Are you tired of spending two to three hours of your precious off time grocery shopping? As a mom to toddlers and a full time working physician, I’m always trying to find ways to maximize efficiency with time and money. I used to spend 2-3 hours making lists, driving to the grocery store, shopping, and putting things away. Now, I’ve found something that makes grocery shopping take 30 minutes max! Check it out.
If you are a parent, you know struggles of trying to carry on day to day activities with little people that have their own, very specialized agenda. Most often, our agendas do not align (No I don’t want to listen to “Everybody Poops” again, kiddos. Ugh). Grocery shopping can be a bit of a struggle with toddlers- like walking a slack line over a chasm of dirty diapers, tantrums, and tears. I’m constantly trying to strike the delicate balance between shopping thoughtfully and hostage negotiation.
So, I heard of the Walmart Grocery Pick-up service and thought I would try it out. The basic idea is that you compile your grocery purchase online. Then, you check in on the app when you’re on the way and then go park in a pick-up spot. Someone at Walmart does the walking in the aisles for you and brings your groceries out to your car. The Walmart associate tells you if they had to make any substitutions, shows you your produce, and then loads your car up. You sign and that’s it, off you go!
I tried out this service and here are my thoughts.
- I love being able to do my grocery shopping while going through my kitchen. I have 3 bottles of maple syrup in my pantry right now because I keep buying more at the store, thinking we’re out. With online shopping, I can go through everything and actually save money by not ordering more freaking maple syrup.
- Gone are the wasted minutes of my life wandering the isles looking for a specific item. Because asking a store clerk really seems like a failure, doesn’t it? I’m absolutely sure if I walk around long enough, I can find it. Now, I get around my own stubbornness with online ordering. All I do is search their site and bam, I know if they have it or not.
- I like being able to go through my cookbook, picking out a recipe to make, and buying the ingredients, all while sitting in my kitchen.
- If I forget something, I can still add it, up to a certain time, before my order pickup. No more runs back into the store from the car. I hate that.
- My little guys can sleep and chill in the car while the Walmart clerk loads up the trunk. Grocery shopping can be restful instead of stressful! Yup, we’re rhyming now.
- Walmart compiles a list of your “Favorites.” So for the next week, I just have to go through those and reorder. Saves a lot of time.
- Walmart also has a delivery option. Get a one-time, free delivery by using the code: FRESHCAR- courtesy of Stephanie who delivered to my car last week.
- It is easy to stick to the budget because there is a running total ticking on the right side of the screen.
- The pickup process takes less than 15 minutes! Serious time gains.
- Produce is tough. Walmart is increasingly adding more organic options, but this may not be enough for some people. If you get produce, you are at the mercy of the Walmart associate doing the shopping. I’m one of those shameless shoppers that goes around knocking on watermelons to assess their sweetness (pro-tip: the more hollow they sound, the sweeter they are). It bothers me when I get a bland watermelon or yellow lemons that are half green. I make up for this by doing some produce shopping at the local farmer’s markets, farmers co-op, or picking at a local farm.
- It is easy to double up on things because you clicked accidentally and didn’t notice on the digital checkout. I did this with bananas and milk last week. Also easy to get the wrong quantity (we ended up with a gallon of half and half- Why does this exist? Who uses that much half and half?!), so you’ve gotta pay attention.
- It’s Walmart not Whole Foods. I never thought I would shop at Walmart. And, admittedly, that’s really snooty of me. So anyway, now I’m shopping at Walmart and telling the world about it. Live and learn.
- You have to plan ahead a bit. It is hard to shop and cook on the same day. Sometimes you can get the same day pickup if you order early enough. So, start with reserving a pickup time before you compile a large list.
- They use a ton of plastic bags! I wish bringing my own bags was an option.
So there you have it. It’s hard to beat the efficiency of the pickup or delivery with young kids. I recently discovered a another service called Instacart that provides pickup and delivery from other grocery stores too, for a small fee. I think I might check that out next week. Happy shopping!
The Frugal Physician is an internal medicine trained primary care doctor in Upstate New York. She writes at www.thefrugalphysician.com and can be followed on twitter at @frugalphysician.