For years Walmart has touted its Price Match program with blue signs throughout stores. The program made it super easy to get even lower prices on Walmart stuff.
You simply had to bring an ad into your local Walmart showing a competitor’s lower price on an item. The cashier would adjust your purchase on the item to match the price in the ad.
The Price Match program was a great way to save even more money on already-low Walmart prices.
But does Walmart still price match?
Well, kind of.
Here’s the scoop.
Where’s Walmart Price Match?
In 2016, Walmart began phasing out their Ad Match program throughout the country. First, they removed it from select stores. And then from more stores.
One-by-one, Walmart stored nixed the Ad Match program from stores around the country.
The Ad Match program does still run in certain stores. However, you won’t necessarily know which stores until you stop in and ask. All Alaska and Hawaii stores have opted out of the price match program.
Other state locations use the program on a location-by-location basis. For instance, there are two Walmart stores near my country home. One is fifteen minutes away, the other is thirty minutes away.
The furthest location no longer offers price match. The closest location does. What rhyme or reason there is behind which stores are keeping the program is unbeknownst to me.
And it’s too bad, because the program – at least for me – could bring in a decent amount of cash. Not, “pay your house off early” cash. But at least “get me a free gallon of milk each month” cash.
But all is not lost in the world of Walmart and price matching. Sort of.
What About Savings Catcher?
You may remember that several years back Walmart introduced its Savings Catcher program. Savings Catcher is an online system where you can enter your Walmart receipt number into the Savings Catcher site.
The program searches nearby stores for lower prices on the items you’ve purchased. If it finds a lower price, you get a deposit to your Savings Catcher account. You can then use that money in the form of a gift card to get a reduction on your next Walmart purchase.
The Savings Catcher program still exists, but Walmart has changed the rules for Savings Catcher too. Savings Catcher is no longer available at every Walmart location either.
Why Did Walmart Change Things Up?
You might be wondering why Walmart is changing things up regarding these two programs. Well, they say they’re committed to working harder to make sure they always have the lowest prices.
Therefore the programs aren’t entirely necessary anymore. The Walmart goal is to have the lowest prices all the time so that price match and rebate programs aren’t necessary.
Whether or not that’s the real reason is anyone’s guess, but the good news is that there are other ways to save.
You can still use the Ad Match and Savings Catcher programs where available. But if you’re looking for more savings on groceries there are other options as well.
Here are some of our favorite ways to save more money on groceries and other items you buy regularly. And if your local Walmart still offers these programs, you can combine them with the money saving tips below.
How to Continue to Save Money on Groceries
As of April of 2018, the average family of four spent between $642 and $1,283 per month on groceries. That’s the USDA number, and it’s a LOT of cash going out for food. Especially when Americans waste so much food.
In fact, the USDA estimates that Americans waste between 30 and 40 percent of the food they purchase.
So, how can you save money on groceries even without the Walmart price match program? Here are some tips.
Save Money by Using Apps
There are a few different apps out there that can help you save money on groceries. Here are some of our favorites.
Ibotta is a great money saving app I’ve been using personally since January. It’s super easy to save money on groceries with Ibotta. In fact, the Ibotta website says it’s saved customers over $350 million to date.
Here’s how the app works:
First, you download the app onto your phone. Then, before you shop you search for discounts on items you’re going to buy. You can search the stores you’re going to individually to see which deals apply to what stores.
You can also search by item type, such as grocery, health and beauty, pet, etc.
When you find a deal you like, you just tap on the deal and the coupon is added to your cart. After you shop, you scan your receipt and Ibotta credits your account for the coupon amounts.
You really can save money on groceries using Ibotta. During my first two weeks alone I earned over $30 using Ibotta.
The app makes it really easy to find coupons and discounts for items you buy every day. They even have discount coupons on “any item” or “any brand of…..” occasionally.
Use the app every time you shop, claim your savings and watch your account balance rise.
Then, when you want to, you can transfer your savings into your PayPal account for instant money. Note: some coupons require you answer a question or watch a super short video. But they’re not inconvenient at all and every one I’ve done has been super easy.
Another way to save money on groceries is by using Coupons.com. You know those coupons you get in the mail? Now they’re available online, and the coupons.com site is super easy to use.
All you have to do is click on the coupons you want, and click “print” when you’re done. Your computer will print the coupons out and you head to the store.
It’s SO easy to save money on groceries and health/beauty items with this site. They’ve made it too easy to not use!
Another great way to save money on groceries and other items is to shop via Ebates. When you shop at your favorite stores (Walmart included) through the Ebates portal, you’ll get a rebate.
