Grocery shopping with all of my kids is the worst. I’ve tried shopping in the middle of the night, but not all of my stores are open. I’ve tried going to the store early for only what we need everyday, that’s just not doable. Neither is the other extreme of shopping only once a month. So you just know that your kids will be with you and have to make it work. No matter how prepared you try to be, like completely dehydrating them the day before, one of your kids will inevitably need to pee half way through the store. Which of course sets off a chain reaction of the other three’s bladders being instantly full to the max. Then try to keep your concentration while keeping your children from laying on the dirty floors because they are bored, or much worse being abducted. Repeat for every store you and your children enter. That is how two stores and lunch take me seven hours. Shopping day stress takes me almost a week to recover from.
On this Thrifty Thursday, I want to talk about time management in regards to money management. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion I tried something new that I had been skeptical about. Pre-order & grocery pickup. I have to shop for a six person family, usually with all four kids in tow. It’s always and all day affair. I thought I would give these services at three stores a shot. So I chose Walmart, Harris Teeter, and BJ’s. Plus, I went into Food Lion to get all of their great BOGO deals. A lot of these types of services will give you a freebie for the service the first time around. Some charge a monthly fee, like a subscription, others are completely free or charge a very small fee. I have noticed that most stores require minimum purchases to use these services.
Walmart’s was pretty easy. They don’t charge for their shopping service and you must place a $50 or more order. They will shop for anything as long as it’s on the grocery site. I even bought my food processor and pull-ups when I ordered my groceries. You go to Walmart’s Grocery site enter your zip code to see if they offer the service in your local area and start shopping. You then choose a time that you want to pick up your groceries. I did mine about 32 hrs in advance. You submit your order with credit card info and you’re done. You just go get your groceries at your pickup time. Walmart may place a hold on your account for the grocery amount but they don’t officially charge you until you pick up your groceries. They have either a special parking area, or bay that you park in. You then open your Walmart Grocery App and let them know you are there or call the number on the side of the building. They check your card, scan your coupons, load your groceries and you’re on your way. Easy Peasy!
When I got to Harris Teeter they have a place you pull into right at the front of the store. They call this their Express Lane. I pushed the button and gave them my name. When they came out they swiped my card, loaded my groceries and that was it. As always Harris Teeter was friendly and had great service! When they had questions about my order my personal shopper called me and asked what I wanted to do. They never seemed rushed or annoyed with me. It was great from start to finish. They let you have your first express lane personal shopping for free. Every time after that is $4.95 per trip, $16.95 per month or $99 per year. since I only shop twice a month (or twice a year three times a month) It wouldn’t make sense for me to have the monthly plan but to just pay as I go.
It was raining this day so I have to admit, I was rather happy that I didn’t have to get out of my car. Although I did feel bad for my personal shoppers. I soothed my guilt with the thought that they knew what they were getting into with personal shopping though. It was when I hit BJ’s that my short lived royalty status quickly faded. I had been so spoiled that morning. When I got to Bj’s I realized there was no special parking space or call box to have someone load my groceries. I went to the customer service desk and asked them how to proceed. So I went to the manager’s desk like they said and told them what was in my order. They grabbed my cart and I went through the check out line. Next time I will know exactly what to do. Since I didn’t have to walk around the warehouse I was pretty pleased with this process as well. It is a completely free service to members, however they do not allow you to hold refrigerated items. They will hold your order for 48 hours on the floor.
So let me recap. We went through Chick-fil-A for breakfast, I ran into Food Lion for the BOGOs, I went to my bank for my rent money, ran into Michaels for supplies for my kids’ birthday party, went to Walmart, Harris Teeter and BJs. That is seven stores in four hours!!! Yes, this will be my new way to shop. I was so much more productive over the weekend too. Not only did I save time through the actual process of shopping but I gained all of my recovery time that would come the following week. And I knew exactly how much money I was spending before spending it. The best part is not throwing in a bunch of extra stuff like chips and soda just because you “think it looks good” or binge shopping because you’re hungry. Also for introverts it’s great if you are in need of down time and shopping. It’s a one on one experience. I will definitely be doing this again. It has given me an edge to get my life back on track and lower my stress.