Guide: Price Matching to Get the Best Deal
We recently started a series covering different ways to save on shopping and everyday spending.
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Retailers that price match offer a really simple way to save money in-store, find a better price elsewhere, they match it or beat it! The best part of price guarantees is that they don’t preclude you from using other savings methods aside from in store coupons in some cases. Price Matching policies can be even more lucrative for online purchases thanks to cashback portals. Another huge advantage of price matching is the ability to get the lowest price at a number of retailers. This means you can take advantage of spending promotions or loyalty program bonuses. Let’s look at an example so you can understand what I mean. I’m looking at a Dyson Handheld Vacuum on Best Buy.
I do a google search for the same exact model to make sure I’m seeing the lowest absolute price. Everything I see, including Amazon is the same or higher. Now I have to decide where to buy it. I’m going to base by decision on which retailer has the highest portal cashback percentage and if any have loyalty programs that offer rewards for spending. I see that JCPenney is offering 30 back on $150 purchase through RetailMeNot and they have a loyalty program that offers 5% back in rewards.
Department stores tend to have higher prices but also offer better rewards, so if you price match you’re getting the best of both worlds. Also, Spoiler Alert: JCPenney not only price matches, they beat other competitors prices by 5%. You may also want to purchase discounted gift cards to use for your purchase for an even deeper discount, but remember that you lose any purchase protection offered by your credit card company if you use a gift card. Check out our post covering shopping benefits offered by some of the more popular credit cards.
Which Major Retailers Have the Best Price Matching Policies?
And the winner is….. yep, Staples. I cannot say enough good things about Staple’s price matching policy. If you find a lower price anywhere, including Amazon- they will not only match the price, but further discount the item an extra 10% of the difference! The price match is now in-store only, but it’s still a great policy.
Also, Staples has a good rewards program for in store purchases offering either 2% or 5% cash back depending on your rewards account.
My new favorite price match policy is JCPenney, not only will they match any competitors price and give you an additional 5% off, but they allow you to apply any applicable coupons after the price match. One thing to note is that the added coupon discount is only on in-store price matched products. For online purchases, you can either use a coupon or the 5% extra price match, but not both.
JCPenney offers 5% in store rewards or 10% if you use a JCPenney credit card to complete your purchase.
Home Depot has a great price matching policy. They will match any competitors price by 10% for in store purchases. Online purchases however, only get matched, not further rebated. Home Depot is also a bit more restrictive in it’s definition of competitor- it excludes sites like NewEgg.
Lowe’s price matching policy used to be similar to Staple’s but there are many more restrictions. For example, Lowe’s only price matches for competitors within it’s “local market”, it has certain brand restrictions (including Weber) and you cannot use a coupon and a price match. I reached out to Lowe’s Customer Service because I know they used to also beat rival prices by 10%, but they have done away with that.
Target’s Price Match policy is pretty good, they’ll refund you the difference if you find a lower price within 2 weeks.
Best Buy will match a competitor’s price either prior to purchase or during the return and exchange period.
Kohl’s Price Matching Policy is only for in-store items and in-store competitors. I find this policy interesting in practice because I think Kohl’s is incredibly over-priced, but you can still earn Kohl’s Cash and Yes to You Rewards on price matched items. This could occasionally lead to a great deal.
Beth, Bath and Beyond
Bed, Bath and Beyond’s Price Match policy is pretty standard. There are a few notable features to their policy. They will not apply a store coupon and a price match, unless the competitor would allow both in the same situation. They also apply sale prices retroactively
How to Use These Policies to Your Advantage
One word: Amazon. More often than not, Amazon is the guy to beat- this makes our lives so much easier because we don’t have to flip through 60 page circulars to compare prices. You could of course do a google search if you think further research is needed to determine the best price.
Once you find the lowest price, check to see if Staples, JCPenney or Home Depot carry the items since you’ll get extra cashback there and make sure you’re taking advantage of any other money saving offers available. Even if you happen to find a price that you would like to match at one of the other stores, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
Of course, price matching is only one of several factors that can help you make decisions. For example, I bought a house this year so I’ve been hitting Lowe’s and Home Depot card sales pretty hard, which makes me more inclined to want to shop there since I have extra.
You do not, have to drive yourself crazy to get the best prices, there are short cuts you can take and this is one of them. Also, don’t forget, stores now have great return policies and if you mess up and overpay, it’s not the end of the world. You can always return things or call the retailer after the fact to see if they will refund the difference. There are also many cards offering price protection, you can read more about that in this post about card shopping benefits.
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