Time. It’s the one commodity I never seem to have enough of, can you relate?
I’ve become very intentional about how I spend my time. I took a close (and admittedly painful) look at how I spend my precious 24-hours. I knew I needed to challenge myself to manage them more efficiently and more purposefully. The challenge resulted in several life changes. You can read more about that here. Today though, I'm talking specifically about changes to how I grocery shop to help manage and increase my time.
As I took inventory of specific, time-sucking tasks, grocery shopping was an obvious culprit. Even when my kids are in school (don’t even get me started on shopping when you have kids in tow!), an average shopping would take an hour to an hour and a half, at the store alone! That didn’t include loading and drive time. I tend to do a weekly supermarket shopping, a monthly Costco trip, and a monthly health food store run. That added up to a sizeable chunk of time. I wanted to make a change to how I approached grocery shopping. I’m thrilled to say that I was successful!
The key was discovering online grocery shopping. Other than a very isolated trip for small forgotten items here and there, I have not stepped foot into an actual grocery store to do a full shopping in more than a year. Pure bliss! This approach to grocery shopping has had a major impact on increasing my free time. Shopping online also requires that you have a pretty good idea of what you plan to order ahead of time. You’re more likely to order only what you need. And, it supports meal planning beautifully. For all of these reasons, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was not only saving time, I was saving money! Now that’s a win!
The time-saving shopping tips I’m sharing with you today have truly been game changers for me. My hope is that some of these are “new to you” ideas to help you take control of how you spend your free time, and increase in the number of free minutes you enjoy each day.
This one is no surprise. Amazon is chock full of tasty, healthy grocery options. Many times, the prices simply can’t be beat! The fact that all these tasty options are delivered straight to my doorstep in two-days (if you’re a Prime Member) makes Amazon one of my primary go-to shopping sources. Amazon, I heart you.
- Convenient, 24-hour online shopping you can do anywhere is something I love!
- Relatively fast (2-5 days typically)
- Amazing customer service!
- Good prices
- Awesome selection
- Fast, but not immediate. If you need an ingredient or specific foods immediately, the delay for delivery can be frustrating.
- Requires some degree of comfort shopping online versus seeing the actual product.
- In the beginning, discovering new foods can require a little time searching.
- Packaging – Amazon does go a little overboard with packaging, although most of it is recyclable.
Amazon Fresh is a new program. If you haven’t tried it yet, prepare to be wooed! Amazon acquired Whole Foods, making the organic, clean, healthy options available from Amazon Fresh ahhhhhmazing! I buy some specialty foods that I can only find in health food stores. For these kinds of items, Fresh is a wonderful and convenient resource. Unlike traditional Amazon purchases, Amazon Fresh deliveries are lightning fast! You can have your order placed and delivered to your door in as little as two hours, without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office (mind blown!). Attended and non-attended delivery services are offered, so it’s not uncommon for me to have the groceries delivered when I’m out accomplishing other tasks and scratching another to-do off my list (insert high-five!)
Amazon Fresh Pros:
- Wide selection of specialty foods (gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.)
- Fast and super convenient
Amazon Fresh Cons:
- Average to higher priced than some local supermarkets
- Some unneeded packaging. Although, I’m happy to report that while this was one of my prior primary complaints about Fresh, they have addressed it. I was feeling a little guilty about the non-recyclable ice packs they included. Brilliantly though, they’ve replaced ice packs with frozen water bottles. We use the water bottles for sports, lunchboxes, etc., then simply recycle the bottles ourselves. Big win Amazon!
- There is minimum purchase required to avoid a delivery fee.
Walmart Pick-up (or delivery)
This one has been HUGE! Of all the programs listed here today, this has been the big jackpot discovery. I happen to drive by a Walmart near my house every day, so for me, opting for pick-up is a no-brainer. They do offer doorstep delivery for $10. With Walmart’s prices, it might just be worth it!
Let’s face it, when it comes to prices, Walmart simply can’t be beat. I can literally stock up on a comparable amount of groceries at Walmart for about $50-$100 less than at Target or Kroger. Walmart has also done a phenomenal job of adding healthy, organic, and gluten-free options to their line-up. For all these reasons, Walmart is my grocery shopping option of choice. BUT (a big but!), I seriously dread shopping there. Admittedly, I’m a picky grocery store consumer. When I go into a store I want a nice “outing” type of experience (I’m looking at you Target), so for years I forfeited saving on Walmart’s fantastic prices because I couldn’t bear the thought of going into the store. That’s why this tip has been so life changing for me. Instead, now I place a weekly online order (which couldn’t be more simple or seamless by the way) from home, schedule a pick-up time that works for me, drive up to the delivery window, and then, wait for it...SIT IN MY CAR WHILE THEY LOAD my groceries for me! There have been snowy days when I’ve literally almost kissed the person helping me. I’m telling you friends, it’s the complete package. If you haven’t tried Walmart pick-up or delivery, it’s like winning the lottery!
- Have yet to find one.
InstaCart is a new delivery service many grocery stores now offer. I only use InstaCart for my Costco orders. When it comes to Costco though, the benefit of using InstaCart is best described in two words – no lines. I’m avoiding long lines at Costco, yes, but InstaCart has proved to be a great cost saver as well. Of all the stores I visit, Costco is the one where I toss into my cart MANY unplanned for, and unnecessary items that add up FAST! If you’re a long time Costco shopper like I am, and know what you plan to buy each visit, give InstaCart a try. I’ve been really happy with it.
- Awesome service! Your personal shopper will text you with real-time delivery estimates, questions, etc.
- Huge time saver
- Super convenient
- Can help you save on “emotional” purchases
- Prices are a little higher than in store prices on select items
- There is a service fee and minimum purchase (for me though it’s guaranteed to be less than the 1000th pair of yoga pants that find their way into my cart.)
- No Costco samples (sorry, couldn’t resist)
For more ways to save time and money on groceries, be sure to check out our Dashing Dish Membership, which will help you meal plan, build custom grocery lists, and more!