A review of The Grocery Game

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Note: Details about how the Grocery Game works may have changed since this post was originally written.

I am frequently asked what I think of The Grocery Game, so I decided to republish this post that I wrote a couple of years ago.   I’ve updated and clarified some of the information and hope you find it helpful!

The Grocery Game is a subscription based service that publishes “a weekly list (called Teri’s List) of the lowest-priced products at your supermarket matched with manufacturers’ coupons and weekly specials — advertised and unadvertised. The Grocery Game does all the hard work and research, and presents it to you in a straightforward format.”

You subscribe to a list for your preferred store for $10 for eight weeks.  Additional stores are available for $5 for an eight week subscription.   Currently in Colorado Springs, you can get lists for Walgreens, Albertsons, King Soopers, and Safeway.

They offer a four week trial for a dollar, which is what I used to evaluate the program.  I made a lot of observations during the trial period, and it’s hard to say whether or not I really find “The List” necessary. I would really encourage you to try it out yourself (just don’t forget to cancel before the trial ends if you don’t intend to continue).  Here are my thoughts:

Lists for grocery stores aren’t promised until Sunday even though the grocery store sales run Wednesday through Tuesday. This is probably the biggest problem to me, since Saturday and Sunday are the busiest grocery shopping days of the week and by Monday and Tuesday stores tend to have limited quantities of the best sale items. Plus, if you want to make several trips to the store to stock up on a great sale, you have that much less time to do it in.

The Grocery Game does this so that they can use the coupons from the most recent Sunday paper. I understand that if they published the list earlier in the week, shoppers would miss out on a few great deals using coupons in the coming Sunday paper. But, I think it’s unreasonable to expect that all of your subscribers will be able to or even want to do all their shopping in just three days.

Throughout my four-week trial period, I found only one or two deals on the list that I missed on my own. One was for free Duncan Hines brownie mix – a sale that was not in the ad. The listmakers go through the store looking for unadvertised specials like these, so that was nice to find something I might not have seen on my own. But, since there was only one thing during the entire trial period, I have a hard time justifying the cost for a few unadvertised sales. In the Grocery Game’s FAQ, they claim there often twice as many more unadvertised sales as there are listed in the ad. I didn’t find that to be the case, at least in my stores during the trial period.   After having done the bargain grocery thingfor awhile, I know what to look for myself and can find unadvertised sales on my own anyway, with little effort.

There are some regional differences, particularly in the Walgreens list. This is not a huge deal, but since coupons can vary greatly by region, it does mean that sometimes you won’t be able to take advantage of a deal on the list.

There is really no way that the Grocery Game can keep track of home-mailed coupons, printables, catalinas, peelies, blinkies, or other coupons that don’t come in the Sunday paper. This isn’t a problem on their end, because it would be impossible, but there are still a lot deals to be made with these coupons. A LOT of great deals come from coupons that were never in a newspaper insert.

This is a long post – click below to read more!

Once the Grocery Game has used a coupon, it does not reappear on the list.  Say there was a sale on an item for $1.25 and the list told you to use your $.50 coupon to get it for $.25 (assuming your store doubles).  Then, a few weeks later the same store ran a sale on the same item for $1, which would mean you could have gotten the item free with your $.50 coupon the list will not mention this sale to you because it already told you to use that coupon.   The whole idea behind the list is that they know the absolute best price, but it’s not infallible and I’ve seen it make that very mistake.

This can also be frustrating when you’ve gotten coupons from friends or familya few weeks after they were originally published in the paper.   The sale could have come and gone, and come again, but the second time around it won’t be mentioned (even if it’s the exact same sale).

Note: some lists are starting to re-list coupons, but it is not promised and is up to the listmaker.

âThere are so many blogs and forums that give you way more deal info, especially for drug stores, than the Grocery Game.   In most cases, you’d be way better off reading a couple of blogs that you’ve found give you the deal info for the stores you shop at (like SpringsBargains!) than subscribing to the lists, particularly for drug stores.   Plus, a forum like Hot Coupon World and others post previews of the drugstore ads several weeks in advance, giving you more time to plan ahead.

Probably the second biggest problem I had was that the lists for different stores do not cross reference each other for the “rock bottom price”. The list tells you to buy the items that are at about the lowest price they will get – which is the whole point, to stock up on things when they are at rock bottom and then you won’t have to pay full price later.

Unfortunately, the lists for all the stores do not check against each other, so what’s rock bottom at one store may be two dollars higher than another store at rock bottom. Either way it is *probably* a good price, but in order to really get the best deal the lists should be able to compare with each other.

A rock bottom price on Huggies diapers at King Soopers may be $7.99, but at Safeway it might be $5.99, just as an example. If you’re going to stock up, you should be able to see if you should stock up at King Soopers or wait for the sale at Safeway. I think that is the biggest thing they need to fix, and it’s something that should be relatively easy to do with a little computer programming.

The cost isn’t all that much when you break it down, but do keep in mind that you cannot pause your subscription when you go on vacation or get sick.  You’e going to keep paying for the list even if you’re not able to use it that week.  For some people, that may not be a big deal, and for others, it could effectively double the cost to them!

