Am I the Only One That Realizes That Having My Groceries Delivered Makes Financial Sense?

Conventional wisdom says that paying to have your groceries delivered to your door is a waste of money. I have to disagree with this assessment. I have found that having my groceries delivered has saved me far more time and money than I could have ever done by shopping on my own. Yes, there is a charge to have the groceries delivered and you should give the tip to the person who delivers them, but even with these costs I still come out far ahead. These are some of the ways that having my groceries delivered saves me money:

First and foremost, I no longer need to drive. That means that I save money on the gas and wear and tear of my car that driving to and from the grocery store would cause

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22 Responses to Am I the Only One That Realizes That Having My Groceries Delivered Makes Financial Sense?

  1. Carol says:

    I’ve been having my groceries delivered regularly for almost a year now. I live in England where most of the major supermarkets deliver.
    Unlike you, I only shop once a month. I’ve got plenty of storage space and I use a spreadsheet to inventory our food on hand. From this, I order a month to six weeks worth of staples. It may sound complex, but it’s pretty quick and easy once you set it up. The spreadsheet makes it hard to forget items, and cuts down on impulse purchases.
    In between deliveries, I use the small supermarket nearby to get milk and some fresh veggies and fruit. I get bread from the local bakery (we’re lucky to have one right up the street).
    Oh, and the final benefit: we don’t have a car. In fact, the first thing people say to me when they hear that I don’t have a car is they couldn’t do their big grocery shopping without one.

  2. Yep, hear, hear, and all that. Definitely pays to pay for delivery rather than wasting the 20 mile round trip and the three hour drudge, and it reduces your carbon footprint.

    db

  3. Alex says:

    I would disagree with your conclusions, it seems most of your benefits are due to weak willpower and preparation, things that could be overcome by 1. preparing more 2. resisting buying that National Enquirer on the checkout line.

    You eliminate the weak mindset problems and you are basically paying more for your groceries for the convenience of saving time. Thats fine and all: just don’t delude yourself into thinking you are being frugal.

    Also, I think it is easier to shop for bargains with all of the products right next to eachother and advertised by stickers which state what the unit price is.

  4. Punny Money says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this, because I hadn’t given home grocery delivery much of a thought before now. I looked up the price for Safeway to deliver to our home–just $8! I probably spend $3 just in gas for each trip, and I’ll save probably an hour a week doing this.

    You are awesome.

  5. Prateek says:

    My employer sweetens the deal for me – I get free delivery from Safeway & automatically qualify for the club benefits. No reason for me to own a car either.

  6. Cyrrik Dresden says:

    I don’t buy it. I agree that all of those reasons could potentially be good ones for having the groceries delivered… And having them delivered might even be a good idea & make sense. But you’ve succeeded in analyzing this into a neurotic mess. If I had to think that much about shopping for food, I think I’d shoot myself in the head. Thanks.

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  8. I love the idea of home delivery!

    Yeah, it reduces your carbon footprint, saves a few bucks on fuel.

    Unfortantely where I live in Canada there is only talk of home delivery but hopefully some of the grocery stores start doing it.

    My biggest vote for home delivered groceries is the time savings. I absolutely despise the hours wasted, not too mention the over-crowded aisles!

  9. Ugly American says:

    Yeah, I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t understand why more people don’t.

    I guess it’s like ebanking, it’ll take a long time for people to change their habits even when it’s such an obvious win.

  10. plonkee says:

    You’ve persuaded me that I have to try it.

  11. Paul Begley says:

    No way. I have a family of five. We bulk purchase at a warehouse store near us about 15 times a year. It takes me one hour to shop and we realize significant savings on a lot of goods that are not available from a store that delivers.

    I know how to calculate the cost per unit volume. We used to do it with a slide rule before stores posted, and some stores still use stupid units anyway.

    I live in NJ and drive a mini-van, but there are three warehouse sites under ten miles round trip from my home.

    Our next step is to buy bulk fruit/veg and split it with my mother and mother-in-law.

    I don’t make impulse purchases, so this is not an issue.

    Other than food, the bulk of my purchasing is done online. Books, auto parts, clothing, just about everything. If I already know what I want, I’m finding that local stores don’t have it in stock, but I can always get it online. Of course, I’m a boring engineer, so things like clothing and even shoes are replacement purchases rather than something I ‘shop’ for.

