Review: Grocery University

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“When I first started teaching workshops on how to save money on groceries, I realized that people knew how to get free stuff with coupons. In fact, they had closets full of free shampoo and toothpaste, yet they weren’t really reducing their grocery budget.” – Carrie Isaac

That was the quote the made me want to give Grocery University a try.  See, I’d done the whole coupon thing before – and still have some free, unopened toothbrushes to prove it.  The toothpaste lasted for two or three years.  I finally donated and/or threw out several unopened boxes of Hamburger Helper, which I discovered that my kids don’t like.

It was fun.  I even had a frugal,money-saving blog like 50% of the blogging population.  I saved lots of money – on stuff that, for the most part, we didn’t really need.  I didn’t really learn how to save money on my overall grocery bill.

With skyrocketing prices and a single-income that isn’t increasing proportionately to food and gas prices, I decided it was time to get started with coupons and grocery savings again.  So, I emailed Grocery University creator, Carrie Isaac, to see if she’d provide me the opportunity to review her product for my readers, knowing that the majority of you are also single-income, stay-at-home moms and she graciously agreed.

Grocery University is over 2 hours of audio training, along with a 40-page PDF workbook to teach you have to save money at the grocery store through strategic menu-planning and, if you so choose, coupon clipping.    The $24.95 instant download also includes the 10-page Grocery University Rock Bottom Prices Database so that you can become educated on what is really a good sale price.

Topics covered include:

  • Strategic menu planning (a key component of the Grocery University teaching)
  • Stockpiling
  • Grocery budgeting
  • Understanding coupons and their terms and conditions
  • How store sale cycles work
  • Combining sales and coupons for maximum savings
  • Organizing your coupons

I really enjoyed the audio file format and I appreciated the fact that the student workbook wasn’t simply a print copy of the audio files.  Both combined to give me a good understanding of the concepts being taught.

Have I put those concepts into practice?  Well, yes and no.  No, not to the extent that I was hoping to have done at this point.  No matter how you look at it, reaping significant savings on groceries requires a time investment.  Between being sick, an uninspiring week of coupons, and, well, forgetting to get the paper one week, I haven’t been as diligent in working the sales as I’d hoped.

However, I have had some good buys and have stockpiled a little and I am being more conscious of the savings opportunities.  I’ve been diligent in only stockpiling things that we’ll actually use, no matter how good the deal.  Where I need to put more effort is in menu-planning according to Carrie’s tips, which will help you save regardless of whether or not you choose to work the coupons, and matching coupons with sales, which takes a little more effort since really good sale-plus-coupon deals are not at the store where I do my main grocery shopping.

I really appreciate Carrie’s outlook on grocery savings, too.  For one thing, her strategies come from the heart of being good stewards of what God has given us.  Grocery U. students are encouraged to only stockpile what they can use or give to others.  She also cautions against comparing your grocery budget to others because you may not always see the full picture.  For example, someone who purchases half a cow to stock their freezer once a year may not include that purchase in what appears to be an incredibly low monthly grocery budget.

Carrie gives some great tips on creating a monthly, rather than a weekly grocery budget to achieve maximum savings and to be able to work the sales to your family’s best advantage.  These “little things” can add up to a much better overall picture of what saving on groceries can and should look like.

If you’re new to coupon strategies, Grocery University is an excellent place to start, with in-depth explanations and tutorials.  Can you find the same information on the Internet for free?  Probably.  Would it take more time than the instant download and 2+ hours of audio files?  Most likely.

Be watching in the weeks to come.  Though I’m not posting today that Grocery University has taught me to save 50% or more on my grocery budget, I am committed to applying the principals I’ve learned over the next few weeks and months.  I’ll be posting some of my deals and updating periodically on my savings.

