Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Walmart: Price-matching without an ad?

Walmart has been struggling financially — especially since Target has been offering lower prices, price-matching and great coupons. Because of this, Walmart is now “ready to roll up its sleeves to win the lowest-price battle with its rivals.

One of the changes Walmart is promising to make is to provide lower prices and a better ad-matching policy:

Wal-Mart said store managers will check competitors’ prices more frequently. The company will press suppliers to lower their costs and will simplify its “ad match” policy.

From now on, if customers find a lower advertised price, Wal-Mart promises to match that price at the register in all stores without requiring shoppers to bring in a competitor’s ad as proof.

Knowing how Walmart cashiers tend to have a lack of training and understanding of the corporate Walmart policies regarding price-matching and coupons, I don’t have great faith that all stores are going to readily allow you to price-matching without a competitor’s ad, but I’m happy to hear they are at least trying to simplify the ad-matching policy!

Thanks to Brian for emailing this article in.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Amanda says:

    I used to work PT at a local Nebr. Walmart, and we were told in training that the ad was never required (except to price match alcohol) because “the customer is always right”. Interesting to see the rest of the company is figuring this out.

  • vicki says:

    my walmart has horrible customer service…and i don’t even try to use coupons! they have over 30 registers available, but only choose to open 7 or 8 (even during xmas and on the weekends!); out of the 7 or 8, 3 of them are “20 items or less” lines. so you spend over an hour in line waiting to cash by the time you get up to the register, you just want to hurry and get out.

    recently, my walmart’s prices have gone sky high! ive found items at target for at least a dollar cheaper. even the grocery stores non sale prices are sometimes cheaper than walmart. i understand inflation and all that, but this is extreme. the large container of maxwell house coffee was over $8 last week at walmart and at the grocery store its only $7. a month or two ago, i paid $5 at walmart. things like cereal, yogurt, pasta, and soda are the same price as the grocery store. i may pay a little extra for other itesms to shop at the grocery store, but ill gladly do it any day in order to avoid walmart!

    walmart is not worth the time and frustration.

  • Amy says:

    Target matches competitor’s ads?

  • Danielle says:

    My Walmart tried doubling coupons for a few months and that is the only time I have shopped there. All their cashiers were fully trained on the doubling (had to be done manually) and they knew (and informed me!) about the new “overage” policy. Also, I did a lot of price matching and all I had to do was verbally say what store and what amount. They keep all stores ads at all registers and were only there for reference. At first, I was going to show all the ads with the prices and then the cashier said that they believe and trust their customers!

    • Juanita says:

      Just yesterday I had to show the coupon policy for “overage” to a veteran WM employee and I had to show it to the CSM also. She read it and allowed my coupon, but I still don’t think she believed it was supposed to be allowed. If a CSM doesn’t know their coupon policy then why would the cashiers. And WOW!!! to the “they believe and trust their customers” about the price matching. You got a very good cashier.

  • Missy says:

    This has always been our Wal-Mart’s policy although most people didn’t know about it. It saves my sister and I A LOT of legwork on Black Friday!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    It is not bigotry to choose what I want to spend my money on and what I don’t. That is called a choice. I merely stated my opinion. Nothing more. You do not need to attack me for exercising my right of free speech or for believing differently than you do.

  • williamszoo says:

    “press suppliers to lower their prices”?! they press too much anyway! they frequently put smaller companies out of business cause they insist on lower prices every year!
    if i had the abilities, i would stop shopping at my walmart and start shopping at my little home stores instead!
    i HATE walmart!

  • Bonnie says:

    I think this is great because I will now be able to use my phone. If they are no longer requiring the printed ad, I can use my phone which has every ad I want with easy access. Love it!

    • Danyel says:

      I wonder if using your phone and the barcode scanner app for the lowest price would be acceptable at WM. Interesting.

  • Amy F says:

    They’ve actually been doing this quite well at our store! And thank goodness, with milk at $4.33/gal I’m glad there’s usually someone in the adjoining towns having an ad special on it!

  • Helen says:

    Ad Matched this weekend for the first time in YEARS…I had actually stopped shopping at WM, but since they changed their policy on coupons and seem to be getting more consumer friendly I thought I would give it a go. I had my ads ready and folded out to the right section, she didn’t even ask to see them! It was great!

