HarvardHomemaker

By HarvardHomemaker

I'm a Harvard graduate and homemaker who blogs about living (and loving!) the domestic life with my husband and four young daughters. My blog now permanently resides at www.harvardhomemaker.com. Please visit me there!

Posted on in Organization
Tags: 10,  grocery,  organize,  organization,  time saver,  list

Online Grocery Shopping: 10 Reasons to Give it a Try

When my third daughter was born, I had three children under the age of five and a husband who traveled a lot. We don't live near family, and without much support, I felt completely overwhelmed. (Hence, the reason there is a near-five-year gap between daughters three and four!)  At the time, someone suggested I try online grocery shopping.  I was hesitant at first... I mean, have a stranger pick out my fruit?  What if they gave me (gasp!) overripe bananas when I wanted greenish ones?!  That would be disaster.  

But it seemed like the days were getting shorter while my stress level grew, so I decided to give it a try... and my life changed overnight!  Seriously.  I love it that much.  Now that I have four children, the below picture pretty much sums up my trips to the grocery store when they are with me.  The woman is smiling in the cartoon, but an afternoon like that doesn't exactly look like a barrel of laughs to me.

My friends joke that I am like a walking infomercial when it comes to online grocery shopping.  I'm always promoting it.  But that's just how great I think it is!  Read below for the reasons why...

1.  NO MORE SHOPPING WITH THE KIDS

Need I say more?  My #1 reason to try online grocery shopping is a no-brainer.  Anyone who has ever gone to the store with a child knows that it can be fun for a while to have them with you, but this supermarket bliss will be short-lived.  Things will deteriorate.  They always do--especially if it isn't a quick in-and-out trip to the store.  Any lengthy shopping spree always has some hiccups along the way if children are involved.  It's like a rule.  Think how much more efficient you'd be if you weren't saying "no" every five seconds... I have a feeling this woman here is about to lose her marbles.  Just a hunch.

2.  SAVES TIME

Think about how much time goes into grocery shopping.  You drive there, walk around the store, stand in line (not only at check-out but at the deli--ugh!), load your car back up, and then drive home.  When I am buying our groceries for the bulk of the week, it takes me about 90 minutes to do all of the above.  When I simply drive up and push the button, I remove the shopping portion of the equation--that easily gives me an hour back in my day.  (oh what to do with all that extra time?!  I may even have time to shower!)

* I know there are various food-delivery services (such as Peapod), but in this post I am discussing the type of shopping you can utilize at your own grocery store where an employee shops for you, and you just need to pick it up.

3.  LESS FRUSTRATION

I don't know about you, but during most of my grocery store excursions there is usually at least one thing that I can't find.  Either because it's an item I have never needed before or because the store has moved it around on me.  I zig-zag around the store trying to find it and ultimately need to track someone down to help me.  So I figure--why not let a grocery store employee shop for me?  They certainly have a better sense of where things are, and I don't need to waste time traipsing all over the place.

4.  NO MORE IMPULSE BUYING

Do you find that when you are hungry, suddenly everything you pass looks good?  Or if the kids are with you, do you often wind up with some sugary boxed item that your children may not even like but begged you to buy because they liked the character on it?  Been there, done that--lots of times.  Neither the grownups nor the kids can make impulsive purchases when you are doing your shopping on the computer!  

5.  SAVES MONEY

There is a small fee to have someone shop for you.  The store that I use charges $4.95 each time, or you can pay $16.95 for the month and use the service as many times as you'd like.  Well worth it if you ask me.  Some stores even allow you to use "points" you accumulate from shopping with them--if so, you may occasionally pay nothing for the service.  But even when you are paying someone to do your shopping for you, time is money.  I feel like the small amount of money you may spend is definitely worth it to get an hour of time back in your day.  You will also save money by not making impulse buys (see above), as you will only purchase what you really need.  Oftentimes I easily waste $4.95 (the cost of the service) on a poor purchase or on something that goes bad before we eat it because I bought too much in the first place... so I figure I'm breaking even anyhow.  And you are less likely to make those mistakes if you are ordering online.  (By the way--yes, you can still use coupons when shopping online; and yes, you can see the current sale price if something has been reduced.)

