This is a guest blog post by my friend Melissa. She recently signed up to a subscription based money saving service Grocery Game, and I asked her to share her experience. Have you used the Grocery Game or another similar service? Was it worth your time? Please share your story in the comments
The Grocery Game, in theory, professes to save those who “play” hundreds of dollars each month on their grocery bills. But in reality, I found The Grocery Game to be more of a chore than a pastime, not to mention a waste of money.
After paying a monthly subscription fee that varies based on the number of grocery stores you subscribe to (subscriptions start at $10 for an eight week session), a Grocery Game player gets access to color-coded list of products. Each color has a different connotation, for example buy now, stockpile, free, etc.
The Grocery Game staff pours over tons of historical sale and coupon data in an effort to predict rock bottom prices for tons of items. They match grocery-specific sales to prior coupons, along with new coupons in the current Sunday paper, to spit out a list of products that indicates what to buy and when. You get access to an updated list every week, from which you check off the items you need to buy and then print your own personalized list. If any of the items in the list require coupons you are responsible for finding them in the store circular before you go shopping
Sounds simple, but after playing for a month, I couldn’t stand to even log in any more. The first problem I encountered was that my usual grocery store was not an option on the play list, a matter I was willing to overlook in favor of saving hundreds of dollars each month.
However the second and more troubling matter is the amount of time that a person must spend going through the lists and also clipping coupons to find maybe a handful of items that you actually need now. Moreover, to really be successful at the game, you can’t be brand loyal, a further complication if you have food allergies or dietary restrictions or just simply prefer one brand over another.
And those color codes I mentioned earlier? You are really losing money if you have to stockpile items now that you don’t really need. Not to mention the cabinet or pantry space you’re going to lose, as well!
Truly saving hundreds of dollars with The Grocery Game is only possible after an inordinate amount of time, if you are not brand loyal and only if you need the majority of items on sale at that given moment. In my opinion, the time value of money, and just the time itself, is worth more than anything I would save playing The Grocery Game.