Monday, September 6, 2010

Ad Matching 101

Ad Matching can be a great money and time saver for someone who lives in an area like I do. The town that I live in only has a few grocery options: Wal-Mart, County Market, Aldi and MyStore. My local Wal-Mart's Ad Matching (Also Called Price Matching) policy is that they will match any competitor's printed ad price within a 50-60 Mile radius of them. This opens up all kinds of new grocery deal possibilities because there are lots of different stores that are about 45 miles away from me. I wouldn't often drive 45 miles away to go to Kroger or Meijer, but I could ad-match their prices at Wal-Mart if I have one of their grocery circulars.

My local Wal-Mart has posted signs in the past that if you are ad-matching with a store out of town, then you must have the advertisement present to show the cashier if they wish to see it. If you are matching the ad of a store in the same town as them, then they should have it at the registers. However, I have had cashiers refuse to ad-match an item from my same town when I did not bring in the advertisement, so I always make sure to carry all of them I am planning to use with me.

Ad Matching Rules:

1. If a grocery ad has a name brand item for sale, you can only ad-match that exact brand and sizes listed. If Wal-Mart does not carry that name brand, they will not match the price.
*Exception: If a grocery ad has one of their generic store brand items listed for sale and Wal-Marts store brand is the same size then it can be ad-matched. Different Stores have different names for their store brand products such as Wal-Mart's: Great Value and Equate brands.
2. Wal-Mart will not match an ad that has items on sale for Buy 1 Get 1 Free, unless the price is listed in the ad.
3. Wal-Mart will ad-match store coupons when the price is listed. Such as a Walgreen in-Ad coupon for Arm and Hammer Baking soda 2/$1.
4. Wal-Mart will not match a competitor coupon that is for a value such as $0.50 off an item, unless the final price after coupon is listed.
5. When you are ad-matching an item that is on sale for 3/$5 or some other amount, you do not have to buy 3 items to get them for that price. The cashier can put it as 1/ $1.67 or the register can figure the price for them if they enter it as 3/$5.
6. Let your cashier know you are ad-matching items in plenty of time beforehand. The cashier may not be very happy if you forget to tell them and continue unloading your cart only to find they rang up items you were ad-matching and need them to re-scan them in at a different price.
7. Try to be courteous to fellow shoppers in line behind you. Ad-matching can take quite a bit longer to check out- let shoppers who get in line behind you know that you may take a while if you have lots of ad-matches.
8. If you are ad-matching and using coupons, try to be as organized as possible. Have your advertisements handy if the cashier asks to see them. Have all the items you are ad-matching written down by store and price. Have all the coupons you will be using, ready to hand to the cashier at the end of your order. Before I go grocery shopping I try to get together all the coupons I think that I will be using. Then after I am done getting my groceries, but before getting in line, I go back through my coupons and remove ones that I decided not to use, and add the ones that were not already in my stack.
9. Make sure you watch the prices of items being rung up. Cashiers often end up entering Ad-match prices incorrectly, or they hit enter and accidentally charge you for more items than you purchased. It is often much easier to get it corrected with the cashier than to have to go to customer service.
10. Watch as your coupons are being scanned. Almost every single grocery trip, I have coupons that either did not scan, were stuck together, or get dropped by the cashier when they pick up a different one.

If you have any questions about Ad Matching, please leave a comment and I will answer it to the best of my ability.  I have been Ad Matching since I was about 17 years old, so I have experienced many different situations.  Please feel free to share any Ad Matching advice, tips, or experiences that you may have found as well- I would love to hear about it, and I am sure others would as well!


  1. Thank you for this helpful information. I price match at Walmart every year on Black Friday--I avoid Target and Toys R Us and just got to Walmart first. I've never tried price matching for groceries. Maybe I will now. :-)