    The only problem with my visit…I was not paying close enough attention to the coupons coming off. I bought 7 cans of coffee had 7 $2 coupons and only 4 coupons were deducted. I called the service desk and they pulled my receipt. Since they couldn’t PROVE i had 7 coupons they got with accounting and found they were $3 over on coupons that day and offered to give me the $3. I thought it was a fair deal since I was the one not paying attention.

    Overall a decent Wal-Mart experience

  • Michelle says:

    I used to price match all the time there. But I started having trouble recently. I used to be able to match eggs and milk, but was told they no longer do unless the ad states the specific brand. Also, they wouldn’t match my cat litter because it was a 28 + 3 free pounds container instead of just the 28 pound. Uh, last time I checked 28 + 3 FREE would cost the same as 28. I just don’t have the time to do the research for the price matches, buy the stuff, then have to leave it at the register if I get a cashier that is difficult. Sometimes they act like coupons and price matching comes out of their own personal pay. Frustrating!

  • Suzanne says:

    While I can appreciate a good deal, Walmart should not press their suppliers to offer a lower price, how about when they price match, they drop their profit margin on that product. Walmart is what has killed manufacturing jobs in the US. Walmart makes a lot of it’s money just in payment terms and inventory turns. For example, they stock a tube of toothpaste on the shelf and it sells in 1.5 days. They get their cash right at that moment. The supplier of the toothpaste has to wait 90+ days to receive payment for that same tube of toothpaste. So Walmart earns interest on the amount of time is has your cash before it pays it’s vendors. Trust me, I work for a company that supplies it’s vendors. The profit margin on items going to Walmart is so low (as in pennies on the dollar) that that is why so many companies buy from overseas rather than making in the USA. But yet, Walmart earnings go through the roof…..

  • Angela Benson says:

    Fortunately my local Walmart has been price matching without an ad for several months and I’ve never had a problem (except on Black Friday).

  • RACHEL says:

    I have to say I’ve just started doing this- and it worked fine. I did take the ad- was a current ad from Kmart for Kibble & Bits dog food on sale for $8.99 and I just showed them the ad and had no problem- I did this at 2 diff stores since I wanted to buy more before the ad ran out and I have 2 dogs that eat a 17LB. bag a week! Hopefully it will stay this way- but I don’t think my local one would be swift enough to match if I didn’t have the ad with me. Best bet, take the ad.

  • Danyel says:

    I would love it if WM also did dbl coupons that some of their competitors do!!

  • Mai says:

    My friend was told by the manager at our local wal-mart that they had *stopped* ad matching and refused to do it for her. He said it came down from corporate. Do you have any resources that we can take in to get them to do it?

  • Sarah says:

    That’s funny cause my walmart has become worse, they tell me now that they no longer do ad match’s, and that i can only use 40 coupons per day!

  • Cynthia says:

    I visited WalMart in Allen, Texas and I was expecting so much trouble with price matching. It didn’t happen. This is a first! The cashier told me I didn’t need my ads and went so far as to tell me of a better price match for the tomatoes I was buying! Imagine my shock and surprise…pleasantly. I have never had this happen. My cashier explained to me the new Walmart policy and even commented that Albertson had a great sale this week. Target on the other hand… nothing but a different response at each store. Target’s price matching is not simple or convenient. They should get training, too.

  • Jana Watts says:

    Just double and triple our coupons, and bring back the fabric department with pattterns. I hate to have to go to a fabric store for fabric when walmart always had such good deals.

    • Katherine says:

      I would love to have a store double or triple my coupons. Those of you who have stores like this are extremely lucky. I miss the fabric dept too! Hopefully they’ll bring that back.

  • Pat says:

    Our Walmarts have always been this way, I just have never price matched there, but my niece does and she never uses an ad.

  • Iva says:

    I have already experienced this at my Walmart. Sometimes, I have seen cashiers with local ads at their register. One time I forgot to price match milk, but the cashier knew about the other store’s sale and suggested the price match! Walmart has been extremely friendly to price matching in my area….

  • Kathryn says:

    My Wal-Mart won’t even price match a competitors ad if the competing store isn’t in the same town. I hope this at least will remedy that! I would much rather shop at my local Wal-Mart than have to travel around to other towns.

  • ashley p. says:

    i have been price matching without an ad for about 2 years now at my local walmart without to much trouble. i try to go to the cashiers who know me but i only bring an ad when its not a food item or more than 50% price difference. i never abuse the system and i asked a manager when i started doing it and she told me that i didn’t need to bring in an ad unless it was the two reasons i mentioned above. only very rarely do i get a cashier (usually the new ones) who get irratated that i don’t have an ad. i’m not sure i would shop at walmart if i had to bring in an ad from the various places i price match from so its good that they are making this policy more widely known.

