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Teri's Blog

Double Coupons End in Kroger Michigan

Kroger Cinci Small

As of today, May 14th, Kroger is ending their policy of double coupons in their Michigan marketing division.

There are a number of key reasons for the phasing out of double coupons: 

  • Rising food costs  – Supermarkets nationwide are looking for ways to forego passing on all cost increases to consumers. Kroger has promised to lower prices. We have seen this to be true in other Kroger marketing divisions where double coupons have been eliminated.
  • Competition – When all was just supermarkets, double coupons were a viable marketing strategy, like gas wars. Since that time, big discount stores like Walmart and Kmart got into the grocery game, putting a dent in the double coupons strategy for traditional supermarkets. Over the past few years, double coupons were no longer capturing the market. In response, Safeway, Kroger, Meijer and many others have begun to pull the double coupons policies from their various marketing divisions.
  • Electronic Coupons – The president of Kroger’s Michigan division, Jayne Homco, claims that less than 1% of Kroger customers use paper coupons. The remaining  99% don’t use coupons or have switched to electronic coupons or other ways to save.

We still have to eat, and thankfully, in all areas where double coupons have ceased…

*We’re saving $523 a month for a family of four in a number of ways:

  • Invest in sales – This simple tip can cut most of your costs by half. Stop shopping week to week for only what you’ll use that week. Yesterday, I bought two bottles of cooking oil, three jars of pasta sauce, two seven bone roasts, coffee creamer, and four value packs of chicken. I don’t need all of that cooking oil for this week, but it was a great deal on the store brand. We won’t eat all that roast and chicken this week, but the sale prompted me to buy one package of each for this week and the rest for the freezer for weeks to come. This week, we will also have ground turkey and pork ribs from our freezer, all investments from past shopping trips.
  • Stack the deals – We won’t eat pasta three times this week, but with sales and coupons, the name brand sauce came to a buck a jar. They’re in my pantry next to four unopened jars of peanut butter bought for more than half off with deal stacking.
  • Utilize instant rebates – Bold print is intentional, because this where we find most of the savings we used to see with double coupons.  Those mix and match deals where you get $2-$5 off your shopping bill are hugely important to your bottom line. For example, if you buy five different items from a specified group, you may get another $5 off at the register. These items are also on sale, and don’t have to be identical items or even from the same aisle. They do have to be from the same grouping of offers, and there can be several different groupings. Yes, it can be tricky, so at we developed a special tool to specifically track these offers, and make it easy for consumers to adjust numbers and selections to be sure to get these instant savings. Sometimes that last item or two are basically free, and if you miss one item, you just inadvertently overpaid. Most of the time, these mix and match deals are used along with manufacturer coupons, which make for huge savings, often times, even as good as with double coupons.

Much of the savings are still there, if you know how to get them. At Gamers are still cutting their food costs by as much as half or better without double coupons.

*Nationwide, while most supermarkets no longer doubled coupons, average savings for a family of four is now $523 a month.



Kroger Ditches Double Coupons for Lower Prices

kroger grocery cart

On May 1st, Kroger’s Columbus marketing division, which operates in the Great Lakes and surrounding areas, will discontinue double coupons.

Kroger is not alone in this departure from double coupons. Safeway banners and numerous others have all but stopped double coupons. This move is largely due to the struggle to maintain market share in the face of ever increasing competition. While competition was once just Walmart, those days are long gone. For the past few years, traditional full service supermarket chains have changed their footprint and price points to compete with smaller version grocery alternatives such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, Aldi, Dollar Tree, and more. Add in some of the greatest increases in food costs for 2014, and you’ve got a boiling pot for trouble.

In lieu of double coupons, Kroger has stated that they will lower prices on over 2,000 products. We saw this in other marketing divisions where Kroger discontinued double coupons.

We expect that the remaining stores that double coupons may soon follow suit. Some may occasionally bring back double coupons for special promotions. Of those that remain, Harris Teeter, recently acquired by Kroger, intends to continue their double coupons. Giant Eagle, which covers part of this Kroger Columbus marketing division still doubles coupons. There are also a few others across the US.

While The Grocery Game offers money saving lists and deals for most all of the aforementioned alternative markets, I’m still also a fan of the traditional supermarket. I shop alternative markets occasionally for particular specialty items, but I still love my Vons, a Safeway store (no double coupons). When compared to the alternatives, my love for the traditional supermarkets is not just for the great service, well stocked shelves, good variety and overall pleasant shopping experience, but also for the deals. Grocery Game comparison shopping shows that sales often dip lower at the traditional supermarkets than at club stores and smaller alternatives. With the additional printable coupons, digital coupons, and “mix and match” manufacturers’ incentives, much of the double coupons savings are still there. You just have to know how and where to find them.



Food Prices on the Rise: Beef up as much as 28%

Costco Whole Chicken 1.19

Meat costs are up. Beef already went up by an average of 4% in January. The Agriculture Department expects grocery store prices to increase as much as 3.5% in 2014, up from 0.9% last year according to USA Today.

