The Busy Working Mom's Secret to Never Entering the Grocery Store Ever Again

Saving hours each week, automating your groceries, and keeping with your plan.  This is everything that you'll get and more in this post!

Hey there amazing HomebyJenn readers! My name is Holly, and am the owner and creator of Happy Food Healthy Life, where I share health-inspired recipes, motivating antics, and tips to help women become their healthiest and happiest self. I am passionate about helping busy women find (or rather make) time in their chaotic lives to create healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. That is what I’m going to share with you today.

We all know that eating healthy food is an important part of living a healthy life where we have lots of energy, get sick less, and just feel better, right? But the fact of the matter is that it’s not quite as easy as it sounds to always have healthy food available. Because that would mean going grocery shopping…

I absolutely despise going to the grocery store, and if you’re a mom like I am, you totally get it.

  • Kids hanging from the cart while you’re trying to navigate it through the crowds of people.
  • Kids begging for you to buy them sour gummy worms and the newest sugary cereal that just hit the shelves.

  • Oh, and kids that just realized they have to go potty, while you’re halfway through the shopping extravaganza.

It’s a nightmare.

And honestly, it’s not much better even if you’re not a mom. I consider myself a relatively patient people-person, but something happens when I get into the grocery store. I lose my mind with all the people.

  • The people that walk through the aisles with their cart at snail-speed and there’s no way of getting around them without running into on-coming traffic.
  • The lady in Aisle 7 who is taking up the entire aisle with her cart and herself while she researches all the different types of gluten-free bread and has no consideration of people trying to pass through.

  • Of course, kids aren’t the only ones tempted by the treats and end-cap sale items. I always end up with at least 2 new flavors of Oreos in my cart.

By the time I’ve even gotten to the check-out, I’m fried and just ready to be out of there. I know I’m not alone in this. Grocery shopping is ridiculously un-fun and something many women dread, making it difficult to get healthy foods into their homes and eventually into their bodies.

What if I told you that I had a solution for never entering the grocery store again?

Wouldn’t that be out-of-this world amazing?

Wouldn’t that free up so much time for you?

Wouldn’t that eliminate so much stress?

Wouldn’t you save so much money from impulse buys?

Wouldn’t you eat less junk food because you didn’t actually buy it?

That is my life now. Less stress. Less spending. Less junk. And I’m about to show you how. Three words that have changed my life.

Online Grocery Shopping.

You hop online, place your order and schedule a pick up time that works for you, and then you pick up your groceries. Without ever leaving your car, the groceries are loaded into the trunk, and you are on your way… even while your babies are napping in the car. Brilliant, right?

Whether it’s available in your area yet or not, it will be soon. This is the trend we are moving toward, and you better get excited for the day it hits your town.

Except, I made some mistakes when I very first started this whole online shopping thing. Now that I’ve been ordering groceries online for a year, I want to make sure you know all there is to know about it so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

So here we go. Let’s learn the right way to do your online grocery shopping so you don’t have to go to the grocery store ever again!

First thing’s first though - grab the free checklist so you can follow along.

Start by planning your whole week of meals.

This is obviously the very first step. You can’t order your groceries until you know exactly what you’ll be eating, right?

I like to schedule my meal-planning time. Maybe you do it every Friday evening so you can go to the store first thing Saturday morning. Or maybe you plan the upcoming week’s meals on Sunday and pick up your groceries after work on Monday for the week. It doesn’t matter when you choose to meal plan. It only matters that you have a set time every week and stick to it.

Here’s the question though. What meals are you planning? I like to keep a list of meals that I know my family likes and go to that list every week as I’m planning the menu.

If you’re a Pinterest user, you can organize this all on your boards. I have a board full of recipes I want to try and pull from there sometimes. I add new recipes to this board all the time. Whether I’m waiting at karate practice, school pick-up, or I’m in the middle of a ridiculously boring meeting, recipes to try are always getting added. But once I know the recipe is winner, I move it over to a board labelled “Family Favorites” and choose from that board often.

Also take into consideration what ingredients you already have on hand. Do you have produce that needs to be used up before it goes bad? Do you have 5 boxes of half-used pastas? Plan a meal around these items instead of buying all new ingredients.

So now you know what recipes you’re going to make for the week. Write them on a calendar or menu planner. It’s time to decide what sides you’ll have with the main dish. I used to make the mistake of only planning for the main dish and forgetting all about the sides. Of course, keep it simple. A bag of steamable veggies. Apple slices. Whole wheat rolls from the bakery. Make it easy on yourself.

Ok, meals are planned. You can now start making your grocery list.

Make a Grocery List

Yes, even if you’re ordering groceries online, you still need to make a grocery list. This is a huge mistake I used to make when I first started ordering groceries online. I would just hop onto the website to place my order and just click, “add to cart” on anything (and everything) that sounded good.

This quickly led to over-spending and not getting all the food I actually needed for my healthy meals. Adding items to your online cart may be fun and seem like a novelty at first, making it easy to just click-click-click, but I promise you that you will regret it.

Just like you should if you were going into the grocery store, make a list and stick to it as closely as possible.

Don’t be afraid

I bet I know one question you’re thinking when it comes to online shopping. It goes something like this:

  • What about the produce? I can’t trust that they’ll pick it exactly the way I want it.”
  • “What if they pick the fattiest pieces of bacon?”

  • “They don’t know what I always get 2 perfectly ripe bananas and 3 kinda green ones for the rest of the week.”

My friend, don’t be afraid. I completely understand. Grocery shopping can be personal. Only you know exactly what you and your family likes. Only you know that your husband refuses to eat bananas once they get even one speck of brown on them.

