Last year, while standing in line at Walmart with my large purchase the godsend-of-an-employee said to me, “Honey, you know you could save so much money on your purchase if you’d start Price Matching, even your fresh food savings would be worth it.” What a wake-up call! That day in March, I began a focused endeavor to save money on our general family expenses through Price Matching.
My original goal was to save $500 for the year. I saved $505 after three months. So I reassessed. I adjusted my goal to save $2600 for the year in Price Matching. In 2012 with my 9.5 months of implementation, Our family saved $2217 through Price Matching and I was hooked. As I continued my savings process throughout the year, I was able to get more organized and methodical and increase my savings exponentially.
Here is how to prepare for Price Matching success:
Set up your Price Matching/Grocery SparkBook.
I use a 3-ring binder with a purple pencil pouch for my pink highlighter, green highlighter, pen and coupons for the week. The 3-ring binder has tabs for each grocery category, and coupons are organized in baseball card files (thank you Mindy Maddux for that great tip!) My other SparkBook files are stored in clear sheet protectors: Grocery List, Current Ads, Annual Savings, Weekly Itemized Savings, Family Budget for Groceries.
My SparkBook Grocery Categories are: Breads/Grains, Body, Box/Pkg Food, Dairy & Eggs, Drinks, Frozen & Meats, Fruits & Veggies, Home, Kids, Medicine, Sauce/Soup, Snacks & Candy, Misc & Extras.
Weekly Ads on your Computer.
Spend 30 minutes one week to bookmark all of the local grocery, big box and pharmacy-style stores weekly ads for your computer tool bar. Or sign up to get the weekly ad sent to your inbox. I have both set up on my computer.
Print Relevant Weekly Ads.
Set aside a regular time each week to print relevant ads for your grocery shopping trip. I print my ads every Wednesday. I staple the full ad together and organize them alphabetically.
Circle Items in Weekly Ads.
It is simpler to make your grocery list and reference Price Match sales if you have the items circled in advance. I use my green highlighter. I circle items, make my grocery list and find my coupons each week on Wednesday nights while I’m watching the Middle and Modern Family, great task for the commercial breaks.
Make Grocery List.
We have two grocery lists in our house: Price Matching and General. The General Grocery List is posted on our kitchen fridge and we list items that we need. Items remain on the General Grocery list until they are on sale and/or we must have the item. The Price Matching list is populated from the Weekly Ad sales.
The Price Matching Grocery List is a Word Document with Tables, the columns are:
- #: The number of items needed to purchase to “activate” the sale from the grocery store or the number of items I have a coupon for. This is also where I list my coupon symbol: *
- SparkBook Grocery Category Title: The same categories that my Price Matching SparkBook is organized into. Breads/Grains, Body, Box/Pkg Food, Dairy & Eggs, Drinks, Frozen & Meats, Fruits & Veggies, Home, Kids, Medicine, Sauce/Soup, Snacks & Candy, Misc & Extras.
- Store: The abbreviation of the store referenced in the Price Matching Ad: D is Dillons, T is Target, W is Walgreens
- Size: The maximum size of the item allowed on the Price Matching sale.
- Actual $: The Price Match price listed in the ad.
- Original $: The actual price sold in the store.
Find Coupons, Mark Items.
After I’ve completed my Price Match Grocery List, I search through my Price Match SparkBook for related coupons. If I find one, I take it out, mark my Price Match Grocery List with a * and put the coupon in my front purple pencil pouch. Always check the coupon expiration date before you plan to use it. I’ve searched coupon sites in the past and also have some coupons emailed to my inbox directly from the company. You can also find coupons in the weekly newspaper. I sort through my coupon book every 2 months to remove the “soon-to-be expired” coupons for recycling or use.
These steps take planning and organization, but the payoff is big in the end. It took me 2-3 weeks to purchase the supplies, make my materials and organize my schedule. Schedule 1 hour per week for a few weeks to get yourself into the groove of Price Matching Preparation. Once you’ve got your rhythm, you’re much more likely to stick with it and be successful.
After you’ve completed the Price Matching Preparation steps, you’re ready to go to the store and Price Match! For step by step tips, read my next post: Price Matching In Store & After.