Wednesday, July 9, 2008

strangely addicting

I pretty much HATE grocery shopping.

Planning and preparing meals is not my favorite past time. If it were up to me I would eat cereal or baked goods all day, every day.

Usually when I go to the grocery store I run in, grab the same familiar items for my 3 main staple recipes, and run out before a child meltdown occurs. Then there's the whole coming-home-loading-in-the-bags-cleaning-
routine that has to occur. To me, it's just not fun!

Which leads me to ask this question.
Why would I go and make this whole ordeal even more complicated?

A while back my friend Kelly told me about The Grocery Game. Sound like a gimmic? Well, it did to me too. But listening to her brag (well, share) the amounts of money she was saving each week made me want to give it a try. and now...I'm addicted!

Basically, it is an online service you can sign up for where they match a grocery store's weekly sales ad with corresponding coupons so that you can maximize your savings.

Coupons, you say? We're not 80!
I know, I know. So before you go out and buy yourself a coupon organizing system, just listen. I thought I would hate it too.

**If you're already convinced you're not interested, then at least skip ahead to the pictures where I brag about how much money I saved.**

If you are interested, then here is what I do as a Grocery Game player (mind you, I am still new at this. For expert advice, call Kelly):

1. Sign up for the service. 10 bucks for 8 weeks. (There are other similar services online for FREE, but I like this one)

2. Sign up for a major Sunday paper like the LA times.

3. Every Sunday night, pull out the coupons from the sunday paper and print off your new Grocery Game list.

4. Spend about an hour cutting coupons and looking at the list for the best buys.

5. Go shopping and get ready to save.

Here is a picture of my receipt from last week! Look at my savings! Yowzers! spent 50, saved 90....

Here's the loot....diapers, paper plates/cups, shampoo, deodorant, cleaning products, tri-tip, snacks, brownies, watermelon, mangoes, batteries, etc.

Are you sold yet?
(no, I'm not getting paid commission for giving this advertisement...although I should be)

I understand if you're hesitant, and rightfully so. There are some downsides to consider. Here they are:

1. It is time-consuming...especially at first.

2. It can be frusterating until you really learn the system and build up your coupon supply.

3. You can only shop on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. And since Sunday is out for us Mormons, then Monday morning is your next best option because they run out of the goods if you go any later.

4. Be careful not to buy things you wouldn't normally need.

5. I choose to do "grocery game" shopping at Vons for only the sale items from the list, then I go to Winco or Super Walmart for my other grocery needs. Vons or Ralphs is SERIOUSLY overpriced, but going to two stores can prove to be a pain. You decide.

6. It can be tricky at first, but I would be happy to answer any questions that will help you on your way to saving! (or I'll direct your questions to kelly)

and just for kicks and giggles...
(and to see if you got to the end of this seriously long and boring post)

What does your weekly grocery bill run you?
(or is that a personal question? sorry.)


HeatherM said...

sounds pretty hard Ali?! But you know how long it took me to start a blog which isn't hard. I am glad you asked the question. I don't think it's too personal, but than again there are few questions that I think are personal. We spend $125 a week for two adults & two kids one of which just started eating. I think I spend way too much. I'll be checking back to see.

Adrienne said...

How sad...I don't even know my weekly bill because I am the queen of going to the store every 3 days, spending $37 here, and $64 there.

Why am I so resistant to stuff like this? I know in my mind it makes sense...but then I just say to myself, well time is money, so the time spent doing this is money burned. But I think that saying only applies to someone like Jim, who bills hourly, so time really is money to him! Not so sure that applies to the stay-at-home mom!!

ali degraff said...

adrienne. you're cracking me up.

rockkinrobbins said...

I just started the grocery game again. Pretty crazy huh!

Oler Family said...

What a great idea. I don't think the grocery game is available here. We spend anywhere from $500-600 a month on groceries not including costco which probably bumps us up a couple hundred dollars more. It's crazy! I'm so impressed with your savings!!

Cory, Jenna and Calvin Broadbent said...

I'm still trying to figure out why it's fun? Because of the money saved? That is fun...true. It seems so hard. So hard and I don't have enough carbohydrates to power my brain to think about it...

