If you’re trying to save money, one of the best places to cut your budget is your grocery bill. For most families, the grocery bill is the third largest budget category behind housing and transportation. With the right tools, it’s easy to cut your grocery bill and save money to use towards debt repayment or other financial goals.
Fortunately these days there are a lot of resources to help you save money on food. Today I’ll be looking at three of the most popular resources to help you cut your grocery bill.
The Grocery Game
I’ve been using The Grocery Game for a several months now. This is a paid service, but in my opinion, it’s worth every penny. Every Sunday The Grocery Game comes out with a new shopping list for my area (different areas of the country might get their lists on different days). The list is divided into three colors. Black items are good, but not great prices, and you are advised to buy them only if you need them. Blue items are considered to be rock bottom prices, and you are advised to stock up on these items. Green items are my favorite, because they’re free.
You can subscribe to different stores in your area. The subscription is $10 every 8 weeks per store. I only subscribe to Albertson’s, because I know in my area I can get better deals at Albertson’s than any other store. I save far more than $10 every 8 weeks, so I don’t mind paying the subscription price. In addition to the list, The Grocery Game tells you how many coupon inserts are in each week’s paper. That’s great for someone like me, who buys the newspaper from the store. I can check to make sure all the inserts are there before I pay for my paper.
When you log into The Grocery Game to see your list, you can either print out the entire list, or you can check off the items that you’re interested in, and print only those items. “The List” will tell you what the regular price of the item is, what the sale price is, what coupon to use (and where to find it), and what the final price is. Not only does it tell you about coupons in the newspaper, though. It also gives you deals using the coupons hanging in the grocery store aisles. I’ve gotten some great cereal deals this way.
If you have a lot of space to store a stockpile of food, the grocery game is a great way to go. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can save a significant amount of money. You can get a 4 week trial to The Grocery Game for $1. During the trial period, you have access to all of the grocery store lists in your area. Just make sure to change your subscription before the trial period is up, so when you start paying full price, you only subscribe to the stores you want. And if you do sign up, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d use me as a referral. My email address is beingfrugal at gmail dot com.
The Coupon Mom
The Coupon Mom is a free site, much like The Grocery Game. The Coupon Mom has grocery lists for Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS stores in all 50 states. It also has other store lists in many other states. Like the Grocery Game, you can choose to print off only the items on the list that you’re interested in.
The list is organized into the following columns: where the coupon is found, the item, the coupon value, the sale price, the final price, and the percent saved. I find the Coupon Mom list a little more difficult to navigate than the Grocery Game list. And the Coupon Mom isn’t a great option for people in some states. Oregon is one of them. Other than the above mentioned stores, there are no grocery stores listed in Oregon. Since we don’t have a Super Target or Super Walmart in our town, there are no stores on the Coupon Mom list for regular grocery shopping for me.
One thing that I love about the Coupon Mom site is the coupon database. It lists all of the coupons from the Sunday newspapers and tells you exactly where to find the coupons. That makes things much easier if you have an aversion to clipping coupons, like I do. When I get the Sunday paper, I just pull out the inserts and write the dates on them. Then I can go to the database to do a search for the coupons that I need. Coupon Mom tells me where to find each coupon.
For instance, if I need shampoo, I can go to the coupon database, select my state, search for shampoo, and Coupon Mom tells me if there are any active shampoo coupons and where I can find them. In this case I see that there is a $1.50 off 1 Sunsilk Hair product in the January 13 Red Plum insert. Then all I have to do is find the January 13 Red Plum insert and clip that specific coupon. Easy Peasy!
Finally, Coupon Mom also has a lot of printable coupons available. That doesn’t help me too much, as most of the stores in my area don’t accept internet coupons, but if you go to a store that does accept internet coupons, Coupon Mom is a gold mine!
My Grocery Deals
My Grocery Deals is another free service. When you sign up for My Grocery Deals, you enter your zip code, so you get the deals for your local area. My Grocery Deals has a good selection of stores, at least for my area. They have every major store in my county, which is amazing, considering I’m not in a large city. You can select to receive deals from as many or as few stores as you like.
Another huge benefit to My Grocery Deals is that you can receive deals based on nutritional needs (low fat, low sodium, etc.) or allergens. The grocery list view is fantastic! It shows you a picture of the product, whether you need a loyalty card to get the sale price, when the sale ends, and a link to see the nutritional information. When you see a deal that you like, you click “add to list”, and it adds the item to the grocery list on the right hand side of the page.
One shortcoming that I saw is there doesn’t seem to be a way to edit the number of items you can add to your list in a 10 for $10 deal. For instance, this week Skippy Peanut Butter is on sale at the price of $10 for 10. If I click the add to my cart button, it automatically adds 10, even if I only want one. I know that My Grocery Deals has been working hard on perfecting their site, though, so I’m hoping that changes sometime in the future.
Once you have all the items on your list, you can print it out. You can also see exactly how much your list will cost for the week. That’s a VERY nice feature, if you only have a certain amount of money for stocking up on sale items.
My Grocery Deals also allows you to search by product, making it easy to find deals on items that you need. The only thing My Grocery Deals doesn’t do is match coupons to sales prices. If they did that, I’d probably convert from the Grocery Game to My Grocery Deals right away.
Like the Coupon Mom, My Grocery Deals also has a section for printable coupons. Again, that’s very nice if you go to a grocery store that accepts internet coupons.
How do you save money on your grocery bill? Have you ever used one of these sites? What did you think?