6.  YOU STAY MORE ORGANIZED

When I'm really on top of my game, I order my groceries on Sunday night and pick them up on Monday.  I try to sit down and plan out the week's meals, accounting for leftovers I can use throughout the week (for example, we may have grilled chicken early in the week so I can purposely have leftover chicken to use later for things like chicken divan...)  Ordering a large amount of groceries like that forces me to stay organized so I can minimize random trips to the store as the week progresses.  When I'm the one doing the shopping (with the kids), on the other hand, I'm more likely to run in quickly to pick up a few things for that night, and pretty soon I've been to the store five days in a row... totally inefficient!

Also, once you have your list established online, you quickly flip through it and click on what you need.  Almost always I will have forgotten some things until I see them on the screen.  Having a master list of items I have previously purchased helps me to remember everything so we rarely run out of things.  

7.  THE WEATHER BECOMES A NON-FACTOR

How many times have you needed to go to the grocery store, but the weather was miserable and you just didn't want to deal with it?  You'd have to run inside and then shop when you're all wet--and now you're freezing because supermarkets are always cold.  And then you still have to load everything up in the car and return your cart (like all good citizens do).  Throw in a kid or two (or four) and that sounds downright awful if you ask me.  I can't tell you how many times I have gotten ready to leave the gym and realized it was pouring.  My friends would say, "Ugh!  Now I have to go to the grocery store in this!!"  Being the walking infomercial that I am, I would give them a wink and say, "Not me--I ordered mine last night... this girl is just pulling up to the curb!"  It's a beautiful thing.

8.  MAKES IT EASIER FOR SOMEONE TO HELP YOU

My husband is great about helping out when he can.  Many times he will ask if we need something that he can pick up on his way home from work.  Now instead of giving him a long list of things that he has to remember--and then go inside and shop for--I can just ask him to swing through the pickup lane, push the button, and everything that I've ordered for us seems to magically appear while an employee loads up the car for him.  He doesn't even have to get out.  Not a bad deal for him--or me!  This is an especially helpful option when you have a new baby.  Your husband, a relative staying with you, a sitter... anybody can go pick up your groceries for you while you hunker down with your little one at home.

9.  CAN USE OTHER LOCATIONS WITHIN THE CHAIN

Once you set your list up online, you will probably use the supermarket closest to you 99% of the time.  But know that you can simply select another store, and you can have your shopping done there instead.  Perhaps you or your spouse is on the other side of town--it might be more convenient to pick your food up from a different location that day.  You don't always have to use the same store.

Another great option is to order your food before going on a vacation.  Let's say you are renting a house or staying in a hotel with a refrigerator/kitchen.  After a long day of traveling, the last thing you and your family want to do is spend time getting groceries.  You just want to GET THERE already.  If you can find a location near your travel destination, how great would it be to order online before you travel and then simply pull in and have your items ready to go for you?  I guarantee your family will be impressed if you can pull that off!

10.  GOOD SERVICE

When I tell people that I swear by online grocery shopping, the first thing they usually say is, "Oh, I don't think I'd like that... I like to pick out my own produce and meat."  Well, so do I.  But I enjoy all the perks more (see numbers 1-9 above)!  Much to my surprise, though, I have learned that the service is actually really good.  There is a spot for a "note" by every single item you purchase in case you want to indicate anything special.  You can write "prefer greenish bananas" or "please sub peaches for nectarines if you think they look better" and so on... every once in a while, I will wind up with something that I may not have purchased if I'd seen it myself.  But you can always return something if you're really unhappy.  And usually all is perfectly fine--after all, no one would pick out moldy raspberries for you on purpose.  

Over time, you will probably get to know the staff.  They call you if something is out of stock and ask you if you want a substitute.  They get to know your likes and dislikes.  The employees at the store we use even throw in some free cookies from the bakery--one for each of our girls.  The kids love that, of course--they don't even miss trying to weasel some sugary cereal out of me in the aisles anymore.  So I'm happy, the kids are happy--we all win!

I'm hoping I have convinced you to give it a try!  There is a bit of a learning curve as you establish your list (I have ordered an enormous can of something when I really wanted a small one more than once--and vice versa!), but give it a chance.  Once you are all set up, I would bet that you will become a walking infomercial, too!  

