I’ll try to hold back the fact that Safeway owns Albertsons as a monopoly joke. We’re talking about the real (and very tempting) monopoly games these grocery giants host every year!
(McDonald’s hosts this annually as well. Don’t forget that food giant!)
The monopoly prizes vary between cash, gift cards, cars, spas, houses and more. All the total prize and money-saving offers total over $250,000,000.00! These monopoly games must be very lucrative for the “house” since they’re doing pretty darn good business even after hosting these $250 million dollar giveaways!
$250 million smack-a-roos. It sounds too good to be true…
Are They Scams?
Short answer: No! But scammy varies by your definition.
As some may know, our Sam’s Club closed their doors last month. We are back shopping at our nearby Safeway for the time being. It’s a bit of a shopping shock – not buying everything in 5-pound packages like I’ve been doing for the past 2 years.
Bigger surprise! The monopoly games are back for the 2018 year!
I remember my husband and I playing the monopoly game 2 years ago since we shopped at Safeway. I told him I didn’t want to get too obsessed even though they are quite fun. We didn’t want to get too into it for (realistically) a shot at a $25 gift card. The last thing I wanted was to get addicted and spend money on purchases I didn’t need.
We went about our regular shopping and ended up with about 50 or 80 tickets in grocery rewards in the span of 2 months. We open the monopoly game tickets while watching Netflix after dinner. It was like retirement home bingo nights except we were newlyweds.
My thinking was this: if we win, awesome. If we didn’t win, oh well. I didn’t go out of my way to get these tickets.
And that is the right mentality you should have for these monopoly games! Our half-baked attempt never won anything worth a separate trip to the store. Monopoly was good and exciting for the mild rush. Especially if we were going to need groceries, this was just the sprinkles on top.
Thinking back now, we had the right mentality but we definitely could have strategized better. There was one key thing we didn’t look into…
Here is what I’ve learned about these games (in Q&A form):
Should I Play Shop, Play, Win Monopoly?
Do you regularly shop for groceries at a participating store like Safeway, Albertson, Carr’s or Vons etc.?
Will you be offered monopoly tickets at check out either way?
If you answered YES to both questions then YES! You should play. The monopoly 2018 game runs from February 7th to May 8th, 2018.
How Do I Play?
First, pick up a Monopoly game board at your local Safeway/Albertson/participating grocer. Buy qualifying and bonus ticket items each item purchased. Inside game tickets are numbered markers to match up on the Monopoly board. Collect the correct markers and win corresponding prizes. There is also an android app available to scan and match pieces to boards electronically. You have to keep the physical ticket pieces to claim a prize so don’t throw anything away even with the android app. There is no Apple app available yet.
Why Should I Play?
On the monopoly game board, there will be smaller prizes that need 4 ticket pieces to win and the amount goes up to 8 pieces for the grandest of all prizes.
Sounds annoying and impossible, huh?
Well, actually Monopoly is sort of an “all or nothing” game despite the fact that you need multiple pieces to win.
I mean “all or nothing” because not all game pieces of those game tickets are created equal.
A few of the ticket pieces are extremely rare. Naturally, the more lucrative the prize means the rarer the tickets.
And I mean rare as in…
The monopoly grand prize of $1,000,000 cash will only have 2 possible winners in this huge, vast, beautiful nation we call America.
That means they were only print two pieces of the rarest winning game ticket. Worst yet, it doesn’t mean those winning pieces IS even in active circulation.
How many grocery stores are in operation in this country? How many million, billion tickets are in circulation? For one little winning quarter of a ticket, paired with 7 other common and semi-rare tickets that you will also need. The vast majority of tickets will be filled with common game pieces.
Some tickets are never claimed or worst yet some tickets are lost, forgotten, or trashed before even opening!
That’s why I think EVERYBODY should CASUALLY play UNTIL if luck has it, they happen to land a rare ticket.
Don’t go crazy before then.
Do not lose a ticket or have it go to waste unopened. It’s NOT worth going crazy unless you land one of the rare tickets.
The rare ticket is easy to figure out, it’s whatever one’s shows up the least!
