Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Shopping for Groceries Online can save you Money As well As Time

The advantages of shopping for groceries online significantly outweigh the disadvantages – 9 distinct money and time saving consideration


I personally dislike shopping for groceries. I usually have much better uses for my time than combing the length and breadth of a supermarket and standing in endless lines. I think every spare moment in my home is precious and shouldn’t be spent standing in line waiting for someone to decide whether she really wants that candy bar or why she was charged an additional 5c for something that used to cost a bit less.

Unfortunately shopping for groceries is a basic and essential need and activity which can’t be overlooked or neglected.

Although I truly try to avoid grocery shopping I do enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and cheese. I’ve been aware of the option of shopping for groceries online for some time now but I’ve also been worried about the quality of the products I’ll receive without choosing them myself. Obviously since I’m already shopping for those groceries there’s no point in paying higher prices online for boxed and stored goods and I buy those as well.

Recently I’ve been more and more interested in online grocery shopping as I’ve had enough of these endless journeys. I’ve decided on trying an online order a couple of times with high hopes of ridding myself of this annoyance without having to settle for stale and day old products.

Delivery days for my area are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Monday and I’m very eager to give it a try. In the mean time, much like I always do, I sat down and tried to look at this experience from an economic and financial viewpoint. Online grocery prices are considered to be relatively higher and can amount to 15%-20% more than shopping at the supermarket itself. I came up with interesting results which just might justify paying higher prices for online grocery shopping.

The following are the main points I’ve given thought to regarding online grocery shopping. I’d love to hear more from your experiences with shopping online for groceries:

#1 See the total price of your shopping cart at any given moment

I think the number one advantage of shopping online is the ability to view the total cost of our purchase at any given moment. Think about how many times the total amount surprised you. “I just bought eggs, milk and a couple of more things… How did I get to $100!?” Sounds familiar?
With a total amount available at any given time you can really examine what you’re about to buy and maybe decide on settling for a cheaper brand this time.

#2 Really stick to your shopping list

Another distinct advantage is the ability to really stick to your original shopping list. You avoid the instant craving and sudden impulse and just pick what’s on your list.
In future purchases you’ve got your list all ready and you only need to make minor adjustments. What are the chances you’ll deviate from it and spend wildly on an attractive bottle of wine that just smiled to you from one of the isles?

#3 Check if you actually ran out of something

How many times have you asked yourself “did we run out of this and that?” and couldn’t remember. All you have to do is get up and take a peek at your refrigerator or pantry and find out. Avoiding unnecessary shopping might save significant amounts of money in the long term.

#4 Dramatically lower your exposure to supermarket marketing tricks

Much has been written on the cheap yet effective tricks supermarkets employ on us susceptive shoppers. I’ve written a post on cheap marketing tricks supermarkets employ and how to avoid overspending by being aware myself.

When you’re shopping from home you’re in a controlled environment unsusceptible to those tricks. I believe that save money. If those tricks hadn’t worked on us supermarkets wouldn’t employ them.


#5 Compare prices easily

No longer having to duck all the way down to the bottom shelf you can easily compare prices for similar products and save a bundle on good cheaper products.
In each session you can choose another niche to dig in to and buy cheaper products of the same quality thus lowering you grocery expenses on fixed basis.

#6 Add or remove items quickly and without hassle

Looking at the bottom line you suddenly decide to get rid of a certain product. Maybe you forgot something and you’re already in line. It’s very easy to add and more importantly remove products from your shopping cart when shopping on line.

#7 Get shopping done very quickly

By the third or fourth time I guess everyone has their own list of groceries to buy on a weekly basis. Log in, load the list, make minor adjustments and get exactly what you need. I’m guessing 30 minutes ought to be enough for the complete process.

#8 Choose the delivery time

Buy from work and have everything arrive 10 minutes after you get home, or maybe late at night if you’re insomniac. I believe this might also limit you a bit as you have to wait for the delivery sometimes but wouldn’t you have spent that time in the supermarket in the first place?

#9 Save on gas

With gas prices so high each 15 trip to the store is a waste of money. Shopping online helps us save on gas and car related expenses easily.

I’ll report back with my couple of first experiences and tell you how it’s been. I’m most worried about product quality and packaging. I do believe 15% higher prices just might be economically and financially sound as the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages significantly.

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Images by: desiitaly, miss_jen

8 comments:

theWild1 said...

I have done online grocery shopping a couple times. I first hated it because it took so long to find everything you wanted, but the second time was a breeze because your list is already saved.

The quality was actually very good. Maybe even better. The 15% could probably made up in gas (depending how far you are from) and perhaps whatever you do with that free time.

One negative is that obviously it you can't get it right away. So you have to plan ahead if you need something for a meal or what not.

Dorian Wales said...

Thanks for your comment thewild1. Good to hear the quality of products is good. Have you stopped shopping online? If so, why?

Journeyer said...

I think all of your points are valid. However, for us it really boils down to actual dollars saved.
I'll be interested in how you find it. I tried online groceries a few times when I was pregnant (about 4 years ago) & couldn't be bothered going to the shops. I was very happy with the quality, but as you mentioned the prices were higher. A couple of times I received free gifts as part of promotions the supermarkets were running.

theWild1 said...

There are basically a couple reasons why I stopped

1. I just forget. As stupid as it may sound, it happens.
2. I moved states, and it kind of just slid back.
3. Although they are not late, I hate waiting for them to come.

I'm sure I will use it again, but for now I just go to the groceries.

funny about Money said...

I tried home delivery once. It's less hassle than driving to the store, traipsing up and down aisles, and standing in endless lines.

However, I'm pretty picky about my produce. I buy mostly fresh foods and cook mostly from scratch. Produce in my state is not the greatest--people who move here from California or Washington State get depressed in our supermarkets. You have to select carefully, and on any given day some of the stuff you'd normally stock in your fridge just isn't worth buying. In my experience, the people who put together your order either haven't a clue how to select produce or don't give a darn: much of what I ordered was bruised, wilted, underripe, or undersized. So...no more of that!

Mindy said...

I can't stand going to the grocery store and have found online grocery shopping to be great. I use Acme, which is where I would usually shop anyway. The first time took for-ev-er, but now that my basic list is there it goes much faster. I pay $9.95 for home delivery and the cost is the same as in the store. It's definitely worth $10 for the convenience for me.

I'm also picky about produce but am lucky there. I have a produce store less than a block from my apartment that is OK in a pinch. Most of my produce I buy at a little shoebox of a produce store near where I work -- great prices, great quality.

billyakerman said...

My wife and I used to shop online through priceline when we lived in Brooklyn. Now that we live in Florida, we don;t have a problem with the lines. As for the "sales" in the store, we're not easy persuaded by sales pitches.

gaby said...

If you will be shopping for groceries online, it means you have to wait and do it even if there are still stocks on your cabinets to give allowance for the delivery. You can also increase your savings by using discount coupons that some stores offer by searching for them online. There are many discount codes and mostly, these are posted on personal blogs, there are also some sites that gathers these codes and categorizes them for easy browsing. Try visiting sites like couponsaver.org before going shopping online.