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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hump Day Tip: Online Grocery Shopping

Now that I am not working full-time OUTSIDE of the house, I have worked harder than ever to save money and stay on budget. When I worked, I did some of the same things I do now, but I have kicked things up a notch. On Wednesdays (Hump Day), I hope to share some tips on things that have helped me simplify my life, stay organized and on budget. I’d love to hear from you about your successes.

I highly recommend shopping online for groceries. Some people look at me like I have three heads when I tell them I do this. I have shopped online for YEARS for groceries. It all started when I worked like a maniac and did not have the energy to go to the store after work, nor did I want to spend my weekends trudging to the grocery store. When my grocery store (Lowe’s Foods) started their online service, I had a young son who usually went to the store with me and it was a pain! My son always wanted things he didn’t need and I was more likely to impulse buy as well. Plus, online shopping is available 24 hours a day, so I could do it when it was convenient for me. I could even order from work in a pinch. So I decided to give this new service a shot.

Believe it or not, the fee to shop online is minimal…about $5. I would spend the $5 fee or more if I walked into the store because of impulse buying! To get started, I sat down and spent an afternoon setting up a master list (via the grocery store’s website) of the things we buy most often. From there, I added things as I went along each week. It took a few tries to get things right, but it is second nature to get groceries this way now. It takes about ten minutes to place an order and the best part…I drive to the store, push a buzzer and they roll the groceries out to my car and load them! Rain or shine! And then I just drive away!

I usually submit my order on Tuesdays when the store is fully stocked from the weekend so they are more likely to have all of my items. If you forget something, you can call them and they will add it. IT IS SO EASY! I even use the service when I go to the beach and use the delivery option my store offers so I can walk into my beach vacation house and unpack (or have a cocktail) while I wait for our groceries to arrive!

I keep a list all week of the things we need on my kitchen island and have taught my guys to add to it. I menu plan (more on this topic later) before I start the order and take my laptop into the kitchen when I am ready to work on it. (This way I can look through the fridge and the pantry to make sure I am not duplicating something or to see if I am out of something.)

Another benefit of ordering online is that you can see your total cost in your virtual cart. I know my budget number and will literally remove things I think we can do without from the cart until I hit the magic number. I do not go over budget. The store calls me if they are out of something, they see if I want a substitution and they confirm when the order is ready.

For the coupon clipping folks, I think you could "rock the savings" even more. Just another opportunity to visually check what you are purchasing with your coupons. I have not taken up this cause because I am a "paper hater."

Give online grocery shopping a try. It is really worth the effort! I'd love to hear from you if you have questions about the process or if you already do this and have additional tips to share!

Preview of next week's Hump Day Tip: Weekly Dinner Menu Planning

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