Weekend Reading: Online Grocery Shopping Edition

Weekend Reading: Online Grocery Shopping Edition

This week my wife and I finally tried online grocery shopping and home delivery. What a game changer!

We shop bi-weekly at Costco for the majority of our groceries and household supplies. In between it’s a mix of No Frills, Safeway, and Save-On Foods for fresh produce and other items we seem to need regularly throughout the week.

It’s a pain to shop at multiple stores around the city, not to mention the time wasted shopping and waiting in line. We’ve noticed the Save-On Foods grocery delivery van in our neighbourhood and decided to give online grocery shopping a try.

Ordering from the website was fairly straightforward. We navigated the categories just like we’d move through the store – produce, bakery, meat, and dairy – plus all of our favourite staples.

We added it all to our online shopping cart and then selected a delivery time slot. The total order came to just under $100 (the minimum order is $45). As a first time home delivery customer Save-On Foods waived the $5 delivery fee. They even threw in a free chocolate bar.

We selected next day delivery between 4 – 6 p.m. The driver called that day at around 4 p.m. and said he’d be at our house in 15 minutes. He came to the door and delivered the groceries along with a detailed receipt that explained why a couple of items that we ordered were substituted for something similar (a bag of three avocados subbed for three loose ones, for example).

One thing we were concerned about is whether they’d select the “nicer” produce for us. They did!

Our only complaint, and this is more of a learning curve for us, is that most of the produce is ordered by weight instead of quantity. I have no idea how many grams of bananas we needed, but at least now I know that 100 grams will get you one banana :/

We’re definitely going to do more online grocery shopping as a way to save time and maybe even some money. We’re also keenly interested in Costco’s 2-day grocery delivery – which is currently only available in Toronto and southern Ontario.

It gives me a warm feeling just thinking about never setting foot inside a Costco again – especially on a Saturday!

This Week’s Recap:

It’s RRSP season and on Monday I wrote the beginner’s guide to RRSPs.

And on Thursday I explained why contributing to your RRSP is just the first step.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I revealed exactly how I redeemed more than 1 million points for travel.

Weekend Reading:

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada released a study on home equity lines of credit that paints a damning picture of consumer knowledge and use of this product. Of note:

  • Most respondents scored less than 50% on their knowledge of HELOC terms and conditions
  • More than any other age groups, 25-34 year olds said they:
    • made interest-only payments on their HELOC
    • often used HELOCs to meet payments on their other debt
    • would struggle if their payment increased by $100 per month

Preet Banerjee explains why for much of the world, retirement’s golden rule of ‘pay yourself first’ doesn’t apply.

Banerjee and a team of researchers also looked at how financial services innovation is leaving too many Canadians behind:

Those among us who do embrace these new innovations can also fall into other traps: Easy access to online brokerage accounts increases the likelihood that people trade too frequently, hurting long-terms returns. Easier access to credit via innovative online lending businesses is trapping many into a cycle of high-interest loan use to fund day-to-day expenses.

Here’s the 10 smartest things said about investing by Vanguard founder Jack Bogle.

Michael James shares an honest look at his investment returns for 2018. Despite a modest loss, he won’t be firing his advisor or moving to cash.

Million Dollar Journey blogger Frugal Trader updates his family RESP portfolio for 2019. I love these updates as his kids are a couple of years older than mine and we use the same TD e-Series portfolio.

Newlywed Des Odjick explains how she and her husband manage their money now that they’re married. My wife and I have a joint chequing account that pays all the bills, plus she has her own no-fee chequing and savings accounts.

Gen Y Money shares the ins and outs of pension buy backs and explains why she didn’t buy back years of service on her pension.

Speaking of pensions, Mark Seed does an in-depth review of the book, Pensionize Your Nest Egg by Moshe Milevsky and Alexandra Macqueen. The premise is to take a portion of your retirement savings and purchase a life annuity.

Here’s Jason Heath on getting the most out of retirement income planning with an older spouse.

