MOM TO MOM: You don't have to go into the store for groceries. But is it worth the extra cost?

Posted at 9:44 AM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 18:18:04-04

You know you don't really have to go grocery shopping.  

No, we're not saying starve your family. It's the 21st century; you can make the groceries come to you.  

However, if you like those wine bars, coffee stands or just getting out of the house alone for an hour, by all means, keep cruising those aisles and scarfing down those free samples.

For the rest of us, there's grocery delivery, curbside grocery pickup, and meal kit delivery.

Grocery delivery

Safeway offers its own at-home delivery service. A refrigerated truck comes to your home, and the driver hauls the groceries to your front door. The delivery charge is waived for first-time users, and currently, there is a promotion for $20 off your first order.

Walmart used the Valley as its test market to partner with Uber for grocery delivery. It is now expanding the service to other parts of the U.S. The cost to have your groceries come to you? Close to $10. The first order is free.

Other grocery stores contract with Instacart to get their goods to your house at the cost you would pay in the store. You can also choose from stores Instacart doesn't partner with, you'll just pay a little more per item. The cost is around $4 to $10 for delivery. The first time is free.

Shiptis also an option, but unlike Instacart, it's not available in all parts of the Valley. It's a subscription service that you can pay for monthly at $14 or yearly at $99.

Curbside pickup

Walmartnot only delivers, but it also offers curbside grocery pickup for free. Pull up to the designated areas and have them bring the groceries to your car.

Fry's has the same service. It's called Clicklist, but the difference is there is a $4.95 charge. You just pull up to the designated area at the store and the groceries will be wheeled to your car. The first few times you use the service, it's free. Fry's also periodically has coupons and promotions for free items for Clicklist customers, essentially canceling out the fee.

Only certain Walmart and Fry's stores participate in the services.

Meal kit delivery

For maximum convenience, you can have just the right amount of ingredients and the recipes with a meal kit. There are several companiesto choose from. Some allow you to choose which meals will come in the kit. Prices vary but expect to pay at least $10 per meal. 

So are any of these worth the extra cost? It depends on your situation, what your time is worth, if you can cook, and how disciplined you are when you go to the store.  

For delivery, expect to pay an average of $10. Though Instacart is only $4.95, it will charge more if it's not a partner store. But it's also a way to shop at Costco without buying your own Costco membership. Plus, you won't be tempted to grab unneeded items or an overpriced coffee from the cafe.

Same with curbside pickup, and it's cheaper. If you can plan it, so you're passing by at that time and not making a special trip, it's an even bigger time saver.  

As for meal kits, these may be worth it to someone who isn't exactly a culinary artist. Plus, there is no produce rotting away because you purchased items you didn't use. But at an average of $10 a meal, it's not the cheapest option.

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