Each store offers a different rebate amount, between 1 percent up to 40 percent or more depending on the store. When you shop through the portal, you’ll get the rebate amount credited to your Ebates account.
There are over 2,500 stores that you can shop at through Ebates. Here are the names of just a few of the stores that are partnering with Ebates:
- Walmart and Target
- Kohl’s and JCPenney
And more. So, not only can you save on groceries, you can save on lots of other stuff too. Ebates even has discounts for travel sites and restaurants.
You might be wondering why Ebates would send you money just for shopping through them.
Here’s how it works: When you shop at a store through the Ebates portal, Ebates gets a commission. Each store you shop at pays Ebates. Ebates then shares that commission with you. It’s a win/win for both Ebates and for you as a member.
Ebates also has daily specials that can earn you even more cash back on your purchases.
You can request rebate amounts be sent to you via PayPal or via check – whichever you prefer.
Bonus: As of this writing, you can get a $10 bonus payment when you sign up with Ebates. It’s totally free to join, but you do have to make a $25 qualifying purchase through the site to get your bonus.
Double bonus: If you want, you can use the cash you earn through Ebates to do good for others. Instead of taking a payment, Ebates gives you the option to send your earnings to a charitable organization of your choice.
Save Money by Menu Planning
Menu planning is another tip that will help you save big money on groceries.
My mom used to menu plan when I was a kid. As a single parent, she needed to spend as little as possible on groceries, yet still feed us relatively well. Every two weeks she used a menu plan to help her do that.
Here’s how it worked:
We’d sit down as a family and she’d write a list of 14 dinner meals. My brothers and I would help her and vie for our favorite dinner ideas.
She’d write the name of the meal on one half of the paper. On the other half she’d write what we needed to buy to prepare it. Then, at the end of that portion she’d write in extra stuff we needed such as milk, bread, etc.
The menu plan helped her save money in two ways. First, we weren’t just spending money on random food and trying to make meals out of it. Second, we always had a dinner meal to choose from at home. This meant no need to run for take out because there was nothing in the house.
That was a good thing because we really didn’t have the money for take out food. Any extra we spent over and above the allotted grocery budget was money that couldn’t be used elsewhere.
That meant we wouldn’t have money for utilities or school lunches. Thus, menu planning was a vital part of us being able to pay the bills.
Menu Planning for 2018
I still use a very similar menu planning system for my own family’s budget today. And you know what? If I don’t, I find my grocery bill much higher than it usually is.
When I use the plan I can keep our family’s grocery expenses under $500 a month for my family of six.
I encourage you to make a menu plan system of your own when planning your grocery trips. With the right plan, you can make dinners for under $5 each for your family.
One of our go-to resources for top quality meal prepping plans is from our good friend Amanda at AWalkMyWay Nutrition Blog.
Look for her Meal Prep Hero ($6.99) guide which we now use and love!
Shop the Sales
Another trick to lower your grocery budget is to plan your week’s shopping list around the sales. For instance, if chicken is on sale, chicken will be the basis for a lot of that week’s dinners.
Or, you can buy extra and stock up for future meals. In our house I buy fresh fruit and veggies based on what’s on sale too. If apples are on sale, my kids will be eating apples as snacks that week.
The same goes for strawberries, blueberries or other kinds of fresh fruit. I work to plan all of the week’s food around what’s on sale.
Another benefit to sticking to the sales when shopping is that the kids get menu variance that isn’t tied to their tastes. My oldest likes watermelon, but I only buy it if it’s on sale. This makes her appreciate it all the more.
Plus, it forces the kids to try different types of food. Shopping the sales will not only save you big money on your food budget, it will open your kids to new horizons of foods as well.
Know Who Has the Cheapest Prices
I can’t emphasize this point enough. If you start paying attention, it’s amazing how much variance there is from one store to another on certain food prices.
If I wasn’t tracking prices, I could easily double or triple my grocery budget. For instance, Walmart has generic white bread for only 89 cents a loaf. However, they have other bread that costs between $1.30 and $2.78 a loaf. Ouch!!
It might be helpful for you to keep track of how much each store charges for each item you buy regularly. Milk, bread, flour, meat, fruit and veggies are some examples you could keep track of.
Don’t be afraid to try generic brands either. Some generic brands are completely subpar in quality and taste. Others are name brands repackaged under a generic name. Do some experimentation and don’t be afraid to try generic brands of the foods you love. You might be surprised at how much you can save.
In my area, I find the cheapest prices are at Walmart and Aldi. Since many Aldi stores are located very near local Walmarts, it’s not a huge pain to hit both stores.
I buy most of my fresh fruits and veggies at Aldi, along with some snack foods. Then I get most everything else at Walmart.
