Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Price Matching

When I was a kid, I loved getting mail! It didn't matter what it was as long as it had my name on it. Since most of the mail that comes with my name on it now is either junk mail or bills, I can't say I have the same excitement that I did when I was a kid. However, I still get pretty excited when the mail comes every Tuesday. Why? Because that's the day the grocery ads come in the mail. To many, these probably fall under the "junk mail" category, but for me, they are a key to grocery shopping on a budget.

Competition in retail is wonderful for consumers. All the grocery stores are competing to get me to shop at their store, and the ads are their way of enticing me in. Stores will often have loss leaders, which are sales in which the store is actually losing money, but they're willing to take that loss knowing that once I'm in their store, I will most likely buy other groceries on which they'll make a profit. To get the most benefit out of store sales, you need to shop at more than one store, buying only the best sales at each store. Most weeks, I find a couple great sales at several different grocery stores, but it's really not practical for me to drive around town just to get a few groceries (especially with a toddler). However, I don't want to miss out on any of the sales, so what do I do? Well, thankfully there's a thing called price matching.

Price matching allows me to get all the stores' great sales, but I'm able to get them in one stop. There are two major chains that I know of that price match: Wal-Mart and Target. I usually go to our Wal-Mart Supercenter since it has a full grocery store. I take my weekly grocery ads with me, and when checking out, all I need to do to get the competitor's price is show the cashier the ad. If you do choose to price match, I would suggest organizing and marking your ads before you get to the register. I circle the items I'm planning on buying with a green or red marker, so that they're easy to find at the register.

Last week, I was able to price match avocados and tomatoes - two things I don't buy unless there's an amazing sale. Since I had both of those ingredients (which doesn't happen very often), I decided make guacamole! I based my recipe off Alton Brown's recipe found here, but made a few changes based on what I had on hand and our taste preferences. Here's my recipe:

3 avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 Tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ medium onion, diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

In a large bowl, add avocados and lime juice (the lime juice does more than add flavor! It also slows down the oxidation process - the process in which avocados turn brown - so don't leave it out!). Mash avocados with a fork until desired consistency is reached. Add remaining ingredients and mix. I would recommend tasting and adjust it as you go. Remember, you can always add more ingredients later, but you can't take anything out! For something a little different, try using guacamole as a spread on your turkey sandwiches!

Before you start price matching, I recommend reading the policies of each store. Target's can be found here and Wal-Mart's is located here. Each individual store may have additional rules and regulations, so I suggest calling your local store with any questions you may have.

And, speaking of avocados and saving money, find out how you can get a coupon for avocados here!

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