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Online shopping has been growing in popularity for years now. This trend is demonstrated in the fact that the digital economy in the U.S. reached $1.35 trillion in 2019.
Amazon alone made a whopping $87.44 billion in sales just during the 2019 holiday season — before the coronavirus pandemic even began.
Since then, the quarantines and shelter-in-place orders have only led to an increasing amount of online shopping activity. All and sundry are heading online to place orders for everything from televisions to tomatoes.
With so much internet bustle, it’s worth taking a moment to consider some best practices when buying groceries online, particularly when it comes to buying your food on the internet.
5 Simple Tips For Buying Groceries Online
1. Create a Grocery Budget
When buying groceries online it can be tempting to throw out the playbook and start from scratch. However, there are certain things about the grocery shopping experience that stay the same, regardless of the way that you order your food. This is especially true when it comes to your budget.
Always make sure to budget your grocery trips before you pick up your tablet or open up an app on your smartphone. When it comes to online shopping there’s even less excuse to exceed your budget than when you’re in the store. After all, you can literally see what your order is going to cost before you purchase it.
2. Strive to Save Money
There are many ways that you can save money while buying groceries online, including:
Meal planning: If you’re quarantined at home, you should have plenty of time to come up with a meal plan. This can help you purchase specific things that you know you’ll actually eat.
Use coupons and promo codes: These are often just a Google search away, and they can save you a bundle when you’re spending hundreds of dollars on groceries.
Watch out for delivery fees: While free shipping is fairly common, it isn’t universal. Always check to see if you need a minimum order value to qualify for free shipping, look for a curbside pickup option, or finally bite the bullet and just pay for that Amazon Prime subscription already.
Subscribe with caution: If you’re asked to subscribe for regular purchases, always pause and do the math. How often do you actually need that dish soap? Is buying it in bulk and storing it a better option? Subscriptions are great, but only when they actually save you time and money.
While each one requires a little effort in one way or another, there are certainly plenty of ways to save money when you do your grocery shopping online.
3. Schedule Ahead of Time
Remember, shopping online takes time, and delivery can as well. Don’t wait until you’re out of food to start your order. Instead, create a shopping schedule and get into the habit of placing your order early enough to ensure that your food arrives during the right window of time.
Also, consider others as you shop. If you’re using a curbside pickup or an online grocery delivery option like Instacart, try to place your order at a less busy time of day if it isn’t urgent. If you aren’t sure what times are busy, call the store and ask what works best for them.
Image Source: Pexels
4. Stay Safe and Secure
Buying groceries online is more secure than it’s ever been, but that doesn’t change the fact that you need to take precautions. Take steps to safeguard your financial information by:
Only using dependable, reputable sites to place orders.
Utilizing two-factor authentication to increase your security when it’s an option.
Using a credit card rather than a debit card.
Making sure you have anti-virus and anti-spyware protection as you shop.
Looking for the “s” in the “https://” at the beginning of the URL to ensure that a payment portal is secure.
Printing or otherwise storing your receipts.
5. Look for Alternatives
While you can always use Instacart to shop at big-wig stores like Walmart or Aldi or place a delivery order through Amazon pantry, you can also look for local companies that have found ways to adapt to the online grocery model.
For instance, some companies in Rochester, NY, gathered together and formed an online grocery pickup in their local public market. Options like these allow you to get fresh groceries and support local business at the same time.
In addition, there are certain things you can avoid ever needing to order online in the first place. Herbs are a good example of something that is typically overpriced in a store and which you can easily grow at home.
Buying Groceries: Online Edition
From setting a budget to shopping “online locally,” there are plenty of ways to effectively utilize the online grocery shopping experience. The important thing is that you take the time to consider each purchase when you place an order, as well as what if any, money-saving options are available. And, of course, if you end up using a grocery delivery option, always remember to tip your shopper!
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Author Bio: Beau Peters is professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.