Streamline Your Grocery Shopping & Save Time and Money
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to spend less time doing the things that I just don’t love doing.
High on that list is grocery shopping. Wrangling two kids (Will’s 3 ½, and Lachlan’s 5 months) while shopping is a headache…and not just for me. Adding to the pain is the fact that I’m a bit of a store snob. That means I can’t bring myself to shop at the store down the street. The décor, which hasn’t changed since 1958, is just too darn depressing and the produce is pretty wretched. So I typically drive to the next town over, adding time and a little extra expense (but I’ll happily pay more if it means I can get good produce).
I am a huge fan of online shopping, so it was only natural for me to want to transition as much of the grocery shopping online as I could. I was an early tester of online options, optimistic that it would, at the very least, make it easy to ‘time shift’ the grocery shopping and ideally save me time as well. Unfortunately, I never seemed to save enough time to justify the shipping costs. When I tried it a few years ago, the interfaces I used wouldn’t let you save a regular ‘basket’ of goods, so there were no real shopping time efficiencies. If I wasn’t saving time, it was really hard to justify the shipping costs. Or, if I ordered from a local store online, dealing with the delivery hassles (i.e. please be sure you are home to meet the truck between the convenient hours of 8am and 3pm) pretty much nullified any time savings.
Online Grocery Shopping that Finally Makes Sense
Much to my delight, a new site, called Alice.com, is bringing online grocery shopping up to code. It has thousands of those basic packaged goods you always need (like TP, crackers, and laundry detergent) for sale at prices that match those at super-stores like Target and Wal-Mart. It has an interface that actually reminds you of what you need to buy, and the shipping is always free. Best of all, the site has ‘taken all the coupons in the entire country and uploaded them,’ so the savings is built-in and no clipping is required. If you’re anything like me, that’s a huge bonus (I have the best intentions when it comes to couponing, but somehow I never seem to be able to clip and organize them in a way that ensures I actually use them).
I started using Alice.com two weeks ago. Since my first visit, I’ve made two additional purchases and am trying to get “in the habit” of doing this shopping online – it does take a little getting used to the fact that you can’t wait until something basically runs out before you log on – you need at least three to four days lead time. But the time savings and actual dollar savings are significant. I can shop at 11pm from the comfort of my living room couch. Plus, I’ve already saved myself nearly $20: $1.08 on a jumbo package of diapers (they’re $0.19 per diaper at my regular store, $0.18 at Alice.com), $6.00 because coupons are automatically applied (yay!), and $2.75 on every can of baby formula (it’s $28.99 at my regular grocery store and $26.24 at Alice.com), and I’ve bought 4 cans so far. Not bad!
The interface is clean and very well designed. Frankly, it’s much more appealing, than almost any other “mass” online shop I’ve used, like Drugstore.com or even Amazon.com. When you click on a product, a pop-up gives you more detailed information and enables you to add it to your list of products and specify approximately how often you need to reorder it. The only nit pick I have is on diapers – the image of the packaging is too small to read the weight range associated with the size. I have a 5 month old who is growing like a weed and I want to make sure that I’m not going to buy 100 diapers that are going to be too small in a week. I cheated by visiting another store and looking it up – but it would be helpful if they added that information in at least the details section for the product!
I would definitely advise taking the time on your first visit to fill out the “My Products” section. Basically that means go through each category and select the products in the category that you like to buy. Don’t worry, they make it easy by prompting you with cute little ducks – as in get all your ducks in a row.
If you typically rotate between a few different brands of say, shampoo, then put all of the ones you buy in your products section as it will make it easier to shop in the future. Plan to set aside maybe an hour to get all set up on your first visit so that the next time you shop, all you have to do is click on the “My Products” tab and just drag and drop the items you need right into your basket. I didn’t take the time on my first visit to do that, but realized the benefit of doing so when I came back to shop, so I carved out about 45 minutes and got myself all set up. It definitely will save lots of time in the long run.
The budgeting section is also pretty neat. I’ll be interested to see over time how my spending breaks down by category. Although, I have a feeling that until Lachlan is done with baby formula (we call it liquid gold in my house), the Nursery and Kids portion will be the area where I’m spending the majority of my money.
Disclosure: This is sponsored content and we have been paid to do this post. That being said, we do not blog about anything we do not believe in and Alice.com did not edit our post or direct our content in any way.