how to get them to send them to you, but most stores do post them online. You could print those out and take them with you? Kind of a hassle and paper/ink, I know…

      • Allie says

        I printed my Aldi’s sale page and brought it in to price match at Wal-Mart, but the cashier AND the manager wouldn’t accept it because it had to be the original ad. So I left an entire bunch of stuff I was going to buy. I knew I was right, but you can’t argue with them.

    • Yolanda says

      My sister does not have a subscription to the paper and goes online to review the ads. Even our local grocery store has their ads online. Hope this helps.

    • Andrea says

      I would call the local store and ask about their marketing. They come in our mailbox every week, bundled in with lots of other marketing stuff.

      • MotherLydia says

        Whether you get the ads in your mailbox depends on how far away you live. We got NO grocery store ads in our mailbox when we lived 25 minutes away from the closest grocery store. Now we get fistfuls of ads, and we’re just 5 minutes away.

        (Being closer to grocery was part of the reason we moved.)

    • Courtney says

      There are two grocery stores that I went to their website and signed up to get the ad mailed to me each week: Stop and Shop and Shaws. Check the stores website and see.

    • Stacia Simonsen says

      First I would call your local post office branch. Mine told me to call the local paper, which I had to do about 16 times before I could locate the right person and actually speak to them 3-4 times over a course of months before they finally started to show up in my mailbox.

  10. says

    I’ve never thought of price matching in my grocery store. I recently streamlined our grocery shopping down to one store and once a month at Target for non-grocery. With my food allergy I would have to shop where there was a good natural selection and this store specializes in organic, local, and produce. Doing this cut my grocery bill in about half right away but I never thought to find out if they price match. I use coupon but very rarely since the items aren’t your mainstream Sunday circular. Sometimes they hand them to me in the store if the supplier is there and they see me with the product (they like me). Since I buy mostly bulk and produce it wouldn’t be much but it is worth a try. Thanks for the tip!

  11. says

    I use very few coupons and do price matching as well. My produce runs much higher than $.30/pound though, even though I almost always buy just the sale prices. Bananas are the cheapest fruit per pound and they are usually $.53/pound, going down to around $.40 only occasionally.

  12. Mel says

    I price match at Wal-mart once in a while but one reader said that wal-mart would not price match name brand pork at a store brand price and another reader replied that she found a Wal-mart that is not picky about brands. Why would you expect Wal-mart to price match a more expensive name brand item at a store brand/generic price???? I know that Wal-mart is a huge company so it’s easy to say “they won’t lose money” but it’s not fair to expect any retailer to do that. I would compare that practice to switching price tags before the days of barcodes & scanners.

    • Emily says

      I think the poster was frustrated that it seems like her WalMart purposely makes it nearly impossible to price-match because they only carry certain brands and not generic or even multiple name-brand items.

      Hope this helps!

  13. Luba says

    I completely agree with Crystal about using coupons in some way. God has blessed us with a store that doubles coupons, and, no, we don’t buy just junk food with coupons. Flour, cheese, milk, eggs, meat, and many other non-processed foods do have coupons (if they are not in your newspaper or online, sign up for the company’s e-mails and write to them for coupons. I’ve rarely been rejected). I’m sure price matching works for people, but I prefer coupons. :)

    • says

      That’s completely fine and understandable. What one person does doesn’t necessarily mean that it is for someone else. That’s why I gave it up. It wasn’t for this girl, but it could very well be for the one next door, like you.

  14. Amber says

    I cancelled my newspaper subscription (which I had just for coupons) earlier this year, and I’m very happy about it. No more sorting and clipping coupons from Sunday inserts. I do, however, still use coupons at Target. I check the weekly ad, check the Target online coupons, and then look online for printable manufacturer coupons. That, combined with 5% off for my Target card and 5%-off coupons from my pharmacy rewards, results in much lower prices for some food items, toiletries, baby stuff, and even clothing and toys.

    Funny Target story: recently a security guard at the exit wanted to check my receipt to make sure the large items underneath my cart had been rung up. And then, when she saw my receipt, couldn’t believe that I’d paid for everything in my cart, because the total was so low! HAHA!

  15. Jessica says

    The only store near me that does it is Walmart, and I avoid that place like the plague for a whole big list of reasons.

