The Grocery Game Day One: Fail

July 11, 2010
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Our first foray into using The Grocery Game to save money on food shopping failed. That’s because we tried to combine a Grocery Game-guided shopping trip with a carpooling trip we were making to drop our daughter and her friends off at the movies last week, and that just wasn’t in the cards. Here’s why:

  1. Not every supermarket in my area is a part of The Grocery Game. The ones that do participate include ShopRite and Stop & Shop (both 20 minutes away), Wegmans (35 minutes away) and SuperFresh (right in town). The ones that don’t participate include Giant (also right in town), and ACME Market (part of the Supervalu family) and Genuardi’s (a Safeway supermarket)–both also 20 minutes away, in the opposite direction from ShopRite and Stop & Shop.
  2. Some supermarkets don’t put out new weekly shopping circulars that The Grocery Game can access. This is something I didn’t realize until it was too late. For example, both Wegmans and ShopRite were within driving distance of the movie theater that night. So I clicked on both stores’ tab to see what was on sale this week so I could plan my shopping there. I normally don’t shop at these stores–I prefer the local SuperFresh or Stop & Shop, but I’m willing to mix things up in the name of saving money. I got this message for both Wegmans and ShopRite:

Due to the holiday, there is no new LIST this week.

This is one of the four “Non-LIST” weeks mentioned in the Member Agreement when you first signed up for the LIST.  For those who have been “Stockpiling” with the LIST for the past few months, you probably don’t mind. Your cupboards, fridge, and freezer are bursting for a fraction of what you used to pay! So take the week off! Let your “Stockpile” serve its purpose!

For those of you just getting started, you will see what “normal stockpiling” looks like in weeks to come. Most of those who have been stockpiling are satisfied that they have a week off.

This is why I give 4 weeks for the trial, instead of just one week. You will have an opportunity to see what a typical LIST does over the next few weeks.

Last week’s List is posted so you will have an idea what a typical List looks like.

Happy 4th of July!

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to stockpile anything yet, so this was, understandably, disappointing.

Don’t worry, though: I’m not throwing in my reusable shopping bag just yet. But it was frustrating to get gung-ho about trying this method for food shopping and then not being able to follow through with it.

Since we can’t live on crumbs alone, we stopped in at BJs (our only viable option near to the movies) and picked up just a few things that we knew wouldn’t be super expensive, despite it being a warehouse club, but which would hold us for the time being. This included a couple of gallons of skim milk so we can have our breakfast cereal–and me milk in my coffee. Yes, I probably could have gotten these things at either Wegmans or ShopRite but since I’m not familiar with either store, I was afraid I might be tempted to buy stuff I didn’t need and would spend more. Plus, it’s  a known fact that the one bargain at a place like BJs is milk.

I hope that my next dispatch from The Grocery Game is more fruitful–for both my shopping cart and my wallet. Let’s see what this week’s shopping brings.

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7 Responses to The Grocery Game Day One: Fail

  1. [...] night before he was going to do our first real food shopping off The Grocery Game list, since our week one attempt was a failure. (Yes, that’s why I love my husband–he gladly does the food [...]

  2. Sandy on July 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I joined the ggame over Thanksgiving and was not able to get coupons for that week + christmas. Been at it for 3 years now and still LOVE the deals. Cut the budget down to 75/wk for family of 6 + a dog. I flex a bit depending on the sales but in all fairness, you need to give it at least a 12 wk trial run. Biggest part was meal planning that save me time and money. Good Luck.

    • Leah Ingram on July 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      Sandy, WOW! That is great to hear. OK, it’s good to know that you do need a full three months to make the program work for you and I am committed to making it work. It was just a real bummer to have my first week be one of those “off” weeks. Thanks for posting your comment!

  3. Jackie on July 12, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Hi Leah,
    The online “Grocery Game” method of shopping/saving sounds a lot like what Amy Dacyczyn recommended back in 1992 in her book “The Tightwad Gazette.” In addition to stocking up when things are on sale, she suggests keeping a price book that contains the lowest prices she would find on frequently purchased foods and products. This is very helpful when shopping at a BJ’s or Sam’s where the quantities are different. What ever happened to yourdo-it-yourself CSA?

    • Leah Ingram on July 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

      Our garden (400 square feet) is bursting at the seams. We’ve already harvested snap peas and arugula, and string beans are next. We’re estimating that we’ll have over a thousand pounds of tomatoes, too, that four families will split–that’s a lot of tomato sauce! And the leeks and cucumbers are almost ready for picking. Thanks for asking. I should really write about here on the blog.

  4. Leah Ingram on July 12, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Milk is AT LEAST a dollar cheaper a jug than at the local supermarket!

  5. everydayfrugaleverydaygreen on July 12, 2010 at 7:47 am

    You’re right that BJs is no bargain for most things. We have, however, found a few things that save us quite a bit:
    Pepperidge Farm crackers
    large bags of nuts
    Parmesan and Romano cheese
    scrubbing sponges
    toilet paper (sometimes – you have to be careful)
    sun-dried tomatoes
    smoked fish
    artichoke hearts
    We find that if we go with a strict list and don’t give in to impulse, we save a lot.

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