I play the Market Street, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, Safeway, Shaws, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Amigos, United Supermarkets, Carrs, Star Market, Pavilions, Acme (MEEP MEEP), Randalls Monopoly Sweepstakes to WIN. It's the only competitive sport I play.
So, my rules:
(1) Never, ever switch stores. Me, I play Safeway. I know what I'll be able to find, where. Keeps the shopping time to a minimum: gotta keep in training.
(2) Spend 10% or less on stuff you wouldn't otherwise buy - if ya' really really really might have tried it anyway, yah, sure, why not. But nothing else - too easy to sink into the black pit of consumerism.
(3) Hey, why not get things on sale. Price shop as always. Be not tempted to switch brands.
(4) Non-perishables, staples are good. Real good.
(5) Have no shame - if someone doesn't want their tickets, speak up and mooch. Can't look a gift horse in the mouth.
(6) Play a game in the game - try to only fill the cart with items that get game tickets. Or match everything to one of the coupons. Keeps the brain cells working.
(6) Use those freebies! I think I've gotten two bakers' dozen of bagels - great for on-the-road lunches between clients. Bananas. Baby carrots. And most of the fixings for some really good burritos. And at least five nights at the movies... And let me tell you, gas prices haven't been nearly so painful these last few days.
(7) Pay it forward. I gave some tickets away. I gave a $2.00 off of $20 coupon away. The University District Food Bank in Seattle got two packs of hot dog buns, two packs of hamburger buns, three cans of corn, six boxes of pasta, eight cartons of salt, an aluminum foil, one Gatorade, one bottle of aspirin, one rice vinegar and a partridge in a pear tree. More about the Food Bank in a few days, after I get some pretty pictures.
If I'd only won the $1M. But all in all I think I've won at least $100 in good food. And I'm posting this before the second chance drawing, wish on a star. If you're wondering, the rest of the year, I'm lucky if I remember to use a coupon a month.