Have you ever tried losing a few pounds, only to find out that while your pants might be getting bigger, your pocketbook sadly is not? Did you end up failing after adding up the costs of healthy groceries, gym memberships, workout equipment, and clothing?
My name is Jessica Bowman, and I am a failed dieter! After trying about every diet under the sun, I finally figured out how to lose 50 lbs the healthy and happy way, all while remaining frugal.
One slightly controversial way I save money, time, and calories is by shopping online for groceries. Yes, this is becoming increasingly more common in the United States with sites like Amazon, but did you know a lot of local grocery stores are offering online ordering now? You can even have your groceries delivered!
Here are some ways I have saved money while shopping online for groceries!
Shop at Big Box Stores online
Some big box stores already offer online grocery shopping. At Sam’s Club, you can order everything from meat to produce online. When you arrive at the store, you take your receipt inside, where they give you a grocery cart full of the items you purchased.
Avoid Online Shopping Fees
A frugal friend of mine and I disagree about my saving money by shopping online for groceries because there is a $5 charge for this at my local grocery store, Harris Teeter.
However, I usually only shop on “free” weeks, which happen fairly often. The first order is free, and then after that there will be a lot of no-fee days, spend $xx and have no fee days, or buy this and have no fee days.
Receive more than you Paid for
I am a huge fan of Harris Teeter’s online shopping feature, and the main reason is, if I go to the store with a list and they are out of what I need, I then have to look for something else at a similar price point. It may not be what I wanted or needed, and it might end up costing more than I meant to spend.
However, when I shop for groceries online and they are out of the item I wanted, they will substitute it for the better brand or size. More than once I have received a call saying, “this produce you ordered didn’t look so great, so I gave it to you for free.”
Sort items by Price
When shopping at the store for groceries, you become trained on where to look and where to shop: stick to the perimeter for healthy eating, never look at the products that are eye-level, and look at the unit price in addition to the actual price. Even then, you often run into issues where you think something is on sale or a certain price, only to find out that it isn’t or was mispriced at the checkout counter.
When shopping online, however, you can sort items by price or unit price and add items to your cart that are the best value! My local grocery store even lets you add items to your cart straight from the digital sales paper. This makes bargain shopping a LOT easier!
My time is very valuable to me. There just never seems to be enough of it, and I would rather be taking a nature walk or working on my blog than fighting screaming children and extreme couponers for a bag of frozen vegetables at the grocery store. I add items to my grocery cart all week long as I think of them, and then I place my order at the end of the week. I don’t have to waste time getting stressed out at the grocery store!
Eliminate impulse buys
The main money-saving feature for me is I don’t get distracted by impulse buys. What I have on my grocery list is what I get. Nothing more, nothing less!
Last week I created my meal plan for the week and saw that I only needed to buy $8 worth of additional items to complete my grocery list. Once I added a few breakfast items it grew to $22, but that still wasn’t enough to justify an online shopping trip to me. I asked my husband if he could pick up these items in the store instead so we could save our $5 online shopping fee. He exited the grocery store with over $50 in groceries! So even when it’s a low grocery week, it’s almost worth it to me to just shop online anyway when it comes to saving money!
Have you ever thought about shopping online for groceries? Have you ever tried it to save time and money? What did you think?
Jessica Bowman is a weight loss blogger who loves to eat and hates to exercise. In 2014, she decided to stop dieting and start living a healthy lifestyle and managed to lose 50 lbs in the process. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite pastimes include watching 80s new wave music videos, creating lighter versions of Southern comfort food, and putting Lisa Frank stickers on everything! You can find her at The Failed Dieter: Stop Dieting and Start Living a Healthy Lifestyle! and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest at @TheFailedDieter.
Note about Sam’s Club: While there is no extra fee for shopping for groceries online, my local Sam’s Club has not yet perfected their system. More than once I have had to go into the store, where everything was shopped except for any refrigerated or frozen items. I would then have to stand around and wait on someone to add these items to the cart, which at that point I could have done myself. In some instances, they will be out of the items for which I’ve already paid, leading to more time being wasted. Therefore, I have learned to only order non-perishable items from Sam’s Club online, or to call them when on the way to pick up the items.