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125R | Optimize Your Online Grocery Shopping

Jonathan and Brad discuss ways to optimize your grocery shopping, the family emergency binder, and share stories from the community.

How To Optimize Online Grocery Shopping

Recently, Jonathan decided to give online grocery shopping a try. Although he sometimes enjoys going to the grocery store, he has realized that it may not be the most effective way to spend his time.

The more time you spend in a grocery store, the more likely you are to deviate from your plan.

Most of us are familiar with the impulse buys that come along with grocery shopping. However, we may not realize how quickly these extra purchases can add up.

I know people that are saving hundreds of dollars a month using Instacart just because they are purchasing what is on their list.

Jonathan decided to compare two grocery delivery services: Instacart and Clicklist. Here’s how it went:

Meal Workflow

Before Jonathan goes shopping, he finds meals on Pinterest that seem exciting. He inputs these recipes into Paprika, a meal planning app, and downloads the ingredient list to his phone. With these lists, he can create a shopping list and compare that to what he already has in the pantry. Once he has fine-tuned his shopping list, it is time to go grocery shopping.

In total, he has 28 items to shop for this week and he compared the total prices for both services. With Clicklist, the total was around $59 plus a $4.99 pickup fee or $12.99 delivery fee. With Instacart, the total was $79.

The difference between the two likely stems from the fact that Clicklist by Kroger is a part of the stores’ daily operations. Unlike Instacart, which is a third party service not associated with a particular store. Instacart charges a 30 to 40% upcharge to make their business model worth it. Plus, you have to pay an annual fee for the delivery service.

Overall, online grocery shopping might be a great way to save time and money. The most important part of the equation to reclaiming your time. By switching to an online grocery service, you will likely regain a few of your precious hours each week. Plus, you can avoid impulse decisions to save yourself hundreds of dollars each year.

The time that you get back and the price transparency makes it almost priceless.

Related: How To Start Buying Your Groceries Online

Online Grocery Shopping Options

Here are a few of our favorite online grocery shopping options that will help you save time and money. These are not your only options, but they are a good place to get started!

Please note: All information was accurate when this article was published. This type of info changes constantly so please be sure to check when you sign up!

Instacart Grocery Delivery

Although Instacart was more expensive for Jonathan’s example, the service covers a wide variety of grocery stores.

Instacart delivers in as little as an hour from stores like Aldi, Costco, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Petco and more. Pay a delivery fee each time you order or get unlimited deliveries for a year with InstacartExpressfor a flat rate.

They also charge a markup on the groceries you buy. Which can really increase your grocery budget, but if shopping online means you don’t succumb to impulse purchases, you may still come out ahead.

Click List–Kroger’s Grocery Pick Up

Click List was the best option as far as price in Jonathan’s comparison. Order your groceries online and select a pickup time that’s convenient for you. Pick your groceries up at your store’s curbside pickup location and their associates will load your items into your car.

Plus, you get to try the service three times for free! After that fees vary by location.


Walmart does not charge any subscription fees or price markups on your grocery pickup. You simply select your shopping list online and pick it up curbside for free. The catch is that your order must be at least $30.

You can get $10 off your first order of $50 here with the coupon code WOWFRESH.

If you want your groceries delivered, the fee is $9.95 on your minimum order of $30. However, you can score your first order of $50 or more here for free with the coupon code FRESHCAR.

Brad has found this service incredibly easy to use.

Shipt Grocery Delivery

Shipt gives you free same day delivery on orders over $35 from local stores like Target, Meijer, CVS, Petco, Kroger, Safeway and more. They charge $99 a year, or $14 a month, for unlimited deliveries. You do get a two-week free trial to check them out.


AmazonFresh is a grocery delivery and pickup service available in select cities for Prime members. They charge $14.99 a month, Prime members get 30 days free.

Amazon Prime Pantry

Prime Pantry is an online store where Prime members can shop for groceries and household products in everyday package sizes (for example, a single box of cereal). Shipping is free on orders of $10 or more, with a monthly fee of $4.99.