Start learning what stores in your area charge for items you buy. By doing so, you can do the bulk of your shopping at the cheapest stores.
Buy in Bulk – But Only if it’s Smart
We also do some of our grocery shopping at the local warehouse clubs. Feeding a family with four kids takes a LOT of food – especially with a growing boy in the bunch.
The warehouse clubs near us helps me save significantly on certain items. But you have to know what to buy and what not to buy at the club stores.
Here’s a breakdown of what I buy at Sam’s Club and Costco. Yes, we have memberships to both. Having a warehouse club membership may not benefit you if you have a small family.
You’ll have to do the math and check for yourself. On to my warehouse club purchases.
- Organic fruits and veggies – both frozen and fresh. They have the best selection.
- Organic butter, flour and sugar – super low prices!
- Organic maple syrup
- Organic black beans
- Certain snack items
- Block cheese
- Coffee and coffee filters
- Cakes for parties
- Paper plates and garbage bags
- Sour cream
- Chips and certain other snacks
- Juice boxes and individual snacks for school lunches
Each warehouse club – at least in our area – seems to specialize in certain offerings. I’ll find some stuff at one and not at the other – and vice versa. Or, the quality of one club’s product isn’t up to par.
For some reason my kids hate the block cheese at Costco. Sam’s Club has organic butter, but it’s a bit higher in price than the Costco stuff.
Depending on your shopping habits, you may like one club over the other. Or, like us, you may find dual memberships beneficial if you have a large family.
Now, one caveat about shopping at warehouse clubs: you won’t save money if you throw half the item away. For instance, if you buy the bulk oatmeal but only eat oatmeal occasionally, you’ll likely throw most of it.
Only buy items you know you’ll use up. Also, it’s tempting to use more because you’ve got such a big container. Be careful of that temptation and avoid waste.
If you can find enough stuff to buy (that you’d normally buy) at warehouse clubs, they are worth the membership fee.
Avoid Food Waste
As I mentioned above, we Americans waste up to 40% of our food. That’s a good portion of your grocery budget being thrown in the trash. Here are some tips for minimizing food waste.
Make Appropriate Servings
Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much food to make for a meal. Try and think in terms of how many people will be eating. Then prepare accordingly. Don’t make extra unless you’re certain you’ll bring the leftovers to work the next day or something.
Eat Your Leftovers
Which reminds me; you can save a ton of money on food by simply eating your leftovers. Bring them to work for lunch. Reheat them for the next night’s dinner.
Or, have a once-a-week “leftover night” for dinner. We do this in our family when the fridge is getting full of leftovers.
You can also “re-make” leftovers by adding additional foods or ingredients to them. For instance, you can use leftover chili by adding some pasta and cheese and making it into a casserole.
Or, you can use leftover pot roast by making Beef Stroganoff with it. Get creative and help minimize food waste.
Don’t Buy What Won’t Get Eaten
You know that giant bag of broccoli you found for cheap at the warehouse club store? There’s no sense in “saving money” on it if most of the people in your house won’t eat broccoli.
Beware of “deals” on foods not very many people in your house like. It’s tempting to get the more cost-efficient package, but it’s not cost-efficient if you’re going to end up throwing most of it away.
Minimizing food waste can help you save a boatload of money on groceries.
Beware of Snack Foods
Snack foods like sodas, chips and cookies can be a huge hindrance to a money-saving grocery budget. Have rules in your house about keeping snack food expenditures to a minimum.
As an example, in our house we only buy soda if we’re hosting or attending a special occasion. Otherwise I encourage the kids to drink water.
The same rule goes for chips, bakery goods and other treats. I’ll make them homemade cookies and brownies, but I rarely buy the store bought stuff. It’s just too expensive.
Which reminds me……
Cook from Scratch
I also save a ton of money on our grocery budget by cooking from scratch. I make most desserts from scratch. I also make other items such as flour tortillas from scratch. It’s much more cost-efficient, and better for you too.
In fact, the homemade tortillas we make get rave reviews at family gatherings. And by making them with this tortilla press it’s not only easy and cheap, but fun too!
By teaching the kids to cook from scratch, I feel like I’m helping them prepare for adulthood. They’ll know how to save money on groceries, and how to cook great foods using natural ingredients.
The Walmart Price Match and Savings Catcher programs may be dwindling away. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t save big money on groceries and other items.
Follow the tips above and watch your grocery budget get smaller. A smaller grocery budget means you’ll have more money for fun stuff like going on paid-in-cash vacations.
Have you ever used the Walmart Price Match program? Is it still available at your local Walmart? What are your other tips for saving money on groceries? Share in the comments below.