Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Monday, January 16, 2006

My Experience with "The Grocery Game"

I can't remember if I mentioned this earlier on my blog or not, but I did join the discussion on another blog about whether or not using The Grocery Game is a good investment. I had some questions, and finally decided to try it and see for myself! Well, I'm here to report on my experience:o)

Micah and I often do our grocery shopping together (especially now that I temporarily don't have a car during the week!). For several weeks, we very diligently printed out the lists for two different stores that we shop at, bought papers (since we don't have a subscription) and clipped coupons. The idea, for those who don't know, is that you save the coupons from your local paper until the items are on sale and get even more savings. The Grocery Game list will alert you to what the best deals are and when to use those coupons to get the best savings. Sometimes you can even get items for free.

We didn't mind the coupon clipping. I actually found it fun! (OK, so I'm weird:o) But after a few trips to the grocery store, I began to get slightly frustrated with the time spent in trying to find the items on the list. Sometimes, we couldn't find the right brands and deals listed at all. Other times, we spent several minutes trying to find the right item. Grocery shopping trips--especially when we stopped at two different stores to pick up the best deals at each one--stretched into hours' long affairs. We did notice substantial savings on some of the items we were buying, but I began to wonder if it was a mirage when we were spending just as much or more per week as ever.

Though we tried to be careful to mostly buy only foods we probably would have bought anyways, we did find ourselves getting sucked in a few times to buying stuff we didn't usually use just because it was so cheap. Many of the dirt-cheap sales centered around convenience food items that we could really do without. I also started to get frustrated with switching around to so many different brands I don't usually purchase just because of the list said to buy them. That's just me...I like my routines I guess! But I had to wonder if I was really doing better on these name brand canned goods on sale, for example, than the store brands at WalMart.

Now, to be fair: The Grocery Game site claims that in order to see the real savings kick in, you have to allow about 12 weeks. We didn't give it quite that long. After about 6 weeks, I decided that when you take into account the cost of the service (I think it was about $8 every month, plus another $8 in papers), the savings were not worth the time-intensiveness and frustration for me. I have decided instead, to monitor the sales myself on ONLY the items and brands I would typically purchase (I do buy a lot of store brands when taste and quality are not compromised). I may even continue to clip coupons for a while, to see if I think it's worth it to keep purchasing papers. I think my focus will be on learning how to identify and discover the real deals myself rather than relying on a list. That is good skill for me to have, I believe, and will keep me more focused on what I REALLY want and need according to our preferences and eating habits.

I am also establishing a plan to save (or at least get better quality for about the same price) by making more things myself on a regular basis, like bread, spaghetti sauce (made in bulk and frozen in meal-size portions) and buying heads of lettuce rather than the bags and tearing it myself.

I love my freezer! Did you know you can buy cheese and butter in bulk and freeze it? I tried it and it worked! I also keep tortillas and pitas (for cheap and delicious pizza crusts) in the freezer on a regular basis, because these always go bad before we can finish the whole bag. They are quick and easy to defrost when needed. Then of course, I freeze as many leftovers as possible, because both of us get sick of eating the same thing more than once or twice in a row. I have set a goal for myself to waste as little food as possible, and that should help with our grocery bill considerably.

Note: Because some of my annoyance with some aspects of The Grocery Game is personal preference, many people--especially those with larger families who buy in larger quantities and have more space to store excess goods--may actually benefit quite nicely from it! I think it is certainly worth it to give it a try if you think it might help you. It is only $1 to try it out for the first month. I would certainly recommend people trying it if it interests them. Couldn't hurt!


Blogger Meredith said...

I've never tried the Grocery Game--thanks for the review. I've been using the master coupon list and suggestions at It sounds very similar but without cost--she merely asks you to pick up the "free with coupon" items on the list and donate them to charity if you won't use them yourself.

6:59 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Wow...great tip! I checked out the site and it looks really helpful. I'd been looking online for quite a while to find free coupons, and somehow missed this site before. Thanks for sharing!

12:25 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger razorbackmama said...

A lot of it depends on your store and where your list is compiled. I've had some frustrating moments with the GG too since I'm in a completely different market from the city my list is compiled in. My newspaper's coupons are AWFUL too, but that's not the GG's fault LOL!

I haven't had a hard time with finding the items though...that's why I think it depends on your store. I also don't recommend doing two stores unless you are just dying too - it makes it MUCH more difficult!

2:40 AM, February 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very cautious when joining! I requested cancellation of my membership twice before the trial period was up and they still billed my checking account $20! Now, they will not refund it! That stinks!

10:52 AM, July 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having the same experience, found it didn't work well for my area so canceled it well before the trial period, but was still charged $35.00. Now I can't get a hold of them, or be sure I won't be charged next cycle although I have canceled AGAIN. Very frustrating!

11:33 PM, February 09, 2009  
Blogger GW said...

The bad experiences with people charged even though they canceled before the trial was up have scared me off from giving it a chance. That's not good business and reeks of scam to me.

4:50 PM, December 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used The Grocery Game for years, and it's a very legitimate company. I have found that the cost is worth it for the huge savings you get. If you have any problems you can just send a message to customer service and they respond very quickly.

12:12 AM, June 02, 2010  
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