Deb Morris: Fru-Gal

Fru-Gal: Planning now can save you money, ease holiday stress

Philadelphia Enquirer

Whether you want to believe it or not, the holiday season is right around the corner.

Now is the time to start planning so you can have a stress-free fun time this holiday. Yes, now. Sit down now and make your 2015 holiday gift list.

One reason to start your holiday shopping this early is to take advantage of stores' holiday price-matching. These price-matching policies will help ensure that you get the best price available. A price-matching policy happens when one retail outlet offers to sell something for the same price that you have seen advertised in the newspaper, store flyers or some stores match prices from online venues. Price-matching is a common practice, especially in large stores that stock a lot of merchandise.

Most of these offers sound good, but there are a few things about price-matching that you need to know before heading off to the nearest store looking for the best price. When you request a price match, you generally expect to pay the lowest price you can find. Retailers are often willing to accommodate, even if it means a little less profit, to acquire loyal customers and reinforce an image as a low-price destination.

However, not all stores have the same price-matching policies, so do your homework before you head out.

Target: Target will match the price if you buy a qualifying item, then find the identical item for less at Target.com, certain online competitors or a competitor's local printed or digital ad. Price matches may be requested at the time of purchase, or prices can be adjusted within 14 days of purchase.

A list of online competitors is at http://bit.ly/1O9A3HI.

Local competitors for Target.com purchases include stores in the same market area (within a 25-mile radius) as either the billing address or the shipping address on record for the Target.com purchase. Manufacturer coupons will be applied after the price match is made. Target coupons and Cartwheel offers can't be applied with price match.

Best Buy: Best Buy matches ads from local retailers (within 25 miles) and prices on BestBuy.com, and the following websites: Amazon.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Newegg.com, and TigerDirect.com. It also matches BestBuy.com prices on in-store purchases and vice-versa. Price-match requests for BestBuy.com are handled via phone. Call 1-888-237-7289. Best Buy will review and verify the price match request.

Home Depot and Lowe's: Of the two major home improvement stores, Lowe's has the better price-match policy.

Both Home Depot and Lowe's promise to beat competitors' prices by 10 percent if a shopper brings in a print ad or shows an ad from a local retailer's website. Lowe's gains an edge by giving customers 30 days to claim a partial refund if they find a lower price after buying an appliance. Lowe's also matches the net price when a competing store offers a percentage off, while Home Depot's policy applies to regular retail prices.

One thing to be wary of with large retailers is that some of the appliances they carry have unique model numbers. This makes the items ineligible for price matching, because they are technically not identical to models sold elsewhere.

Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart will price-match competitor ads that feature a specific item for a specified price. Wal-Mart will match prices for loyalty shopping card prices that are in a printed ad.

For fresh produce and meat items, Wal-Mart will match if the price is offered in the same unit type. To price-match an online price, if you are ordering online at Walmart.com, contact a customer care agent at Help.walmart.com before placing your order.

Here are the matching online retailers accepted by Walmart: Academy.com, Amazon.com, Autozone.com, Babiesrus.com, Basspro.com, Bedbathandbeyond.com, Bestbuy.com, Cabelas.com, Dickssportinggoods.com, Dollargeneral.com, Familydollar.com, Homedepot.com, Jcpenney.com, Kmart.com, Kohls.com, Lowes.com, Michaels.com, Newegg.com, Officedepot.com, Oreillyauto.com, Pepboys.com, Petco.com, Petsmart.com, Sears.com, SportsAuthority.com, Staples.com, Target.com, Tigerdirect.com, Toysrus.com, Walgreens.com, Walmart.com.

JCPenney: JCPenney will match any similar local competitor's current advertised price on identical items that JCPenney carries in-store. Bring the ad to a JCP employee, who will honor the lower price. What JCPenney considers a similar local competitor is any brick-and-mortar retail store in the same market area or within a reasonable distance of a JCPenney store.

Family Dollar: Bring in any local competitor's (10 mile or less) print advertisement to your closest Family Dollar store, and if any of the advertised prices are lower, Family Dollar will match the price at checkout. Shoppers must show the actual printed ad at checkout. Items bought must specifically match the ad. The competitor's offer must be currently valid.

Other savings

■ Get $5 off one ticket to The Peanuts Movie when you buy $10 worth of laundry products, before Nov. 15 before coupons and taxes. Snap a picture of your full receipt by Nov. 30 and text or email to code@allpeanutsmovie.com or upload via Allpeanutsmovie.com.

■ Get a free Glad trash bag. Go to Glad.com/glad-to-give and scroll down to "request your special yellow bag." This offer is available while supplies last.

■ Sam's Club is offering free women's health screenings from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 at all stores with a pharmacy. The screenings are valued at $150 and include tests for blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), glucose and body mass index.

■ Kids can go to Toys R Us to celebrate LEGO Bricktober and create a mini LEGO city kayak from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 17. Check out the LEGO Bricktober Build Event on Facebook.

■ Join the Sunbelt Bakery fan program and earn points to get free items. During October, you can get a coupon for a free Sunbelt Bakery product when you earn 500 points, while supplies last. Go to bit.ly/1Mbq4S8

■ Get a free Dr. Brown's 8-ounce Halloween bottle at Babies R Us with any purchase of $15 or more. Get the coupon at: .

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