Here’s my conclusion: in some cases, the Grocery Game is a great deal. If you are very, very busy, or hate grocery shopping and making lists, the Grocery Game is for you. I think it’s probably worth the money if you just can’t or don’t want to spend a little time in preparation each week.  But be forewarned – if you rely solely on “the list”, you’ll probably miss out on deals the rest of the internet knows about.

If you’re new to the bargain shopping scene, I think the Grocery Game could be beneficial to you for a month or two.   But this stuff isn’t rocket science, and really isn’t that hard to learn and remember after you have a basic understanding of how it works.

I think in a lot of cases, you can do the game on your own. I know every Grocery Game devotee will tell you that you are just kidding yourself, but I don’t think so.  After you’ve been bargain grocery shopping for awhile, with or without the Grocery Game, you get into a flow and it’s like second nature.  I teach the workshops for a one-time $15 fee and give you all the strategy you need to know to implement the deals posted here on SpringsBargains.com without paying a monthly subscription.   And if you know the basics, you can read here and many other places for free!

I think it’s a great idea for anybody who hasn’t used the Grocery Game to do the $1 trial and see how it works for yourself.   You might find it totally indispensable, or do it for a couple of weeks and realize how it works and decide you can do it on your own.

Have you tried The Grocery Game?  Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment!  Try to keep it civil – I know some GG fans won’t agree with me! :)

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Comments

  1. Charlotte says:

    I agree with most of the draw backs you posted! I used GG for about 4 or 6 months (goes in 2 month intervals), and I liked it but I am finding much better deals by reading blogs now. Also, Walgreens is really hard to understand on the list format for GG. I understand and use Walgreens much more now that I have been reading blogs that explain the process and deals. There is a nice message board that goes with GG, including “Hot Deals” and “non-list stores” that can be accessed without having a GG membership here: http://terismessageboard.thegrocerygame.com/ I still check it occasionally, might be helpful to someone!

  2. I have also used the Grocery Game and I believe that it is not worth it at all. Don’t waste your money! The “game rules” for each list can be very confusing to understand at times and the deals they list I can find out on my own or elsewhere on the internet for free. There is a website called http://www.CouponMom.com where they give you grocery and drugstore lists specific to your area just like the Grocery Game but it is FREE. They have lists specific to King Soopers and Safeway for Colorado Springs. Their lists for Walmart, Target, Walgreens and other major stores are nationalized. You just have to register which is free. They also have a coupon database which is specific to your state because not all areas get the same coupons. They also have lists for online codes and so on. I highly recommend this site, it is very helpful and best of all it is free.

  3. CouponSense.com is an answer to every GG nightmare. We are Colorado specific for 6 stores, update all ads & coupons TWO times every week (Wed & Mon). We cover every ad item, not just coupon items. You can even search who has milk or chicken cheapest. We charge one flat rate that includes all stores. $4 for a trial month, $12 after. We have some great unique tools on our site and no advertising. We also have a great message board community. I dare you to try us out & review!

    • I just signed up for the couponsense last night since it’s free for the first month. So far I’m not too impressed with the store and sale matchup. Carrie on this site and Bargain Blessings seem to do the same job for free. I don’t need any coupon-training since I”m a coupon pro after 9 years of couponing. So, your site probably isn’t for me. Maybe I’ll update in a few weeks and see if I changed my mind.

  4. Jennifer P says:

    Honestly, I find so much usefule info online and of course at SpringsBargains.com that I don’t see the need to pay….

  5. Hello. The Grocery Game is great for the right people. We are a family of 3 where both parents work and a very busy lifestyle. The GG is organized and reduces the amount of time necessary to save money. I spend 5 minutes tops each week. For my and my wife’s occupation, time is money and when not working we like to enjoy our time relaxing. I can mow my own lawn, but $70 a month is a lot less than what the same would cost me if I did it instead of working or spending time with my family. If I can work an extra 1 hour a week, I make more money than the $1 a week the GG costs me.

  6. Just TRY cancelling your Grocery Game membership…
    It’s a fraud.

    • This is not true. I have used GG and cancelled very easily when necessary. It was a great site for me. I work, homeschool and have five kids! I just didn’t have time to match coupons to stores on my own. For 1.25 a week I usually saved 55-70% on every grocery/drugstore bill! At CVS I did especially well, sometimes saving 80-90%. It is a great service for the right person.

  7. I must be doing it wrong? I signed up for the free trial. Put in my zip code. Pulled the list and then started looking for the coupons. The sales you claim my Safeway store has is not showing up in my Safeway circular, my Safeway card, or anywhere. The same is true for some of the items you listed for CVS. I’m very skeptical at this point. I’ll take my list into the store tonight — if SFWY sweet corn is really 8/$2.00 (.25) a can without any coupon on my part — then I’ll buy into this. If that’s not the case though, then I’m going to cough this up as another sham. Given that more of the coupons on this list than not are impossible for me to find — I don’t have high hopes.

    • Victoria, we are not affiliated with the Grocery Game. If you are having problems, you will need to contact them through their own website.

  8. Jen, I’ve been thinking about trying it to review here. Can I get a free trial in exchange for a review?

  9. It’s free for the first month so go ahead and try it out!

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