Could A Grocery Delivery Service Save Me Money?

January 15, 2015 at 5:25 PM 7 comments

groceries

A week or so ago my husband noticed a rip in a bag of chips that had been sitting on a shelf in our pantry. We couldn’t quite figure out what happened; did it snag while we were loading and unloading groceries, was it torn when I bought it? I wasn’t quite sure so I told him to toss it just to be safe. A few days later we found the cause: a mouse.

Yup. You read that right a mouse was sneaking into the pantry at night and feeding off of whatever he could tear his little teeth into. I found a torn bag of coconut flakes and sure enough there were mouse droppings just beside it. I don’t know how it got into the house, but my best guess is that snuck in an open door. We have contractors remodeling our basement and they certainly like to prop doors open while they cart materials in and out of the house. I don’t care how it got in, but I wanted him out and out quickly.

I moved all the food from the basement to the pantry a few weeks earlier as part of my nesting craze and here I was digging back through each and every item to ensure none of it was tainted by this furry little creature.

I dragged everything out of the cupboard and into plastic bins that could be sealed until the mouse was caught. As I was moving things around I was astounded by the number of duplicate items we had sitting in the pantry.

I used to believe in stocking the cupboard when items went on sale. If ketchup is half price we might as well buy three bottles. If buffalo sauce is buy-one-get-one I’d pick up four. In some cases this might make sense. We tend to cook from a standard repertoire of recipes and buffalo chicken has become a staple in our house, but other things just seemed a little bit crazy.

We make Chinese food about once a month. How on earth did I end up with three bottles of soy sauce in my pantry? Or how about that tasty mango dipping sauce? How many times did I make a recipe that needed it? Certainly not enough to warrant keeping four bottles stacked in the cupboard.

That little mouse taught me a very valuable lesson. I need to pay better attention to the ingredients we have on hand. It’s so easy for jars and bottles to get pushed to the back of the shelf. I arrive at the store, notice an item is on sale and assume we don’t have any at home. The problem is we already have more than enough sitting in the pantry.

It’s nice to know I have enough food on hand to reach into the cupboard and make a recipe, but how do I keep myself from buying things in excess? I don’t want to make french fries and realize I’m out of ketchup, but I don’t need three bottles collecting dust in the closet either.

I’d love to hear your ideas for helping with this problem. I certainly don’t want to run to the store last minute and pay full price for items, so I think menu planning might be a viable solution. If I can settle on at least three or four recipes I want to make before going to the grocery store then I can check the pantry for available ingredients before ever leaving.

Believe it or not I’m also considering a grocery delivery service. While I will certainly pay more in terms of delivery fees I will not be tempted by passing sales throughout the aisles. I think this would also cut back on unexpected expenses, like oh that doughnut looks particularly tasty or chocolate fudge ice cream is on sale, yummy!

Sticking to a list in the store would certainly help with this approach, but let’s face it tasty food and sales can be too tempting to resist.

I’d love to hear thoughts on grocery delivery services and saving money. Knowing I’ll pay more in upfront fees do you think it makes sense to see if a grocery delivery service might still save me money? I’ve considered shopping for the convenience, but I really do wonder if it might save me money over the long haul.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    We brought home a bag of pretzels that were torn and now I’m worried that a mouse had got into them before…

    My suggestion would be to meal plan. Check your pantry to see what you already have. Make a list of what you’ll need. Check the flyer before you go to the store. Figure out if you want to stock up on anything on sale and add how much you want to shop to your list. Then shop.

    Boring and tedious, but going through all the steps helps me when I’ve started to stock up on too much or started to buy way too much junk. (which happens basically whenever I don’t follow the steps. I’m weak)

    Reply
    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  January 18, 2015 at 8:43 PM

      I think meal planning is probably the ticket to saving, but for some reason I hate the idea of doing it. I know it would solve the never ending problem of what-on-earth am I going to make for dinner tonight, so I really should buckle down and give it a try. If I can save money and stress less over dinner then why am I so hesitant? Any suggestions for starting this process?

      Reply
      • 3. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom  |  January 18, 2015 at 8:53 PM

        Meal planning is one of those things like budgeting I guess that people push back against. But it’s so helpful for us.

        We use a calendar in the kitchen and write meal ideas on it for the month. My husband grew up with theme nights and although I pushed back against that idea it’s worked out pretty well for us. So Monday is breakfast for dinner, Friday is pizza night, etc.

        Not a very exciting process, but it takes me 5-10 minutes a month now and there’s no more “what’s for dinner” talk.

        Reply
        • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  January 19, 2015 at 7:56 PM

          I ran the idea of theme night by my husband but he didn’t seem to be a big fan. Bummer because that does seem like it would make it a whole lot easier to plan meals. I do like the idea of setting up a calendar on the fridge though and picking meals in advance. It seems if it’s right in front of my face I should be able to follow through with it 🙂

          Reply
  • 6. Amelia  |  January 16, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    I have recently come to a similar conclusion. I’ve used Peapod delivery service on and off over the past few years. Even though there is a delivery fee, it saves me a lot of money. I start by browsing through the sale items by department – I do the meat/seafood and produce first, the foundation of all our meals. I pick out all the (preferably) organic items that are on sale and add them to my cart. I also browse the other aisles to see if there are any other staples I might need that are on sale. From there, I come up with a meal plan based on those sale items already in my cart. Then, I go back into Peapod and add in the supplemental items (that soy or BBQ sauce, salsa, tortillas, etc.) that are needed for the chosen recipes. I add in various snacks and miscellaneous items up to my budget – I love that you can see the running total as you go along, which is much tougher to do when walking around the store. You can also save on the delivery fee a bit by choosing longer delivery windows or by driving by to pick your order up yourself (I’ve yet to try the latter).

    If I don’t do this, I usually go to Trader Joes, Wegmans, or Whole Foods and tend to completely overspend, mostly because it’s tougher to keep track of how much the total will be as I shop. Also, by having things delivered, it does cut down on the impulse buys and multiple trips. I try to limit my deliveries to every two weeks and make sure that I have enough for my actual meals for that time period. We usually do more fresh produce the first week and rely more on frozen the second (and soups). The only downside is that there still are a few things that I just simply can’t get at Peapod but those things are getting fewer and fewer as they add more organic, gluten free, specialty type things.

    Lastly, like you I’m also expecting a baby soon so having groceries delivered is a really nice perk these days 🙂 I first tried the service back when I didn’t have a car, so it felt totally justified. Then, when I did have a car, it felt like a silly indulgence. But, once I realized how I could use the system to my advantage, I came to the conclusion that it’s an overall time and money saver for me, personally.

    Good luck with the mouse!

    Reply
    • 7. One Frugal Girl  |  January 18, 2015 at 8:40 PM

      I’m so glad you let me know about your experience. We tend to aim for organic products as well and I once used Peapod in the past to stock up on twenty packs of Nature’s Promise chicken. I like the idea of searching for the organic products that are on sale and then filling in the remaining items from there. Like you my goal would be to shop online every two weeks and make certain we have enough to get us through that time period. I could probably push it to every three weeks with the exception of produce. Thankfully my son is a huge fruit and veggie eater so we clean out the bins quite quickly. In fact, I’ve recently started buying fruits like oranges and apples that tend to last a whole lot longer than pineapple and berries just to get us through an extra couple of days.

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! Since my son started preschool I began grocery shopping while he’s in school. He attends twice a week. I am not looking forward to shopping with a little one in tow again, which is definitely swaying me towards a food delivery service!

      Reply

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