Living with credit

Save money by having groceries delivered? Yes!

Jenny Hoff

If you’re like most people, you enter the grocery store with a vague idea of what you want to buy and walk out with about 50 percent more than expected. That’s why a grocery delivery service might help you save money, despite the delivery fee and any upcharge on products.

Studies vary, but most conclude that the average shopper fills his or her cart with 20 to 60 percent of impulse buys when grocery shopping.

Perhaps it’s because each item is relatively inexpensive, so you don’t think you’re adding much with each extra protein bar or exotic fruit drink. Or perhaps it’s because your growling stomach sees every item as a necessary purchase in that moment. Or, if you’re like me, it makes grocery shopping a whole lot more peaceful if you just give in to your toddler’s wishes.

No matter the reason, you should know that companies are capitalizing on this weakness and employing tactics to ensure you leave the store with at least a few items you don’t need.

This is how an online grocery delivery service can save you money. At first, I thought as you likely do: It’s a frivolous expense. I finally gave in, though, on a day when it was storming outside and I was home with a toddler.

I convinced myself the extra expense of online grocery delivery this one time was worth it.

To my surprise, when it came time to pay, I realized I had spent less than I normally do during my weekly trip to the grocery store. Because I had to choose the items individually online, and I could see the cost add up immediately, it made it easier to put back items that I realized I didn’t need (something that rarely happens when you’re checking out with a line of people behind you).

Instead of eyeballing my produce and trying to guess the approximate weight or having to go to the scale and weigh each item, I choose the exact weight (and the price is set). This way, I avoid sticker shock at the register when my bag of grapes costs me $7.

Also, by thinking ahead of time of what I wanted to cook that week, I made sure to get items that would produce a meal for the whole family.

End result? Simply by entering my credit card information, I was able to indulge in what I considered a luxury service — and save money in the process.

If you are an ultra-disciplined shopper, this may not be for you, since there is a slight increase in the food prices, and you are paying a delivery fee. But, if you have kids who make grocery store shopping feel as if you are participating in a Tough Mudder race, this may be a time-saving, less stressful option.

And if you are like the majority of Americans who know you are influenced by fancy packaging, your current hunger state or the allure of samples that come with a coupon for an overpriced item you definitely don’t need, then consider giving an online grocery delivery service a try.

You can even specify how ripe you want your fruits and vegetables, and give instructions on how thin you want your deli cheese sliced.

And, if you’re like me and guiltily think, “My grandma managed to get groceries with six kids in tow!” just remember there used to be milkmen and fruit hawkers who would pass through the neighborhood on a regular basis. So consider this little luxury a tip of the hat to the days of old when people knew it was better to avoid the sophisticated ploys of marketers and get only what they needed, delivered right to their front door.

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