Learn How to Buy Groceries Online and Save Money

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Why Buy Groceries Online?

Shopping for groceries online is a surprising way to cut your grocery spending. That’s because supermarkets can be hazardous to your budget. Anyone who has gone to the store for bread and left with two or three bags knows how hard it can be to avoid impulse purchases. In fact, it’s estimated that over 50% of the average grocery purchase consists of impulse buys (Roth). When you shop on your computer, it’s a lot easier to stick to your list. You don’t even see anything else.

Also, shopping online saves time. In this tough economy, more people are working longer hours to make ends meet. Every minute spent with family and friends is precious. When you do your grocery shopping online, you can shop when and where it’s convenient for you. For example, instead of spending the whole morning dragging the kids around the grocery store, you simply log on and submit your order. Then you can spend the morning playing with your children while someone else runs around the store.

The Process is Easy

Anybody who has done any online shopping can shop for groceries online. The process is exactly like that used by Amazon, Ebay, and other online retailers: you create an account on a website, search for the items you want, fill your virtual cart, then submit your order, paying with a credit or debit card.

The process starts by finding a store that offers online shopping and will deliver to your house. As of this writing, Kroger (aka King Soopers) and Safeway both offered online shopping. The websites of both companies allow you to enter your address and see if delivery is offered where you live. Once you’ve created an account and logged in, you can search by product name, type, or by store aisle. Search results are displayed in columns (often with a special logo next to those that are on sale or part of a store card discount program) making it easy for you to see which products offer the best value.

Be Aware of Additional Charges

As easy as shopping online is, there are some things to be aware of. Most stores have a minimum order (Kroger’s is $50) and charge a small delivery fee. However, if you factor in the money you save on gas and how much you typically spend on impulse, you’ll usually find that online shopping makes more financial sense than traditional grocery shopping.

Also, be aware that if you submit an order in the evening, it will be submitted to the system and filled the next day. Therefore, make sure you know what day sales change. If sales are good until midnight on Tuesdays, don’t submit an order at 9pm on Tuesday evening: it won’t be received until Wednesday morning, when the sale will be over.

Avoiding Undesirable Substitutions

Most stores that offer online shopping will substitute “similar items” by default if the item you ordered is out of stock. Sometimes this is good: it can help you find new favorites. However, if you need a specific item because a recipe calls for it, or because of your particular health needs, you may not get what you want. Fortunately, most stores allow you to either opt out of substitutions entirely or to provide “special instructions”. You could for example write something like “dairy allergy, do not substitute produce containing milk for soy ice cream.”

Getting Your Groceries On Time

Lastly, like all online shopping, you’ll need to make sure your payment information and delivery address are correct. This is especially important when it comes to food. If you’re ordering a sweater and accidentally type “320” when your address is “3320”, the issue can usually be corrected without damage to your product. That isn’t the case with raw chicken or frozen peas (though most stores will do their best to correct any problems). So make sure you triple-check your info before hitting that “Submit Order” button, and happy shopping!


King Soopers City Market Homeshop. (n.d). Terms and Conditions. KingSoopers.com. Retrieved 5 July, 2010 from https://peach.kroger.com/sf/servlet/storefront

Roth, J.D. (n.d). Impulse Buys Most Common at the Grocery Store. Lifehacker.com. Retrieved 5 July, 2010 from https://lifehacker.com/5061720/impulse-buys-most-common-at-the-grocery-store