Several years ago I started using an online service that tracks what is on sale at my local stores with which coupons are available for the same products. The Grocery Game is helping me shave about 50% off my monthly grocery bills. When my friends told me about their savings, I thought it was too good to be true. I had never been a coupon clipper before, reasoning that it wasn’t worth the time for just a few dollars here or there. They convinced me to sign up, though, for a one month trial. It costs just $1 to try this program for 4 weeks. Go to www.thegrocerygame.com to sign up.
The Grocery Game relies on the idea of stockpiling. When things go on sale, you buy in bulk. Stores put different items on sale each week, and it takes about three months to build a good stockpile. Once your stockpile is established, you rarely need to buy anything that isn’t on sale, other than fresh foods like milk and produce. It may cost a bit more than you would spend in the beginning, as you are building your stockpile. At the end of my trial month, my husband and I looked at all my receipts. I had spent within $50 of my typical budget for a month, but had gotten over twice as much for it.
Now that I have been grocery gaming for a while, my stockpile is in full swing. I won’t touch toothpaste or shampoo unless it is free. I have so much that even 50 cents seems like too much to pay for those items. When I first started grocery gaming my husband was shocked when I brought home a six-month supply of my favorite laundry detergent. It was 75% off with my coupons, so of course I stocked up! I no longer spend my full grocery budget. Instead we rely on our stockpile of meat, frozen vegetables, canned goods, cereals, laundry detergent, paper products, toiletry items and the like–all purchased at a steep discount. I still ‘play’ the grocery game about twice a month to replenish my stockpile.
After the four-week trail, the cost of the grocery game goes up to just over $1 per week for one store. I pay about $3 per week to get lists for 4 stores, but I easily save hundreds every month, so it’s well worth it. I am using two different grocery stores and two different pharmacies in order to maximize my savings. Before The Grocery Game I only went to one store for all my shopping. It is more trouble to go to four different stores, but since I am saving 50% on my bills I feel it is well worth it. Now that my stockpile is well established, I no longer go to four stores every week. I only shop every other week now, and choose the two best stores for that particular week.
Some tips on implementing The Grocery Game:
* Don’t sign up today! Collect coupons for a couple of weeks before you sign up for your trial. The more coupons you have on hand, the more you will be able to save.
* Consider buying multiple copies of the Sunday paper. Stores that have “buy one get one free” sales usually honor double coupons…so even though one item is free, you can still use a coupon on it. This increases your savings even more. I have a big family, so I usually buy 4 to 6 copies of the newspaper.
* I don’t waste a lot of time clipping and filing coupons I won’t use. I put my coupon pages in a large folder with the date marked on the front page. When The Grocery Game tells me to get a Smart Source coupon from 2/17 I know exactly which paper to clip it from.
* The Grocery Game uses a color coding system to show what the best deals are. I usually buy blue or green colored items, as those are the best deals.
* Stick to the list. My family had to adjust to not always having their favorite things, especially in the beginning when their faves hadn’t gone on sale yet. As soon as my husband saw how much I was saving, he jumped on board and was glad to try some new things. As soon as my kids found out it was a game and I was winning, they got excited about it too! Their favorite cereals went on sale last week. They were 75% off with my coupons, so I bought 18 boxes. Patience paid off!
(Kellie’s Note: A similar website that offers free membership is couponmom.com)