A decade ago, grocery shopping used to mean taking the time out of your day to go to the store and stock up whatever food our household items you need. However, in recent years, online services like Instacart or Peapod have begun popping up and made the grocery shopping process a lot more hands-off. Rather than spending hours at the store, you can pick out the items you need from the comfort of your own home and let someone do the shopping for you.
Since getting your groceries delivered to your door usually includes a fee, major chains like Walmart and Kroger have developed their own strategies. These stores allow you pick out what you want from their website and let one of their employees do the shopping—all you need to do is pull into the parking lot and let them load the groceries into your car.
One of the biggest perks of shopping online is convenience—it’s often much less time-consuming to browse online than it is to drive to the store and walk through every aisle. Not to mention, shopping online eliminates the stress of trying to navigate crowds and long lines. However, besides convenience, many people often wonder if shopping online can also save you money. Believe it or not, doing your weekly shopping from the comfort of your smartphone can end up saving you a few bucks in the long run—here’s how:
Ever walked into the grocery store with a plan to only get a few items and then walked out with a full cart? You aren’t the only one—one of the downsides of traditional grocery shopping is that it’s easy to get distracted. With so many options available, it’s only a matter of time before you start grabbing stuff you didn’t plan to.
When you shop online, there’s a lot more organization. Rather than cruising through each aisle to find what you need, you can just search for each item. Not only does this save you plenty of time, but it also prevents you from buying things you don’t need just because they’re within reaching distance.
For people that have issues with impulse control, shopping online can stop them from buying unnecessary foods that may look tempting then (but that they’ll regret purchasing later).
Another way you can save money with online grocery shopping has to do with bulk purchasing. Sites like Amazon often run sales on certain items like coffee grounds or pet food when you buy them in bulk. While purchasing some items in bulk might not always be the most cost-effective option, it can end up being cheaper for items you frequently buy anyway. For instance, a bulk sale on staples might not be useful, but if you drink coffee every day, purchasing your coffee in bulk and saving a few dollars might be worth it.
Grocery stores like Walmart or Kroger frequently run weekly or daily sales on a variety of items, but not all shoppers get to enjoy these savings. Along with in-store sales, plenty of grocery stores also run sales that are only valid online.
When shoppers buy their groceries online, they often have access to a lot more coupons, sales, and savings than they usually would. Not to mention, browsing online allows you to check whether you can find coupons for an item (or even if you can find it cheaper somewhere else).
You Can Take Inventory
One thing that’s extremely easy to do while you’re at the store is to buy something you already have. For instance, you might not remember if you have flour at home. If you’re at the store, there’s no way to check if you do have flour so you may end up buying it anyway (even though, as it turns out, you do already have it at home).
One perk of buying online is that, if you’re shopping at your house, you can easily take an inventory of what you have at home and avoid purchasing items that are already in your pantry or fridge.
When it comes to saving money on your groceries, one method that many people employ is comparison shopping. Before you purchase something, you can check the price of the item at a couple of different stores to find where it’s cheapest. However, when you grocery shop in the traditional way, comparison shopping can be difficult.
It can quickly become time-consuming to drive to a variety of different stores just to save a few dollars. With online grocery shopping, comparison shopping is much easier. It usually only takes a couple of clicks to compare prices, and you can even organize things by making a list of which items you need to purchase at which stores.
Although online grocery shopping is still a relatively new concept, there are plenty of perks that come with it—including saving you money on your weekly groceries. By eliminating the stress that comes with impulse shopping and distractions, online grocery shopping lets you focus on buying only what you need (rather than what looks tempting nearby).
While online grocery shopping may mean that you have to wait a few days for your items to show up at your doorstep or you have to pay a delivery fee, many shoppers find that it ends up saving them more money in the long run.