How price matching and adjustments can cut your shopping bill

With many stores offering continuous sales year-round, consumers really need to shop around to make sure they are getting the best price. While that may seem hard to do or time-consuming, there are two store policies that can help you.

In a FOX 32 Money Saver Special Report, we dive into the details for taking full advantage of price matching and price adjustments.

"One reason why people might not bother to get a price match or adjust is because they don’t even know the store has such a thing," said Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Chicago Consumers Checkbook. "We found that a lot of stores bury those policies in their terms and conditions."

His team of researchers has a new report about who's offering price matching or price adjustments to consumers.

"So we reviewed pricing policies at more than a hundred major retailers and were surprised to find that quite a few have price matching policies, where if you’re shopping in their store or shopping on their website or if you see a lower price somewhere else, they’ll match that competitors' lower price. You just have to ask," Brasler said.

The study found roughly two-thirds of the stores surveyed offer price matching or price adjustments. Not sure what a price adjustment is?

"Where you buy something from them and ‘oh, no’ it goes on sale the next week or even a month later for a lower price. Those stores, if asked, are willing to give you a credit for that lower price," Brasler explained.

Brasler said the easiest way to get a price adjustment from a retailer is to have an account with that store and have that purchase logged into your account. But don’t wait too long to ask for it.

"We did find big variability in terms of how long of a window there is," Brasler said. "Some stores give you a longer window for price adjustments over the holidays than they do during other times of the year."

"It does seem like the price matching policies have kind of evolved over the years," according to Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings expert. "At least with some retailers getting a little more strict with who they price match and what types of deals or sales they’re willing to price match."

Woroch said you need to pay attention to each store's policy.

In addition to saving you some big bucks on appliances and electronics, Woroch said price matching and adjustments can also help you save on your everyday purchases if you know where to look.

"There are some apps that allow you to get instant price comparison when you are shopping in store. This could really cut the time of hunting for deals," Woroch said.

Like the ShopSavvy app.

"This app has a bar code scanning tool. Snap a picture of the product bar code. They’ll list all the retailers that are selling that item and their current selling price," Woroch said.

For price adjustments, check out the droplist feature on the Honey browser tool. It will alert you if something goes on sale.

As will the Flip app.

"The Flip app actually aggregates store circulars all in one place. You could create a shopping list in the app, and then you can use their watch list feature which would then alert you if something on your list goes on sale," she said.

Woroch said it also pays to compare a retailer's prices both in store and online.

"A lot of stores will also price match their online prices and a lot of shoppers don’t realize prices can differ from in store to online," Woroch said.

While both policies can save you about the same amount of money, is it better to ask for a price match or a price adjustment?

"Most people would be better off price matching at the time of purchase because usually after you buy it, you forget about it, and you don’t really want to deal with the time and hassle of going back and asking for your money back," Woroch said.

If you do find yourself looking for a price adjustment, you might not have to leave your house.

Both experts we spoke with said some stores allow you to ask for one on their website by simply opening a chat with an online customer service representative.