All these little details can be enough to just say forget it. I’ve heard it from so many friends that this is the biggest reason why they don’t order online, but let me tell you. I have ordered groceries from 4 different grocery stores - some big-box and some neighborhood market-type. Each and every time, my produce selections have been top-notch.

To be honest, I almost feel as though my amazing grocers have been even more careful than I have been when picking my produce and my groceries. The best part is that you can leave little notes as you’re placing items into your cart. So if you have specific needs, that’s the place to give them directions and be as picky as you need to be.

Allow Substitutions

This is another mistake I totally learned my lesson the hard way on. When you place your grocery order online, you have the option to have the grocer make substitution if your item isn’t available.

The first time I placed my order online, I chose to not allow any substitutions, because why would I? I knew what I wanted, and that was that. This is what happened. I went to pick up my order and my grocer told me all the things the store did not have available at that time and wasn’t able to fulfill all the items in my order. Wah-wah-waaah! I will never make that mistake again.

This is how it works. Let’s say you ordered the store-brand “Toasted O’s” to save a few bucks, but it turns out the store was all out of your beloved Toasted O’s. If you allow substitutions in your order, you will be given the next best option - Cheerios. And the best part is, you will only have to pay for the item you actually ordered - the less expensive Toasted O’s.

Or maybe you ordered a 12 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce, but they were out of the 12 ounce and only had a 24 ounce jar. Yup, they’re going to give you the 24 ounce jar if you allow substitutions. Of course, at the 12-ounce price. Cool right?

But if you don’t allow substitutions at all, you won’t receive Toasted O’s, Cheerios, or any spaghetti sauce of any size. Of course, if there is something very specific you need, you can choose not to allow subs on that specific item.

Stay Away from the “Suggested For You” Items

When you order groceries online, you will find that there is a “suggested for you” section. Or a “you might like this” area. This is the equivalent of flashy sales items at the end of each aisle in the grocery store. Or displays piled high of food you don’t need but all of a sudden sounds super enticing and you just gotta have it.

Online grocery ordering systems aren’t dumb. They know that by getting people out of the store and onto their computers, they will be missing out on the revenue from these displays and flashy sale signs. So they make up for it in whatever ways they can online.

Do your very best to stick to the grocery list you’ve made for your so you can get on and off the site as quickly as possible. For one, you’ll save more money this way. Two, you’ll stick to your health goals by not impulse buying. Yes, it’s totally still a thing even if you’re ordering online.

Use Weekly Sales & Coupons

Just because you're not going to the actual grocery store doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the store's deals that week. The website should have the deals posted online.

Make sure you're actually looking at sale items and not the "suggested for you" items like we talked about earlier. You can also check in the weekly paper insert or wherever you would normally find the deals.

Of the 4 stores I’ve ordered from online, there has only been one that hasn’t accepted paper coupons for online orders. So if you’re into couponing, this shouldn’t be a problem, but you’ll want to call or check the site to see what their policy is. Or maybe your store offers digital coupons like mine does. I’m able to load my account up with the coupons I want to use and then when I order that item, the coupon is automatically applied. Pretty slick if you ask me!

Plan Ahead and Order in Time

It never fails. I need groceries for Monday’s dinner, so I get online Sunday night to schedule a pick up time only to find out that all the slots for Monday are already taken and I end up having to get my booty in to the store for dinner groceries (or just opt for pb&j’s for dinner…). You have got to plan ahead. I can’t say it enough.

Pick a day every single week that is going to be your grocery-ordering day and make it happen like it’s part of your weekly schedule. Order at least 2-3 days before you want to pick up your order. It's not like the food will be picked out then, so you won't be left with produce that's not fresh. Your order will be pulled just an hour or two before pickup or delivery, and you'll be all set.

You just don't want to be left high and dry unable to get a time slot for a few days.

How about a BONUS TIP?

Use that New Found Time!

Okay, so you just carved out a potential 2-3 hours by ordering your groceries online. Here's the big question. What exactly are you going to do with that time? Don't waste it!

Our lives are busy, and we are wishing for more hours in the day all the time. Well, here they are. Here are your few hours. Use them wisely. Before you place your online order, think to yourself:

"What will I do with this extra time I didn't have before?"

Play with the kids because there's just never time for that?

Plan date night with your spouse?

Clean an area of your house that has been neglected for a long time?

What have you been putting off and have just been waiting for more time in your day in order to make it happen?

Be intentional!!

_____________________

Phew! Are you overwhelmed yet? I know I was when I first started ordering my groceries online. Heck, half the time I’d forget that it was even an option!

Since I’ve made all these mistakes before and I’ve learned the hard way, I’ve decided to make you a checklist. That way, every time you go to plan your meals for the week, you will know exactly what you need to do without having to refer to this post every time.

I like to keep a bunch of copies of this checklist in a clipboard along with my grocery list template, my menu plan, and a list of all the staples I need in my household. Hang it on the back of your pantry door and everything will be ready for you when it’s time to order groceries.

Grab the 1-page checklist right here. I promise it’ll help to make your life so much easier and in order.

know you may not have online grocery ordering available right at this moment, but it’ll be there soon. I’m sure of it. Also! You may want to call your local grocery store. I was surprised to find out that one of my stores did offer it and just didn’t do a very good job at advertising it. Turns out, they actually DELIVERED groceries right to my doorstep for a small fee. Totally worth it.

My point here is, call and check around. It may be more available than you think.

I can’t wait to here how much online grocery shopping changes your life the way it has mine.

If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health, whether it’s your physical or mental health, I would love for you to join me over on Happy Food Healthy Life. In the meantime, make sure you grab that checklist. Busy chicks like you are always in need of little things to make their lives easier, and that’s what I’m here for!

Grab the checklist here.