The Grocery Game

18 January 2009

I've had a lot of questions about the grocery game lately from people. I've had people ask me if it was legal, tell me they just didn't get it, to asking how hard it is to do. My favorite is people see the amount of cereal we have and look shocked... well, it was all FREE. I won't ever pay more than FREE for toothpaste or toothbrushes either. Chapstick, add that to the list of things I won't pay for.

Listen, we're foodie type people. We love to cook, both of us. We love to have friends for dinner. We try all kinds of things and aren't necessarily brand loyal for most stuff. We don't have a whole lot of pantry space, so we set up some shelves in the basement for our stockpile and we have a small chest deep freezer for the frozen items. So, the grocery game works out well for our family.

I will say this, it's a little time consuming. It takes me about an hour a week to decide what we're buying from the list and to cut out the appropriate coupons.

I decided that this week, I would document what I did so you can see a typical week. Now, I've been doing this for several months so I am at the point where I can just buy the sale items and we have enough produce and meat frozen that I didn't need to buy those things. At first, you will be a little suprised at the weird items and amounts of things you are buying. And you'll also have to keep purchasing some things that aren't on sale at first. That's ok too. You'll start seeing a significant savings anyway.

It's actually kinda funny that I picked this week to document because it wasn't even a good week! I had to get two packs of diapers which ate up almost half of my total spend for the week. I also had Dave putting a few items in my cart that weren't on sale, impulse buying is a big no no with the grocery game. At the end of this post, I'll also show you some of the receipts from good weeks.

So here goes...

First, each week we go over to the Dollar Store and buy 2-3 copies of the paper. You can get the Sunday paper at the DS for only $1. Bonus. I also ask my family members that get the paper to please save any coupons for us they won't use themselves. I put all of the coupons in a large envelope and write the date on the front. Usually I have about 12 weeks worth of coupons and when the coupons for that week expire, I put them in the recycle bin and re-use the envelope for a newer week.

Then, I log on to the site and select the items I want to buy and print my list. The list is color coded, black items you buy if you need them, blue items are rock bottom prices for that item so you should stock up, and green items are FREE! I shop at Giant Eagle because they double coupons up to $1 and anything from $1-2 is worth $2. I find that I can do a lot better there than say Kroger. They do have lists in my area for Kroger, Meijer, GE, Walmart, etc... in addition to places like Rite Aid.

Then I match up the list with the coupons that I need. I also decide how many of each item I am going to buy. For example, this week I bought 20 of the Yoplait yogurts. If you bought 20, you get an additional $2 off automatically (special deals like this are also listed on the list). I cut out 3 coupons that were buy 6, get 40 cents off. At GE you can use up to FOUR of the same coupon in a day, so anytime there is a coupon that will give me something free, I use four of them (remember I am buying 2-3 papers + getting some coupons from family so I always have several of the same coupons).

Then I shop! Here is what I bought this week... 2 packs of Pampers diapers, Redbook magazine, 20 Yoplait yogurts, Mustard, Franks Red Hot, Suave for Men gel, Suave gel, a hydroponic tomato, 2 Scunci claw clips, Sunsweet prunes, Gillette shave gel, Quaker quick oats, Gillette disposable razors, windshield wiper fluid, 2 Green Giant boxed veggies, 4 (FREE!) Rubbermaid premium containers, Sucrets (FREE!) cherry lozenges, 2 Pillsbury cinamon rolls, Neutrogena for Men face lotion, and Quaker high fiber oatmeal packets. There may be a thing or two in there that I missed.

And here is the receipt. We paid $45.04, we saved $55.34 total between on sale items and coupons. It ended up being 56 percent saved. I usually hover around 60 percent off and sometimes have gotten it closer to 70 percent off.

For me, this is a great contribution to our household. We still shop some things at Costco and Sam's. Butter and cheese in general is cheaper there. I also get things like tp and paper towels there because it's easier to get those things in bulk. I could probably get them cheaper doing the game, but the convienience factor outweighs the savings for those things.

I leave you with a few more receipts. I couldn't find any of the big ones, most have been pitched. If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email AND if you'd like to try it, please use me as a referal. ( I would recommend that you save up 3-4 weeks worth of coupons before starting the free trial so you can really take advantage of the savings from the get go.


Emily said...

I'm still skeptical, but I might have to give it a try. You can't beat saving like that on the groceries. Plus, I love clipping coupons. It's like my love of doing soothes my anal tendencies.

Amy said...

On wifeswap this week, the chick got $80 of groceries for $10. It was amazing. She taped her biggest savings receipts on the fridge.

Amy said...

And how do you get Chapstick for free???????

Michelle said...

Wait until it goes on sale, then use a coupon. I'm stocked up till next year!

Amy said...

Next time we get toghether, ask me to tell you some of my savings stories. I once saved 100% at Giant Eagle. I got about $60 worth of groceries for 26 cents. The tax alone was more than .26 so I actually saved over 100% on the groceries. I saved the receipt for about a year but I think I threw it away.

Amy said...

I HAVE NEVER SEEN A COUPON FOR CHAPSTICK. OMG. OMG. OMG. Warn me when you see those things!!

In debt from chapstick addiction.

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