  • I have been price-matching at Walmart for a while. I live in a rural area and my local Walmart has been great about price-matching with the stores in the bigger area (30 miles away). Save me time & gas as well as money. You can read about my experiences here if you’re curious:

  • grace says:

    this is my 3rd consecutive bad shopping trip with rude incompetent cashiers and managers. at the local grocery store they priced meat wrong and it was 12.00 instead of 8.00 so they gave me a 20.00 gift card!! they are also the same price as walmart pretty much double coupons and less than half the drive. between giant and target I am now officially done with walmart!!!

  • Summer L. says:

    I’m suprised to hear all the bad stories of Wal-Mart price matching! I worked there back in ’09, before my current, much better job, and this was our store’s policy anyways. They even said it /was/ corporate policy. If a customer said a store had it, we would price match without an ad, so long as it was in reason. Of course, we had the people say “Oh, yes, this $15oo TV is only $30 over at Best Buy this week!” and get mad that we’d require proof, but so long as it wasn’t in excess of $10 or so, depending on the item, we didn’t require proof.

  • Libby says:

    There are so many dishonest people these days. What’s to keep a person from just making up a lower price and asking for it if they don’t have to show proof? I don’t think this will work and probably will just hurt Wal-Mart.

  • Melanie says:

    I price matched at Wal-Mart yesterday & the cashier took my ad. She said they have to keep it now when they price match. Seems odd to me. I also price matched at Target yesterday & the cashier had to cut the portion of the ad I was using to have verification of it. That was a first time for both stores for me.

  • Dawn says:

    I live in Utah and our store has improved a lot in the last month. They don’t require to have the ad, although I bring them with me just in case. Also, some cashiers will price match a previous customers price without us even asking. And I love that their new policy specifies on overage if the coupon is more than the item. It has made shopping at Walmart much more enjoyable.

  • Ginny says:

    WalMart has a long way to go – at least here in Rochester, NY – to restore their semi-good opinion in this household. They’ve been re-doing their floors for at least six weeks, making it nearly impossible to find where they’ve moved products to, and in many cases, not restocking at all. It’s driving my daughter, who sacrificially does my shopping for me, to her wits’ end. We purposefully started doing a weekly Aldi run (even though it’s time Sarah could spend doing other things), not only to save money, but to deal with the frustration of WalMart. I’ll be happy when they start carrying Muir Glen products again, and if at least some of their prices are more in line with Aldi. (Milk is a big one – we save a lot by buying it at Aldi.) We’ll be watching.

    • Katherine says:

      Walmart re-did their floors here (TX) too during the summer. It made finding things so difficult but the good thing was they put a lot of items on clearance. Walmart also sent each household a $5 giftcard when their store was done with the repairs. You might be receiving that 😀 good luck!

  • Katherine says:

    I have a friend who is a cashier at Walmart and she told me they recently stopped taking “free” coupons. Do any of you know if this is true in your stores? I have a “free” coupon for jello temptations that I’ll have to use at HEB since we only have 2 grocery stores in our city 🙁

    • Dawn says:

      Their coupon policy states that they will not accept printed internet coupons for free items. I take it to mean they will for newspaper inserts, but too many people make fraudulent coupons via the internet. I can understand and accept this.

  • Elaine says:

    This is a HORRIBLE policy. I have watched many, many people in line and in the shopping area attempt very dishonest things (attempted price matching obviously different items–different sized televisions, etc. and switching sticker prices on marked-down sale items while shopping in the clothing area.) These are just a few of the things I have witnessed. The potential for abuse is ridiculous. And when dishonest people get away with what is actually theft, it hurts all of us in higher prices and suspicious employees….

    And, just for the record, the average profit margin for WalMart is low—that and the fact that they purchase such massive quantities allow them to have the average lowest prices overall. Sam’s Club average profit margin is even lower than WalMart. It is the volume of sales in which they accumulate profit. Personally, I “enjoy” shopping in Target more than WalMart, however, WM is, on the whole, enough of a cost savings that I choose to shop there.

    I try to remember too, that they don’t have to price match–it’s a courtesy that a company chooses to offer. Yes, it’s smart business, but not a requirement.

