The Investigators: The Grocery Game - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: The Grocery Game

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By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - Take out your grocery shopping list. Right now.

Got it in your hand? Good.

Now tear it into pieces.

That's where professional shopper Teri Gault, CEO of The Grocery Game (www.thegrocerygame.com) starts.

Gault said get out of the mindset of buying what you NEED. Instead, you should shop a store's SALES and stock up on stuff before you need it.

"I call that investing, and by doing that and shopping only sales, you can cut your bill in half," said Gault.

The Grocery Game's membership site automatically tracks both advertised and unadvertised sales at the stores you shop, including register rewards that are often buried deep inside stores' sales circulars.

Those sales become your shopping list.

Add clipped coupons for those products (also tracked by The Grocery Game) and electronic coupons downloaded directly from your favorite stores' sites and from coupon sites like www.cellfire.com to your shopper's club cards, and Gault calls that stacking the deals.

"The average savings for Grocery Game team members is $514 a month for a family of four," she said.

Watch Teri Gault's Grocery Game shopping spree with Vel Grundy of Whitehaven, see her incredible shopping strategies at work (and the BIG PAY-OFF at the register!), then keep coming back to this web story for Gault's savings advice as we play The Grocery Game all week long on Action News 5 at 10!

TERI GAULT'S TOP 10 GROCERY GAME TIPS:

  1. Throw away your shopping list - This may be counter intuitive, but this is why – It's not about making a list of what you've run out of. It's about what you should be investing in when it's a great deal. 

2.   Get the big picture - Let the sales circular be your guide – The biggest pictures on the front page are usually the "must buy" deals, followed by more big pictures throughout. Ask yourself:  is this something I will be running out of in the next 12 weeks? 

3. Buy the limit – Whenever you see a "limit 4,' for example, this is a good indicator of the very best deals, which are often called "loss leaders." I know you don't need 4 jars of peanut butter right now. But when it's 99 cents each, you do! 

4. "Let your fingers do the walking" - Hit the web before you hit the store. Places like www.thegrocerygame.com, you can access sales and unadvertised sales and where to find coupons to go with them. This saves you time and money! 

5. Bigger isn't better – Which one do you think is the best deal? (answer: probably the biggest). Used to be that way. But lately, we're seeing more and more that the cost per unit is least on the mid-sized package.  

6.  Learn "Coupon Math" – What I just told you changes dramatically when you use a coupon. $1 off the 12 pack takes off 8 cents per unit. But the $1 off the 4 pack takes off 25 cents per unit. Now with this coupon, the smallest package may be the best value. Bring a calculator to figure the cost per unit. 

7. Stock up on up to 5 weeks of dairy products – Yogurt and organic milk have up to a 5 week "sell by" date. So when this 4-pack is on sale for $2, it's time to invest in as much as your family eats in up to 5 weeks. Check the sell by date to get the most time. If you use a $1 off coupon on this $2 sale, you can get it for $1. Wow! Keep a permanent market handy to mark the sell by date BIG. 

8. Find hidden organic coupons – Read the words on coupons, don't just go by the picture. This coupon says "good on any", but it pictures a non-organic product. This manufacturer has organics in their line, so you can use this coupon to save on organics.  

9. Lose weight on veggies/fruit – When they're priced by the pound, make sure they are dry. And if not, shake off excess water – water adds weight and increases the price. 

10. Do not impulse buy! – You go to the register because you're done! Don't rack up a big bill on things you don't need.  

TERI'S TOP 10 STORE BRAND PRODUCTS:

1. Organic Yogurt - this is pricey as name brand. Love to stock up when the store brand goes on sale because being USDA certified organic. 

2. Orange juice - tastes as good as name brand for half the price. 

3. Cold cereal, especially organic whole grain high fiber - we get plenty of name brand coupons and sales that are really cheap for cereals. But when we don't, the store brands are a great alternative and in taste tests were sometimes actually preferred. I particularly love the organic store brands because they go on great sales at times when there are no good deals on name brands. 

4. Chicken broth - I use a lot of chicken broth and enjoy stocking up on store brands, especially when on sale. The flavor and quality is rich and delicious. 