    • says

      Same here. Even though our Wal-Mart and our Target are essentially across the street from each other, the whole Target shopping center is cleaner and safer. The Wal-Mart parking lot is always full of trash, occasional panhandlers, and scruffy-looking people hanging around near the entrances. A friend of mine is in law enforcement and said it’s not unusual for there to be one bad shopping center in a region of town – they intentionally don’t police there as much as elsewhere. If they try to keep the panhandlers away from EVERY parking lot, the panhandlers just keep moving around. It doesn’t actually stop them. The more efficient way to do it is to leave one “safe place” for them to go, and then they won’t bother people elsewhere.

      Unfortunately, our Target here is awful about coupons (even though it’s clean and close to my house) so I end up driving to Publix most weeks. I pass five other grocery stores to get there, but it’s so worth it!

      • says

        I don’t promote going to unsafe places that will cause someones life to be in danger. People come in every shape and size, demographic, hair color, you name it, they are everywhere. I imagine in every city there are places that are “interesting.” However, being in a place were there is more diversity really opens our eyes to the people that are around us, doesn’t it? Those in need, struggling, hungry, oppressed, damaged. We are all created from one source, and that one source thinks we are all a work of art regardless of the choices that we have made or the way we might look. If Wal-Mart isn’t a place that isn’t somewhere that would be a comfortable shopping place, that’s okay. I just want to encourage everyone to be open minded and have a soft heart for the people that are in the community that we each live in.

  16. says

    I used to coupon shop. Then I had 3 very little kids under 3 and it was just not an option for my sanity. I have always price matched but we do it so much now. The majority of what we buy is from the perimeter of the store and so we eat way less processed foods. I still need them for somethings but coupons are usually for things we wouldn’t buy anyway other than toiletries and other house hold products.
    We love price matching, my husband is super frugal too and loves a to get the great deals from shopping the ads.

    • Luba says

      Yes, but you have to take everything to customer service, and they are very picky, from my experience.

    • Sherri says

      But Target will not price match anything that requires a store savings card, so that eliminates every grocery store in my town. The only place that leaves is Walmart, so I might as well go there.

      • Andrea says

        I don’t see that in their policies.

        Target’s policies are very specific, but I imagine that is to protect their bottom line and to make less hassles for them as a company.

  17. Ledith says

    I had the same experience. I also found that it helped to stop reading tons and tons of supposedly money saving blogs, where everything was an ad for one thing or another. Now I stick to this blog and one other, price match and focus on more substantial ways to save money—like not buying things even if they are on sale!

  18. Bridget says

    My two cents…. ad match AND coupons get free food.
    Yes it takes time but I have more time than money at the moment.

    • Amie says

      I agree! I consider my shopping (strategically matching sales and coupons, buying at rock-bottom prices, managing a stockpile, and shopping multiple stores) a part-time job because if I didn’t do that, I’d have to get a second job. I fit this into my schedule.

    • stee says

      The supermarkets in my area do not price match advertised flyers.

      My bigger question is what kind of store is advertising $0.30/lb produce?
      And why wouldn’t you just shop there for such bargains all the time?

      • Jessica E says

        I think the author of the article was trying to simplify. If you go to Walmart they will price match multiple different stores allowing you to get those great deals without driving to multiple places.

      • says

        Re: 30 Cents/pound produce

        Not sure where she lives, but here in Phoenix, we have four Mexican grocery store chains, in addition to the regular grocery store chains (we are very blessed!).

        The Mexican grocery store chains have amazing produce sales on Wednesdays and it not at all uncommon to get produce 3lbs/99Cents or something similar.

        Huge blessing!

        • Mandi says

          We have the same thing in So CA. Even when things gets super crazy, I still try to hit one on Wednesday b/c it can make a huge difference in our grocery budget (and the amount of produce we eat!) I hadn’t thought of taking those ads to a Walmart for price matching. . .

      • says

        Our area receives multiple advertisements from different stores around the community with produce prices that are .30/lb. However, one ad might only have 1 type of produce I would want, while the other might have 4 types of produce, and the other ad with 3 types of produce, and so on. These stores are not all on the same block. I simplify by going to one place. It saves me time, energy, and gas.

