No. of Recommendations: 8
OK, I'm not going to write a poem, but I thought that Hava's post toward the end of a very long thread deserved some underscoring: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24693520

I read about the Grocery Game on this board and followed up on it about 6 weeks ago. (I'm sure that it's been talked about on LBYM, but I can't wade through all of those posts to get to the serious money-saving gems.)

I've got to confess that I hate grocery shopping and I am the worst food planner in history, so I used to just go to Costco and get huge amounts of everything and assume that it would all work out in the end. We weren't starving, and the quality of the food is high. Of course, I always found other treasures there and ended up spending more than I would have liked (isn't that Costco's whole marketing scheme?). I would NEVER clip coupons because they are so messy and time-consuming, and who knows if you are really saving money or just buying the more expensive brand? I HATE the layout of the weekly grocery flyers. Somehow my brain doesn't process all of those pictures and prices and come up with a coherent plan. I was at the point, though, where I felt that our money was being spent too freely on groceries, and I was throwing away 3 pounds of unused carrots each month. It was crazy and just not a good use of money.

After one week of the grocery game, I was hooked. I track all of our spending, and we saved -- I'm embarrassed by this -- HUNDREDS last month on food and household items. You'd have to see it to believe it. What I like best is that it's very organized. You don't have to look at the flyers at all, and the list tells you which week the coupons were in the paper, so you don't have to cut any out except the ones you need, the day you need them. You get enough free or very inexpensive stuff, (things that everyone needs, like shampoo and soap), that you will never pay even close to retail price again (the name brands are almost always cheaper than the store brands this way). The vast majority of items are also cheaper than Costco (although I've found that it's almost impossible to beat Costco's Kirkland diapers and wipes, especially with their coupon).

I have heard people say that it's not worth it because "their" products are not included. Usually they mean organic or produce, but that isn't true, either. I've become aware of sales for organic milk, eggs and produce that I wouldn't have known about. I won't buy stuff with high fructose corn syrup or other unknown ingredients. I have found that very high-end frozen foods (with no questionable ingredients) are often on sale, and with the coupon matching in the GG, you can get them for a fraction (like 25%-35%) of their normal price.

It's really all about the time. I figure that the time I put into saving the money has to be worth a certain hourly "wage" or it's not worth doing it. I will not spend hours comparing a flyer to coupons, for example, but it's worth it to spend 20 minutes cutting the coupons that are listed in the game to save $80 per shopping trip. It also has helped with my meal planning. At this point, I probably wouldn't even have to go shopping for the next two weeks for anything except milk.

I am not one to hop on every bandwagon, but I have become a big fan of the Grocery Game. Especially if you are in debt and have kids, this would be such an EASY way to save money and focus your grocery dollars.

GS
Disclaimer: Although it may sound like it, I have no vested interest in the GG!
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