Important Changes to Walmart Price Matching Policy

If you price match at Walmart to save on your groceries, you might be in for a shock when you check out this week.  Walmart has now altered their price matching policy to eliminate matching of store brand products.  According to the revised price matching policy, you can still match produce and meats, along with name brand items, but no store brand or private labels will be matched.  I know this won’t affect as many of you since you’ve been taking advantage of our Amazon household deals group!

If you’d like to read the full policy, click here:  Walmart Price Matching Policy.  We scan the policies regularly and post updates on our Facebook page, make sure to like us so you don’t miss an important change!

If you’re looking for a way to save on your household items without couponing, check out our Subscribe & Save group. We find the hottest Amazon deals (coupons, too!) and you can have your items shipped to your door at no charge.. for CHEAPER than couponing!!!  Save time AND money!

If you’re gearing up to save money on your holiday shopping, check out our HUGELY POPULAR site Extreme Christmas Savings and its Facebook group.  The Facebook group is already kicking off with fantastic deals for its TENTH holiday season!

*UPDATE* Introducing Savings Catcher From Walmart | Effortless Refunds if a Competitor Has a Lower Price

*UPDATE*  As the program rolls out nationwide this week, it looks like they’ve added to the eligible items.  I just got this email:

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Walmart’s new program, Savings Catcher, is now available in all areas.  All you have to do is enter your receipt data, and the program will scan local competitor’s ads and refund any price differences on a Walmart gift card.

Entering your receipt is easy.  You can enter your receipt number online, scan the barcode via the Savings Catcher section of the Walmart app, or register your phone number within the app and enter it upon checkout for automatic entering.

The inclusion list is vague, as it doesn’t state exactly which stores and ads are included.  There are several excluded items, such as store brands, meat, produce, and many general merchandise items.  A screen shot from the FAQ is attached below.

I don’t shop at Walmart often, but I did make a stop this weekend.  I’ve entered my receipt and am currently awaiting verification.  I’m curious to see how this pans out!  Have you used the program?

Walmart to Offer Price Guarantee

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Walmart seems to be trying to pull out all of the stops this holiday season in order to gain control of the market.

This morning, they unveiled a ‘Christmas Price Guarantee’.  They will be granting a price adjustment (in the form of a Walmart Gift Card, of course) on any item previously purchased that is advertised for less at a competing store.

As with any new Walmart policy, it seems to be poorly stated, which leaves plenty of room for interpretation.  (I sure wish they’d just send me a copy to once-over before they would post this stuff- it would save everyone a LOT of headache.)

Basically the policy states that:

  • You will receive a price guarantee on any item purchased from November 1st-December 24th (some areas of the release say December 25th) when you bring in a copy of the competitor’s ad.
  • You will receive a Walmart gift card, not cash back.
  • Will you receive the difference if Walmart puts its own items on sale for less?
  • You must bring the competitor’s ad in WHILE the item is on sale at the competitor.  By reading the release, it implies that you can do it anytime during the program, but the fine print implies that it must be during the competitor’s sale.
  • Does not apply to internet ads or Black Friday Ads
  • Valid on Layaway

And the fine print (from press release video):

Walmart Christmas Price Guarantee

What do you think about this?  It has promise to skyrocket the retailer’s profits if well executed.  It sure seems they are pulling out all of the stops this year! 

If You’re Shopping at a ‘Big Box’ Store, You Might Spending a LOT More Than the Rest of Us

In the past few years, I’ve taught hundreds of workshops, all geared towards helping families become more financially stable with sensible spending techniques.  These workshops are not geared towards minimalism, but towards helping the average family spend less of their income without sacrificing a single purchase- in many instances, making more purchases while still spending substantially less than before.

One of the biggest hurdles for students to overcome is the idea that big box stores provide the highest discounts.  Many of these stores have recently admitted that they have changed their pricing models, all the while taking advantage of the customers that were lured in by their original low pricing structure.  In fact, in the Ultimate Couponing workshop, we not only go over couponing, but where to find name brand products for less than big box stores.  One of the biggest compliments we hear from workshop attendees is not the amount of money they are saving with coupons, but that they have actually regained a portion of their life that had been dedicated towards the supercenters.

What makes shoppers shop at big box stores? 

1. Convenience.  When someone tells me that shopping at a big box store is ‘convenient’, I want to scream.  How is a store filled with screaming children, high prices, a packed parking lot, bumper to bumper foot traffic, and 30 minute checkout lines convenient?  Especially when there is a Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and a couple of grocery stores on the same city block?

2.  Low Prices.  Walmart stores opened under the ‘Always Low Prices’ logo.  News flash!  Have you noticed that their logo is no longer ‘Always Low Prices’? 

