online-grocery-pros-and-cons

10 Budgeters Share the Pros and Cons of Online Grocery Shopping

With online grocery services cropping up all over the place, you can now fill your shopping cart from anywhere! Depending on the service, they’ll either deliver your kitchen staples to your house or to your car. That’s a lot of time and hassle saved for a lot of shoppers.

But does it equal money saved too? We asked EveryDollar budgeters to weigh in on the pros and cons of groceries-on-demand. Here’s what they had to say:

EveryDollar Budgeters Talk About Online Grocery Services

1. Everything in balance.

“I love online grocery shopping! My favorite thing is seeing my balance while I shop. I can delete things I don’t need at the end to stay within my budget.”

– Chelsea V.

2. Missing in-store deals.

"I used to do online shopping and would pick up my order at the store. They would bring the groceries to my car. I found it very convenient, which justified the $5 fee, and it was easy to see my total before purchasing. However, over time I discovered that I was missing out on sales, markdowns that only happen in the store, and manager’s specials, which often are marked down by 50%. Overall, I’ve cut my grocery budget by half by shopping what’s on sale, making a meal plan for each week based on that, looking for extra deals, and being flexible in my plan."

– Jennifer R.

3. Less distractions for you and your kids.

"I save because I don’t wander around the store picking up items I don’t need and my kids don’t ask for extra things. Also, even if I didn’t save money it would be worth the amount of time I save, which frees me up to work more! (I own my own business.)"

– Kristi P.

4. Simple price comparisons.

"It’s great. We use Shipt sometimes in Ft. Worth and have stayed within budget. My wife, Chelsea, is actually great at comparing and remembering deals, and sometimes she buys groceries at two or three places and saves big money."

– Michael M.

5. Weekly budget saver.

"I’ve started using Kroger’s ClickList. I include the $5 fee in my total so I stay within my weekly budget. It helps me stay on track because I only get what is on my list and can take my time comparing prices and products without feeling like I’m taking too long or in other people’s way. I can also limit substitution options so I get exactly what I ordered. This week I forgot to order our groceries so I stopped on the way home. I made way more impulse buys and went over budget because I was distracted and not limiting myself."

– Emalee G.

6. Fewer impulse buys.

"I definitely save by using a meal plan and Walmart’s pickup service. No impulse buys! I’m still working on making sure I have staples on the list, but it’s definitely saving us money."

– Laura B.

7. Digital coupons and convenience.

"I just recently started using a service where I order my groceries online and have them delivered to my car. I love it! My store lets me use digital coupons like I would in the store, so I don’t lose out on those savings. I’m doing it as a sort of experiment right now, but I have a feeling it’s going to save me money since I’m not distracted by my children and buying things last minute that aren’t on my list. But even if it isn’t any cheaper, the convenience might still be worth it!"

– Kelly R.

8. More time and money.

"We use Walmart grocery and their Savings Catcher. (You scan your receipt via the app, wait a few days, and get a credit if any competitors in the area had a better deal on any item.) I love it! It cut our grocery bill by an average of over $10 a week. It completely removes impulse buying, and it’s a huge time-saver. We took the plunge and cut our grocery category formally via the budget and EveryDollar a few weeks after noticing the difference. It’s absolutely worth a try!"

– Edi P.

9. Meal planning made easy.

"I love grocery delivery! It does save me money because it keeps me from spontaneous shopping. And it requires me to plan our meals in advance. I love it!"

– Dawn P.

10. Quality time together.

"My husband and I haven’t used it. Our favorite thing to do is go shopping together on the weekends. He actually gets super bummed if our weekend is too packed and I have to go by myself on Monday."

– Stephanie N.

The bottom line is: Do what works for your family. If you enjoy grocery shopping and scouring the aisles for deals, go for it! Otherwise, see if a service is worth checking out—it may just save you time and money.

No matter how you choose to shop, keep track of your grocery spending with EveryDollar. That way, you’ll know exactly how much you can spend before you go (or stay).

EveryDollar Grocery Savings Guide