5. Pasta and pasta sauce - fantastic quality, great price, and great for stocking up when on sale.

6. Peanut butter - peanut butter can be very pricey if you buy name brand at regular price. But I see no difference in store brand peanut butter as compared to any of the name brands. When store brand is on sale, it can be about 70% less than name brands regular price. Recently supermarkets nationwide sold store brands for 99 cents! I bought the limit because they have a long shelf life!

7. Butter - I buy almost exclusively store brand butter, because we rarely get good coupons for the name brands. And even if we do, the coupons for name brand butter are usually a small value and even if name brand is on sale with coupon it rarely comes close to the great price of store brand, even when store brand is at regular price. Lately, we've had a lot of store brand butter on sales with store coupon and a limit. Great deals! 

8. Frozen lasagna party entree - my secret weapon... love love love this! I actually prefer the taste and quality over name brand, but goes on sale for half the price. When on sale the price even beats the price of warehouse club store brands and beats their quality and taste by far. I stock up on the limit when its in sale with a limit and save for busy nights when I don't have time to cook. 

9. Paper goods for the kitchen - sorry, I couldn't pick just one, as this category has really come a long way in terms of quality and I tend to run out of my name brand deals on some of these periodically and have been very happy with store brand - Aluminum foil, re-closable freezer bags, food storage containers, and paper plates. 

10. Diapers and wipes - surprise! Yes, store brand diapers are great! I don't have babies to buy for. And back in the day when my babies were wearing them the store brand diapers were not nearly up to par with name brands. Nearly every mom I knew hated them! There was leakage, and tears, etc. But those days are long gone, grocery gamers have said that the store brand diapers are highly improved over their beginnings and are comparable to name brands. Most moms who have tried the store brand wipes like them better than name brands, saying their thicker and more durable but still soft and gentle for baby.    

Teri's Top Ten Store Brand Items:

1. Organic Yogurt - this is pricey as name brand. Love to stock up when the store brand goes on sale because being USDA certified organic, also means no HFCS

 

2. Orange juice - tastes as good as name brand for half the price.

 

3. Cold cereal, especially organic whole grain high fiber - we get plenty of name brand coupons and sales that are really cheap for cereals. But when we don't, the store brands are a great alternative and in taste tests were sometimes actually preferred. I particularly love the organic store brands because they go on great sales at times when there are no good deals on name brands.

 

4. Chicken broth - I use a lot of chicken broth and enjoy stocking up on store brands, especially when on sale. The flavor and quality is rich and delicious.

 

5. Pasta and pasta sauce - fantastic quality, great price, and great for stocking up when on sale

 

6. Peanut butter - peanut butter can be very pricey if you buy name brand at regular price. But I see no difference in store brand peanut butter as compared to any of the name brands. When store brand is on sale, it can be about 70% less than name brands regular price. Recently supermarkets nationwide sold store brands for 99 cents! I bought the limit because they have a long shelf life!!

 

7. Butter - I buy almost exclusively store brand butter, because we rarely get good coupons for the name brands. And even if we do, the coupons for name brand butter are usually a small value and even if name brand is on sale with coupon it rarely comes close to the great price of store brand, even when store brand is at regular price. Lately, we've had a lot of store brand butter on sales with store coupon and a limit. Great deals!

 

8. Frozen lasagna party entree - my secret weapon... love love love this! I actually prefer the taste and quality over name brand, but goes on sale for half the price. When on sale the price even beats the price of warehouse club store brands and beats their quality and taste by far. I stock up on the limit when its in sale with a limit and save for busy nights when I don't have time to cook.

 

9. Paper goods for the kitchen - sorry, I couldn't pick just one, as this category has really come a long way in terms of quality and I tend to run out of my name brand deals on some of these periodically and have been very happy with store brand - Aluminum foil, re-closable freezer bags, food storage containers, and paper plates

 

10. Diapers and wipes - surprise! Yes, store brand diapers are great! I don't have babies to buy for. And back in the day when my babies were wearing them the store brand diapers were not nearly up to par with name brands. Nearly every mom I knew hated them! There was leakage, and tears, etc. But those days are long gone, grocery gamers have said that the store brand diapers are highly improved over their beginnings and are comparable to name brands. Most moms who have tried the store brand wipes like them better than name brands, saying their thicker and more durable but still soft and gentle for baby.   

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