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  13. Richard says:

    The article DOES make a couple points… e.g. gas money on your end is in fact saved, (although for many, that’s a non-issue since there’s a grocery every other block).

    For the most part though, I agree with Alex (Comment #3) here — a lot of this is basically substituting poor planning and weak willpower for money.

    One *real* advantage I’d say regarding shopping online at some supermarkets, however, is that sometimes coupons are offered online that you can’t access in-store. For e.g., I just got $45 an order with Safeway online via promo codes, PLUS free delivery. Now THAT’S an advantage.

  14. Richard says:

    That should be $45 *off* an order….

  15. Jenn says:

    I get produce and grocery items delivered by a local Seattle delivery service (Pioneer Organics). While I still go to the grocery store for some items they do not have, it has cut down on my impulse buys- to the tune of $50 a month, which I can then put towards food I will like better, savings, etc.

    Since I don’t really shop sales to begin with (what’s the good of an item on sale sitting on my shelf if I won’t eat it), and cook for 1-2 people a day, bulk stores really don’t offer me much like some of the people who have 5 or more people in the family, and even with eating mostly organic, natural, and local my food costs per item have barely gone up.

    Added bonuses-
    -they are doing multiple deliveries so there is less gas (Pioneer organics, the company I use actually has some biodeisel trucks)
    -you can get neighbors to do it too. I haven’t even mentioned it to my neighbors, but several months ago the number of boxes being delivered to my building went from just me to at least 4 on my floor.

  16. Ben M says:

    Perhaps this works for high end grocery stores. I see Safeway mentioned in the comments a number of times. I avoid shopping there and similar places because of there high costs. I save lots of money by carefully picking where I shop. The cheaper grocery stores are never going to have the margins to support home delivery. The couple bucks that is charged probably doesn’t cover the overhead of the delivery costs to the store. It is just to discourage frivolous usage.

  17. Andrew says:

    I didn’t see you mention it but can you use coupons? If not, end of discussion.

    You seem more interested in saving time then saving money. All your other reasoning is because you are too weak. I hope you don’t leave your house while you wait for your food or you negate your carbon savings.

    I can go to the store and shop for what I need without picking up the pretty boxes of junk. I can discern for myself what fruit and veggies to get. I can read the price tags that tell me the price per pound and compare that with other products. I get to look at expiration dates when buying in bulk so I can maximize my shelf lift.

    I usually buy items that are onsale that I have a coupon for. I know I am saving more then spending $10-$15 (charge plus tip) just to get the food to me.

  18. Carol says:

    Funny, I see people saying that they have to be able to use coupons. Here in the UK, coupons are mostly available for processed foods. It’s generally cheaper to cook from scratch — and it really is easy, despite what some people say. They give you coupons so you feel like you’re getting a deal, but the basic product is really overpriced.

    Also, our online supermarkets have unit prices right up front. There’s no need to go to the store to look at shelf tags.

    There’s an online comparison service called MySupermarket.co.uk that automatically compares prices between UK stores and also will tell you if a cheaper product is available at the store you choose. If this kind of service isn’t available in the U.S., it should be. I save 20-30 a month using it — that’s 40-60 for a two-person shop.

    Oh, and to the person who said something about making shopping a “neurotic mess.” If you’re debt-free, you may have a point. If not, perhaps a little attention to small details might be a good idea. :-)

  19. Andrew says:

    Off the top of my head, last weekend I used coupons for canned tomatos, frozen veggies, toilet paper, laundry detergent, diapers, orange juice, chicken broth and kitchen cleaner.

    I guess I could have made my own broth but that takes hours and hours and takes a lot of supplies. And I guess I could have peeled and chopped my own tomatos but that’s so much more expensive (although probably better for me).

    I am sure if you don’t mind spending the extra money online shopping is great, but there is no way it’s cheaper.

  20. Gail says:

    I frequently get some of my groceries delivered for free and all it costs me is an occassional free dinner for the delivery guy–my son. He is always happy to pick stuff up for me, he keeps me up-to-date on sales for items I purchase frequently. When I tell him I need bread or whatever, he knows what brand, etc. to get me. He doesn’t make a special trip either, he does this on his way home from college. Apparently I have the best of both worlds, especially as I’m disabled and find it difficult to get out at times.

  21. Erica says:

    Hmm, I’ve never tried it before! I am always looking to save money on groceries, though, so perhaps I should give this a shot. Thanks!

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