Can you save money ordering your groceries online?
Grocery stores are hoping to make your life easier and encourage you to shop more frequently by offering delivery and curbside pickup services. Everyone’s getting in on it, from the chain grocery stores, to the local stores, to Walmart.
They make shopping super easy for you. Just go online at your leisure 24/7 and “shop” the store through their website adding each item to your cart. When you’re done shopping, checkout as you would on any other online store and, depending on the services they offer, select delivery or pickup. Then you can choose the day and time you’d like to get your groceries. A store employee will do your shopping, bag everything up, and either deliver it to your car when you pull up, or to your home. Grocery shopping doesn’t get much easier than that!
But, can it save you money? Well, that depends on a few factors. Here are some things to consider with this service.
1. Impulse Shopping Good-Bye. Since you’re not walking around the store yourself checking out everything they have to offer, it’s harder to impulse shop. If this often gets you in trouble with your grocery budget, then this service is perfect for you. You can easily shop for exactly what’s on your list and nothing more so you’re not wasting money on things you don’t need.
2. Substitutions Happen. This is where things can get a little tricky. If an item you ordered is not available, the store employee will make a substitution for you. They won’t give you the option of what you’d like instead, or even to just leave it out, they’ll simply substitute another brand. If you don’t like it, you can return it, but that’s a hassle. By the time you’ve gone to all the trouble, you may as well have shopped for yourself.
3. Freshness Not Guaranteed. The shopper works for the store and the store is obviously trying to sell items that are about to expire so your shopper may not choose the freshest items from your list. You can end up with bad produce, meat and dairy products that are about to expire, and stale bread. If you’ve ordered sliced meats and cheeses from the deli, they may not be sliced the way they would be if you were there to order them.
4. Extra Fees. While many stores offer their curbside pickup services for free, some do charge an additional fee for doing your shopping or delivering your groceries. Be sure to check out these fees before ordering; you may find it’s not worth the additional cost.
5. Time Factor. If you’re busy and could be spending your valuable time making money instead of grocery shopping, these services are great for you. Instead of wasting an hour wandering around the store, waiting in line to checkout, and loading up your car, you could be doing something much more valuable.
So, can these services save you money? Maybe. It all depends on your circumstances. If you want the best, freshest produce and meats, you’re particular about your brands, and you’re not easily tempted by impulse buys, you’re better off shopping for yourself. But if you have a better use for your time, don’t mind a small fee, and you’re not too particular about what you get, these services can be highly beneficial. Most stores offer a free trial for your first shopping experience so give it a try and decide for yourself.
Interested in cutting your grocery bill? Check out our ultimate guide to saving on groceries.