Saving Money With Price Matching

For the longest time, wifey and I would peruse the flyers on Thursday nights, compile a list, and visit said grocery stores for their sale items. For the most part, this was fairly effective. Most of the time, we'd get the items at a good price. More recently, we've found that some stores (mainly Food Basics*), would run out of the sale item by Saturday mornings and we'd leave empty handed.

Sometimes a store would only have one item that we would want to buy. Since it made no sense to go out of our way to pick up one item, we'd usually forego that store. For example, this past weekend, Walmart had bread on sale for $2.28. Unfortunately, they didn't have much else, so we didn't get bread from Walmart.

However, with price matching, we were able to get the same loaf from another store.

It's important to note that not all stores have a price matching policy. As far as I know, only No Frills and Fresh Co have such a policy. Fresh Co's policy extends beyond price matching. In addition to matching the price, they also subtract 1 cent from the matched price. However, to match the price, the items have to be exactly the same (duh). So if the flyer says light cream cheese (or whatever), then the item you match has to be light cream cheese and not the regular. This has never been a problem as I've been fairly meticulous when comparing the products to the products listed in the flyers. Anyway...

We price matched the bread at Fresh Co and saved 23 cents. Bread was also on "sale" at Fresh Co, but at $2.50.

So why price match for 23 cents?

Well, it's not just 23 cents. Walmart is a great store. But 5 km in the opposite direction. That's an additional 10 km of driving there and back. Sure we could have biked it to Walmart for bread, but we've been working on a lot of home improvement projects at home and wifey wasn't feeling well this past weekend. Anyway, that 10 km of driving is around 0.81L of gasoline (based on my 8.1L/100km of average fuel consumption). With prices around $1.10/L, that's 89 cents!

If you make that extra trip to Walmart for one item each week, that's around $46 a year! That's essentially a tank of gas for most people.

Most people won't bike it if they had the choice. They'd just hop in their gas guzzling 4-wheel drive SUV and race down to Walmart** (including hard braking along the way) for that one item they need. The way people drive, I won't be surprised if they are over 12L/100km. That's an extra 50%! Not to mention the wear and tear to their car.

Of course, it's not just 23 cents on bread (normally, the price of bread is $3.29 so we really saved $1.02) that we save on. It's other things too.

A few weeks back, we didn't go to Food Basics for their peaches and broccoli (because they are never in stock or appear old and bruised) and instead went to No Frills. We price matched the peaches to save $2 ($4.99 down to $2.99) and broccoli to save $1.11 ($1.99 down to 88 cents). We also didn't drive on this trip and instead rode our bikes. That's $3.11 of savings just because we compared flyers!

Some people don't even look at the flyers and just shop based on preferred store.

Those are the crazy people spending upwards of $200 a week for overpriced groceries.

Of course, it's not just consumers that look at the flyers. It's the stores.

They look at the flyers and prepare for the price matchers. The other week Food Basics had flour on sale for $8 for a 10kg bag. In response, No Frills didn't have flour on their shelves. Wifey and I wasn't looking for flour, but a co-worker was looking to price match rather than drive to Food Basics. The employee at No Frills told my co-worker that the flour was "sold out". We believe the flour was hidden in the back in anticipation of the price matchers. It is likely flour was a loss leader for Food Basics that week and No Frills didn't want to eat the loss from price matching (because they likely had other loss leaders on sale).

Anyway, next time you're stuck behind someone who is price matching, instead of grumbling about how much of your time they are taking up, grumble about how much more you're paying for your groceries by not doing the same thing.

* I think this is because Food Basics has started their sale on Thursdays now instead of Fridays. This gives all the retired (Asian) people two days to buy all at the sale items. Frankly, this is what I'd do as well.

**Or wherever you shop for that item that you ran out and need to get right away.


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