  19. Amie says

    When I first became a couponer, I chased every deal, but at that time there were so many MMs that I was using my “profits” to cover diapers, etc. Times have changed and a lot of deals are not as good. I price match at Walmart – mostly milk and eggs if I want to skip a store and save time, but that is because I don’t have a lot of local stores with great produce deals. I am still a huge lover of coupons and I doubt that will ever change. I’ve saved so much money over the years using coupons. Our food is a mix of homemade and processed food. We will often have a piece of baked meat, homemade rolls, frozen or fresh veggies and either a cooked from scratch side (BBQ beans, spanish rice, baked potatoes, etc.) or maybe a packaged side (instant potates, pasta side, steamer side, pasta with sauce, etc.). It really just depends. My kids eat cereal for breakfast. When their are coupons and deals, they will get fruit snack, bars, crackers, etc and when the deals are gone, it is fruit, homemade bars, banana bread, etc. It is a balance that works for us. Price-matching alone would not save me enough money.

    • Bridget says

      If you are close to a Krogers this week
      $5 catalina off 5 of Betty Crocker potatoes ($1 each)
      coupons make it even better
      and you can do it more than once in the same order….

      • Amie says

        I do have a Kroger and bought more this week than ever before with the GM catalinas! I shopped a bunch of times after work to roll catalinas. I stocked up: 46 BC potatoes, 15 Mac & Cheese, 10 Old El Paso tortillas, 7 BC cake mixes, 5 BC frostings, 5 Totinos pizzas, 21 GM cereals, 6 Toaster Strudels, 5 Fiber One Bars and over $80 worth of non- GM promotional items for around $100. I still have a $5 catalina and I’ll get back $12.75 in rebates and Savingstar. That is why I love coupons. I feel like I must note, I did not clear shelves and I shopped self check-out so I did not hold up others when I did multiple transactions.

  20. Tonya says

    I am fortunate to be able to shop at the commissary where just about everything is cheaper than the local markets. Even though they don’t carry a whole lot of generic type offerings that would be lower cost, I can still find the best deals at the commissary by waiting for things to go to their lowest price and then stock up on it enough to last me through until the next sale – even better if I’ve got coupons! The 5% surcharge is cheaper than the 7% tax that is charged in the local community. I consistently raid their discount produce and meat racks and use my freezer to the point that it’s bursting at the seams. We eat a few processed foods, but I mostly make everything from scratch. Being able to get those produce and meat items off of the discount rack is key. We’ve not even used our full monthly grocery budget in the last couple of months since deals have been so plentiful and I’ve been able to stock up for cheap. I know not everyone has access to a commissary and your commissary may not even have great deals but it’s definitely something to utilize if you can.

  21. Alessa says

    It’s insane to give up coupons! I am an avid couponer and price matcher! You get amazing savings from combining both. There are coupons for fresh produce too, but for those who have some picky eaters, it’s great for even the processed foods. As far as I know you can only do this at Wal Mart, but the key is to get to know the managers and your checkers and find good ones that don’t give you a hard time. When you get in a routine, they look for you and expect you and they are nice to you. We have managers that will close down a lane for us and pull checkers to come check us out. You have to watch the prices while they are changing them and you have to watch when they scan your coupons to make sure nothing gets messed up. The local Walmart in my town is horrible and they think you are evil if you bring a coupon or a price match. We travel about 30 minutes away to the next town (it has a bigger walmart and selection anyway); and the service there is great.

    • says

      I gave up most couponing after being a hard core couponer/blogger. I pay a little more now but we eat much healthier and are able to contribute to our community by shopping at the local farmer’s market for a portion of our groceries. We have a Win-co neary by that helps keep cost low buying from the bulk section and cooking from scratch.

      I do miss the rock bottom produce prices of La Michaocana. Highly recommend checking them out if you are in TX or OK. http://www.lamichoacanameatmarket.com/en/index.php

    • says

      No, it’s not insane, it was a healthy choice for me, and something I was called to do. I thought the same thing, “Why would anyone give up couponing, it saves so much money!!!” Well, that’s all I was thinking about was money. To give up my family and myself for that dirty piece of paper was the insane part. If others are couponing that’s fine, I applaud you. If you are being obedient and doing what you are called to do for you and your family, that’s awesome! But what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily mean it works for another. Price-Matching is just an option that works for me at this very moment in time.

  22. Tamra says

    I completely agree with you, Jami! Couponing was driving me crazy! I spent waaaay too much time on it, and ended up spending even more money than usual due to buying stuff I don’t use or really want just because they were great “deals.” Also, I was feeding my family lots of junk food and processed food. Thank you for writing this post…now I can let go of the last bit of guilt about not clipping coupons anymore.