“Woah, I’m Just One Ticket Away!”
Tell me about it stud…
The real objective is to locate and find a rare ticket. It’s not to piece every little ticket together and go “ooh, I only need one more.”
Each prize has 1 or 2 rarer tickets. If you end up with a ticket classified as rare then that should boost your chances of winning a lot since the rest of the tickets are much more common.
I saw this couple spent $120 on groceries trying to load up on monopoly game tickets. That was their 2nd trip back to their truck. They had another trip in the works. I never saw so many cartons of milk in a check out before. You gotta hustle those bonus tickets, I guess.
Needless to say, that couple was super addicted.
I hope they knew that even if they were “1 ticket away” from the grand prize does not mean they’re much closer to the grand prize.
The ultra-rare ticket they need could be all the way across the Mississippi river, stuck to the bottom of a Breyers ice cream carton, and never claimed.
I Found a Couple of “Rare” Tickets? What Now?
Each prize has 1 rare ticket and 1 semi-rare ticket. You need both. If you find a rare ticket then sweet! From there you can do a cost analysis on the prize and see if it’s something you want to go all in on. If the prize is, say, $20,000 cash then I recommend concentrating on the volume of tickets you need.
REMEMBER: Any monopoly ticket you can purchase for under or around $0.50 cents is a fair price. Put that into your cost analysis before you go all in to play.
My Ticket is Not Totally Worth It…
Sometimes, the prize might not be worth clearing off your grocer’s shelves. If you don’t want to play – but find 1 out of the 2 rare tickets and don’t want the potential prize, you can hustle it on Craigslist or eBay.
The ticket might not be worthless. Your magical piece might be the one someone else needs and they could make it worth your while.
Some rarer tickets could go up to thousands of dollars on eBay.
(I would consult the fine prints of the Monopoly game agreement first but there are lots of sellers on eBay doing it right now.)
How Do I Get Lots of Tickets?!
For every purchase (there is NO minimum spend) you will get 1 monopoly ticket.
In the monopoly game rules, they require a 3-hour cooling window for the first monopoly ticket with any purchase so don’t think you can go through checkout a million times in succession with 5 cents worth of carrots to keep getting the free monopoly ticket
If the item you checked out qualifies for a bonus ticket (and I strongly encourage you to locate the CHEAPEST item that will spit out bonus tickets) then you will get 2 tickets. 1 ticket for any purchase, 1 ticket for the bonus ticket item.
Example: A cup of yogurt is on sale for 88 cents in my local Safeway and it comes with a bonus ticket included. That means for $0.88 cents, I can drop by and get 2 monopoly tickets in one Safeway trip. That means those monopoly tickets cost me $0.44 cents each. A monopoly ticket will go for around $0.65 each on eBay.
And yes, every time you go into the store, there’s a possibility of you picking up something you weren’t going to before. The House always wins, don’t ya know? So keep your wallets closed.
You can mail in a request form for 2 free monopoly tickets but with postage stamp costs, it might not be worth it depending on what shopping strategies you employ.
The at marketing department must have hired a bunch of behavioral psychologists working this out and setting it up. They really want you addicted to this game! Not only can you technically not “lose” until the very, very end when all drawings are up. Besides the possible $1 million prize drawing, discounts, and pointless Fandango there is a percentage of insta-win tickets out there for the instant gratificationers!
The insta-wins tickets are prizes you can claim right then and there. Instawins can include prizes like 2 free monopoly tickets, $0.50 cents off dryer sheets, or claim a “free donut or bagel of your choice” etc.
Not a Winner? Use The Online Codes!
No tickets are complete “losers.” All monopoly tickets have a chance to nab small prizes besides the four squares of tickets that are included. But these Insta-win rewards are much smaller and less lucrative than the $500,000 vacation home or dream truck for example.
Most of the tickets contain an online code which requires you to log onto ShopPlayWin.com to enter them. About half the code will spit out nothing. But even the non-winning codes aren’t losers. If not a single $1,000,000 million dollar cash prize (out of 2 possible wins) is claimed by May 8th, all the codes submitted online will automatically enter into a drawing for $1,000,000 million dollars.