California’s drought has been a nightmare for farmers in the central valley, where 11% of US food is grown. Additionally, unusually cold weather in CA and citrus greening disease in Florida has already shown marked increases in the cost of produce nationwide.

The beef industry is still suffering from the lag of culled herds due to droughts in mid west grazing lands, and in turn, poor feed crops in the north.

Restaurants tend to pass on the cost of wholesale food price increases to consumers, where grocery retailers hold back longer from passing on these higher costs. *Databases at show dramatic increases in the cost of beef, pork, chicken, and fish, in January. The increases are on the original price or the sale price or both. Here’s just a few examples for beef:

AZ Fry’s – USDA Choice Boneless Beef Chuck Roast

Since 3/30/12 – $5.99 lb, sale BOGO (buy one get one = $3/lb)

2014 – 1/2/14 – 6.99 / 2.99 (16% increase in original price)

1/20/14 – $6.99 lb, sale 4.69 lb – and up we climb on sale prices…

2/7/14 – $6.99 lb, sale 4.79 lb

2/21 – $6.99 lb, sale 4.99 lb

2/28 – $6.99, sale 50% off (3.49 lb)

3/21 – 6.99 / 3.49 – this is the new sale price – 16% increase in regular and sale price will probably remain through 2014.

CO King Soopers – King Soopers T-Bone Steak

Since 2/8/12 – 9.99 lb, 6.99 lb

1/30/13 – 11.99 lb, 6.99 lb (9% increase in regular price)

2014 – 1/8/14 – 11.99 / 8.99 (over 28% increase in sale price)

With market share shifting from traditional grocery retail models to smaller version roll outs and dollar stores, price conscious consumers have more to consider.  Each grocery retailer tends to be strong in particular categories, but shift from week to week. Meat is simpler. As of now, the featured “loss leader” meat on the front page of the supermarket circular for chicken, beef, pork, and fish are still most often lower than the every day low prices at the smaller version stores and even warehouse club stores. Example pictured: Costco Foster Farms chicken varies from 1.19/lb to 1.29/lb. Supermarkets in areas that Costco serves regularly have sales on Foster Farms chicken from 79-99 cents a pound. In other areas of the country, such as where Perdue chicken is sold in the northeast, and elswhere, supermarket sales offer the best price over club stores and specialty stores like Trader Joe’s.

*Pricing data contributed by The Grocery Game, Inc.



Plowing Through the Parade of Pathetic Grocery Apps

Grocery App and Ads

Gone are the days when FSI’s (free standing inserts) in the Sunday paper were the number one source of coupons. Numerous coupon sources and companies that aggregate coupons have proliferated over the past three years. With that and advancement with technology,  many of the best coupons are now printed or downloaded to the club card.

So along came the parade of grocery apps…

My smartphone has been cluttered with 32 apps that claim to help streamline grocery shopping, hone in on deals, and find coupons. OK, 32 is alot, but it’s my business to know. I found many of them by reading articles for top grocery apps. After waiting weeks and months for new apps to fail to fix their bugs, I uninstall. Some, have added patches to make them at least somewhat functional. I have laughed out loud at many of them, and become frustrated almost to the point of tears on others. What is the point of scanning my grocery receipt anyway? Even more pointless when the app returns their analysis that they couldn’t find better deals, but offered four other totally unrelated deals. That was “CartCrunch” by the way. “ZipList” is a crying shame. I can’t even begin. “PriceSpotting” is laughable, and has absolutely no value to saving money on groceries. Even high profile apps like “Favado” haven’t proven to offer comparison shopping, deal stacking, or even the best deals.

Not to pick on Favado, because the others are in the same boat or worse… Here’s just a few examples of missed savings potential among hundreds of current listings for numerous stores with many of the same problems:

The Grocery Game Favado
Ralphs – (Kroger) Ocean Spray $1.50 $2.00
Ralphs – (Kroger) Tillamook Cheese 32 oz.  $5.99  $6.99
CVS – Playtex 18 count  $1.29  $2.97
Trader Joe’s – Applegate Farms Herbed Turkey 7 oz  $2.69  $3.69
Trader Joe’s – Weetabix Cereal  $1.49  $2.99
Trader Joe’s – Lundberg Rice Cakes  $1.49  $2.49

Created with the HTML Table Generator

The problem with most of these apps is that they are developed by corporate people and tech geeks, who know nothing about grocery shopping, much less grocery savings, so they lack the strategies for getting the best value.

All that to say, at this time, the best grocery apps are administered by the retailers or supermarkets themselves. Here’s a list of links to supermarket apps and they’re quite good. Supermarket apps feature the ability to make shopping lists, add digital coupons, and take advantage of “personalized deals”, and most of them work quite well. The main drawback is that they don’t provide viable price comparisons with their competitors.


  • #1 – Sometimes the digital coupons are for less value than the printable or FSI counterpart, and many supermarkets will supercede the paper coupon if a digital has already been loaded. The solution is to download after you know there isn’t a better paper coupon.
  • #2 – Personalized deals are not always the best price. For example, a personalized deal for meat may be on a regular sized package. Even though it’s less than the original price, the value pack may be on sale for even less. That’s just one example of many. Personalized deals are an effective marketing tool that cannot always be trusted as your best deal.

