How To Get Online Prices When You Need An Item Today

I hate when I need an item at the last minute.

Usually, buying an item at the last minute means I have to purchase it at a brick and mortar store.

Too many times, the prices at brick and mortar stores are much higher than the price for the same exact item bought online.

Recently, I had this exact situation happen to me.

Our Recent Experience Of Needing An Item Immediately

I was playing with my dog, Daphne, in our living room when I noticed a flea on her. She’s over five years old and has never had fleas.

I wanted to treat her immediately to prevent the situation from getting out of control so I started investigating flea treatments.

Ultimately, I ended up deciding Frontline Plus would be the best solution. Unfortunately, Frontline Plus is expensive, especially when you buy it in physical stores.

Some quick phone calls helped me determine that Pet Supermarket, a store just 5 minutes away, wanted to charge $60.99 for three Frontline Plus treatments. PetSmart, just 10 minutes down the road, wanted to charge $55.99.

At this point, I was a bit frustrated by the high prices. I did a quick Google search and found out Frontline Plus can be bought online much cheaper.

In fact, I could get it from in just two days for $33.24 if I qualified for free shipping.

Unfortunately, I thought about our situation and quickly realized I didn’t want Daphne to go without flea treatment for even 48 hours. That meant I’d have to pay over $20 more just because I wanted the treatment today.

I thought the brick and mortar stores had won.

I Found A Better, Cheaper Option

While Googling the online price of Frontline Plus, I saw PetSmart sold Frontline Plus online, as well. The funny thing was, PetSmart only charged $34.68 for the treatments online despite the fact they charged $55.99 in store for the same exact thing.

While reading the instructions for the product on PetSmart’s site, I saw the solution to my problem. Just above the description was the option to order the flea treatments online, yet still pick it up in the store in less than one hour.

I added the treatments to my cart, checked out and awaited the email stating my order was ready. Only 30 minutes later I received the email saying my order was ready to be picked up.

I hopped in the car, went to PetSmart, picked up my item and headed home to give Daphne her treatments.

Thanks to the in-store pickup option, I saved $21 and got the flea treatment medication the same day.

Always Check for In-Store Pick Up Or Price Matching

PetSmart isn’t the only store offering same day in store pick up. In fact, in store pickup is becoming quite common among retailers with both brick and mortar stores and online storefronts.

Ordering online guarantees you’ll get the online price for the item in most cases.

However, some stores will price match their online prices if you head to the customer service desk if you’re already shopping in the store.

For instance, we found out often has cheaper prices on many baby items we buy at their physical store and occasionally take advantage of this option.

If you need an item today, don’t simply give in and pay higher brick and mortar store prices. Check all of your buying options first.

Pick up in store is usually my first option, followed by price matching the retailers online site. If those don’t work, I hope I can find a brick and mortar store that is willing to price match their competitors’ websites.

Worst case I spent a few minutes trying to save $10 or more dollars. Best case, I save money with just a couple clicks on a website.

Have you ever had to buy an item immediately and found a better price on the retailers website? What did you do? Have you tried out the strategies above? Let me know your experiences in the comments.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Stronghold works better. Frontline doesn’t have any effect any more at our cats. 🙁

  2. Here in Australia online shopping is pretty dysmal. Even Amazon hasn’t entered Australia in a big way, so retailers have it really easy.
    However, that’s all gonna change in late 2017 when Amazon makes a big push here. It’s about time. A wooden board to chop meat cost me $50!

  3. I had no idea that they could offer two different prices for in-store pickup online vs. brick and mortar. Seems like quite the premium to pay, $21, for the exact same product. I guess it shows that brick and mortar has some potentially big margins to pay for the retail space.

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