  23. says

    Thank you for all the great information. I have never tried price matching but I will certainly try it now. I have gotten tired of carrying the shoe box full of coupons around. :) I live around both Wal-Mart and Aldi so I will have a chance to tell my experience about both. Have a wonderful evening.

  24. says

    So proud of you for choosing to stop something that can be good (coupons), for the sake of something better (your health/sanity). The latter is WAY more important! I hate shopping at WalMart, and I have not had the best experience with price matching, but I applaud you for sticking with it! I, too, have stopped being such a crazy coupon person, but my “saving money” method of choice has come down to menu planning and simply not buying as much/not letting anything go to waste. Great job!

  25. Karla D. says

    I’ll have to try some price matching. I’m looking through a lot of the flyers anyway for coupons. I think Jami makes great points, as someone who eats mainly produce (my hubby is vegan and I’m mostly vegetarian with a bit of meat) it’s rare that any coupons cover that and instead are for pre-packaged and often processed foods which we don’t eat in our home. I use coupons for things like dental floss, toilet paper, yogurt and razors. I use Whole Foods’ coupons when I’m there and thankfully those cover some frozen fruit or veggies and more healthful items but I can see how price matching would save some time.

    One of the things that has turned me off of the Extreme Couponing show is that much of it is about ego and competitiveness, it promotes poor manners like shelf clearing with some people and sometimes hoarding as many of the couponers are more interested in having a super large stockpile chasing after every amazing deal vs. buying foods that their family truly eats and is healthful. Thank you for this perspective! I have a friend in Canada that swears by this since they don’t get nearly as many coupons to use anyhow (I moved to FL from Canada and it’s totally different-you have to get even more creative).

  26. Rachel Benoit says

    Hm, going to have to read up on this price-matching! We rely heavily on produce and I would love to save on that now that our CSA is finished for the year.

    • Mel says

      We have a local store that reduces produce – similar to the orange stickers I see in Crystal’s health store posts. We can get 6 or 7 apples for $1, bananas for .19 lb. packaged salad as low as .25 each. I try to stop once a week and we eat what is marked down.

  27. Courtney says

    I don’t price match. One, I can’t support Wal-mart and that’s the only place I know that Price Matches. Two, the nearest Wal-marts are 20-30 minutes away and are regular Wal-marts, hardly any food items, and the produce department always has a lot of fruit flies. The other Wal-mart also has the distinction of having at least 2 cop cars there arresting people every time I’ve driven by it. The one super Wal-Mart I tried to price match at happens to be located just far enough from every other store that they won’t price match anyone.

    So, for those above who don’t price match, don’t feel bad. If you’re in an area like mine, it’s probably not worth your time. Especially when all 4 big grocery stores are 5 minutes apart. I do wish I lived in an area where meat went on sale for $1.99 instead of $2.99 though.

    • says

      I just moved to from a $2.99 place to a $1.99 place. I was so excited! One of our first days here, I found some manager’s special hamburger for $1.39/lb!!! I bought so much of it! Back home it was more like $2.49/lb on manager’s special.

  28. says

    Excellent post! This is exactly why I don’t use coupons..except for maybe shampoo, toothpaste and other personal items, NOT food. When we started couponing my hubby was against it right away because he too noticed that most of what we were buying were boxed and processed foods…which we didn’t want!!

  29. Jerri says

    Price matching is in its infancy in my town. I’ve never seen anyone do it but a young, helpful cashier at Wal Mart today told me that they’re set up for it.

    However, I was unable to use a valid $1.50 coupon for a Boston contact lens product today because the register rejected it. The cashier said that this has been happening more often and directed me to customer service. Someday Wal Mart will get it all together.

  30. says

    I have priced match twice at Walmart and was a little put off because I had heard of stories of problems with cashiers. So I brought my ad in with me and the cashier wanted to see it but she did price match it for me. We have a new smaller Walmart not far from my home so I might try price matching more often. I am always a little concerned with only shopping where they price match because eventually it may hurt the business at other stores. I am all for free enterprise though.
    We had a few of our very good customer service hardware stores go out of business after Home Depot moved in and was open 24 hours a day. Once there was less competition they cut their hours back and now we have less stores to choose from. Just something to think about.

  31. Patty says

    Interesting approach that I really don’t know much about. Here’s my dilemma:
    1) I’m about up-to-here with couponing. It seems that they’re getting to be lower values, most are $x/2 or more rather than $x/1, most coupons are not for food I buy, and I don’t have the time or interest in going to more than 1 grocery store a week;
    but…
    2) I just can’t bring myself to shop at WalMart.

