The Mom's Guide to Online Grocery Shopping

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When it comes to grocery shopping, it’s not my jam.  I am for sure the girl with a list who crosses back and forth through the store no matter how well I know the layout.  And in this stage of life, two full time working parents and two busy kids, grocery shopping is the last thing I want to do on the weekend.  For the last couple of years we have settled into the pick up lane at our local grocery store, Hannaford, and I’m not mad about it! I thought I would share my tips and tricks, and debunk a few myths about ordering groceries online!  We use Hannaford to Go on a weekly basis and I especially love it when we’re getting ready to travel or host a gathering.

We started exploring grocery store pick up after our daughter was born.  My husband had Monday’s off and he doesn’t mind doing the grocery haul, but with two kids in tow, it became more challenging each visit.  Like where do you put the car seat? Teetering on the top of the cart or do you set it in the cart and pack the groceries around your babe?! Good grief! We tried Hannaford To Go and found we could keep the kiddos in car seats and just drive through.  No carts, no aisles, no grocery store checkout lanes.

If you follow along here for long enough, you'll learn that I like to find the fastest and most efficient ways of getting things done. I’ve honed the art of online grocery shopping and I hope it works for you too!  Here is the general run down of how it works for us:

  1. Every week, usually Saturday morning, I place my grocery order.  I work off a meal plan for the upcoming week, an inventory of regular grocery staples and the weekly flyer.  I can order groceries in about 30 minutes or less if I’m organized. It’s all about having a plan. With food allergies we are very loyal to specific brands.  This makes our eating habits extremely routine!

  2. We always double check our work! If I place the order, my husband looks through just to be sure I didn’t miss anything or duplicate an item.

  3. Use the notes! If your grocery store has a section for notes, I recommend using it to clarify an item.  For example, if I’m ordering a cut of meat or whole chicken, I specify the weight range I would like. If I think there’s a possible substitution, I’ll also recommend one so the store employee doesn’t have to guess.  

  4. We are pretty habitual eaters so we often copy our order from the previous week. This saves a ton of time!  I stick to a general theme for each day of the week and build a minimal meal plan accordingly. Taco Tuesday is definitely in the line up.  I’ll write a future blog post on this for sure!

  5. Once I submit the order, there’s time to go back in and add or edit as needed, which is super helpful because I almost always forget something!

  6. That’s it!  When it’s time to pick up, Hannaford to Go has a designated pick up line.  The staff load the groceries for us and we can pay without ever getting out of the car.  

We have settled into a regular routine with online grocery shopping, it’s the norm for us.  When I share my success, some people are leary, I get it. Letting other people pick out your produce is a big deal!  LOL! But truthfully, we’ve had a positive experience even with produce. I think the store wants to get it right, knowing that could be an issue for consumers.  On occasion the store doesn’t have exactly what I’m looking for, but I find they do a good job of offering a substitute item. I have very rarely been disappointed with the quality of produce or meat, and they always make it right.  You can do all of your shopping in one stop. They even accommodate our 5 Gallon Primo water bottle refill.

Not only does online grocery shopping save time, it saves us money!  Gone are the days of wandering the store and making impulse purchases.  We stick to the list and know our estimated total even before we leave the house.  I find that I use more manufacturer’s coupons more than ever because I know exactly what I’ve ordered and can take the time to pick the variety for the coupon.  I don’t have to wander the store with a folder of coupons. Most grocery stores have their own apps and reward systems too. Hannaford has an awesome app called My Hannaford Rewards,  that allows you to clip manufacturer's coupons.  I don’t have to remember to scan my app since it’s attached to my online order so I receive the benefits automatically.  They send me monthly coupons customized to your regular purchases, a little creepy, but you know I don’t get mad about saving money.  I especially love the incentives like $15 off an order of $200 or more. I try to bulk up to make sure I get those big savings.

I have always preferred Hannaford Supermarkets in the Northeast (not sponsored).  I was excited when they started offering the online option and grocery pick up. Not only do we cut down our time at the grocery store, it helps us stay on budget, and even eat healthier having a mapped out meal plan for the week.  It also allows us to avoid the aisles and check out lanes that are typically lined with nuts. If you’re thinking about trying an online service, you can customize mine. Drop me a note in the comments and I’ll send it your way! Keep a printed, laminated copy in the kitchen, and simply check off items as you need them so you can easily place your order at the end of the week.  Last tip, it takes time to settle into the online routine. This won’t be perfect after your first try!! I would recommend doing it for a few consecutive weeks to see if it’s right for you. Do you buy groceries online? What tips or advice do you have to make the process smooth?


Note: This post is NOT sponsored and does not contain affiliate links!