Finally, an excellent post from a retiree-researcher-computer-geek who helps unwealthy retirees. Honey, what’s our retirement plan?

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  1. Cjlizzard on January 26, 2019 at 8:07 am

    In the US there is instacart. It seems like an amazing deal at $99/yr and free delivery from a number of different stores including Costco instacart allows Costco shopping without a membership! WOW, that alone saves me $130/yr. There is a place where you can tip the driver (defaulted to 5%). Well like most things that seem to good to be true……the kicker is that instacart adds a small uptick to most items. All Costco items have an adder. You get a copy of the instacart bill and can compare it to the actual store receipt, so there is no deceit but it takes a little diligence to figure out the true cost. When you add in the driver tip, it starts getting pretty pricey. So, I guess it’s how you value your time. For me, I loved the convenience but the actual cost was not worth it. Just my two cents!

  2. Cheryl on January 26, 2019 at 10:17 am

    About 20 years ago in the Greater Vancouver Area there was a company called Quick for online grocery shopping. I believe they kind of spurred Save On Foods to get going on that market. I really liked them and remember one day I got a call and the lady explained she’d removed the mushrooms from my order because she was unhappy with the quality they had. They delivered during a time frame you picked and the driver had one of those pay devices like they bring to your table at the restaurant to pay with debit or credit. Sadly, they closed down after a few years.

    Maybe its because I’m a vegetarian, but I primarily buy produce at dedicated produce stores. There are two in the area that I like. I find the quality and prices better than at grocery stores. Ironically, I think many people shun these produce shops thinking the prices are going to be higher! However, if a chain grocery is having a sale on fruit or vegetables, it’s probably a better deal there. These smaller produce stores have lower overhead so they can keep prices down. Also some cater to ethnic groups and you can check out other grocery items in the store. You can get great deals on spices and other things, way cheaper than a grocery store chain.

    What I don’t get is a bag of spinach. Popeye brand spinach to be specific. It costs $2.29 at my produce store so I buy a bag every week there. At the Real Canadian Superstore that same bag of Popeye spinach costs $2.99. I didn’t see the Popeye brand on the Save On Foods online page, but the Fresh Express spinach in a smaller bag costs $3.49.

  3. Bill on January 26, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for this column. Was browsing the Costco site, and the delivery is free for over $75 order size. I did notice however that most of the grocery items I was trial ordering were more expensive than in store prices. There is a caution statement below each item saying it may be available in store at a lower price.

    Bag of coffee beans in store $14.99 and ordered on line and delivered $17.39
    Can of ground decaf coffee in store $11.99 and ordered on line and delivered $14.49
    Bag of quinoa in store $11.99 and ordered on line and delivered $13.89

    If I ordered 2 each of the coffee and 1 of the quinoa I would qualify for free shipping. Yet it would still cost $6.80 more than going to the store.

    When we shop at Costco, usually every 3 weeks, we spend a lot more than $75. So I would think that on a $250 in-store purchase, the equivalent would be more than $20 extra.

    Much of our purchase would be fresh produce, dairy, meat which don’t seem to be available for on line ordering.

    Could be it is a developing program.

  4. Connie on January 27, 2019 at 6:15 am

    We live in Ontario and I have suggested trying this to my husband. He is very “thrifty” and loves his couponing and price matching, so until you can do the price matching, I doubt he will ever try it!!

  5. GYM on January 28, 2019 at 12:51 am

    Thanks so much for the mention!

    “It gives me a warm feeling just thinking about never setting foot inside a Costco again – especially on a Saturday!”

    I actually JUST stepped into a Costco on a weekend and it was like.. horrific. SO MANY PEOPLE.

    We bought some nuts (almonds, pistachios), blueberries, Costco chicken, a box of protein bars, and the bill came up to $93 (lol!). The people in front of us spent $600+, she had a family of 4 boys. I think buying the staples at Costco for delivery makes sense, especially when a lot of the stuff is packaged anyway and there isn’t much choice to select produce as it all comes in a box or a bag.

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