The One Thing Every Online Grocery Shopper Should Do to Save Money

published Jun 25, 2023
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Young woman unpacking box of food/groceries at home
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Online ordering and grocery pickup are, to many, the best things since sliced bread. With just a few taps on the screen, you can order your groceries and have them delivered or schedule a pickup. This can save you loads of time and give you much-needed flexibility. 

Grocery shopping in your jammies or while helping a child with homework? Mischief managed.

There’s just one thing you need to do before you click submit: Double check that you know the best store for the things you’re buying. That means taking just a few extra minutes to comparison shop between stores so you can maximize both time and money savings.

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Why You Should Compare Store Pricing When Online Shopping

I teach this to my students and preach it to anyone who’ll listen: Where you shop is just as important as what you buy. It can save you hundreds of dollars a year!

Now that most stores offer some kind of online ordering, it’s easy to compare prices; just open another window and spend a few minutes loading a second virtual cart at a competing store. Depending on how large your order or how convenient the stops, you might even choose to split your order between two stores to get the best pricing of both worlds. 

That five-minute investment could save you a bundle of cash — there can be a lot of variation between store prices for the exact same products. Keep in mind that depending on how you order (directly from the store or via Instacart) there may be fees added to your order. So, be sure to take this into account when you make your final decision.

In addition to armchair shopping, you can comparison shop, checking prices for a competitor on your phone while doing an in-person shop at your favorite retailer. 

To really stretch that grocery dollar, I’ve split my weekly shop between a free Walmart pickup and shopping at Aldi. I can be choosy about things that matter to me in terms of selection, like fresh produce or meat, while still shaving a few more bucks off the bill by getting the lowest prices on everything else.

To do this, I fill my virtual cart in the Walmart app, then stroll the physical aisles at Aldi, deleting items that are better quality or pricing from the app (canned beans, a favorite enchilada sauce, and so on) before buying them in person at Aldi. I can then schedule a Walmart pickup for the cheaper items as well as the things left on my list that ALDI might not have in stock — sometimes on the same day! Over the course of a month, I can easily save a solid $50 or more. That’s time well-spent, if you ask me.

Do you have a money-saving tip for online grocery shopping? Tell us about it in the comments below.