The Grocery Game Loser — An Update

by Katy on March 12, 2009 · 12 comments

The Grocery Game

I had written last week about how I was trying out The Grocery Game website as a way to lower my family’s food expenditures. (This site matches up sales and coupons specific to your area in exchange for a small fee.)

I am now in my second week following this program and it’s working.

Kind of.

I am taking the time to match up coupons with sales, but I’m not following The Grocery Game recommendations whatsoever. Among the stock-up items this week were donuts, bottled water, air freshener, kotex, trash bags and paper towels.

Uh . . . no thank you.

What I have been doing is paying closer attention to the grocery store ads and seeing if there any coupons that I can match up on my own. For example, Post Raisin Bran was $1.49 per box last week if you bought five boxes. So I did. I was also able to find a few coupons and double them, which then made the cereal less than a dollar per box.

Raisin Bran is something I like to always have in the cupboard, so this is a product I would have bought anyway. And I now have enough of a stash to tide us over until it’s on sale again.

I knew I would not be realizing the tremendous savings that litter the testimonial section of the site, but I figured I should be able to save some.

For example, I saw that my Safeway had 18-count eggs for 99 cents starting yesterday. I was out of eggs, so I stopped in this afternoon and bought a carton. I also bought a chicken, four oranges, peanut butter, a small cake mix (it was free) some rock shrimp, (sell-by date was today so it was a dollar) two boxes of granola bars and two loaves of bread. The grand total was$11.56. My total savings value was 68%, but of course this is a completely inflated number, as I would not have bought most of these items at full price.  It doesn’t matter how much you’re saving, it only matters how much you’re actually spending.

So how did I get two full bags of groceries for $11.56?

All I did was to combine sale items with coupons, as well as buy the store’s loss leaders. 

Which I can manage without The Grocery Game.

My $1 trial is up in three weeks, and I doubt I will be re-upping my membership. The $10 per eight week fee is not worth it for me. The information on is easily found online for free. I can scan the grocery store inserts for sale items, and I can clip the coupons for stuff I actually buy on my own. 

For someone who has never needed to do their food shopping from the sales, then The Grocery Game might be a good way to get started. Otherwise, I would have to say to give it a miss.

Looking for free coupon sites?

Then try,, or All three of these sites have easily printable coupons for national products. Sure, it’s mostly prepackaged stuff, but there are a few coupons for staples such as butter and pasta.

Have you tried The Grocery Game? Are you starting to use coupons or have you been a coupon diva, (or devo) all along? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura March 13, 2009 at 8:40 am

I couldn’t agree more! Why would I pay someone to do something I can figure out myself for free, and why would I buy things (air freshener, for one) that I don’t want or need, even if they are “free”.
Thanks for your great blog.


Jeanine March 13, 2009 at 9:17 am

Morning Katy!

I have always had a love with coupons, even as a child.

Since being married, and having a DH that works in the grocery business, it’s just plain…dare I say it…..~fun~.

Shocking, I know.

Like you, I can just as easily match my coupons to the weekly sales, without paying someone to help me. Takes quite a bit of time, but well worth it. I mean…tomorrow I will get two rolls of Teneesse Pride sausage for 1.50 each. Since it’s such a good deal, I’ll probably buy 6 or 8 rolls. They are usually 3.79 a roll. Sale+coupon=cheap.

May I share something with you? I am so excited, I can’t wait.

Twice next week we will have meals for less than 10.00 for 4 people. Sausage, eggs, grits, and a can of biscuits. Salt, pepper, butter, and jelly are incidentals that are pennies per serving.

I love to save my coupons and wait on sales, it seems as though the better deals in combo with the coupons come out a week or two later.

I also agree, it’s not so much about what you save as what you spend. I do use quite a few of my coupons I cut out, but sometimes, I just don’t NEED those things. Right now, I have a cabinet full of hair products, that don’t work, but I am loathe to buy any more, because I don’t have anyone to give them to. I guess I could donate them, but I’d feel odd about donating a 1/4 empty bottle of Aussie to someone. It just seems tacky. Any ideas on this?


Di March 13, 2009 at 9:39 am

I wonder if people realize the savings they’d make if they bought real food and cooked from scratch? I don’t do the grocery game or coupons. I buy organic where possible, not all things, just some. The savings I make by using menu’s, a list and cooking from scratch mean I can splurge on a few organic products each week.
I don’t buy any of the items they suggested to stock up on, and we don’t buy meat so that’s out too. Guess I’m not there target market though 🙂


Kristin @ klingtocash March 13, 2009 at 9:59 am

Some of my friends and family call me the coupon queen. Thursdays and Sundays are my favorite days of the week because that’s when the coupons and store sales are in the paper. I get giddy about it really. I look to see what we have in the house and what’s on sale, match my coupons to the sale and make my meal plan for the week. I make most things from scratch with the help of boxed stock, an occasional can of cream of mushroom soup, and canned tomatoes. I do very well with my loss leaders and coupons, generally saving 40-60%. Last week I got hormone free, antibiotic free steaks B1G1. Two large bone-in strip steaks were less than $6. We had an awesome dinner that night!