To jump-start lethargic growth and counter the rise of competitors such as cheap-chic rival Target Corp., executives veered away from the winning formula of late founder Sam Walton to provide "every day low prices" to the American working class. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer by sales, instead raised prices on some items while promoting deals on others.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/22/wal-mart-grapples-worst-sales-slump/#ixzz1QozRYA9c

What does this mean?  Close your eyes and think back to the last time you walked into the store.  You’re walking along, checking items off of your list and BAM! you run into a product display (that is purposely situated to make you stop and look at it) of spaghetti sauce, priced at just $1 a jar.  While spaghetti sauce is not on your grocery list, you marvel at the price.  You think to yourself, ‘Spaghetti sounds good, this is a great price.  I’m going to grab a couple for dinner next week, even if it’s not on my list’.  After throwing delicately placing these jars in your cart, you head off in search of pasta, parmesan cheese, frozen garlic bread, and salad dressing.  You are still in shock over finding such a great price on the spaghetti sauce that you fail to notice that the price of these other items has risen.  Why did they raise?  Because the store was able to lure you in with this low price and with the new ‘basket pricing’ method, they are able to charge much more for some items, while taking a loss on just one.

Overcoming The Stigma

The problem?  Shoppers still believe they have the lowest prices.  Some of these shoppers haven’t set foot in another store in years.  Others are looking at a handful of items at a grocer and realizing that yes, some prices at the grocer are higher. 

One of the exercises in the Ultimate Couponing workshop asks shoppers to take a list of the items they buy the most and price them at a big box store, their local grocer, and a dollar store.  The best prices can be found with a combination of the grocer and dollar store.  In my area, the same package of Charmin toilet paper that is $4.99 or less, regular price, at the grocery store, runs from $14-$18 at Walmart?  Many personal care items, household items, and even pet supplies can be found for less at the grocery- and don’t forget gift bags, over-the-counter medicines, cosmetics, and greeting cards, either.  Have you ever noticed that their ads come out monthly and they NEVER put items on sale, unless another stores has done so?  Why do you think that is?  Because they don’t have to!  You’re going there anyways, there’s no need to lure you in.

Big box stores make the majority of their profits on impulse purchases.  These stores rely on flooding the shoppers brains with sensory overload.  For argument’s sake, let’s say that your list is $10 cheaper at the big box store than the grocery.  Hey, that’s $10, right?  Not so fast.. when in a big box store, do you really stop at the items that are on your list?  If you do, kudos, as you are a very disciplined shopper.  For the rest of the world (myself included), that $10 can quickly escalate to $20, $40, or even $100. 

Here’s a question for you:  If you’re out of milk, where are you going to stop at to pick up a gallon?  I’ve asked this to thousands of students, and over 90% of the time, the answer is… you guessed it, Walmart.  Did you know that their milk is 50¢-$1.00 per gallon HIGHER than any of the other stores?  EVEN the gas station!  And just how long does it take you to spend that extra buck?  About 30 minutes before it’s all said and done.  And do you just stop at the milk?  Doubt it!  Do you enjoy going there?  Probably not.

A Genuine Reader Dilemna- What about those items that are cheaper?

A former student approached me recently to tell me that she was still having problems saving money, after taking nearly the full lineup of Gateway to Saving workshops. 

She is trying to live on a tighter budget, due to the instability of her husband’s job, while working part-time.  This is an extremely responsible move, as she is socking away his income into savings and attempting to make ends meet with just hers. 

She has been very successful with her couponing, shopping the sales, stocking up on items, and spending much less than before.  Sounds great, right?  Well, she had a slight problem.  You see, there is a handful of items on her list that are cheaper at the big box store.  However, when she would make the trip after them, $10 worth of items would quickly escalate into $40.  If she were doing this just once a week, that’s $160 a month! 

“The problem is, that I buy things that I will actually use.  I can justify all of my purchases when I make them.  I’m not buying friviolous items.” she said.  “But when I get home, I realize that they weren’t an immediate need, nor a necessary item.”

What did I tell her?  That sometimes it will actually save you more to spend more.  By spending an extra $10 on those items elsewhere, she can eliminate the additional $30 she spends while saving.  Even though she has product to back up each dollar spent, her wallet is lighter, and light wallets STINK!

Are you falling into the same trap?  Here’s my solution.  When you get home from that trip, put away perishable items and leave the rest in the sack- either in your car, closet, or somewhere out of sight.  The next day, before you retrieve the bags, grab a pen and paper and try to write down everything you purchased.  If you  struggle, and you will, jump in the car and return them. 

Walmart is Set to Open Neighborhood Market Stores in Springfield

In Springfield, Walmart has recently announced that they are opening two new ‘Neighborhood Markets’.  A Neighborhood Market is Walmart’s attempt at a smaller-scale version that focuses mainly on grocery items.  Wait- wasn’t it just a few short years ago that they decided to close nearly every small store in the chain and turn them into a Supercenter?

