Monday, March 2, 2009
Grocery Game Q & A
I've been asked a few questions lately about the Grocery Game so I thought I'd take a minute to answer some of the most common I've received along with a little background about me and the Grocery Game :)
1. How did you hear about the Grocery Game? A friend of mine in Florida introduced me to the Grocery Game about a year ago. It happened to be right about the time I was thinking I should start using coupons. Since I was in Florida I was away from home but had this thought that when I got home I would start cutting them out of my paper. I had no idea how I was going to use them just thought that I should. Then my friend told me about the Grocery Game. I thought, "hey, it's a game it must be fun!" And if it saved me money all the better. I signed up right away.
2. Why use the Grocery Game? It not only saves lots of money it saves lots of time. Besides blogs that have some unclear listings of sales I know of only one other site that offers the same information (The Coupon Mom) but I feel that the Grocery Game gives a clearer picture of how to stockpile by telling you when the item is at its cheapest and alleviates the need for me to keep track of the items I buy - no need for lists of sales or store prices - its all done for me!
3. Should I stock up on coupons before starting the Grocery Game? It's not a bad idea. The more weeks you have the more likely you are to have the right coupons for the sales. The downside? The longer you wait to start using coupons the less you'll save oversall. Thus the trial period - you can begin saving money and coupons right away.
4. Is there a cost for the Grocery Game? Yes, it's $1 for the 4 week trial. After that you pay $10 for 8 weeks for the first store and $5 for each additional store. The small fee is quite worth the savings.
5. Do you get anything for referring others to the Grocery Game? Yes and no. If 3 people sign up using my name as a referral then I get 12 weeks free. So, I do get something but certainly not enough to lie to you about it! It's just $10 after all! The good news is that if you refer your friends then you too can earn weeks free.
6. Where do you get all your coupons? The Sunday paper obviously is the first place but I actually subscribe to 2 papers and check every free paper I receive. I find getting a variety rather then straight duplicates from 2 papers is the best way to go - you'll be amazed how different the "same" inserts are. Like this week I had 3 copies of SmartSource but only 1 of them had the coupons I was looking for though every other page was identical - how weird is that? Variety is the key. You can also check Ebay for coupons but I find it easier to collect them myself - of course, if you don't get the paper then Ebay is probably a great way to go.
7. What days do you shop? I shop just about every Sunday night because the Grocery Game updates every Sunday and Harris Teeter sales change every Tuesday so I like to get there as soon as I can - if she updated on Wednesday then I would shop on Wednesday :) If I shop another store I try to shop as quickly as I can after I get the sale ads but for HT I wait till Sunday to be sure I'm getting the best deals.
8. Do you ever pay full price? I do actually - I base my meals around the sales as best I can - we don't eat fish so even if that's free I don't buy it so I have to go with what else is out there. And if I'm in the mood for a meal then I do buy the ingredients and make the meals I'm in the mood for that week. May not be the best approach and I may have to change that in the future but right now it fits in my budget.
9. What's your biggest money-saving tip? I follow the Grocery Game and her idea is perfect: stockpile what's on sale! I try to have as many coupons as I can for the sale items and stock up. I'm amazed at how well it works and how rarely I have to pay full price for so many items and how I almost never pay more then $1 for a box of cereal!
10. Should I shop once a week or once a month? Since sales cycle weekly at stores I shop once a week and highly recommend it. It's much easier not to run to the store if I know I'll go again on Sunday then if I'm not going again for a month. Besides, you'll have to run for produce anyway so if you're spending the same money you might as well go once a week.
I'd love to hear your thoughts especially if you feel shopping once a month saves you more. And if you have any more questions please feel free to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org or to comment here (I know a few have had trouble so e-mail if you can't comment). The reason I choose to blog about the Grocery Game is because I feel like it's something anyone can do anywhere without complicated strategies and it's not me vaguely telling you "shop sales with coupons" because if you're anything like me you need something more concrete like the "how" to do it!
Edited to add:
11. How long does it take to cut coupons and shop? Some weeks are faster then others but generally it takes me about an hour to clip coupons and an hour to shop but for what I save the extra hour of preperation before I go is well worth it! Just wanted to add this so you knew it didn't take all day to do.
photo by Plutor