Magdalena Julie Bragdon Perks March 13, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I am just so envious of food prices in the American stores! Food is more expensive here in Canada, even back in Ontario where the food is grown. What is going on?

Coupons here are definitely a waste of time, because they are always for the expensive, overpackaged gimmicks that won’t sell anyway.

I do look at the flyers and then base my shopping trip on which store has the largest number of bargains. I will not waste time and gas driving from one store to another. I don’t even like to stop if I’m driving by, because of the time factor.


Viki March 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm

To answer the question about what to do with the leftover shampoo, you could pour it into small travel bottles and give away that way, use to clean your hairbrushes and makeup brushes, wash your dog :), etc. I’ve noticed on in my area, that people will give away bottles of things they don’t like or won’t/can’t use. I’m going to have a lot of cleaning products soon because I’m going to give “natural” cleaning a shot. i found out I can take it to my local Hazmat collection site on the weekends and they’ll take it there. I’d like to have the bottles for some of them though…

Anyway, I belonged to a coupon pass-along mail thing where people put at least 5-10 coupons in an envelope, mailed it to someone, they took what they wanted, added some, and mailed it on, etc. There was a list of names in the envelope, so you knew you’d eventually get it back. It was a little helpful because we don’t use a lot of the junk others do, so they were excited to get the coupons. I’d find some good ones here and there. I’m jealous of some of you though. The most I’ve ever saved was 31%! Oh well. Something to aspire to! 🙂


diane March 14, 2009 at 6:25 am

I have tried the site before, and then I found It does the same and maybe more for free. I also like to have my coupons with me instead of in the drawer and dated….somewhere. Inverably I am somewhere that has a sale on something and “no coupon” with me .( so now I clip all coupons I want to use and store them in my carrier. we are good to go.


marianne March 14, 2009 at 6:34 am

this is an obscure reference but remember the movie Mr. Mom? The housewives played poker with coupons! that was funny, but a good idea. anyways, i like cutting coupons but the more i look, the more i find it is for prepackaged items or things i wont use. i find cooking from scratch is the easiest way to save money. i just finished reading “americas cheapest family” and “the tightwad gazette”. The Economedes family shop 1x per month and spend on average $350. They get the best deals they can and stockpile. Amy Dacyczyn suggests keeping a price list handy of what your staples cost you. That way you can look at your handy cheat sheet to know where the best price at which store is that week. just scan the circulars (and pair them with your coupons if you are super savy). I have found that I know my basics (rice, potatoes, chicken) and then shop the circulars for what is on sale, scan the reduced produce and meat for deals, and base my weekly meals on that. i use up what is in my fridge, nothing goes bad, and my husband stays full. That last one is important because he can get cranky if he is hungry. lol.


tammy March 14, 2009 at 7:31 am

Katy- That’s alot of raisin bran! But I was thinking just this morning over coffee that i would love to have a raisin bran muffin. The recipe used to be printed right on the box. I bet it’s online too. I remember the muffins were simple to make and very good.
Now i buy the knock off raisin bran for a buck a box at Kroger. But i love the real deal when i have a coupon.
My son told me last week a box of Apple Jacks in NYC was $6.50!!


Pennie March 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm

I love coupons, too, and matching them up with the weekly ad circulars for my local stores (then doubling them) is an extra thrill. The best combos are usually boxed cereals, pet food, and the occasional treat (like dark chocolate–yum!) 🙂

Cooking from scratch is hands-down the best way to eat cheaply and healthy; there aren’t many coupons to keep track of really, as I’ve found that most of them are for pre-packaged, high sodium and/or high fat items or paper products/cleaning supplies and such that we don’t use.

When astute, my typical weekly savings from mfgr. coupons, doubling, and circular instore ads/coupons is usually in the 35-50% range.


Martha March 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

good article!! I was a member years ago with that site. Then about a year ago the woman that runs was on the news and her site is free. I love it!! I like the virtual coupon organizer.


aimee May 5, 2009 at 3:49 am

I’m just into week one of the grocery game and I have the same frustrations as you did. Lots of things that we would never stock up on. I’m up for keeping on through the trial, but more than likely won’t keep on either. I do how it makes you look even closer at coupons and flyers and sales etc. I was doing that before but never this closely.


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