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grocery shopping

When I wrote my post on Five Ways to Save on Groceries, I briefly touched on the fact that Wal-Mart provides you the opportunity to do all of your of your shopping in one place and still utilize sales from other stores.

As many of you may know Wal-Mart does not always have the lowest price on the things you buy every day. The great thing about Wal-Mart though is that they will honor the sale prices at any stores in the immediate surrounding area. That is the first catch, you can’t try to match the price to a piggly wiggly in Alabama when you live in Tennessee.

They will match the advertised price from any competitor provided it is the same item in both places, you can’t match Tyson chicken to Sanderson Farms. I find it works great for things like chicken breasts, and pork chops. It really helps because generally each of the different stores will run their sales different weeks. That way you can get the same sale price, at the same store, two weeks in a row. The key to this is timing the sales and purchasing enough of the sale product to last until the next sale date.

The more you track the prices you are paying for groceries, including sale items, the more you will notice a cyclical nature in the pricing of products. Once you have this cycle figured out you can easily plan your meals and amounts of products you will need.

An added advantage to Wal-Marts low price guarantee is you can use it on items other than groceries. If you see a killer sale for your favorite video game at Best Buy but know that it is going to be crazy packed you could just swing over to Wal-Mart, toting your trusty ad, and price match to get the same price as all those people waiting in line.

There is an art to pulling off the price match so that you can cause as little disruption in the check out process as possible. You aren’t going to be able to price match every item in your cart so set the items you do wish to price match off to one side. When you have placed everything else onto the belt put your price match items on the belt and put your ad on top of the items.  This makes makes your intentions clear to the checker and ensure you don’t confuse them by trying to throw the items in in the middle of the madness. When they reach your items politely advise them you would like to do a price match for the items and show them the advertised amount on the ad. In my experience this usually results in a blank stare and silence. After they ask one or two people they will find someone who actually knows how to do it and they will come over and ring up your items.

Things they won’t match

Other Store’s Store brand items

Milk

Beer/alcohol

Other than those three things I have never had a problem price matching, and yes I really did try to price match a 12 pack of Miller Lite. Do you have you own experience with Price matching? Leave a comment and let us know.

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One of the biggest budget busters in our house has to be the grocery budget. With one more child on the way our expenses are certain to increase, here are five free surefire ways to save money at the grocery store:

Create a Menu Plan

At the end of each week create a menu for the following week, or two. List out the meals you plan to make that week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having a defined menu plan ensures you are not guessing when you make your List. You can also use the plan to maximize your use of ingredients, like Beer Butt Chicken one day, then chicken casserole with leftover chicken the next.

Bring a List

Don’t go to the store without a plan of attack. Based on the menu plan you created you should be able to build a list of all of the ingredients you need for each meal, add to that the various staples you always seem to need and you have your list. Stick to the list when you are in the store don’t venture off into the electronics department either, if it isn’t on the list don’t get it.

Shop Alone

It sounds like a strange way to save but trust me it works. I spend at least 50% more on groceries when my wife goes shopping with me. She will even tell you that if she is going with me we are not going to stay under budget. Having other people, adult or adolescent, around while shopping adds another level of potential distraction and temptation. Go it alone and you will notice a difference.

Buy Generic

There really is not that big of a difference between most store brand and name brand foods. Try various generic products where you would normally buy name brand. You will find some are not going to work but most of them will. Try discount stores like Aldi as well, they specialize in generic and I have found their quality is actually a little better than Walmarts Great Value Brand.

Price Match

I don’t like to drive all over town so I do most of my shopping at Walmart. The problem is they don’t usually have the best prices on meats because they don’t run sales like Kroger or Food City.  Walmart, however, has the low price guarantee and will match any competitors advertised price for the same product.  All I do is bring the ad that shows Tyson chicken for $1.99 lb and when I check out I tell the cashier I want to price match. After a confused look and a manager later I end up paying the sale price at Walmart. Saving on Gas and time.

Do you have any tips you think people should know about? Leave a comment and let us know then subscribe to feed for free updates so you don’t miss any other great tips.

Bonus Tip

I don’t know why I didn’t make this a 6 tip post, I left off using a Price Book to track grocery store price trends. If you haven’t read my post on using a Price Book yet then check it out as the Bonus Tip.

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