As part of my non-running goals for 2014 I decided to start making a serious effort at planning my meals and doing my food prep ahead of time. All things considered, it’s been going quite well. I’ve had stellar weeks where all the next week’s meals are prepped and in the freezer and then I’ve had weeks where I’ve simply had all of my planning and shopping done but no prep. Either way, it’s saved me a lot of time and money too.

In the past couple weeks I’ve even discovered a whole new secret weapon in this meal planning and prep game. And it’s so amazing that I wanted to share in case you can make use of it too.

Are you ready? It’s just three little words…

Grocery delivery service. Oh yeah baby, it’s ah-mazing!

One of our local grocery stores (Thrifty Foods) offers online grocery shopping and my husband suggested giving it a try after hearing from his co-workers who use it.

I was resistant at first, thinking, “I’m quite capable of buying my own groceries, I don’t need to pay someone else to do it!” And it’s true I don’t need someone else to do it but then I got thinking about the advantages and figured I’d give it a try. Game changer.

Here’s why:

  • I can do my shopping in my jammies, any time of day (this is big)
  • I can add items to my online order throughout the week (no more shopping lists!)
  • I can browse online recipes and add ingredients to my list as I’m planning meals
  • I can choose between in-store pickup or home delivery (day-of or a future date) 
  • No more dragging the kids through the grocery store
  • No more shopping cart full of kids and no room for groceries
  • No more impulse junk food purchases
  • I’m saving money because I’m only buying the stuff I need, when I need it
  • Grocery shopping takes minutes instead of hours
  • At-your-door-delivery with a smile (well so far he’s always been smiling)
Sounds good but I bet you’re wondering how much it costs, right? Not as much as you’d think. At Thrifty’s, charges are as follows:
  • $4.95 for in-store pickup (everything is waiting for you at the front)
  • $7.95 for home delivery
  • $9.95 for same-day home delivery
So yes, there’s an extra cost but when shopping would normally take me about 2 hrs, I feel like an extra $8 to NOT have to go to the store, with the kids and take all that time is definitely worth it. Of course, it all depends on how you value your time but for me it is an $8 well-spent.
It’s also really pretty easy to do. With our service, you set up an online account and you can even link your points cards etc. to the account. When you’re ready to shop, you open up an order and start adding items, you can even leave notes regarding substitutions etc.
It took a little while getting used to searching for items and finding exactly what I’m looking for but now that I’ve used it a couple times, it’s quick and I can even save commonly purchased items to a favourites list. Once the order is done, you schedule your pickup or delivery front the available time and submit the order.
I’ve tried both pickup and delivery and really, for the $3 difference between the two services I’d way rather do home delivery. I could see myself using the pickup service when I can do during school hours  but as long as I’d have the kids with me, I’d rather just save the hassle of going out at all and get everything delivered.
When the groceries arrive, everything is bagged nicely and you get a printout of your order and notes on anything that may not have been available (you can sign up for phone calls if substitutions need to be made)

If you happen to live in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, you might want to consider giving Thrifty Foods online shopping a try. However, even if you don’t live here I’d highly recommend checking with some of your favourite grocery stores to see if they offer a similar service.

What about the downsides? Well, I’m a big comparison shopper and always love a good deal and by purchasing all my groceries in one place, sometimes I’m paying a bit more than what I might be able to find elsewhere. However, one of my main motives in switching to this service was the convenience and saving of time and I have to be realistic, I’d rather pay a little bit more on some items in exchange for saving all that time and effort each week. So far anyway, my grocery bills have gone down because I’m seriously only buying what I need so I’ve barely even noticed that some items cost more.

Anyhow, aside from the convenience I am so impressed by how awesome online groceries fit in when you’re meal planning. Each week, I sit down and go through the online recipes I’ve tagged and as I’m picking the things I want to make all I have to do is have my grocery order open and add the items as I go. Easy peasy.

So yes, I am pretty much in love with my local grocery store now and smile to myself every week when I hit ‘Submit’ and know that my grocery shopping is done. We are all so busy with family life, training and races, who wouldn’t want to buy themselves some extra time if they can? I thought maybe if I shared you might be able to find a similar service where you live and be able to enjoy some of the same benefits.

Happy shopping!

PS This is going to come in seriously handy once our DietBet starts next week – no more moments of weakness in the candy aisle! The pot is growing, feel free to join us!

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  1. Courteney O    

    Wow…there are definitely benefits to this for sure….saving money would be a definite one for me..I always pick up more than I had intended!!! Unfortunately, I don’t know that any of our stores offer this service.

  2. Elle    

    I have seen our friends at the marina use this over the years when they land in on their boats and have no vehicle to go grocery shopping. I kind thought Thrifty’s had a free delivery for over $25 orders. Guess that has changed. Glad it is working for you, Nikki. Yes, shopping with kids is cumbersome!

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