The Grocery Shopping Blues

The Grocery Shopping BluesGrocery shopping. One of my least favourite activities. Maybe there are some people out there who enjoy it but I’m certainly not one of them.

Grocery shopping tends to go one of two ways for me. Either I get to the store with no list or plan and grab a cart full of things that seem like a good idea at the time or I go with a long well planned out list, get into the store with the harsh lights, the noise, the screaming kids, the endless aisles of stuff and just get so annoyed that I start skimming the list. “I don’t need this… I’ll get that next time…” Either way I come home, feel like I spent too much money, have too little to show for it other than a pounding headache and frazzled nerves.

Fortunately we have a few options in the GTA to help take some of the pain out of grocery shopping including grocery delivery services, organic produce delivery options such as Organics Live and Plan B Organics and even the option to have healthy prepared meals delivered every week. While you do pay a little more for groceries, including delivery fees, I find the pros outweigh the cons.

Time – one of the biggest pros I find when it comes to having groceries delivered is time. With an online grocery service I can quickly make a grocery list and plan delivery at a time that works for me. Delivery windows are usually about 2 hours so I can plan to have groceries delivered as early as 7-9am or as late as 7-9pm or anywhere in between. The online order form allows me to create a regular shopping list so I can quickly check off the items I need in less than 5 minutes.

Planning – once I’ve started a grocery list I can go back and add things to the list as I think of them. I typically schedule my order several days in advance which leaves me plenty of time to plan my week’s meals and add the necessary items. For those of us who are trying to eat better, avoid certain foods or stick to a diet ordering online means we don’t walk past the tempting breads, pastries, ice cream and other items on the “aisles of bad decisions”.

Searchable – online grocery order forms are searchable which means finding and adding items to your cart is simple – instead of searching through aisle after aisle in the store to find something or trying to find an employee to help.

Budget – while it may be true that online grocery items are priced a little higher than in store and there is the delivery fee to consider, I find it easier to make and stick to a grocery budget by using the online order form which keeps a running total for you as you add items to your cart. For anyone living on a budget or trying to keep track of spending the ability to keep an eye on your total, and remove items if need be, is priceless. I find I spend less money overall by ordering once per week with a plan rather than going to the grocery store 3-4 times in a week to pick up a few things as I think of them.

Quality – this comes up whenever I mention I prefer to order groceries online, someone will say they prefer to pick their own meat or produce. The fact is that the grocery store staff who pick and pack your order are picking from the freshest items, typically items that have just arrived and are not out in the store bins and shelves and are trained to look for quality and freshness. If you do have something delivered that is not satisfactory the grocery delivery staff will replace it or refund it quickly. I have never had any issues personally.

Planning part 2 – grocery delivery options are great for regular weeks but for extra busy weeks, weeks with holidays and special events, they are priceless. Instead of rushing around at the last minute to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, meats for a holiday meal or special event I can order everything I need and have it delivered saving me time and stress. Just remember to plan a week or two ahead for delivery before Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays.

After looking at all of the factors – the convenience and the serious time savings – it turns out that online grocery shopping can be less expensive than shopping the local stores, even with the higher prices and the delivery fee. For those of you in Ontario, Canada – I use GroceryGateway.com which is owned by Longos. I’ve had great service and beautiful produce and meat each time I’ve ordered from them and highly recommend them.

Merlene Paynter

Merlene Paynter is a freelance writer and content consultant. When she's not working as the Managing Editor at Her City Lifestyle she's mixing up cocktails over at Madtini.com , designing websites, writing, and selling yarn at her new online yarn shop KnitCreek.com and drinking too much coffee.

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