>Free 30-day trial for Prime members


Peapod is an online grocery store serving Chicagoland, Milwaukee, S.E. Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Southern New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and S.E. Pennsylvania.>

You can get $20 off plus free delivery on your first order of $75 or more with coupon 60DAYSFREE


Safeway is a popular grocery chain with locations in the western and central United States. They offer $20 off plus free delivery on your first order of $75 or more with coupon SAVE20


Vons delivers groceries to its customers from their Southern California and Nevada locations. On your first order of $75 or more, you can save $20 plus free delivery with the coupon code SAVE20.

You can check out what our community has to say about online grocery shopping in this thread in our Facebook Group. Lots of great tips to get the most out of your online grocery shopping.

Related: Best Credit Cards For Buying Groceries: Earn More Miles, Points, And Cash Back

Creating Options for Your Future

In Monday’s episode, Chelsea talked about her amazing choice to leave her job as a hedge fund manager. Through hard work, networking, and a drive to never stop learning, she was able to increase her salary to $450,000 per year. She was in a world in which everyone made a high salary, but there were still people living paycheck to paycheck. Many assumed that they would always be making more so saving money didn’t seem like a priority.

What are you doing today that will give you options five years from now?

You don’t always know that you will still love your job in five to ten years. You may want to leave at some point. Although you cannot know what you will want out of your work life five years from now, you can make choices to give yourself options five years from now.

Working towards FI gives you the freedom to make choices that go beyond money. The math is simple, saving money gives you options and power over your work life in the future.

Related Episode: Finding Your Side Hustle With Nick Loper

The Family Emergency Binder

If you haven’t started your family emergency binder, then don’t put it off another day. Obviously, we all hope that nothing bad will happen to us. However, it is critically important to your family to have this information if there was ever an emergency.

Fill out the information one section at a time. Start with one section a week and just power through until you are finished.

Get something done. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done. You can always reiterate and make it better with the next draft.

In addition to the family emergency binder (20% off with coupon “CHOOSEFI”), you should consider other aspects of estate planning. Look into drafting a will and consider your life insurance options.

Check out our full review of her family emergency binder here.

Community Feedback

Let’s take a look at what our community was talking about this week.

Shout Out To Greg

Greg called in to share that he has increased his savings rate to 60%. Just two years ago, they were basically saving nothing, so this is a huge accomplishment. Congrats Greg!

He shared that one of his favorite tips is to set up a separate email for all of your household bills. With this, you can create an easy way to make sure that all of your online bills are coming to one place. Either partner can log into this shared account and pay bills.

Congrats Micheal!

Micheal hit FI this week and is retiring soon. Congrats!

It’s about the plans that you lay for yourself because the future is uncertain.

Micheal is retiring decades ahead of his peers which shows that it is very possible but you will have to work to get there.

Question From Terry

Terry called in to ask about planning for her upcoming retirement. She will be retiring in one year and looking for ways to strategize. With access to a traditional retirement account and a Roth, she wanted to know if she should dump her entire paycheck for her last year into her 457 accounts. Or should she start moving the money from her 457 into her Roth?

Answer From Sean Mullaney the FI Tax Guy

Sean, the FI Tax Guy, gave advice for two different situations because Terry excluded some information such as a potential government pension, Social Security benefits, and the required minimum distributions (RMDs) of her traditional retirement account.

If you were 69 and your last year of earned income is around $40,000, then at 70 you would be forced to take your RMDs from the traditional retirement accounts. These RMDs could significantly increase your taxable income for the year. In this case, Sean would not recommend making any sizable contributions to your 457 account at this point.

If you were 52 and your last year of earned income is around $80,000, then everything changes. You would be many years away from the RMDs, so you would be able to slowly move your 457 into a Roth account to minimize your long-term RMDs.

Any time you are thinking about effective retirement tax strategies take a minute to pause and think about it. Run the “great tactics” through your own goals to ensure that they support your long-term goals for retirement.

Related Episodes:

New to FI? Be sure to check out Episode 100: Welcome To The FI Community!

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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