Gaming the Grocery System

Posted by Madison on September 16, 2008

Grocery Game finally has my local supermarket! I joined a couple weeks ago and have saved about $70 already!

What is Grocery Game?

The Grocery Game website creates a shopping list for your supermarket each week. It calculates the sale price and any coupons out there that will work for the product. The list identifies free items and “stockpiling” items which are at rock-bottom prices.

They claim that “the average savings for a family of four is $482 a month!”

How Does it Work?

Did you know that items typically go on sale once every 12 weeks or so? With that information, you can buy 12 weeks of items that you regularly use when it goes on sale. By the time you need to buy more, it should be on sale again.

The list each week tells you when each item is at the 12-week low, or a point at which you should stockpile. You buy multiples of those items, then fill in with other stuff you need.

After 12 weeks, you should have a great stockpile and only be buying at rock bottom prices going forward, saving money along the way.

Can You Play the Game Without Coupons?

Actually, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’ve given up couponing, but I still prefer to shop the sales. The list notes the sales and coupon values separately, so it’s easy for me to see at a glance the price without a coupon.

How Much Have I Saved?

It costs $1 for a 4 week trial. After that it’s $10 every 8 weeks. So for the first 12 weeks I will spend $11 total.

Here was what the first two weeks of shopping looked like:

  • Week 1: Groceries $160; Paid $120; Savings $40
  • Week 2: Groceries $120; Paid $89; Savings $31

Total saved: $71

(These were approximate numbers; I’ll have to double check the receipts for exact numbers.)

How Do You Sign Up?

Go to Grocery Game, and enter your zip code. They’ll show you a list of the stores in your area. For the 4 week trial, you can get lists to all of them.

When you fill out your information, there will be a box called “Who Referred Me”. Just enter my email address:

Also, you can enter a referral at any time, which means that mine is still blank! If anyone out there uses Grocery Game, I’d be happy to list you as my referrer, so you get credit. I’ll give it to the first person who contacts me.

You can get 12 free weeks by referring 3 friends, so once you sign up, you might as well tell some friends!

Can You Do it Yourself?

Absolutely. My store just recently got a list, but I’ve tried the concept in the past. If you keep a price book and monitor the prices each week, you’ll do fine. However, it does take a lot of time and I found that I’m willing to pay someone $1.25 to do it for me, for now.

The only thing that might change, is if I find that using Costco will get me cheaper groceries overall.

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Comments to Gaming the Grocery System

  1. I’ve been doing Grocery Game for about eight months. My average savings is 50% – some weeks I’ll save 60%, others I’ll save 40%. My rolling average for the past eight months is a solid 50%.

    Net result? In eight months I’ve spent $800 for $1,600 worth of groceries. Not bad!!

    I’ll also add that the only things I don’t buy at the grocery store with GG is toilet paper, paper towels, meats, batteries and baby products (diapers, wipes, etc.). Those are still cheaper at Costco even without coupons – but everything else is fair game.

    my user name there is jaynee AT yahoo DOT com – I’d love for you to put me in as your referrer!


  2. I tried the Grocery Game a year ago and it was fun to use, definately. However I found that the food that they had deals on was not the kind of food we eat. We don’t eat much boxed or canned food which doesn’t leave much left on the list. Plus since we live in California, we don’t get any of the free things that people in other states get. The only other negative thing I found was that you only get Sunday-Tuesday to shop and I usually only have time to grocery shop on Wednesdays (go figure!).

    I would recommend the Grocery Game for people who purchases a lot of prepared foods and who live in states were you can double coupons. It is fun to use.


  3. @ Jaynee: You got it! I’ll enter you as my referrer! Thanks for the comparison to Costco, that will help. Glad to see how much you are saving with Grocery Game.

    @ Kendra: Luckily our list goes an entire week because our store has the sale 4 days later. I’ll have to keep an eye on the prepared foods versus fresh stuff. So far, I’ve seen a lot of fruits, dairy, and meat on the list.


  4. Madison – great! Thanks so much!

    Kendra – I agree that the short timespan for the shopping (which is true in my area) can be daunting, but I’ve found that if I go Tuesday nights, not only are the shelves fully stocked but the store is EMPTY so I get in and out pretty quickly.

    I’m especially excited for this weekend – it’s TRIPLE COUPONS at Harris Teeter this weekend. I may faint from all the deals I’ll be able to get.


  5. I wish that would work in my area of Oregon, but I have already found it does not. I buy very few pre-packaged goods, and the local Costco is $3-$5 higher on their prices than our grocery stores. The gas is the only real savings. Also, there is a Canned Food Warehouse that many residents go to if they want real deals.
    Don’t get me started on the farmer’s markets here, either. They frequently charge more than the grocery stores.


  6. @ thayerbear0: A canned food warehouse? Tell me more!


  7. Thanks for the info…I’ve been wondering about The Grocery Game for a while now. I guess I’ll have to check it out more closely.


  8. I tried the grocery game, and it did seem great… a lot of money “saved” and we always had stockpiles of toothbrushes, razors, peanut butter, and whatever else you could think of.

    But we just moved to a place where we’re 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store. We live on a military base, and the commissary is 1 mile away from our house. So where do you think we prefer to go?

    I actually took a pad of paper and a pen to the grocery store 20 miles away and wrote down prices for everything… we were used to buying most things at 50% off with the grocery game, so I compared the 50% price of regular stores’ things to the full price of commissary goods (brand-name stuff, the same things you’d find in “real” stores).

    Guess what! The commissary is usually cheaper. Plus, they LOVE coupons, and often will dig up manufacturer’s coupons and put them right beside the thing they’re for WHILE running a sale on that item. They do the work for us!

    So we’ve saved a ton of money just by buying what we need at the commissary, using their coupons when we notice them, and stocking up when things are on sale at the commissary (I recently stocked up on shredded cheese at 3 dollars a pound. woo! It’s in the freezer now.)

    Also, sometimes “amount saved” can be misleading… a small example? Hall’s cough drops were on sale for 1.99 for a package. The store brand was 1.00 and had 20 more cough drops in the package. Same ingredients. The store brand wasn’t on The List (because it was full price, not on sale) but the Hall’s brand was. I bought the store brand, saved money, but it didn’t show up as “saved” on my receipt. I could’ve “saved” more by buying the pricier cough drops.

    Joyful Abode: Domesticity by Trial and Error’s last post: Navy Child Development Home (CDH)

    Joyful Abode: Domesticity by Trial and Error

  9. I’ve been using the Grocery Game for about 18 months and love it! It can be cheaper than Costco. I would go to Costco and make a list of items you might by regularly and then compare with the grocery game list.


    • Trey,That is an interesting idea. Look at how the pretontasien of fathers has changed since shows such as “Father knows best”, and compare that to the presentation of fathers today. Fathers and by extension men are portrayed as stupid, self absorbed, incompetent fools.


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