We need to plan a ladies trip. What do you say?

Marie - Mother of the Bird Nest said...

Kelly has been trying to convince me to play the grocery game for years!

I shop at ALDI and I love it! No coupons though because everything is ALDI brand. Right now I just got to UP my grocery budget because we paid off the house so I'm at $140 a week. This includes diapers, wipes, TP, batteries...everything except clothes and gifts.

One more hang up of mine...I can't bring myself to purchase a Sunday paper.

Marie - Mother of the Bird Nest said...

Oh, that's $140 for 2 adults and 5 kids... one of which is still on mother nature's recipe and the others eat like horses- most of the time. On a few occasions when I cook up something really nasty they eat like....well, BIRDS!

Ha, ha, ha, I'm so funny. I crack myself up! Got to go get dressed for mutual now.

sheena said...

I can't believe she tricked you into doing that!!! ok, she had me convinced too and I tried for a while, I did like saving the $$$ but then I did just start getting things I didn't need and it was way to confusing going to 100 different stores. but I cannot believe you saved so much!!!! way to go!

and I am like adrienne....I don't really know what I spend weekly--I'm at the store 100 times. i need to get on that!

summer said...

It sounds good but time consuming and confusing. Can I hire you to do it for me? I really LOVE the idea of it and LOVE your savings too!

kelly southwell said...

Way to give the Grocery Game props! I talk about it so much that everyone's sick of hearing me. I'm glad you gave it the glory it needs. time consuming..yes, at first, then it's like second nature and you get the coupon cutting down to 20 minutes! plus, who can beat FREE stuff...every week!?
you definitely have to pick and choose what stuff you will actually use, but i'm so glad you are loving it!
(P.S. my grocery bill is at about $80/week - that's with 4 very hungry kids and 2 adults. That's including all house-hold items. We do a $130 Costco run every 4-5 weeks too.)

Abi said...

WOw Maybe I will have to do that one of these days. I try to just buy what is one sale--but that is crazy what a great deal you are getting!

Tracy said...

I don't get what the monthly $10 fee pays for.

ali degraff said...

marie - my brother and his wife LOVE Aldi.

tracy - the 10 dollars every two months pays for this list they compile that matches up the weekly sale items from your store of choice with coupons from MONTHS of coupon books. That would take you hours and hours to do. They find the best deal and tell you the exact coupon to use. For example....say fruit loops were 5 dollars regularly at Vons. Then this week Vons had them on sale for 4 dollars. Then Grocery Game found a coupon from May 12th's Proctor and Gamble coupon book for 1 dollar off. So, that brings it down to 3 dollars, BUT then Vons doubles the coupon and 2 dollars is your final price.

lauren said...

iv heard my friends in utah talk about this, but had heard it wasn't yet available here. thanks for opening my eyes to it... i think im going to give it a try. my husband is always asking why i dont "cut coupons" and i told him because i dont know where to get them. I guess you have to get the paper... duh... well next month im doing it. keep us posted on your good deals.
ps... i started reading your blog because we had several friends in common and i was interested in what stroller you were going to choose... remember me? anyways what did you end up deciding on... and do you like it?

Holladay Family said...

Hey Ali, You should join facebook with the rest of us cousins...Your brothers are all on it...Anyway I spend at least $300-$350 a week. My next door neighbor spends the same and she has the same number of kids. I thought that was normal. $50 a week seems impossible! How does this work again???? Lisa :)

mindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ali degraff said...

lisa...i have a facebook account, but i've never really used it. i don't know how. maybe you should get a blog?!?! :)

Lauren - I totally remember you! I ended up with the cheap (100$) sit and stand. I love it...especially for the price!

Stohl Family said...

Hi Ali,
I am Layna's sister, and she directed me to this post on your blog. I have started doing The Grocery Game and really love it! I want to give you credit for referring me, but need your email address. Do you mind emailing it to me at: Thanks so much for the good, money saving advice!

Anson and Michelle said...

I love playing the game! Right now I'm out of coupons and out of sinc because of the move, but we used to spend $74 everyother week and $220 at Costco once a month for a family of 2 adults, four kids. Here comes my usual shopping for clothes month... Sept.... I'll blog about it... later