Have you ever tried online grocery shopping before?  What's your experience been like?  If you try it for the first time, let me know how it goes!  :)

Until next time, 
HH 

* More and more supermarket chains (such as HARRIS TEETERLOWES FOODS, and GIANT FOOD STORES)  are offering online shopping with pickup.  Check to see if yours is one of them!

Comments

  • Fabulous post!

    We have been buying most of our weekly groceries online at Roche Bros for a few years now.

    Every other month, i usually find a free delivery coupon code, which on top of other coupons/offers adds up to quite nice savings. They also include free samples once in a while.

    I cannot agree more, it saves us time, money and we just buy what we need. It helps us planning the meals for the week ahead of time!

    Thanks for reading! Glad you have found this service useful as well! I wish I had tried it back when all my kids were babies... it's like when I finally caved and got a minivan. What was I waiting for?! :)

  • I agree! We have used online shopping for years, and I usually do it on Sunday nights while watching TV in my PJs. Doesn't get much better than that!

    I'm with you! Nothing like a few clicks in your pj's and your shopping is done for the week!

  • I love online grocery shopping, but some of the stores that offer it have not very user friendly websites, and it took me longer to complete my online order than it would have to go to the store! The stores that I have used it with and have good websites are great. I plan on doing it in the future when I move back to a location that offers it! And I was always impressed with my produce- they seemed to pick better stuff than I did:) Love your website, just found it!

    Yes, I agree! Whenever I tell friends about it, I always explain that it takes a while to get your list set up--that's the hard part. And sometimes I'll accidentally get a huge can of something when I wanted a tiny one or vice versa. But once you're in the groove of it and know how to navigate the site, I think it's great!! I also like typing in the item and searching for it that way much more than clicking on "produce" and then finding "bananas" and so on... easier just to search! So glad you found me! :) Thanks for the note!

  • I've never heard of online grocery shopping. Do you trust a certain site? Is this for real?! Rhetorical lol! I'm a mom of two children 3 &2 years old. I Hate going to the store!! Seriously someone will just bring my bags to my car? Love your site! Found you on Pinterest!

    So glad you found me!! :) Oh my gosh--you will have to look and see if any of your local grocery stores offer online grocery shopping! It's a game-changer for sure, especially since you have little ones!!!! Your life will never be the same! I hope it's an option for you there--let me know how it goes! :)

  • Where I live there are grocery stores that deliver groceries that you purchase online to your house. They even bring them inside and set them on your counter/table for you. I've never used the service myself, but I have friends who swear by it. It seems well worth the fee if it means you don't have to leave your house! I just found you on Pinterest and I'm fascinated by your life!

    Well, that sounds like quite the deal!! You will have to try it and let me know how that goes. :) Honestly, just being able to pull up to the curb is dreamy--I'm not exaggerating when I say that shopping this way has changed my life!! As for my life being fascinating--maybe I somehow create a false reality when I write about it?! :) If going to bed with wet hair after finally showering at 11 pm every night is fascinating, then I'm your girl for sure! :) Thanks so much for your note--glad you found my blog!! Take care.

  • I have started using online shopping at Sams club, LOVE it!! I hate wrestling with all the huge sacks, etc. I have to go in the store to pay for it, but the kid that brings the cart up, will take it out for me too. Def a timesaver!

    Woohoo!!! It's a whole new world, right?! :) I'm so glad it's working for you! I really wish I would have discovered it a long time ago! Thanks for the note. Take care.

  • Ditto to everything tonja_cline_9 said! I just checked the websites of every grocery store in my area and NONE of them offer it. I'm SO bummed. Thanks for the great info, though. I'm going to request my local grocer start offering this service. It doesn't hurt to ask, right?

    Well, darn it!! Yes, it doesn't hurt to ask--I think more and more grocery stores seem to be doing this, so maybe they will add the service sometime soon. It really is such a time-saver! Thanks for the note! :)

  • I live in the UK and do online shopping all the time. The first time you use it it already has a list of everything you've bought in store in the past 6 months (using a loyalty card). It only costs £30 for 6 months unlimited deliveries right to my kitchen. I have a 3 year old, a 2 year old and 5 month old so definitely better than going to the shop!

    That's so awesome that it keeps track of your purchases using your loyalty card--smart!! Online shopping really is a life-saver, especially with young kids like yours! :) Thanks for the note!!

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