Getting Groceries is only part of the Game - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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Getting Groceries is only part of the Game

Recently, I opted to try the free four week trial of The Grocery Game. It has been an experience to say the least! Some of it has been good, some, not so good. This entry is my assessment of the Game as a whole, the pros and the cons and some examples.

As a whole, the set up has saved me some money (see some cons though) and has many conveniences to bringing some savings to mind that I may have missed. About a year ago (way before our downsize adventure) I looked into the Grocery Game and found they did not have info for the store that was closest to us, when we were in the boonies. Since moving to our tiny spot in the suburbs, there are more store options.

 Much of the 'work' of lining up sales with coupons is done for you - so that is a big draw to save even more if you are already a coupon clipper (which I've not been for years, but have started since moving and downsizing, more on the topic of coupon clipping in the cons list).

Another good thing about this is the chance to refer others for potential free weeks. At the cost (one store $10 for 8 weeks of coupons, cost of newspaper for coupons, etc.)


  • Coupons paired with items that are on sale in the automatic system = greater savings
  • Printable coupons at your fingertips
  • Price breakdowns (usually accurate but may vary from store to store location)
  • I've saved between $4-$12 a week the past four weeks. Yet, I'm not sure it's on items I'd normally use..... 


  • Filing/dating coupon flyers for what looks like up to at least 6 months or more!
  • Having to leaf through the designated weeks to FIND items every time.
  • Not all coupons are available in the store or newspaper every time
  • Instructions. Acronyms. Steps.... Too confusing in the beginning. Still not sure I'm getting all I can get.
  • The 'List' is long and often not items we actually need or regularly use.
  • It is not organized like my store isles (the way my own shopping list is). So I waste time retracing my steps in the store.
  • The 'List' from the Grocery Game is out (in our area) 4 days AFTER the weekly sales have begun which makes some items out of stock and less shopping days of the sale.
  • I would not call this a time-saver. If time is money, then it is a bit of a waster.
  • I've not been so 'tense' about shopping....ever before.
  • The temptation to buy a name brand because the savings seems so good, when a store brand is already cheaper.*
  • The temptation to buy/eat things that we normally would not eat, just because the date of sale + coupon is running out.*

*Frankly, these two 'cons' are my biggest beef with the Grocery Game. We don't eat processed foods, boxed meals, TV dinners or convenience foods. The temptation is though, to buy them: if you see a box of granola bars on sale for almost 90% off. It SOUNDS good right? But if I made them myself (which I do) the price doesn't just SOUND good, the FOOD IS GOOD FOR US comparatively! Brand named peanuts may be noted at 50 cents off on sale, plus a 50 cent coupon, but the store brand is already $1.25 why did I just waste time finding that coupon, clipping it out and then thinking about/debating which brand to buy in the store?

We really don't eat the Standard American Diet. Most foods with the better sales prices on the 'List' are however, typically a SAD item. Yes, I know, that is both an acronym AND a word...think about it....

My assessment as a whole is that The Grocery Game could be a useful tool. The jury is still out for me. We'll see if I can tackle and overcome some of the 'cons' mentioned above. I'm giving it a limit of 8 more weeks  to see for sure if I think it's worth it ($10.00 is the total amount I am willing to invest to find out).

If you Google it and go to The Grocery Game after reading my review (even if it's just for the free trial - mark your calendar) please put in my personal email address ( dnurkle (at) yahoo (dot) com ) as your referral person - and you can refer others (which gives you free weeks)...just let them also read this blog to know what they may be getting into. (o:

I'll update the blog later with my final findings! I'd love to hear how you like it, or see it, or don't like it after you check it out. Please leave a comment.

Best (Grocery Shopping) Blessings!

It's much more than a game to me.....

Donna Miller

The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House which offers Chemical Free and Organic Grains, Grain Mills, Bread Machines,Grain buckets, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.



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March 31, 2010 10:55 AM

Lynn said:

Wow, I'm shocked you only saved about $4-$12 a week!  I understand your family eats very healthy and that most of the best deals are for highly processed foods, but it doesn't add up to me.  I did The Grocery Game for almost 2 years.  I feed my family mostly organic foods w/ lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I was still able to save about $100/week.  It took me about 15 minutes a week to buy a newspaper, print my lists, and cut my coupons.  Easy as pie.  I eventually quit the game so I could save that $10 every 8 weeks.  I now spend quite a bit more time using other alternative couponing websites that are free of charge.  The best part is, I now save my family on average $600/month in groceries.  Our pantry, freezers, and cupboards are filled to capacity.  I just wish I found "couponing" years ago.  Best wishes.♥

April 1, 2010 12:58 AM

Millers Grain House said:

Hi Lynn!