Some online codes (in my experience, barely half) will give you consolation prizes like Fandango points or a code to take $10 off Safeway flower delivery etc. These are consolations. The Fandango rewards are a stretch. You need to collect 30 Fandango points to get $5 off theater tickets. An adult fare for movie tickets cost over $15 per head, which means you have to collect 90 Fandango points in total to get a simple theater ticket.
Joe (Retire By 40) bought up some excellent tips that I totally missed.
1. Remember to be a nice customer and show kindness, patience, and respect to your cashier. Always! Not for extra monopoly tickets but as a nice thing to do in general. Plus, not being a jerk will increase chances of them giving you extra tickets too.
2. If the person ahead of you during check out do not want their tickets then you can ask them to give them to you. For shybugs like me, I’ve always considered asking because those tickets would just go to waste otherwise but never did. I’m too shy, next time I’ll ask. Since most people don’t play and it’s free since they don’t want it.
3. Lastly, during the end rounds of the game, the stores will usually have a surplus of tickets (since most people don’t play) and that will be when they’re generous with them.
4. Do not tape down the game pieces since removing the tape might damage the pieces. It’s best to keep them in a small zip lock bag. -Elise (commenter)
You should CASUALLY play the monopoly game for groceries you need.
It’s not a scam per se.
It’s just highly improbable. The actual chances are rarer than having a winning Powerball lotto ticket. Having 7 out of 8 of the necessary monopoly ticket pieces doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a surefire way of winning if you didn’t luck out with the rarest piece in the first place.
You’ll just end up with tons of duplicates of ticket pieces, make a mess and feel sad.
The Safeway monopoly game is very improbable until it’s very probable.
Besides that…remember to have fun!!! It really is a lot of fun. Everybody should play in moderation. The more tickets opened and noted the higher chance the ticket will be active in circulation and someone will find that rare piece.
Teamwork across America, right?
Anyway – I don’t think winning is easy but I welcome these annual monopoly gigs because it adds a little spice to our grocery shopping.
Be smart about it and not caught up. Only freak out when you have a rare ticket, otherwise, don’t get your hopes up or throw your finances out the window. Life is more than these monopoly games. Definitely do not get monopoly near your credit cards either!
Updated 2018 Results
As of May 05 in Seattle, they have stopped giving out monopoly tickets. They upped the amount of those tickets towards the closing days when they’re clearing inventory – that is why people (like me) got like 65 tickets for a grocery purchase of just $14. They’re just trying to clean house. and giving away oodles of tickets. In the end, all the prizes worth redeeming, we won…..
*3x $5 cash prize
*13 cans of tomato sauce
*7 packets of gravy
*3 free donuts
*1 bottled water
*2 aspirin bottles
*1 pack of 4 AA batteries
*2 fresh baked french bread
*1 pack of sour cream
*And no million dollars ;(
There’s always next year!!! 🙂
Prizes can be redeemed by May 29, 2018.
Although I wouldn’t wait until the last minute. Substitutes for items out stock are possible. For the two bottles of aspirin we purchased, we were able to switch them up for name brand Tylenol instead of the Safeway Signature brand.
Top $ Resources That I Use
Below are my recommendations for saving, earning, and investing money instantly,
Personal Capital: Sign up and use their net worth calculator for FREE. They are a free financial service platform that helps you analyze your portfolio, retirement, and financial health all on one simple & secure account.
Ibotta: I thought this app was overrated before trying it myself. The “any item” promos instantly save you money after scanning your grocery receipt. Ibotta also hosts promos and contests for your team to save more by working together. One of the guys on my Ibotta team list has earned and saved over $100,000 using Ibotta. You can get $10 if you sign up through my link.
BeFrugal: BeFrugal offer kickback money and referral savings to the user. Purchased a $50 sweater at a retailer that offers 10% back through their portal means you will receive $5 in savings payable from BeFrugal. They have over 5,000 retailers for shoppers including Amazon and eBay for relevant categories. Sign up and get $10 free when you join.