Are Grocery Delivery Services Worth Trying?

grocerybag2With the growth of grocery delivery services, there are a lot of reasons to try them: they can save time by reducing a 5-hour shopping trip to a few minutes online, cut down on impulse buying, and make it easy to find special products that are kosher, organic, gluten-free, or sugar-free. Most services have mobile apps so you can add to or change your order on the go, and some offer online specials and digital coupons. They’re a great way to plan meal lists and easily track how much you spend on groceries.

On the other hand, you’ll likely pay higher prices for the products, you can’t handpick your produce, and you may still need to go out to buy perishables like milk and bread. Delivery varies by service and can take a few hours or days, shipping fees are reduced by placing larger orders in advance, and new or frequent shoppers can save with discounted or free delivery codes. Delivery services may be best used to complement regular grocery store trips, rather than replace them entirely.

Delivery services appeal to five different types of customers: busy mothers who shop for the family and regularly place large orders; young professionals with smaller and more frequent orders; the elderly or disabled, who order for themselves or receive orders placed by others; those who have difficulty finding special dietary products; and offices ordering many items from multiple grocery stores to be delivered at the same time.

While the grocery delivery segment is growing at a fast pace, it’s still hard to compare them, since most companies offer only local or regional services at this time and they each have different features. Shoppers who live in Middle America don’t have the opportunity to try many of them yet, because so far they’ve set up shop only in select cities on the east and west coasts. Here are some of the best:

  • Peapod carries national and store brands, packs orders in temperature-controlled containers, and offers weekly sales, exclusive offers, and accepts and doubles coupons up to 99¢. They also have organic products, prepared meals, and their NutriFilter even lists Weight Watchers point values next to certain products. They currently serve customers in CT, IL, IN, MA, RI, NH, NY, NJ, DC, MD, PA, VA, and WI.
  • Safeway delivers in AZ, CA, MD, OR, VA, WA, and DC; their affiliate Vons serves CA and NV. Shoppers can take advantage of the same specials as offered in the stores if they have a Safeway Club card. The first delivery is free for new customers on a minimum $49 order with code EASY7. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • Netgrocer offers weekly specials, and is worth mentioning because they ship via Fedex nationwide and to APO/FPO addresses.
  • ShopFoodEx mail order grocery also ships to APO/FPO military adresses, as well as Canada and Australia. You can choose from 11,000 grocery items and save 33% off shipping on orders over $100.
  • WeGoShop is not an online grocery store, it’s a personal shopping service provider that allows customers to buy from the local grocery store of their choice. They also deliver to vacationers at resorts. Since you pay on delivery, it is the only service that accepts cash payment.
  • FreshDirect’s Long Island City warehouse serves New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, they accept digital coupons, and their website allows shoppers the most customization. They offer next day delivery, see delivery information here for NY, NJ, CT, PA, and DE plus Hamptons and Jersey Shore for summer only.
  • GardenGrocer serves Orlando and the Central Florida area. They offer discounts for ordering in advance and deliver 7 days a week, even to resort hotels. Delivery fees are cheaper on larger orders, and they utilize coolers with freezer packs and dry ice to ensure your perishables arrive cold or frozen.
  • Instacart is number one on the 2015 Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies list. The San Francisco-based company is now in 15 cities – Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Seattle & Washington D.C. areas. They offer flat rate delivery fees and Express members pay $100 per year to get free scheduled or 2-hour delivery on orders over $35. They do have partner stores but connect you with personal shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. Find your location at this link, and get free delivery or pickup on your first order over $10. They don’t honor sales and coupons from the partner stores, but frequently have their own promotions.

A price comparison posted here showed Instacart prices were higher than Amazon Fresh or Safeway. A disappointing policy change by Amazon Fresh that a $299 per year Amazon Prime Fresh membership will be required to continue using their service in Seattle may drive down their customer base. For those who choose to stay with them, the $299 fee does include all the benefits of a standard Amazon Prime membership, with free two-day shipping on orders.

Add commentJune 29th, 2015

20 Ways to Save on Amusement Parks

theme-park2Amusement parks are popular family vacation destinations that are both fun and expensive. The cost of admission tickets, parking, food, and souvenirs can add up fast and create a big drain on your wallet. But we have some tips that will help you take your family (and not your budget) for a ride.

  1. If you plan to go to an amusement park more than once this summer it’s well worth investing in a season pass. These passes will pay for themselves after 2 visits, making the rest of the season free.  Some parks even include other perks for pass holders, such as discounted parking and merchandise, early access to attractions, events for pass holders only, and discounted or free tickets for friends on select days, helping you save even more money.
  2. (more…)

Add commentJune 22nd, 2015

15 Ways to Save Money on Your Coffee Habit

storage-jar-coffee-cashThe number of people who enjoy an average of two cups of coffee every day is definitely on the rise, although the actual number varies based on whose survey results you read. The National Coffee Association reports 61% of us drink coffee daily while Zagat says it’s more like 82% of the 1500 people they surveyed this year. There’s also an increase in gourmet coffee consumption and the price paid for barista-prepared beverages. That means we’re spending $2,000 to $3,000 a year or more on our coffee habit.

Whether you get your daily gourmet coffee at Starbucks or the local coffee shop on the way to work, you don’t have to pay full price for expensive lattes or specialty drinks. Here are our suggestions to save some money.

Add commentJune 15th, 2015

May Contest Results

The month of May is over and it is time for our usual monthly wrap-up when we look back at what happened during the past month, announce our contest winners, and also give you a heads up at what is coming.

Monthly Contest Results

CouponNut finishes first this month followed by clover and mdshopper1 in the seconds and third place. Congratulations guys! Here is the complete list of this month’s winners and prizes:

1. CouponNut (295 Points): $50
2. clover (252 Points): $40
3. mdshopper1 (226 Points): $40
4. djhciskoski (222 Points): $25
5. 2kidsnuts (213 Points): $25
6. bemicmom (207 Points): $25
7. anand (206 Points): $25
8. laaya (201 Points): $10
9. siggy38 (185 Points): $10
10. lootango (163 Points): $10


Add commentJune 1st, 2015

Is Solar Power Worth Switching?

solar_powerSolar energy is a resource that is not only sustainable for consumption, it’s also indefinitely renewable. But the value may vary according to where you live, so determining whether it’s a cost-effective alternative is a complicated matter. As prices decreased for the hardware in recent years, solar power rose in popularity for ecological and financial reasons. Here are the facts you need to know to make an informed decision about whether switching to solar power is worth it for you.

Purchase options

There are several ways to purchase a typical grid-tied solar panel system. You can buy a kit to install yourself or get an installation package from a local service company. If you’re handy around the house, its possible to get a kit for $1,900 to $13,000 and install it yourself, although it’s a difficult installation. A typical kit sold at places like Costco, Home Depot, and Lowe’s includes solar panels, an inverter, and rooftop rack. If you choose professional installation, the installer will design the system, specify the appropriate components, and perform any necessary follow-up maintenance. Solar panels usually have a 25 year performance warranty and solar inverters have a 10 to 25 year warranty.

Add commentMay 18th, 2015

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