Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grocery Game Thoughts and Tips

I have had several people mention in the comment section that they are interested in trying the grocery game, including my little sister, Sarah, college senior. And so I thought I would share a few more thoughts about the ins and outs of the grocery game.

First and foremost, once you sign up, you have to give it time for it to work. That first week after you sign up, you won't have the majority of the coupons. This is quite frustrating, actually. My suggestion is that you spend 6 weeks cutting and collecting coupons every Sunday. Then once you have the coupons collected, sign up for the free six week trial. It's hard to try the grocery game without the coupons. I didn't like it during my trial period because I wasn't saving money. Now that I have a coupon collection the size of Mt. Everest, I am liking the Grocery Game.

Next tip--save every coupon. There are a small handful of coupons that I throw away--pet food, hair color, and contact solution. These are three things I will never use. If I knew someone who would use them, I would give them away. Other than that, I save every, single coupon because often times you can get things for free. For example, a few weeks ago, I got two free bottles of Pert Plus shampoo + conditioner for free. I doubt that I will use this, but I am thinking that somebody somewhere can use it. A charity of some sort, perhaps? It was free. Why not take it?

When you begin clipping coupons, you will notice that they add up quickly. There are many ways to organize them, and there are many blogs that tell you how to do this. I personally have a clear rubber maid box where I file all of my coupons. The box is filled with alphabetized envelopes with categories such as baby, bathroom cleaners, dish detergent, etc. Then, when I am planning my grocery trip for the week, I pull up the grocery game list, I sit with my box of coupons, and I pull out the ones I will need for the week. I then put them in a little organizer that I keep in my purse. I have a section for Kroger coupons and a section for CVS coupons.

Finally, the last thing to understand about the Grocery Game is stockpiling. This also takes a while; in much the same way that it takes a while to collect the coupons. Let me explain this by example. Last week Kroger had a sale on chicken breasts for 1.99/lb. They are normally like 4.99/lb or something. I designated about 10.00 of my grocery budget for chicken breasts, and my freezer is now well stocked with chicken. There was also a huge sale of frozen vegetables, so I came home with 12 boxes of green giant vegetables for nearly free. My freezer is very full. Over the next few weeks I will plan my meals around these things. During that time, the things will most likely go on sale again, and I can stock up at the low price, never having to actually buy at full price. Does that make sense? These days, now that I have been grocery gaming for a while, my grocery list is only made up of about 1/4 of what we need for that week, the rest is for stocking up on things that are at rock bottom prices. If I do have a week where there are lots of necessities on the list, I just resist stocking up, in order to stay within budget.

Sarah specifically asked if this would work for a college student, and my answer to you, Sarah, is that you should at least start "CVSing." You can do that without the grocery game, and you can save INSANE amounts of money. One more example, today I bought 4 packs of disposable razors, always pads, and a bag of snack size kit kats for about 6.00 Out of Pocket (oop). The total price of all of that should have been about 35 dollars. On top of only paying 6.00 OOP, I walked away with 4.00 in Extra Bucks to use towards my next purchase.

I don't know if any of the above makes sense, but it's just some things that I have found helpful as I entered the world of couponing. I guarantee that once you start, you will never be able to shop without coupons again. Feel free to ask any questions, and there are so many blogs out there devoted just to this. It's how I learned the process.


rhodes1 said...

That all sounds very impressive, like a full time job :) Maybe I'll start out with the CVS thing.Right now, I just always go to to check what is on sale and plan my groceries for the next couple of weeks on that. I'll try adding the CVS thing onto it.

Carrie said...

I found your blog through the Turnbull's blog, and I'm very interested in how you save so much money! My husband and I have been doing Dave Ramsey for about 1 1/2 years now, and I just recently started getting into the coupon world. The most I've saved is $8. What is the CVS thing, and how much does the Grocery Game cost to be a member after the free trial (and is it worth it)? Thanks for blogging about this! You can get in touch with me through my blog