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Are you like me, and looking for a way to save time grocery shopping. Hopefully this post will help!
Going out of your way to save money at a sale?
Meijer just had a 10/$10 sale recently. I don’t normally shop at Meijer because it’s a field trip for me (a 10-15 minute drive), as opposed to Kroger, which I could literally walk to from my house if I felt like it. I know Kroger also has 10/$10 sales. But, since I’m in “feast before famine” mode (you just never know when you’ll lose an income, so I’m trying to make better use of the dollars we have now), I wanted to take advantage of this sale. The sale paper online (okay, am I showing my age by saying “sale paper”? Ha ha.) showed some pretty good deals – things I would actually cook with and use – so I made my list and set out, toddler in tow – on an already hot (early) summer morning.
Tired of the crowds?
Well, note to self – since most/all Meijer stores are open 24 hours, even though to me it was “only” 9 a.m., it didn’t take long before the store was swarming with fellow deal-seekers, and the aisles became crowded with people and their filling-to-the-brim shopping carts. Since I’m not a fan of crowds, I was already starting to feel claustrophobic. It was clear I should have made a point of getting up and out the door earlier this morning. But I had stayed up until 1 a.m. working on stuff online, and it was nice to “sleep in” until 7:30 a.m. (a rarity these days, as I’m sure you mothers can relate!). Shame on me.
Could you do without “the look” from strangers?
Not to mention a group of older ladies that came into the line after me, giving me a look – okay, we all need to take note that sales mean you have to be PATIENT. They glared at me as if, “What nerve she has, taking advantage of a sale to stock up for her family!” I had less than 80 items in my cart according to my receipt, but you would think I had a caravan.
Kids not cooperating while you’re shopping?
Oh, and just before we were about to get into the checkout line, my son decided to have a meltdown. I had done my absolute best to fill my cart in as little time as possible, but a shopping trip lasting over 30 minutes would be enough even for me, so I can’t really be mad at him. He calmed down after his loud crying echoed throughout the nearby aisles (I love the looks I get from people – WITH KIDS – I mean, does this never happen to you?), but I just wanted out of there. I wanted to get out of there so badly, I had passed on a couple of deals that were on my list, just because we had been in there long enough.
Can I just get someone to shop for me?
Oh, how many of you have wished you could offsource your shopping duties to someone else? Isn’t there a better way to get groceries without spending a whole lot of time, time that could be better spent going to the pool or the park with your kid(s)?
Well…..there IS a way to save time – and your sanity – grocery shopping . Too bad it won’t work for me!!!
Enter – curbside shopping!!!
This has been around for a while now, so you may already be taking advantage of it, but I recently found out that Meijer, Kroger and Wal-mart all offer online/curbside grocery shopping. I am so busy running around with a full-time job and driving my little boy to and from Grandma’s, I don’t notice some things right off the bat. Wow, my prayers have FINALLY been answered. Even years ago, before hubby and kids, I wished there was a way to have someone else do the bulk of my shopping, and I can just pay for and get the groceries, hassle-free!
Here’s the lowdown on a couple of popular grocery stores (there are other stores, these are just the ones I’m highlighting here)
• Meijer’s version of online grocery shopping is called Meijer Curbside. You shop online, choose a pickup time, come to designated area, and they load your groceries.
• Can order up to 3 days in advance
• Fee varies
• No min or max to spend
• You can save your cart online for repeat orders/items
• If order is still in “new” status in your account, you can still cancel
• Curbside has dedicated places to keep your food cold/warm until you arrive; your order isn’t put together until close to your pick-up time
• Same day does not apply to everything – such as custom cakes or custom deli trays
• Prices are the same as in store
One of my friends uses the Meijer Curbside service and has no problem raving about it on Facebook on a regular basis.
My closest one to me (10 minutes) is NOT on the list. I would have to travel an additional 15-20 minutes for the store that does have this feature. BUT no shopping around for nearly an hour. So the trade-off may be worth it. We’ll see!
Even though the nearest Meijer that offers Curbside is twice as far as my closest Meijer (which is 10 minutes), I wanted to test it out for the purpose of writing a better-quality post for you.
At the time I went on the Meijer website and selected a Curbside location, it was about 3 p.m. I noticed on the upper right corner of the page (see screen shot below) that my order could be available in as little as an hour! BUT, as I took time to look around and shop and add items to my cart, the time slowly stretched further out – at one point the “available” time had updated to 3 hours from the current time.
You can add an item to your cart – and you still stay on that page, meaning you don’t get directed to your cart, and then have to click on a “continue shopping” button like you see on some online shopping portals.
For fun, I searched for “sangria” to see how it would treat something like alcohol, and it shows “age restricted” (although I had no problems adding it to my cart)
It appears you do need to be exact in your search – as an example, you need to type in “Larabar” and not just “lara” – for the latter, I wound up with no Larabars, and only mascara or Lava soap
When I’m physically in the store and I’m shopping at a not-ideal time (like after work when I just want to get home) NOT LISTENING TO MY OWN TIPS –
sometimes I’m so tired and/or hungry, that even though there are a few more things I’d like to buy, I just call it a day and check out. With online, you can take your time – and possibly go overboard if you’re not careful! You can save your cart, like with most other online sites you may shop at (like Amazon), and come back and finish the order.
You don’t have to pick up THAT DAY – you can choose to pick up 2 days later.
I went ahead and (finally) set up an MPerks account – I don’t shop at Meijer weekly, but if this worked out, I’d be open to shopping there more often then once every other month.
Kroger’s version is called ClickList.
• Debit or credit only
• Features are very similar to Meijer (above)
• Online prices reflect in-store prices from that day – so double-check because prices can change
• $4.95 fee/order – right now, first 3 orders are FREE (not the food, the service 😉 )
For Kroger, the closest store that participates is NOT the one within walking distance to me (of course) – it’s just across the road from the Meijer that offers Curbside, but both are a good 30 minutes from my home – not to mention 30 minutes further west if I needed to go after work. Going during rush hour and then add the fact that we’re in construction season – both can nearly double travel time!
Also, even though Kroger is my default grocery shopping spot – solely because of convenience – their online shopping portal was not as easy to access as Meijer’s. You either have to create an account or log in first, as opposed to Meijer, where you could check out as a guest. So I didn’t get as far with this one, as it takes a bit more effort.
Well, I’m on the fence on this one………
I realized that in the time it’ll take me to drive out of my way to pick up my grocery order – I could have done the shopping myself, much closer to home. So it boils down to what’s the lesser of two evils for me –
In theory, having groceries all ready for me sounds great – but when the end of the work day comes and I’m mentally drained, the thought of sitting in rush hour/construction traffic – and currently, in 90-degree heat – doesn’t sound like saving my sanity. I want to revisit this at a later time when we don’t have freeway shut-downs being fixed left and right.
Here are a few more stores that offer this service – surprisingly, I have not tried AmazonFresh, I guess I should! You can even buy meat from there, although from a quick glance it looks like in bulk, like Omaha Steaks for example. I did see there is a $299 fee for AmazonFresh, which is why I haven’t checked it out further.
So………have YOU taken advantage of this awesome way to save time grocery shopping? What do you think about it? Share in the Comments section below!
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