The most serious competitor to Wal-Mart is turning out to be dollar stores. Analysts quoted in a Wall Street Journal article believe at least some of the chain’s woes can be laid at the feet of the dollar store segment. They’re like flies buzzing around the great lion: small, agile and too numerous to swat. ……

Dollar stores aren’t a new threat to Wal-Mart. They’ve been steadily building their presence for as long as Wal-Mart has been building supercenters. It’s an open secret that one of the early strategies used by dollar stores was to open right in the shadow of the looming Wal-Marts, with the goal of siphoning customers who wanted low prices but not the crowd or the hassle of navigating a huge store.

Switching away from Everyday Low Pricing, implementing the ill-conceived “Win-Place-Show” merchandising strategy, over-rationalizing SKUs in the “Project Impact” plan, and related moves over the past few years, have put a dent in the retailer’s armor.

Read more of this article here:  http://whrefresh.com/2011/02/22/wal-mart-earnings-reveal-weaknesses/

While a Neighborhood Market is designed with much less stimuli, leading to less impulse purchases, it still isn’t good for local business or consumers.  It saddens me to see that one of the locations chosen is directly across from Smillie’s, a staple in Springfield’s history. 

Not to worry, if you’re a fan of one of the big box stores, you can still save.  By knowing your prices and avoiding impulse purchases, savings can be tremendous, but for many of us, it’s difficult to change the way we process information.

Stores such as Walmart and Target offer pricematching.  This simply means that they will match any competitors advertised price.  Walmart has a much simpler pricematching policy, all you need to do is take the ads (now, their policy says they don’t even need those) from the other store through the checkout with you and you’ll receive the discounted price when you show the cashier the ad.  Target requires you to pay for all of your merchandise up front and take your receipt and ads to Guest Services to receive adjustment.  Both of these stores have exclusions, make sure to read and print their pricematching policies.  Take these with you in case any questions arise.

To save any money at all, regardless of your store of preference, you’ve got to know the prices of the items you use, both at your frequented stores and their competition.  If you’re taking a store’s word for it, you’re probably missing out on some great deals and a whole lot of extra cash!

The opinions expressed in this article are strictly my own and are only intended to provide readers my personal views, supported by published facts.  This article was not written with foul intentions, but to raise awareness on pricing structures and sensible shopping strategies.  For more information on these marketing trends, please click on the links provided throughout this article. 

I would LOVE your input on this article!  If you have any comments related to the article or any experiences you’d like to share, please use the comment form below.

**UPDATE** PLEASE READ Walmart Coupon Policy Update!!!

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Now it deserves this: $!@% 13@#%@ #!%!#

Somehow, Walmart erroneously printed this on their ad- and are refusing to honor it.  I’m sure this isn’t the end of it, as I’ve not yet received official word that it was a mistake, but I’m sure it was.  I normally wouldn’t have even posted it, but since it was plastered on the inside and out, I figured it was safe.  Of course, it’s Walmart- so I should have known better. 

I’ll keep you updated, but I highly doubt it’s going to matter. 

Yes, this deserves exclamation points.  Look at the picture of this week’s ad above.  Do you see the dark print in the upper right hand corner?  This just states that they match other store’s prices (well, duh!) and… that they are now accepting competitor’s coupons!!!  Not only are they accepting them, but they are STACKING them with manufacturer’s coupons!!!  This means that you can use.. say.. (1) Walgreens coupon and (1) manufacturer coupon at Walmart!

Remember, that even though they say this, that this is Walmart, and you’re likely to get a manager that has no clue this exists.  Make sure you grab a copy of this ad at the front of the store before doing your shopping!

Walmart Amazing Electronics Event | November 6th and 7th

In years past, Walmart has run ‘Super Saturday’ sales for the first 2 Saturdays in November.  These sales boast some pretty good discounts, and some items are cheaper than they will end up being for BF (Black Friday).

This sale starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the best deal I see is a $50 iTunes card for $35.  However, there is a limit of 1-2 per customer.  Their site says a limit of 1 on the item page, but a limit of 2 on the page announcing the sale.  I’m not sure how they’ll enforce it, so if you get an ad today, let me know what it says!

The other items listed are:

Compaq Laptop: $288

26” Vizio LED TV: $198 (GREAT price on an LED)

PS3 bundle- console+game+PS3 Move AND a $50 WM gift card: $399

Vizio 32” LCD TV: $298

Vizio 42” LCD TV: $498

Vizio 47” TV: $698

Vizio 55” TV: $898

Walmart.com Pre-Black Friday Sales

Rotating Electronics Holiday Banner

Walmart.com has just kicked off their Pre-Black Friday sale.  There are some pretty good deals, and remember that most items will ship to you for only 97¢ or to the store for free!

Some of my favorites are:

Viore 32” LCD TV: $299

Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Stand Mixer 12 Piece BakerEze Bakeware set: $49

PS3, Wii, DS, and Xbox games: 2/$30

Selected Video Games: B2G1

Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera: $379

Click here to see these and all 172 items!