    There’s gotta be answer out there somewhere!

    • Amie says

      You could always cook from scratch and just use coupons on HAB items. Before I couponed, I tried saving by making everything from scratch. It took some work, but that was before I found Crystal’s great tips on menu planning and freezer cooking. Some people like stores like Aldi and Save-A-Lot because their prices are low without coupons.

    • Andrea says

      I don’t use many coupons for food, but I do use them for things like shampoo, toilet paper and pet food. I seem to save a lot more on those items than I ever have at the grocery store. I focus on the deals at Target and CVS and only shop for items that we truly need.

  32. says

    Yes, I do both couponing (in moderation) and price matching. Another thing that I do is go to the bent and dent. I can save quite a bit of money by combining all three. That is what has helped me in the past when I only had $45 to buy diapers, formula and groceries for a week. I couldn’t have done it any other way.

  33. says

    Just wanted to throw out there that #3 is not always true, and if you live in an area where you cannot get those kinds of deals, it can be difficult not to beat yourself up about paying so much more than the prices others might rave about.

  34. Melissa says

    I use coupons (only clip & cut once a week) & price match (mostly shopping @ Target since they do price match if you have the ad) plus, then I still get 5% off using my red debit card. I usually go to Aldi for produce & meats but they are both on the same block where I live so no gas wasted. My husband passes Walmart on his way home from work so he gets his deli stuff & bread there.

  35. Angie says

    Does Walmart price match organic produce? I rarely shop at Walmart since there is a very run down one 15 min away and is a hassle…however, since I buy almost all organize fruits and vegetables I could see how this could save me a ton of money. Do Walmarts have a good selection of organic fruits and veggies that I should try it? How do they prices match? At the register or customer service?

  36. Jamelle says

    So many ways, so many methods to trim the grocery budget! Price matching is one I would love to take better advantage of but I hesitate to for a few reasons. But I’m going to look into it some more and give it more thought – maybe try it out on one or two things the next time I go to Walmart.

    I don’t go to Walmart very often, but there are some things that bring me there from time to time.

    I take full advantage of my Aldi store and do the rest of the shopping at Meijer with sales + coupons. I watch the drug store deals and Target deals loosely and will make a trip if there are enough items at one store – at a good enough deal – to make it worth my time.

    I’m lucky in that every store I shop at (except Sams) has a location between home and work, or my work and daycare. So extra gas isn’t so much a factor.

    To keep my sanity, I focus on one store right now – Meijer – with trips to the other places I’ve mentioned happening maybe once a month. That leaves me visiting two stores a week consistently.

    I also focus primarily on non-food coupon deals – but do also find ways to use coupons on food – just not as often. We still purchase/use canned soups (i.e. Chicken Noodle, Tomato, etc.) and I can get good deals on those during the months leading up to the holidays.

    Speaking of which, the months Oct through Dec are prime deals time for food – flour, sugar, canned vegetables, etc. all seem to go to rock bottom prices at some store somewhere along the way! So watch for those deals, whatever your strategy! Good luck to us all making it work – whichever way we can!

  37. Anna says

    How does Walmart determine competitors? For example, there is an Aldi 40 miles away that I’ve never been to because of the distance. I see great produce deals advertised on coupon sites for Aldi, and I wonder if Walmart would match them.

    Although, my experience at Walmart is their produce is aweful. I try to avoid buying it there. Maybe it’s just the produce manager at my Walmart.

    • says

      If you have a local ad within the same city as your Wal-Mart, they will recognize them as a competitor. I have had horrible produce experience as well at different Wal-Mart’s and I do think it depends on the produce manager. Some stores I wouldn’t buy anything because it doesn’t look good at all. The one by my house has a huge selection of great looking produce so I choose to go to that Wal-Mart instead.

  38. Heidi says

    The stupid Meijer store in my city won’t price match groceries, only general merchandise. BOO!

  39. says

    YES!!! I love this idea!! I have tried to coupon for quite a few years now and it just never seems to work for me. I have read numerous blogs and blog posts and ebooks and books about it. It just takes up too much of my time each week to sort thru everything and then it’s extremely frustrating to get to the store and they are out or it’s not the variety your coupon is for. GRRR. I love the idea of simply price matching and then if you happen to have some coupons cool if not no biggie.