Well actually I wasn't counting the items I got on normal 'sale' anyway (you know, from the game... the 'blue' ones that don't have a coupon required) Stuff I'd find on my own, I didn't count as savings brought only by the game....but coupons I did count (because I am NOT coupon person) they net me that savings...

Hope that makes it a little clearer - the over all savings may be higher if someone had not already known about the store sales w/o coupons but I ALWAYS shopped THAT way first.

April 1, 2010 12:49 PM

Darlene said:

Try Southern It's free and does the same thing for you. I wish I could wrap my brain around it better. I too have not been using coupons because I also try to stay away from the highly processed foods. In theory, should save me money - if I could just figure it out. (I'm dyscalculate and so anything to do with math gives me a huge headache. Numbers scramble and turn on me. sigh) I have friends that use this website and save a ton each week, plus it's free.

And around here, (north GA), the local Dollar Tree sells the Sunday paper on Monday (until they're all gone) for $1.00 instead of the two dollars if you bought it on Sunday.

April 1, 2010 6:36 PM

cheapchic said:

I have to treat this as a game on how much I can get for the week and try to stay within the budget or under that means all the stuff that is usally being bought if the budget is under cool I win if not uuuhhh oh you blew it chic then start all over agin, sounds dum but it kept me afloat for 25 years doing it that way.

April 3, 2010 10:24 PM

This Old Housewife said:

I tried the grocery game...for about two days, then I realized it does what I already do, and includes foods I don't eat.  Both the Grocery Game and the Drugstore Game tend to rely on stuff that you shouldn't be buying in the first place (junk foods), or brand-name stuff (the generic right next to it is ALWAYS cheaper!).

When you do a cost-per-unit comparison of items "hawked" in the games versus the generics nearby, the generics ALWAYS win out, so why bother with "the games" when they don't really save you money?

Same thing goes for coupons, rebates, and other gimmicks:  if I have to spend MORE to save a few cents with some scrap of paper, or mail in some other scraps of paper to get some of my own money back at a later date, what's the point?  I look around in the store aisle, find the lowest cost per unit in the chosen category (shampoos, foil, beans, whatever), and buy it--I've saved money WITHOUT having to resort to marketing trickery!  The only trick I employ is keeping track of which stores have the lowest cost-per-unit on which items, and that is what a price book's for.

If more people found out how much more they could save themselves ON THEIR OWN, they would leave these games in droves!!

April 5, 2010 8:37 AM

ArielDawn said:

I used the Grocery Game for about 3-6 months.   It was the way that I learned the ropes of stacking sales with coupons.   It also helped me figure out  the sales cycles on products and how to save money by stockpiling.

I no longer use it but am able to do the same myself utiliizing the sales flyers, newspaper coupons. printable coupons and a variety of blogs that provide sale and coupon matchups - esp for stores like CVS, Walgreens, etc.   I LOVE shopping CVS!

I also do check the store/generic brands and compare that against the sale/coupon price - sometimes it is indeed lower.   I also shop at Aldi for some items and usually can't beat their prices regardless.   But shopping sales with coupons for some items works - my DH won't use anything but Hellman's mayo so that's a stockup when it's on sale with coupons.

I think if you are new to the whole idea of sale shopping and utilizing coupons then the Grocery Game is a good way to learn.   After that it is do-able on your own with a little bit of time and effort.

And btw...I HATED the not clipping coupons thing.  I need my sorted by category because you can sometimes find special deals while in the store and then how do you find the right coupon?????

June 16, 2010 4:06 PM

atlgirljj said:

I will have to second that about helped me a lot.  I am pretty much burned out on using coupons now, but will still check it out for the drugstore deals, I found that the most savings I get are from the super cheap shampoo/soap/razors/toilet paper.  The food, especially if you don't like prepared food, is not as great a deal.

June 16, 2010 7:22 PM

Millers Grain House said:

I've used the southersavers now - it's a great help and FREE!

Stopped my grocerygame account....

I've had better savings since stopping the paid version. Maybe it was a mental thing...over thinking it to SAVE BIG since I spent $ to get it...I don't know...but less stress no matter the reason is a good thing in my book!

June 18, 2010 7:46 AM

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About Millers Grain House

Donna Miller is the wife of almost 29+ years to the love of her life Joseph, the mother of three home-school graduates and has one daughter-in-law. She is the hostess of the radio shows Your Preparation Station, Surviving on Shoestrings and Encouragement in the Kitchen . She and her husband are the Organizers of WNC Preparedness Group in Asheville, NC. She is an Adjunct Instructor for Frontier Christian University. She teaches local classes and ladies retreats for people to learn hands-on lost skills. She is a teacher, author, sought-after speaker and trainer. She and her husband are the owners of Millers Grain House and are the founders of PREPARE Magazine .

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