I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of reviewing it.  The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may vary.  Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Thanks for your review. My husband keeps hinting that I look into using coupons but I have found that the majority of them are for items we wouldn't use. I have started using the site to check the sales adds at my local stores. This has helped me take better advantage of the weekly sales. I know that meal planning is the key to cutting our food costs. I struggle with the meal planning. Does Grocery U. give some good tips and help in the planning area?

  2. @ Living Free: Yes, strategic menu-planning is one of the foundations of Grocery U. even for those who don't want to clip coupons.

  3. Like you, I was a coupon queen and still have some stockpile to prove it and it is a big step to reach the point where we realize that our family won't eat it or it is not good for us (hello, 50c/box toaster strudels) and no mater how good of a deal it is, we will pass.

    And I don't mean to make like of hard core issues but I think for alot of my friends the stockpiling became an addiction. Who can get the most cans of free/super cheap salsa, bragging about wiping out one store and hitting three more. I think the high got to them (and still does) and they do not realize how much money/space/time they are wasting.

    It is hard to step back and, this doesn't sound frugal but I'll take a pricey piece of brie and a few pkg of ground beef over the 42 boxes of poptarts any day now.

  4. I agree with you all. It isn't a real savings if you are bringing home junk you wouldn't normally get just because you have a coupon. I have done really well with couponing, but I really have to be mindful. It is very easy to get sucked into buying lots of processed and junky filler foods, just because of a coupon. I have to get better at the whole meal planning thing. I am so not a planner. Sometimes, I don't know what I want for dinner until 5 mins before I make it. Haha.

  5. Great post! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 I have been couponing/stockpiling since October. Learning to do so was a Godsend for me, as we are taking big financial blows in our family right now. There is definitely a need for restraint in shopping for deals. I have been tempted by one too many razor deals! 🙂 I couldn't help it at first, too many times I have used and reused a blade because they're too expensive to replace! 😉 But I am getting a handle on what to buy, and what to leave on the shelf. I have a list of "top 20" items my family uses/eats on a regular basis. Those are the items I want to get on sale and stock up on.(No need to start eating hamburger helper now!) I have already cut my grocery bill in half! I agree with those who have already shared, restraint is key, but it really can create a lot of freedom in your budget!

  6. Lynette, that's a great idea about having your family's "Top 20"! I'll have to keep that in mind. As it was, I did pretty good this week — I noticed that several components of one of our family's favorite meals (chicken quesadillas) were on sale, so I decided this was the perfect week for that meal. 😉

  7. Thank you so much for reviewing this! I have many friends into the 'coupon craze', and it just doesn't make sense to me–my TIME is valuable too!! But I am a frugal shopper (love Aldi!) and have a 'general' menu plan (not Mon-this, Tues-that; rather these five meals sometime this week). We also farm and raise our own beef, pork, chicken and many vegetables.

    Do you think this item would still be beneficial for our family? Because the prices keep going up and the family keeps growing, and the budget is getting strained!

  8. I bought the Grocery U program last weekend. The price is really good, since I've seen another program for $97!!

    I really enjoyed the audios, and the price book was a real eye opener for me.

    I've been serious about cutting our budget with coupons only this month, I've been able to save about 45% and have a lot more to show for it. And not one air freshener in the bunch. LOL

  9. I bought Grocery U last weekend and really enjoyed it. It was a big help and encouraging. The price is VERY reasonable. I've seen another program for $97!

    I've been serious about coupons for a month, I've been able to save 45% and have a lot more to show for it, food and HBA that we actually will use, not one air freshener in the bunch, LOL

  10. I'm looking forward to your posts about this. I had never heard of Grocery University until I read about it on your blog. I have a few challenges that make me feel like it might not work so well for us (my husband does a lot of the shopping; multiple food allergies mean we have to buy a lot of pricey brand-specific items), but I'm sure there is still a lot we could shave off our budget with this kind of help.

  11. I never really meal …I don’t have the patience for it….nor do I know what the next day will bring . I am a single mom homeschooling and battling breast cancer. I fix what I can or what we feel like.

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