Grocery shopping. Blech. I don’t think I know anyone that doesn’t hate grocery shopping. I’m sure there are some people out there who enjoy it but I’m certainly not one of them. Grocery shopping tends to go one of two ways for me. Either I get to the store with no list or plan and grab a cart full of things that seem like a good idea at the time or I go with a long well planned out list, get into the store with the harsh lights, the noise, the screaming kids, the endless aisles of stuff and just get so annoyed that I start skimming the list -”I don’t need this… I’ll get that next time…” Either way I come home, feel like I spent a lot of money, have little to show for it other than a pounding headache and frazzled nerves.
Living on the very fringe of a Canadian suburb, I did not have access to online grocery shopping until about a year ago. When I finally had access to online grocery shopping I was pretty excited about it – that is until I saw the prices. As a frugal girl at heart I found it really hard to order when the prices were considerably higher than I could find them by shopping around at different stores in person. Add the $10 delivery charge to the higher prices and it just made me wince and clutch my wallet. I’ve ordered online a few of times, was really happy with the quality of the meats and produce but still the higher prices rattled me.
Yesterday I realized that I have an incredibly busy week ahead and it’s Thanksgiving here in Canada on the weekend. Not only do I not have much time for shopping, the stores will be busier than ever with the holiday so I decided to place my order online for delivery on Friday morning. While I was placing the order I realized that online grocery shopping for me really is more frugal than shopping around the stores in person if I look at all of the factors:
- Online grocery shopping allows me to create a shopping list that I will stick to. I neither skip things on my list just to get out of the store quicker (which often results in a 2nd trip) nor do I fall for impulse purchases.
- Online grocery shopping allows me to schedule delivery in a time slot that’s convenient to me any time between 6am and 10pm. I can schedule the delivery for when I’m doing laundry, making dinner, or working from home, saving me valuable time. As a freelancer my time is worth anywhere from $30 to $70 per hour, depending on the project, I’d rather spend an hour making money than getting frustrated in a grocery store.
- Online grocery shopping allows me to adjust my order by adding or removing things from my shopping list, changing the scheduled delivery time or canceling the order up until 7pm the night before a scheduled delivery. If I schedule my delivery a few days (or a week) ahead I can just add things to the list as I think of them. I never forget cat litter or light bulbs.
- Online grocery shopping allows me to stick to a weekly or monthly grocery budget. If I’ve budgeted $150 for the week I can see in my online shopping cart if I’ve gone over it and make adjustments to my order if I need to.
- Online grocery shopping allows me to pay online with a credit card if I want to. Instead of leaving money for my kids (aged 21 & 16) for groceries while I’m away and worrying about them spending it all on junk food I can place an order to be delivered while I’m away. Trust me – this saves me huge – my kids would order pizzas every night otherwise.
- Online grocery stores allow me to search for items rather than wasting time wandering around the store trying to figure out where they put the salad dressing or the tamari sauce.
- Online grocery shopping allows me to set a list of my frequently ordered items, saving me even more time. I can quickly check the items that I regularly buy and place an order in under 5 minutes.
After looking at all of the factors – the convenience and the serious time savings – it turns out that online grocery shopping is actually more frugal than shopping the local stores, even with the higher prices and the delivery fee. For those of you in Ontario, Canada – I use GroceryGateway.com which is owned by Longos. I’ve had great service and beautiful produce and meat each time I’ve ordered from them and highly recommend them.