You don’t need to wait until Black Friday to get the best deal—and this year, in particular, you may not want to wait that long to get started. Some major retailers offer price-matching guarantees that can be applied retroactively; and by getting the jump on gift-buying now, you’ll be more likely to snag popular items while they’re still in stock, as stores deal with limited inventory due to pandemic-related supply chain issues.
What is price matching?
Price matching is when a retailer matches the lower price of the same item at a competing store before you make the purchase. While some chains honor price matching for online purchases (through a customer service line or chat portal), it’s more commonly offered for in-store purchases.
To receive a price match, you must show proof of a competitor’s lower price at the register or with a customer service desk, using either flyers, printouts of web pages, or by pointing out online ads on your phone (ideally, these include a date). The item has to be identical to what’s available, either online or in the store (some items can be restricted—don’t expect price matching for third-party or marketplace sellers).
Some retailers also offer price adjustment, which is when they match their own pricing if you bought the same item just before the store lowered the price as part of a new promotion. Typically, you are given a window of a few weeks to claim a price adjustment.
Who is offering price matching for Black Friday?
While the price matching policies vary, it’s offered by large retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target, JCPenny, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Lowe’s. The only catch is that each store has their own restrictions, and most don’t honor price matching for Black Friday-specific promotions. Of those that do, Best Buy and Target have the best policies.
Best Buy accepts price matching that can be done either in-store or through a chat portal, and if you sign up for a free My Best Buy membership and purchase items marked “Black Friday Price Guarantee,” you will automatically be refunded the difference if the price drops on or before Nov. 26, 2021.
Target and Target.com match prices with most major retailers (including Black Friday deals), and they’ll even refund the difference if you find a lower price within 14 days of your purchase (this also includes price adjustments). According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, price matching can be approved on the spot at the cash register, or through a chat portal.
For more detailed information on who is offering what, check out this chart posted by Deal News (it’s at the bottom of the page). Note that while many retailers offer price matching, the key phrase is that “restrictions apply.” Deals are usually limited to select competitors, and for varying time limits after you first make the purchase. Still, even with these restrictions, there are all sorts of opportunities to save money year round.
(And if you’re wondering about Amazon—no, they don’t offer price matching.)