There are not very many things I would want to hold onto from the COVID-19 pandemic days, but some practices may be worth continuing. I’ll be honest, I was doing this before the pandemic, but I know many people who started when it wasn’t safe to go to the store physically. I’m talking about online grocery shopping. I learned that I could save a lot of money on my grocery budget if I shopped online.
Money-Saving with a Click
First, I’ll state the obvious. One of the main ways I save money by grocery shopping online is to avoid the temptation of snacks and quick deals that anyone can fall prey to in the brick-and-mortar store. You know the story: you’re picking out fresh vegetables and suddenly realize you may need some dried pepper and maybe some garlic powder. Some flashy sales sign captures your eye as you head to the spice aisle. Next thing you know, you’ve bought five cans for five dollars of a soup you’re not even sure your kids will eat. Sound familiar?
It’s not just those flashy displays or pretty packages that catch your eye. In fact, many of the more expensive items are right at eye level to entice you to put them into your cart.
You still see the deals when you shop for groceries online, but you’re not drawn to big flashy signs or shiny labels. When groceries appear to be one-dimensional, they’re less tempting. Plus, you have extra time to pause and think, “do we really need this item?”
Along the same lines, how many times have you made your way to the checkout line and were surprised by the total? It can be hard to keep a running list in your mind (or your phone’s calculator) of the amount you’re spending, especially if you are purchasing many items. When you shop for groceries online, you can see your total in real-time as it accumulates and right before you pay at checkout. There is no need to leave items at the register, asking the cashier to return them. All you have to do is click “remove item.” This is one of the perks best for online grocery shopping.
Speaking of sales, it would take all day to drive around to your favorite grocery stores, searching for the best deals and nourishing foods. When you grocery shop online, you can visit more than one store! You can shop the sales in a matter of a few minutes.
I’ve found online prices to be pretty competitive with brick-and-mortar pricing. Don’t forget to check the sales circulars for your local grocery stores. Often you can get the online groceries at the circular price and keep an eye out for digital coupons.
Goods Best for Online Grocery Shopping
I can be pretty picky when choosing my fresh fruit and vegetables. Letting someone else inspect the produce for the best ones in the lot involves giving up a little control. So if you’re just starting out, there are a few goods best for online grocery shopping to get your feet wet.
Frozen vegetables – Here you get all the health benefits of veggies without worrying about if you’ll end up with the freshest batch. Not to mention, a lot of frozen produce is picked at the peak of the season – meaning you’re going to get more flavor in the frozen veggies out of season than when you reach for, say, strawberries in the middle of winter. Lots of foods you buy don’t need to be fresh off the shelf, especially if they will be cooked.
Frozen fruit – Frozen fruit is excellent for homemade smoothies, or to top off your dessert. And just like frozen vegetables, frozen fruit is a great way to enjoy out-of-season fruits all year round.
Grains – Steel-cut oats, farro, Jasmine rice, and quinoa are just a few healthy grains that make any meal quick, nutritious, and tasty. Since grains do not necessarily need to be “handpicked,” you can trust just about anyone to package these staples and deliver them to your door. Buying these in bulk can help your wallet too.
Stores Best for Online Grocery Shopping
There is a lot of competition out there. If you have a favorite grocery store, check out their online and home delivery options. But if you’re not sure where to start, I love to shop from a variety of places online.
There are many other online grocery stores to choose from. Just be sure you read up on the delivery fees and consider other factors. Does the company use low-waste packaging? How are your goods transported to your door? Where are the products sourced from? These are all questions I ask when shopping for groceries online.
A good place to start for weekly delivery (especially for produce) is Imperfect Foods. We get a weekly order delivered every Tuesday. I can customize it every week based on our needs too. It is either smaller, ugly, or a surplus. But honestly, our produce from them is always wonderful! The occasional bruised apple is all we have had. It’s also 30% cheaper than the stores because of this! They don’t deliver everywhere yet, so check to see if they deliver in your area.
If you are looking for bulk food, organic produce, canned goods, animal feed, and just about anything else (but it only delivers once per month), then check out Azure Standard. They deliver to drop sites near you all over the U.S. I get a lot of bulk food, amazing raw cheese, chicken feed, and summer sausage — to name a few favorites.
We buy a 1/4 cow every year from a local farmer, but we supplement our meat selection with meats and seafood from ButcherBox. I LOVE their salmon, and we also regularly order their chicken and ground pork sausage.
If you are looking for clean wine and beverages, we LOVE Dry Farm Wines. They are organically grown, independent lab tested for purity, sugar-free, and have no additives. It is delicious, and there is no hangover the next day! If you want to try it, here is a bottle for a penny.
Another fun thing to order is boxes from Wild Grain. They are filled with bread, pasta, and desserts — an they are all made from clean ingredients, have the makings for 30 individual meals, and take less than 25 minutes to bake. Their sourdough is amazing!!! Get $30 off your first box HERE.
Lastly, if you just want meals delivered, our favorite is Green Chef. Everything is healthy, prepped, and all you do is cook it up. The flavors in their dishes are amazing! We order a box every once in a while when I need a break from cooking.
App for Online Grocery Shopping
When considering an app for online grocery shopping, you should have two in mind. The first would be any app associated with your store of choice. If you don’t order online and choose to shop at your local grocery store online instead, then that store should have a “deliver store to home” app. The app will let you shop online and deliver the groceries straight to your door. This is also the case for big-name companies like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
The second app you should consider is a list app. There is nothing wrong with handwriting your grocery list, but if you keep your phone handy, as many of us do, sometimes it’s just easier to make a quick note on your phone. Let’s face it, as busy mamas, we run out of things on the go. Someone uses the last roll of toilet paper, or you scrape the last bit of peanut butter on your child’s celery stick. Please don’t wait to put it on a list because you might forget! A few popular apps in the Apps Store are AnyList: Grocery Shopping List, Our Groceries Shopping List, and Shopping List Ease – Grocery.
Let’s recap: If you’re looking for ways to save money, save time, eat real food, help out the environment, and shop confidently, online grocery shopping may be the perfect solution for you. You can check out your local stores or try some of my favorites. The important thing is to find what works for you, your family, and your budget.