  • Vane says:

    I went a couple of days ago for the first time using coupons (I’m a newbie at couponing) to my closest Walmart which is 12 miles away from me expecting to get out with a bunch of stuff for free or almost free they gave me a hard time with my coupons, example: I used the $5.00 off any Similac product, got a can which was priced at $4.70 something and they told me i couldn’t do that, that i had to buy something priced for more than the coupon. I protested and the cashier went to get her “supervisor” who told me with an attitude, “we can’t accept this coupon you have to buy the same product as pictured on the coupon, we changed our coupon policy due to customer fraud” and returned my coupon! i was stunned and couldn’t say much cuz i didn’t have a copy of the policy with me and left the store empty handed. I contacted corporate via email and never got a response. What else can i do? :/

    • Christine Walker says:

      In my experience, nothing. There’s not much to be said for Wal-Mart. I pretty much ONLY go in there when there’s something free with a coupon, but I’m always prepared for the hassle that’s likely going to await me.

  • Deb says:

    Ok, with my scenerio it worked. I used a Safeway coupon for Freschetta pizza for $3.99. Walmart had it on sale for $5.25. The cashier deducted the $3.99 price, without questions, which came out to $1.26, which was an awesome deal.
    So, I thought I knew how the coupon worked.
    Can someone please explain to me competitor coupon policy?
    No where does it state on their com coupon policy that they will match prices.
    My sister in law went to Walmart and they said they will only price match to competitors specific item and price. She had her $1.99 Safeway Dawn dish soap, they said they would only price match it to that price.

    How does the competitors coupon come in place?

  • Marisue says:

    If you have a smart phone, one way to help educate the employees on the new policy (if they don’t already know) is to pull up the actual commercial on YouTube. I found this particular one just by searching for 2011 Walmart commercials… Walmart has made regional commercials so there’s probably one for your state already on YouTube or somewhere else online.

  • Renee says:

    Maybe it’s because I am in a small town but, our Wal-Mart is great, and I have never been a big Wal-Mart fan. Now that it is our closest and cheapest choice for groceries though, we are there a lot. I recently brought in competitor ad for several price matches and didn’t have a problem. Also, the cashier actually knew of a cheaper price on strawberries than I knew about (or had an ad for) and gave me that price! So, here’s to a little optimistic outlook on the new coupon policy, I hope they can make it work!

  • Anonymous says:

    They also will not match Target’s prices. Case in point. Walmart sells “Lost: Season 6” for $44.96. Target currently has it for $19.99(unadvertised special with rest of the series for $19.99). Even more ironic is it on sale this week for the same price as it 24 Season 8(which they charge $39.96 for)
    The CSM wouldn’t override it because it would mean that Wally World would be losing about $25 off the items regular price!! What is even stranger is that they price matched “Mad Men: Season 4 ” on DVD for $19.99 at Target without the ad!! Needless to say I’m furious at them for not price match both items from the same store!! They claim they still need to see the competitors ad!!

    How do they expect customers to price match when a lot of people don’t get the newspaper and get our ads via our cell phones? Or worse we can price check items in the store as we shop!! I think that Walmart has opened up a huge can of worms with this new price match gimmick or bait and switch thing going on!! Do they think that consumers as stupid or something??

    Sorry this is long, I needed to vent about this!! This incident I wrote about happened on April 15,2011

  • Kristina says:

    I just noticed in their policy it states if the coupon is for more than the price of the product, they will give the cash back to their customer. I wish I had known that last night, because I price matched a BOGO from Toy’s R’ Us and had coupons for both items the one they charged for and the one for free, but they didn’t let me use them both. 🙁 Oh well, I still got a screaming deal. Funny thing is on the BOGO’s they put one item in for a penny less and charge a penny for the free item. LOL

  • Dawn says:

    My Wal-Mart price matches no problem, with or without a competitors ad. I’m sure it states somewhere in their policies that they do not price match with other Wal-Mart stores, or online prices. If I go in and get something on sale somewhere else, I just tell them, and they have all the ads from all other stores for that week at the registers already. So they check, make sure it’s right, then give me the price. I also have no problem with coupons, have even given a lot of the cashiers and CSM’s tips on how to do what I do. Now when I go in they ask if I got this or that on sale this week, they enjoy telling me how much they saved on things, and I love going to Wal-Mart. Target, on the other hand, is not very friendly to me. I have a hard time with the manager, who tells me if the Target coupon says “one per transaction” that I cannot use it with a manuf. coupon. I had to email the corp. office to get them to fix this, but still have to “educate” the cashiers all the time about things. I think it’s sad that customers have to teach the employees about their own store policies.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *