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3 Ways To Master Online Grocery Shopping (& Save Money!)

Who hasn’t fallen victim to catchy marketing jingles and beautiful branding in the grocery store? I’m an avid meal planner, and 99% of my trips still find me bringing home something that wasn’t on my list. So I thought about trying buying groceries online. At first, I thought online grocery shopping seemed really weird, and something for wealthy business people or moms of four. But after some research, I found quite a few benefits of buying groceries online that would help any average person looking to save some money.

You Can Avoid Impulse Buys

You can literally shop while eating ice cream at home in your pajamas, so there’s no way a Ben & Jerry’s display can have power over you. This is the easiest problem grocery shopping online fixes. If you make a list and stick to it, there are fewer marketing gimmicks to trip you up.

All Deals at Your Fingertips

I feel like I’m piecemealing coupons and discounts together whenever I grocery shop. Online, they’re all laid out before you, so if you’re visual, like me, it makes taking advantage of them much easier.

Easily Track Your Spending

Have you ever gotten up to the counter and been surprised at the number on the screen? People are waiting behind you, and you have to decide if you’re going to be that person who checks to see where it all went wrong. Did I just give you as much anxiety as I have thinking about it? Grocery shopping online allows you to see your price go up as you add things to your cart so your pits never have to suffer the sweat of “price check on aisle five” embarrassment.

1. Completely Online

God bless Amazon. I mean, they’ve taken the menial task of grocery shopping and turned it into fun and exciting legal shoplifting! This company has taken savings and made it a science.

My first question was, can I buy milk through Amazon? Turns out you can only get nonperishable items shipped to your door unless you’re in Select Areas. Their Subscribe & Save feature offers you discounts for setting up scheduled deliveries of any product in their S&S store. You can skip or change deliveries for free so you don’t have to worry about looking like a hoarder if you miscalculate usage.

2. Local Home Delivery

Shipt charges a membership of $99 annually (with $15 in free groceries) or $14 per month. With that comes unlimited free delivery on orders over $35, an Android and iOS app for on the go ordering and same day delivery. And there’s a two-week free trial available if you’re in a pinch and just need it as a one-time thing.

Instacart doesn’t require a membership to shop through, but it does offer one. It’s $149 annually, or $14.99 per month. The membership grants you unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35, even during peak hours, allows you to shop from multiple stores (including Total Wine!). Without a membership, you pay $7.99 for one-hour delivery, $5.99 for two hours or more, and even more during peak hours. Tips are automatically added to every order.

If you’re thinking about joining PlateJoy, they offer a $20 credit on your first Instacart order. They’re both great options, and luckily most people won’t have to choose between them. But if you do, I like that InstaCart doesn’t require a membership. I still think most grocery shopping should be done the old fashioned way, and Aldi is so much cheaper than mainstream grocery stores.

Home delivery is a great resource for a lot of people, but it’s the most cost-effective if you do it occasionally and on big orders.

3. Order and Pick Up In Store

Walmart may not be my favorite store in the world, but they top my list when it comes to online grocery shopping. You order a minimum of $30 online, select your time, and pick it up (no subscription or delivery fee!). The service is only available in certain markets (surprise, surprise) and the closest to me is 40 minutes away.

***

Online grocery shopping isn’t for everyone, but it’s not just for rich people, either. I believe normal couples and families can benefit from the ease and even save a little money by grocery shopping online. And it’s sure cheaper than eating out three to five times per week.

Jen writes about her and her husband’s journey to pay off $86,000 of debt in less than 2 years on her website, Saving with Spunk. Follow her on Twitter here!

Image viq Unsplash

  • Anni

    …..I know some people lead super busy lives where they can’t pick up groceries themselves but how does someone feel comfortable buying produce online? Whenever I buy fresh fruits or veggies, a lot of it is hand touch – I know what looks fresh vs. what is fresh with hand feel, I can pick up sizes that work for me and purchase to fit when I’m cooking it this week. I’m fine with automating milk or non-perishables like canned goods or crackers but I really feel like to get the most bang for your buck, a little legwork is needed for fresh produce and meat.

    • Allie Ray

      Yeah, I agree with this! I recently used Instacart when I was under the weather (which was AWESOME, don’t get me wrong as I otherwise wouldn’t have groceries at all…) but I added bananas to my cart and they brought me the greenest bananas ever. I was disappointed, but I guess I could’ve specified in my order?

  • Christian Gonzales

    If any other readers are near a Kroger’s, all of their coupons and deals are on their website. So if you make an online account and link it to your Kroger card, you can just go to their site and click which coupons you want (they have literally hundreds at any given time…and every friday you get one item for free). They get automatically added to your Kroger card so that when you scan it at check out counter, they all automatically apply. Adding my coupons while i’m bored at work is a personal favorite pastime.

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