Of course, has an app and mobile site that work better than all the other apps combined, leverages the best of supermarket apps, and actually does help you save the most on groceries. Just saying.


As CEO of, Teri Gault is the foremost expert in grocery savings. Over the past decade, Teri has been featured and contributed to media and publications, such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20, Inside Edition, Time, Redbook, Wall Street Journal, and countless more national and local channels. Teri has authored two books, “Shop Smart, Save More”, written with Sheryl Berk and published by Harper Collins. “The Grace of Saving”, Teri’s latest book, is the inspiring story of America’s smartest shopper, and her rise from an everyday mom, to one of the country’s leading savings experts.

Public Relations Director, Dawn Wickwire

Email –




31 Days to Save – Day 31 – Take it on the Road!

“31 Days to Save ”: A crash course in grocery savings! saves TIME!

Jump in at any time. Catch up on days you missed here on Pinterest.

Listen to Day 1 – Blog Talk Radio

Listen to Days 1-3 – Blog Talk Radio

Listen to Days 4-5 – Blog Talk Radio

We’ve been focusing on saving on groceries for our first 30 days, because groceries are the biggest, easiest and fastest way to save BIG bucks! If you’ve been with us, your cupboards, fridge and freezer should be fuller, yet you’ve paid much less, even though it’s only been 31 days. And there’s more to come, as the big mile marker is 12 weeks! If you’ve joined, you’ve been maximizing your savings the quickest and easiest way possible. And now, you’re on your way to save thousands of dollars on groceries for 2013 and every year after!

But there’s more… Members often say that their grocery savings mindset has carried over into everything else! With this video, I hope to encourage you to save money wherever you go, on all things!

Be sure to end your 31 days, by commenting on the Facebook thread for Day 31  “Take it on the Road!” Share how your mind has already opened up to savings in all areas of your life, and tell us how much money you plan to save in 2013! – For as little as $10 for 8 weeks, you should save $6,000 a year! Most people save enough in their 4 week FREE trial to buy a deep freezer!

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!



31 Days to Save – Day 29 – Family Party Time!

“31 Days to Save ”: A crash course in grocery savings! saves TIME!

Jump in at any time. Catch up on days you missed here on Pinterest.

Listen to Day 1 – Blog Talk Radio

Listen to Days 1-3 – Blog Talk Radio

Listen to Days 4-5 – Blog Talk Radio

We’ve learned a lot of ways to save money, and one is to eat at home, but feeding a family is a lot of work. For me, getting dinner on the table every night, after shopping, prepping, cooking, then dishes, dishes and more dishes… if the only reward was saving money, it wouldn’t be enough to keep me going for the long haul. But I have a big reward that’s my biggest motivator for keepin’ on keepin’ on… I look forward to that crowning moment of time with the ones I love! If our dinner table wasn’t something to look forward to most of the time, I know I would have burned out years ago.

I hope this video on “Family Party Time” helps you as it’s helped me to keep meals at home for the long haul!:


To show your commitment to 31 days, go back and comment on our Facebook thread for Day 29 “Family Party Time.” Ask questions, or share some of your ideas on how you make dinner at home special and enjoyable for you and your family. And tell me if you think it helps to motivate you for all your labors and keeps you going!

Optional Additional reading:

There’s a lot more that goes into making “Family Party Time” at your dinner table, more than I can put in a paragraph and a three minute video. Part of it starts with kids in the kitchen. From beginning to end, it’s all a safe and fun place, and we’re all in it together. Here’s something on the topic from “Shop Smart, Save More”:

Chapter 12: All in the Family

Kids, by definition, are fussy eaters. But here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: they will eat almost anything if they make it themselves. My boys always loved to experiment and whip up their own bizarre dishes (who knew you could eat broccoli with chocolate chips?). Even more fun: give that dish a crazy name, like Alien Asparagus or Monster Meatballs. Just make sure if you have little ones, you supervise all their culinary efforts closely (watch hot stovetops, pointy utensils and even butter knives). You can even encourage them to draw their own menus for the meal while the dish is cooking (a great distraction when they’re whining, “Is it ready yet?”). Remember to have fun and not take things too seriously. Kids will spill and slop and sprinkle flour all over your kitchen floor. That’s what kids do. You want them to feel comfortable in the kitchen, so when you’re old and tired (like me!) and they’re almost all grown, they can make you a meal fit for a queen–and do their own clean-up!…

(End of excerpt from “Shop Smart, Save More” by TeriGault with Sheryl Berk)

For your commitment to 31 days, go back and comment on our Facebook thread for Day 29 “Family Party Time”. Ask questions, or share some of your ideas on how you make dinner at home special and enjoyable for you and your family. And tell me if you think it helps to motivate you for all your labors and keeps you going!
See you tomorrow! – Save enough in the four week FREE trial to buy a deep freezer!