A service that made my life easier

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. As a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have a traditional work week but I look forward to the weekend just as much as anyone with a standard job. On the weekends, my husband shares the responsibility of taking care of the kids for the whole day. Weekends are definitely my favorite.

Breakfast on Saturdays is the best. We usually make waffles or pancakes and we all sit down and eat together, but that’s not why I love it so much. I love it because between the preparation and the clean-up, Mark is there to help me. Even if I still spend most of that first hour helping the kids and getting them ready for the day, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me just because I don’t have to clean up the kitchen. What we do, we do together.

Like I said, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

listThose of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I am a big fan of meal planning and that I do one grocery haul a week. In that grocery haul, I purchase everything my family will need for the entire week, so I plan carefully. You also may know that I try to purchase wholesome foods and do it on a budget. We’ve foregone almost all packaged snacks and extra treats in favor of real and homemade food. This means every apple, every leaf of spinach, and every ounce of milk counts and are precisely planned out for the week.

Grocery shopping by myself with three kids under three is a chore, especially if I need to stop at multiple stores. I used to plan these trips when the twins were with their grandparents so I only had to haul Lia in and out of the car. This worked remarkably well, actually. The only downside was that if the day of the week the twins were gone changed, it may be too soon for me to make another grocery run or it may stretch me too far so that I had to make a trip before their next scheduled play date. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was stressful enough that I dreaded it.

Simple can still be healthy

A few weeks ago my cousin was telling me about a service she uses that delivers her groceries to her home. She lives in a different state and this service isn’t offered where I live, but it got me dreaming. Just imagine! I’d rarely have to step foot in a store. Oh, the beauty of it.

About a week after this conversation, I went to my mailbox and pulled out a flyer from Walmart advertising their grocery pick-up service. No joke. It’s like they overheard my conversation (scary thought). To use this service, you simply go to their website, select the grocery items you need for the week, proceed with the on-line checkout process, choose a time to pick-up your purchase, and voila! They do your shopping for you and bring your bags out to your car. No extra fee, no fuss.

I’m going to take a moment here to emphasize, again, that you do not need to shop at a whole foods store and buy expensive brands to eat well and be healthy. If your budget allows for it or a specific health issue requires it, then shopping at these stores is a great option. However, certain staples can be bought at any bargain grocery chain. Many of these grocery stores also offer some organically grown foods, so you can be selective, when appropriate, and still leave with more money in your pocket.

Online grocery shopping for the win

That is why the same day I received that Walmart flyer, I logged on and placed my first order. Even if I wasn’t happy with the food selection or service, I figured it was worth trying at least once. Boy, am I ever glad I did. I have now done this three weeks in a row and I am a huge fan. This is why…

1. Grocery shopping online helps me stick to my budget.

We try to be frugal in most things, but groceries are still a major expense for us. We only eat out a couple times a year so most of our meals are cooked at home, and we like good food. I do primarily bargain shop (Aldi, and now Walmart), but it is easy to let this get out of hand.

I am not willing to stop at several stores to get the best possible price on each individual item, so in that sense I am not the most frugal, but I do try to keep my total bill under a certain amount each week. So when I can see the total cost of my groceries in real time, as I add each item to my online cart, it keeps me accountable. Do we really need a bag of avocados this week? Not if it isn’t essential to my meal plan. Anything that is not a primary ingredient or food source for the week can easily be removed, or my meals that week can quickly be rethought, in order to stick to the budget

2. Grocery shopping online helps prevent impulse purchases.

As a rule, I make a list before I step foot in a store and I stick to it. I order my list so that it follows the layout of the grocery store I plan to shop at, so each item is easily checked off and I can quickly move on to the next. Still, I am not immune to impulse purchases. Sometimes food and other items I didn’t plan on buying mysteriously get added to the cart.

When I shop online my environment is controlled and my temptations are limited. I do not pass displays that are strategically placed to lure me into making unplanned purchases. That candy in the checkout line doesn’t exist. I also pass no clearance racks that fool me into thinking I’m getting a good deal. Let me tell you something. If you pay $5 for an item that was originally priced at $15, you did not necessarily save $10. The truth is, that unless you needed that item and already factored its cost into your total bill for the week, you lost $5.

3. Grocery pick-up means I can get my groceries any day of the week, with all three kids in tow!

I no longer stress about how I’m going to fit my grocery run in with the other plans for the week, and it doesn’t matter if I’m home with one kid or all three kids. When all I have to do is load them into the car and keep them there until we get back home, I have very few limitations. Pulling into a designated parking area and having my groceries brought out to my car is amazing. Gone is any stress I used to associate with shopping with children.

Try it for yourself

I realize this service won’t appeal to everyone, and some may even shudder at the idea of using Walmart for groceries. For me, it’s great. It keeps my life simple, helps me stay on track with my budget, holds me accountable to purchasing the right kind of food, and frees me to spend more time doing meaningful things, like playing in the sprinkler or helping my kids across the monkey bars.

Not every Walmart offers this service, and you may prefer not to shop at Walmart even if one near you does. But if you’re interested in checking it out, I encourage you to try it sooner rather than later. It has made me one very happy mama. You can read more about it on the Walmart Grocery website. On your first visit, use the code found here to get $10 off your purchase.

If you decide to try it and are willing to tell us about it, leave a message on the Facebook page. Let’s see how many items we can list that are both wallet and waist friendly. Some of my favorites are eggs, beans, and oats.

Until the next time, keep enjoying your simple, healthy life!

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